Snookerbacker

August 22, 2014

Paul Hunter Classic: Pro Day One

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:13 am
Birthday Boy

Just seen the size of his present from Bazza

Following a busy couple of days for the amateur players today sees the professionals enter the fray in Furth. 

Ronnie O’Sullivan plays his first match at 12 noon and I’m sure you’ll be able to catch that on Eurosport if you get the chance.

Another legend of the game Steve ‘Interesting’ ‘The Nugget’ ‘The Ginger Magician’ Davis is also in action first up, it’s a bit unfair putting him on that early on his birthday. He’ll hardly have time to blow out the candles on his cake before he’s got to get back to the baize.

There are also a few of the SB Classic regulars in action, Jamie Clarke, Jack Bradford, Alex Taubman and Gaz Allen will all be hoping to give a good account of themselves and progress.

Here’s the running order for today.

Recommended Bet: 2 point acca pays almost 7/1 at Boyles on Joel Walker, Jamie Cope, Anthony Hamilton, Tian Pengfei and Matt Selt.

8.30am

Gary Wilson v Steve ‘Birthday Boy’ Davis
Kurt Maflin v Li Hang 
Joe Swail v Scott Donaldson 
Michael Holt v Xiao Guodong 
Alex Davies v Joel Walker
Jamie Cope v Barry Pinches
Rob Milkins v Chris Norbury
Martin Gould v Ryan Clark
Michael White w/o Marcus Campbell
Ian Glover v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Luca Brecel w/o Ken Doherty

Approx 10am

Alan McManus v William Lemons
Ben Woollaston v Jamie Clarke
John Astley v Alex Taubman
Rory McLeod v Alex Borg
Mark Allen v Lee Walker 

Approx 10.30am

Judd Trump w/o Zhou Yuelong
Anthony Hamilton v Steven Hallworth
Tony Drago v Lee Page
Nigel Bond v Mitchell Travis

Approx 11.30am

Jimmy White v Ahmed Saif
Stephen Maguire v Hammad Miah
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Steve Mifsud
Aditya Mehta v Jeff Cundy

Approx 12pm

Matt Selt v Alfie Burden 
Michael Georgiou v Tian Pengfei
Chris Melling v Cao Yupeng
Noppon Saengkham v Ronnie O’Sullivan

Approx 1pm

Mike Dunn v Ian Burns
Robbie Williams v Thomas Dowling
Michael Leslie v Jack Bradford
Barry Hawkins v Gareth Allen

FOLLOWED BY LATER ROUNDS

August 20, 2014

Paul Hunter Classic Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:21 am
Back in Action in Germany

Back in Action in Germany

The European tour continues this week as the Stadthalle Fürth, Fürth in Germany plays host to many people’s favourite on this tour, the Paul Hunter Classic, named after one of snooker’s brightest and sadly departed stars.

It was won last season by Ronnie O’Sullivan and happily he’s back to defend his title. Despite his detractors and critics it remains for most a more interesting tournament when Ronnie is involved, he’s not been seen since the World Championship but appears on the face of it keen to get back to competitive action now that the tour is organised to his exact specifications.

Indeed the only really notable exception in this is Ding Junhui, who seems to be becoming the new Ronnie the way he’s picking and choosing lately. But other than that we have all the big guns, World Champion and World Number 1 Selby, Wuxi winner Robbo and early season winner in Australia Judd are all in the mix.

It’s a fitting tribute to Paul that this is becoming something of a main event. OK, the prize money is still low compared to the main rankers but to all intents and purposes that is how it feels and it would be nice if the prize money on offer one day reflected the esteem in which it’s held by the players and fans, but the good news is that it’s getting there.

The tournament also sees the beginning of a slightly busier period in the calendar, a fortnight after this ends we’re off to Shanghai for the Masters there and in between is the 6-reds, which Dark Mavis will probably win again.

