The 888lcd.co.uk Hull Open saw new winners this evening in both the Group 7 and 8 competitions staged at the Tradewell Snooker Club.
Returning to the East Yorkshire venue for a second successive year, the event proved to be the biggest yet staged by World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS), with a record 49 players taking part from just three classification groups.
Coventry’s Nick Neale emerged victorious in the Group 7 competition for people with visual disabilities following an emphatic 4-0 final victory against Paul Hunter Disability Classic champion Mike Gillespie. Runner-up at the event 12 months ago, Neale went one better following a weekend which saw him dominate the high breaks chart, recording eight of the ten highest breaks within his category including a top run of 51.
Neale recently grabbed the headlines recently by making his first 147 break in practice and would in fact achieve the rare feat of claiming the title without the loss of a frame. Having topped his group with four wins from four, he then defeated David Baker in the semi-finals to set up the decisive battle against local player Gillespie.
In Group 8 meanwhile there was a dramatic maiden victory for Grimsby’s Blake Munton, who edged out Richard Gott 3-2 to claim the gold medal.
The event was by far the biggest staged for deaf players so far with a record 26 entries received and Blake impressed throughout the weekend in Hull, topping his group without the loss of a frame before defeating Lewis Knowles and David Grant to reach his first WDBS final. Opponent Gott meanwhile also won his group, adding knockout victories against Adam Duke, Mike Bryan and Derby winner Shabir Ahmed to make the Hull final for a second successive year.
The showpiece match proved the be one of the most dramatic in WDBS history as having taken two of the first three frames, Munton potted ‘match ball’ black in frame four to complete a fantastic clearance, only to see the cue ball come back up the table and hit the rest which had still been left on the table. With a foul correctly called by referee Mark King, the match was sent into a deciding frame, which saw Blake cast aside the obvous disappointment felt to clinch the title.
The Challenge Cup event for players who had not made it through to the knockout rounds following Saturday’s group stages was won by Richard Bradburn, who defeated 16-year-old debutant Ben Chappell 2-1 in the final.
With the support of event sponsors 888lcd.co.uk, J&S Trading and Hudgell Solicitors, prize money was offered to all players who reached the latter stages of both competitions, as well as the Group 6 event won by Daniel Harwood on Friday.
The WDBS tour will return in 2018. Learn more about the events confirmed for next year so far at the WDBS Events page.