TONY SOUTHERN ON HIS WAY TO GLORY
THREE of the top North West snooker players basked in the glory at the 360Fizz UK Disability Snooker Championships.
Liverpool’s Tony Southern recorded a famous double in the Groups 1-2 wheelchair classification – his first silverware since the Belgian Open back in March;.
There was also a fourth WDBS title in Group 6B (Learning Disabilities) for Runcorn’s Leroy Williams, while Shabir Ahmed, Blackburn’s rising star, saw off a familiar final opponent in the shape of Lewis Knowles with a 3-1 win to also claim his eighth Group 8 crown. It was also Ahmed’s second success in the space of a month, following his success at the Disability Tour Championship held at the Crucible Theatre in August.
Nigel Coton (Louth) claimed a second World Disabled Billiards and Snooker title in Group 3 as he resisted a brave fightback by John Teasdale to win 4-3.
Daniel Blunn (Sutton Coldfield) notched up his tenth title after defeating Andy Johnson 3-0 to maintain his dominance in the category.
Having progressed from his group for the loss of just a single frame, Blunn then saw off Nigel Brasier and David Church to reach the final, while Johnson defeated Ben Rawson and former professional star Dean Reynolds to join him there.
Despite a close second frame, it was Blunn who ran out a comfortable 3-0 winner in what was a repeat of the 2018 Welsh Open final to make it a perfect 10 on tour.
There was an all-new final in Group 5 as David Langridge defeated debutant Dean Simmons 3-1 to claim his maiden WDBS title.
Langridge, who himself made his debut at this event 12 months ago, enjoyed a strong weekend overall as he progressed from the group stage without the loss of a frame, before again overcoming Simmons in the final to claim victory.
In the Learning Disabilities (Groups 6A-6B) section, Mohammed Faisal Butt made it four victories in a row in Group 6A after he defeated Mike Busst 3-1 in the final.
The pair, who have now met in four of the past five WDBS finals in this category, progressed to the semi-finals and defeated Warren Ealy and Liam Crook respectively to set up another title match.
Nick Neale (Coventry) defeated Ronnie Allen 4-1 in a repeat of last month’s Welsh Open final to claim his eighth WDBS title for players with visual impairments.
In the Challenge Cup – for players who did not progress to the final day – there was a maiden WDBS victory for Steve Cartwright (Farnborough), who edged out Blake Munton in a single-frame final.
Held at Barratts Snooker Club, Northampton, the three-day championships attracted almost 70 players.
The weekend also featured a special open day – supported by the Motor Neurone Disease Association – and there were sessions led by WPBSA World Snooker coach Steve Rutter to introduce newcomers with disabilities to the sport.