In terms of this event, the dream semi-final line up would be Ronnie or Judd against Selby with Robbo arguably in the ‘easier’ half of the draw. This in effect makes Robertson an automatic outright pick given his relatively smoother path to Finals Day. Ronnie starts the event as favourite and if you are a firm believer in horses for courses he more or less cantered to victory here last season, beating unlikely finalist Gerard Greene and breaking the trophy afterwards. Selby however is already back to winning ways and will want to cement his current status to the max, possibly by putting Ronnie to bed again in the semi-finals. Indeed snooker is now increasingly getting the feel of a big 4 or 5 who seem to be pulling away from the chasing pack a bit, my guess is that Ronnie, Mark, Neil, Judd and Ding will be sharing quite a few titles amongst them this season while the others look on.

All that said, it’s always worth hunting around for big each way prices and this is especially true where the bookies are paying out on the semi-finalists, which most of them now appear to be doing. My each-way long shot for this one is the in-form Alan McManus at 200/1 with Betfred to compliment a couple of the more obvious picks in the outrights of O’Sullivan at a best priced 4/1 and Robertson who is available at 7/1. I’m not doing points anymore but they are three I’m backing in this and I’d be surprised if one of the big names isn’t holding the trophy aloft on Sunday.

You can view the draw for the Paul Hunter Classic including the amateur rounds here and you can take a look at the Eurosport schedule by clicking here.

I’ll bash some match bets up as and when the tournament begins.

Click the banner below to open an account at Betfred and get a free £25 matched bet

August 17, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Further Prize Announcement

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:02 pm

SB2015 A4 PosterIt’s only a few short months now until this season’s Snookerbacker Classic gets underway and this week I’ve managed to add once more to the prize pot, making this easily the most lucrative amateur snooker tournament in the UK.

I am delighted to announce that SB Classic partner Lake Creative Design and Marketing are becoming more involved in the tournament this season by stumping up the entry fees for all European Players Tour Championship events next season for the winner.

This means that not only will this season’s champion be £1500 richer, he or she will also have all their EPTC entry fees paid courtesy of Lake Creative, all they ask in return is shirt logo sponsorship for each event.

Andy Spilsbury, the Managing Director of Lake Creative who are also responsible for this season’s poster design said ‘We’re delighted to announce this sponsorship package for this season’s Snookerbacker Classic Champion and really look forward to giving the winner an extra helping hand in their snooker career. It’s a brilliant event and we are immensely proud to be involved as it continues to go from strength to strength’.

Lake Creative are an award winning design and marketing company based in Oxfordshire and Merseyside delivering high quality design and marketing solutions to a portfolio of national brands and campaigns.

More information about Lake Creative can be found here.

More information about this season’s Snookerbacker Classic can be found here. A reminder that the deadline for payment for all the events this side of Christmas is August 31st. There are still a handful of places left in a few of the events, details of how to enter are also included in the link.

August 12, 2014

Shanghai Masters Qualifiers – Picking and Choosing

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:19 am
Sometimes you feel like you're going round in circles.

Sometimes you feel like you’re going round in circles.

Being a snooker blogger these days is a bit like being a snooker player, the only obvious things missing in this line of work are the talent for knocking balls into holes with a stick and the potential to earn stacks of dosh while travelling to all corners of the globe, apart from that the two vocations are staggeringly similar.

With the introduction of the money list, lots of stock has been placed on the freedom this has given potters to choose events that they want to play in and those they’d rather swerve. This is where the similarity with bloggers really kicks in.

Over the course of the past 4 years and 7 months (not that I’m counting you understand), I’ve announced my semi-retirement from the blogging front line approximately 346 times, if you don’t count that one time I did it as a joke. But this time, I might just be a bit more serious about it.

There are so many other places on the web covering snooker these days it’s unreal, some, like players, that are better than others. I’m not going to single out any examples as that would be unfair but it’s a far cry from when I started this blog, primarily as something to do, when there were only really three other snooker-only presences out there. Somehow I managed to infiltrate this monopolistic triangle and make it more of a rectangle and to my continuing bewilderment the blog has remained more popular than I could ever have imagined. If I could personally thank everyone who has ever logged on I’d probably get to around 5 of you before I got a bit bored but it’s the thought that counts.

