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SHA Hosts the Junior Disability Snooker Championships

Over April SHA hosted the 11th annual Junior Disability Snooker Championships, the first such event in our new venue Snooker Rooms. This event was a wonderful showcase of the amazing work SHA do in promoting and growing grassroots snooker in Sheffield and the standard of snooker we saw from our participants was a credit to disability snooker and the sport as a whole.

The event saw some wonderful performances from 16 entrants to the competition all of whom are children with special needs with a great love for the game. All the staff at SHA were incredibly proud to see such high level performances and sportsmanship from our entrants.

As we all know, this year has presented unique challenges to the academy and the world as a whole, the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying lockdown restrictions have made it incredibly difficult to stage sporting events. But just as snooker was the first sport to return to competition in the crucible, SHA was determined to not let Covid stop us from continuing our great tradition of hosting the annual Junior Disability Snooker Championships.

Unlike previous years this event was spread out over four fantastic days of snooker, this was to ensure that social distancing could be maintained in a safe way, and stringent Covid regulations were in place to ensure the safety of our participants. One player commented that holding the event over four days was an improvement as it made the whole tournament seem more professional and really extended the fun from one day (like tournaments in the past) to four - making for an incredible two weeks of competitive snooker fun.

The first rounds of qualifiers broke off on the 6th and 7th of April where our 16 entrants came and battled for a place in the semi finals. After some truly entertaining games in the qualifying rounds the semi finalists were found. In semi final number one sponsored by Tribepad, Mackenzie Richardson faced Sam Davidson beating him 2-0 in a bizarre twist that saw him score the exact same score twice in a row (frame 1: M:84 - 51:S and frame 2: S:24 - 84:M).

In semi final number two sponsored by Nick Firth Tiles, Preston Richardson cued up against Daniel Nelson beating him 2-0 (frame 1: P:64 - 44:D and frame 2: D:42 - 49:P) Daniel narrowly missing out on a chance to take the game level in a dramatic black ball game finish in the final frame that secured Preston's place in the final.

This set the scene in the final as the competitive nature of this tournament transcended from that of simple sporting competition to that of intense sibling rivalry - as our two finalists, Preston and Mackenzie Richardson are brothers!

In a first for SHA (and we suspect the sport) the two finalists of a national snooker championship were siblings competing for bragging rights not just in the academy but also in their own household. Naturally, their mother Lyndsay Richardson was incredibly proud to see both her sons playing so well and both bringing home silverware.

In this dramatic final sponsored by J Woodward Building Services, the two brothers faced off in a very tense and competitive game unlike anything we have seen before at SHA. The standard of play in this game was exceptional - a real testament to the years spent developing their game and honing their skills at the Stephen Harrison Academy.

The game was an incredibly tense and tight affair with both players refusing to give their brother any opportunity - a real tactical masterclass. Preston managed to claim the first frame in a very impressive potting display (frame 1: M:23 - 45:P) but in a dramatic comeback and after a tense battle Mackenzie claimed final victory over his brother Preston winning 2-1 (frame 2: P:41 - 52:M and frame 3: M:44 - 25:P) and lifted the coveted winner's trophy (supplied by J Woodward Building Services).

Upon lifting his winner's trophy Mackenzie took the time to pay tribute to his brother and all the other players in the event by saying: "this is the first time I've ever won and I'm so happy! But it was really tough, the other players were really good. Well done Preston and especially Karl who was really hard to beat at the start of the tournament."

This final and the event as a whole was a

special event that showcased the very best of grassroots snooker in the UK and the very tangible benefits of disability sport. Stephen Harrison Academy remains immensely proud of all our participants in this wonderful event and cannot wait to see the players again next year in what we hope will be an even bigger and more entertaining showcase of grassroots snooker! Congratulations Mackenzie and very well done to everybody that entered - you were all amazing!

This showcase event was made possible by the continued support of our academy sponsors J Woodward Building Services, Nick Firth Tiles, Tribepad, and EMS. From everyone at SHA I would like to say a massive thankyou to our sponsors for helping us to put on such an amazing event.

If you would like to see more pictures and videos of the tournament please click this link :

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