The 2021/22 World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) season drew to a close with the successful staging of the Wilson Interiors Hull Open last weekend.
Held at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull, the event saw seven individual tournaments covering different disability classification groups staged, as well as a Challenge Cup tournament for players who did not qualify for the final day.
The event also included a bumper open day at which local groups including CASE Training and Active Day Care Hull, as well as several other people with disabilities attended and participated in snooker activities under the guidance of qualified WPBSA Snooker Coaches.
The final day of the tournament was attended by Shaun and Alan Wilson of title sponsors Wilson Interiors, who met several players and presented each of the winners with their gold medals.
Nigel Coton claimed his fourth WDBS title and first in Hull following a dramatic 4-3 victory against Kal Mattu on Sunday afternoon.
The ‘bandit’ impressed throughout the three-player group stage as he won six frames from six against Mattu and Joe Hardstaff, a run highlighted by a top break of 51, which would finish as the highest of the group.
The final, however, was to prove a far closer affair as having seen established a 3-1 lead, Coton was taken to a deciding-frame as Mattu fought back to claim frames five and six.
But following a tense final frame which included a re-rack, eventually, it was Coton who would prevail to claim his first title of the season.
Scotland’s William Thomson defeated David Church 3-2 in another dramatic final to win WDBS gold for the fifth time in his career.
It was a remarkable triumph for the Group 4 number three after he lost two matches during the opening day of the competition, qualifying for the knockout stages as one of the best third places across the group stages.
From there, he defeated 13-time champion Daniel Blunn in the quarter-finals, before avenging his group stage loss to Tony Southern in the last four to qualify for the final.
Awaiting him was England’s David Church, who himself had come through a dramatic semi-final 3-2 on the pink against local debutant Carl Gibson to reach his third final of the season.
It was Church who made the early running, breaks of 33 and 30 taking him to a 2-0 lead, but Thomson was not to be denied as he hit back to take the final three frames and clinch another title.
The highest break of the group – and the event as a whole – was a stunning run of 71 by Carl Gibson during his quarter-final match.
England’s Mickey Chambers defeated Dean Simmons 3-1 to maintain his unbeaten record in Group 5 and claim his ninth title of his WDBS career so far.
Both players enjoyed smooth passage to the title match, dropping just one frame between them, with Chambers compiling the group high break of 41 during his semi-final win against Ivor Halnosky.
As he raced into a 2-0 lead in the title match, it appeared as though he was set to end the tournament with a perfect record once again, but Simmons had other ideas as he snatched frame three on the black to keep his hopes alive.
Ultimately however, it was to be Chambers who would get over the line and clinch victory in the fourth frame.
Two competitions staged in Group 6 saw Alan Reynolds (6A) and Leroy Williams (6B) both claimed their second titles of the season after their respective victories in Stockport last October.
The pair topped a five-player group stage before coming through their respective semi-finals to set up the title match on Sunday afternoon. Farrell claimed the opening frame, but it was Reynolds who would add the next three in succession to secure his second gold medal since he joined the tour this season.
For Williams, the Group 6B number one came through a competitive group to win his eighth WDBS crown, reversing defeat to Adam Noonan at the recent UK Championship in the title match.
It was James Hart (whose 43 also took the group high break prize) and Matthew Haslam who topped their respective groups, but both Williams and Noonan came through high-quality semi-finals to progress to the final, which saw Williams claim a 3-0 success.
Paul Smith claimed his first WDBS title in over four years following a 3-1 success against Mike Gillespie.
The pair topped a five-player group stage, before coming through semi-finals against Welsh duo Ronnie Allen and Phillip Jones respectively to set up the final.
It was Gillespie who won their group match but the final was to prove a different story as Smith won three out of the four frames played to clinch his fifth WDBS title and second in Hull, having won at the same venue back in 2016.
Gillespie would have the consolation of having taken the highest break of the category with his run of 34 during the group stages.
Shabir Ahmed claimed a record-extending 12th WDBS crown in the deaf competition following a 3-0 success over Poland’s Marcin Kubalski.
Having topped his group without the loss of a frame, Ahmed survived a spirited fightback from Scotland’s David Grant who came back from 0-2 down in their semi-final to force a deciding frame, to win 3-2 and secure his place in the final.
There he would face first-time finalist Kubalski, who was competing in his fourth WDBS event and had defeated Lee Finbow and former Hull finalist Gary Taylor to reach the title match.
Ultimately, it was to be Ahmed who would run out a relatively comfortable winner to claim the title match and move to within one victory of all-time record holder Daniel Blunn.
Ahmed also claimed the group high break prize with his run of 43 during the semi-finals.
In the Challenge Cup event for players who did not qualify for the knockout rounds, there was victory for Blake Munton, who defeated Wayne Grew 2-0 to claim his first gold medal since his victory at the same venue back in 2017.
The WDBS team would like to thank everyone who contributed to a wonderful weekend for all, in particular our title sponsors Wilson Interiors and our hosts at the Tradewell Snooker Club, who as always left no stone unturned in ensuring that the event ran as smoothly as possible.
Further information about the 2022/23 event calendar will be published in due course.