Yes readers, the time has come to take a long hard look at what’s going on and I’ve decided to very much follow the path of a certain enigmatic yet frustratingly unreliable, when it comes to playing in tournaments, 5 times world champion. I’ll continue to cover the biggies without a doubt as these are the ones that I continue to enjoy the most, particularly when I get to sit here and take the piss out of the BBC coverage. I’ll continue to post the odd links and stuff here and there for the lesser events and the qualifiers/EPTC’s, in fact if I’ve nothing else to do I might just get fully involved in an event that takes my fancy, but it’s fair to say I won’t be writing War and Peace about any new events that Bazza might like to put on in the South Pole.

The Snookerbacker Classic will continue for at least this season and possibly beyond, in fact, I am hopeful that this week I will be able to announce an exciting new prize and I still harbour possibly misguided hopes that something I’ve been after now for a while could still materialise, if only the person that has the power to grant it would speak to me.

So, for this season, I’m not going to be doing daily updates on that many events and one of these is the Shanghai Masters Qualifiers which starts in the morning and runs until Friday in the ‘old’ qualifying format, that is, not the flat draw of which Chairman Bazza is so fond.

The running order of matches can be found here and live scoring at World Snooker here.

So, while this is not the end of the blog, it’s (possibly) the beginning of a (slightly) more relaxed approach, sometimes, as with snooker, I find that the less you are that bothered and busting a gut about something the better your form gets, so we’ll wait and see. Again like snooker, if you don’t enjoy what you are doing it usually isn’t worth doing in the first place and your form inevitably dips. I told you they were the same.

Actually, I’ve quite enjoyed writing this, might be time for another rethink.

August 10, 2014

Finals Day in Riga

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:44 am

Finals Day in Riga and the line up for the day is this….

8am UK Time

Last 16

Sean O’Sullivan v Dark Mavis
Mark Williams v Mark Allen
Matthew Selt v Anthony McGill
Chris Wakelin v Judd Trump
Barry Hawkins v Alan McManus
Robert Milkins v Marco Fu
Peter Ebdon v Stuart Bingham
Aditya Mehta v Mark Selby

11am

Quarter Finals

Sean O’Sullivan/Dark Mavis v Mark Williams/Mark Allen
Matthew Selt/Anthony McGill v Chris Wakelin/Judd Trump
Barry Hawkins/Alan McManus v Robert Milkins/Marco Fu
Peter Ebdon/Stuart Bingham v Aditya Mehta/Mark Selby

2pm

Semi Finals

6pm

Final

August 6, 2014

Viva La Riga! The Riga Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:33 pm
The impressive arena

The impressive arena

It’s been a fragmented start to the new snooker season and feels a little bit like being stuck in an airport waiting a month for your connecting flight. The Wuxi and Australian events, won by Neil Robertson and Judd Trump respectively were followed by the longest gap in snooker since the days of Sir Rodders, but with the first ever Latvian professional tournament, we now see the season kick off in earnest.

By the looks of the pictures of the arena I have seen, it looks like a cracking venue, the image above was taken by World Snooker Services who are setting it all up for the amateur rounds which kick off on Thursday. There seems to be plenty of space and viewing platforms with 11 tables to choose from, a veritable sweet shop of snooker for those baize hungry Latvians to suck on.

It’s great that snooker is now fully embracing the European market and I think the calendar now has much more of an even feel about it. It’s not too heavily weighted either in the UK or China, though they do still have all the more prestigious events, with a whole swathe of smaller events in Europe alongside the fantastic German Open in Berlin and of course the Aussie Open which continues to cling onto the tour for dear life by virtue of the obvious enthusiasm of the organisers down under, undoubtedly given a further boost by this season’s championship won by Judd. There’s also the Indian Open of course which this season moves to Mumbai and strong rumours of a new event in Dubai with lucrative prize money attached.

The gap in the calendar has, from what I’m hearing, been welcomed by all the players and I dare say some of the hard working people around the circuit who would also have needed to recharge their batteries and had a well-earned holiday. This may not have been by design and of course the second Asian PTC was cancelled seemingly because of some issues with the parties involved, but all in all it’s made the snooker community hungry again for a bit of action.

The draw for the Riga Open can be viewed here, the order of play over at Snooker Island here and the Eurosport schedule here.

