The British Wheelchair Pool Players Association
Tuesday 10 November 2009
Matthew Gleaves shooting at the first BWPPA event in 2009.
The Lester interview - Matthew Gleaves talks to Pro9
Born in 1969, Matthew Gleaves has been playing cue sports of one type or another for well over twenty years. In that time he has managed to combine a full-time career as a civil servant with an equal devotion to promoting the British Wheelchair Pool Players Association, as well as being a capable and fierce competitor himself.
Gleaves, now in his 40's, still has ambitions to win Gold at the European 9 Ball Championships and he can regularly be found relentlessly practicing pool at his favourite local club in Darlington to further that ambition.
Here he talks with Pro9's latest guest reporter Matthew Lester about the BWPPA, it's first year with the new three tournament format, and his plans for the future of the wheelchair game in the UK.
"Read More..." for our exclusive interview with Matthew Gleaves.
Matthew Gleaves holding one of the awesome racks from tour sponsor "Delta-13".
Pro9 How has the BWPPA changed since you played in your first event?
Matthew Firstly the over all abilities of the players have improved, as this is an important and competative outlet to showcase UK players abilities. In the early years we had no sponsorship of any kind, found it had to attract sponsors and we could only offer a very basic looking tour.
But last year we made some very valuable links with sponsors and their support had given us the tools to really provide players with professional events and quality prizes.
We even now have a finals table recovered at each event with donated match cloth and every player wears a tour shirt thus adding to the professional perception of the tour.
I am now contacting sponsors hoping for their ongoing support into the 2010 season and fingers crossed it will be better than ever.
Pro9 Since taking over as BWPPA chair person have you enjoyed your new role?
Matthew Overall, I am really please with how the tour is shaping up and the improvements that have been made. I just wish I could do more.
It’s a lot of work running the tour and fitting it around family and work.
Pro9 Has it affected your game?
Matthew It is a distraction to be both organising the event on the day with the rest of the committee as well as playing, but that will not be a problem next year.
Pro9 How do you feel this season's new format has been received by the players?
Matthew I really think the new format of a Pro-Cup, Challenge-Cup and Main Events spread over the whole weekend has been a step forward and given everyone a quality weekend of pool. Also, with the great prizes from sponsors, the players are really getting in to the spirit of it all.
I hope we can extend the format to next year and beyond.
Pro9 Where do you think the BWPPA will be in another five years?
Matthew Who knows, but I would like to think that we manage to make small improvements each year, enhancing the events.
It is really important that we attract new younger players as most of us are getting a little long in the tooth and we will be working on that in the future.
Pro9 What is your opinion on wheelchair player's playing on the GB9 tour, and could this have a detrimental affect on the BWPPA?
Matthew Fantastic, the more wheelchair players can integrate into mainstream events the better but having said that they need to be of the required standard to realistically compete. I can see from the results that the wheelie boys currently on the tour are doing well.
I don’t think it will have a detrimental effect on the BWPPA as we will always need an outlet to compete with our peers.
Pro9 Are there any new plans for the BWPPA in 2010?
Matthew The Gentlemen’s Night Out charity last year gave us a valuable cash donation to cover our administrative expenses and I am pleased to announce that they have over doubled their donation for the 2010 season, enabling us to extend our services to players by employing a tournament director for 2010 season.
The BWPPA would like to take this opportunity to recognise the hard work of everyone involved with the charitable organisation “The Gentlemen’s Night Out” and for their generosity. Without their financial support the BWPPA would not be able to provide disabled American pool players an outlet to showcase their abilities in the UK.
We also hope to make other improvements but at this point it all depends on what other sponsorship we attract for the 2010 season.
Pro9 Can the BWPPA accomadate other American pool disciplines such as 10-ball and possibly straight pool as well as 9-ball?
Matthew Yes, I hope so. We have had a couple of false starts in the past where we arranged some 8 ball events but they were not really well attended.
I hope to educate the members that there is more to pool than 9 ball, I personally would love to have a straight pool tournament. Maybe 2011 season we will try to introduce other disciplines.
Check out the Pro9.co.uk Calendar for more tournament dates.