The final world ranking event of the 2022/23 World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) Tour season was held last weekend at the Tradewell Snooker Club in Hull, with nine champions crowned in all at the Wilson Interiors Hull Open.
The long-standing event which was first held in 2016, saw a record 76 participants compete across eight main classification groups across three days, in addition to a Challenge Cup tournament for players who did not qualify for the final day.
The weekend was sponsored for a second successive year by Wilson Interiors, with Allan Wilson on hand during the final day to represent the company and present a number of the champions with their medals.
WDBS was also grateful to receive a visit from Councillor Christine Randall, the Lord Mayor of Kingston upon Hull during Saturday’s play, while the Friday Open Day was well-attended by groups from local support groups Active Day Care and CASE Training.
Top ranked Tony Southern consolidated his position at the head of the Groups 1+2 category after he claimed his second title of the year with a 3-1 victory against Gary Swift in the final.
Having topped their round robin groups to progress to the semi-finals, the pair saw off Gavin Gormley and Craig Welsh respectively to progress to the title match, which Southern won to avenge his defeat to Swift in the final of the Stockport Open earlier in the season.
Southern also hit the highest break of the group during the final, with a run of 36.
Over seven years and 17 events on from his WDBS debut, England’s Joe Hardstaff claimed his first ever main event title following a 3-1 success against Kal Mattu in the final.
The 40-year-old has been a regular competitor since his debut at the 2016 Manchester Classic, but had never previously won gold, with finals at the 2019 Northern Classic and the Belgian Open earlier this year representing his best showings.
Having progressed through a tight group on frame difference ahead of Nigel Coton, however, Hardstaff would go on to seal a crucial victory against Mattu that not only earned his first title, but also secured him a place at next month’s Champion of Champions event for the first time.