Prize Money

Winner: £20,883 – not bad for a few days work.
Runner Up: £10,000 – not to be sniffed at.
Losing SF’s: £5000 – got to be pleased with that, fair play.
Losing QF’s: £3333 – covers the trip comfortably and pays the mortgage for a month I suppose.
Losing L16: £1917 – well it’s not cost anything and I got a few days away, no dent in the bank balance.
Losing L32: £1000 – I might as well have stayed at home.
Losing L64 £583 – For fuck’s sake the Mrs is gonna kill me.
Everyone Else: A really expensive city break and the chance to contract a sexually transmitted disease while you wait for your flight home.

So who are the main contenders then? Well, the two winners so far this season Robbo and Judd are both involved, as well as World Champion Mark Selby and a host of other big names. The only real notable exceptions are Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui, Ding being amongst a whole host of Chinese players that cannot play in this, presumably because of visa restrictions.

It’s impossible to know who is going to hit the ground running after such a long break but it has to be said that Robertson’s draw is probably as good as anyone could hope for and he has to have a big chance of carrying off favouritism in the form he’s in, other than that, a punt on a few outsiders is all there is to be had at this stage for me. Note that if you are betting each way, most of the firms are betting only on the Finalists at half the odds, a more realistic punt would be to take the odds at somewhere betting on the final four at a quarter of the odds, there’s not always that much difference.

If you fancy signing up for a free matched £25 bet at Betfred, click the banner at the foot of this post and open an account there.

Check out Monique’s photos from the venue in the comments section Facebook link.

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Neil Robertson at 6/1, 1 point each way on Joe Perry at 33/1, 0.5 point each way on Martin Gould at 50/1, 0.5 point each way on Robin Hull at 250/1.  

August 4, 2014

The Month Ahead: August on the Baize

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:00 am
August culminates with the Paul Hunter Classic

August culminates with the Paul Hunter Classic

The barren baize month of July has been a welcome break for busy potters, officials (and bloggers) but as the year moves into it’s eighth month, the oil is applied to the rusty tour bus wheels and it’s off we go again in August as we take in the sights of Latvia, Germany and Barnsley.

The period off the table has been something of an oddity and somewhat at odds with Bazza’s initial promise to bombard us with snooker until we were sick of it, or words to that effect. What has actually happened has been a much more satisfying medium in my opinion, a total rest on the pro-snooker front, a chance for us all to get refreshed and most satisfying for me, the chance to actually look forward to watching snooker again at the end of it.

As we know, this season all of the PTC events will be held in continental Europe and there won’t be any in the UK, this is a really positive step in widening the European market and building on the demand that is already there. We are also witnessing the individual PTC’s (which they’ll probably be known as forever) beginning to create an identity for themselves, not least the Paul Hunter Classic which concludes the month and is regarded by many players as a pretty big deal. Ronnie O’Sullivan has a title to defend there and I hope if he decides to enter that he brings the trophy back in better shape than it was last seen.

August begins with the Riga Open in Latvia, the draw for which can be found by clicking here, this will be covered extensively as ever by Eurosport and features all the big names with the exception of Ronnie who hasn’t entered, so no surprise there then and Ding, who is amongst the Chinese players who have apparently had visa problems again (thanks for that Monique).

After the delights of Eastern Europe it’s back to Blighty, Barnsley to be exact as the Metrodome plays host to the Shanghai Masters qualifiers. If rumours are to be believed Ronnie has entered the main event which is a bit of a turn up for the books seeing as he’s rarely spotted in China these days unless he’s being paid loads to do sponsored stuff. But it’s a long way from a qualifying tournament in Yorkshire to a venue in Shanghai so we’ll see how that all goes, he’s got to get on the plane yet and that doesn’t always go to plan.

To finish the month we once again travel to Furth for the Paul Hunter, it’s nice that this has become a much respected event on the calendar at a nice venue and it’s always very well attended by the knowledgeable German crowd (who, unlike the fabled knowledgeable Crucible crowd do on the whole have some knowledge). Long may it continue to grow is what I say, probably the highlight of the month for me.

Don’t forget to get your team entered into the Anorak List contest, it doesn’t cost you a penny and could be a bit of fun if you like that sort of thing. You can enter your team here and it all kicks off in Latvia.

Here’s August.

7th

Riga Open/ETC1 (pre qualifier)
Arena Riga, Latvia

8-10th

Riga Open/ETC1 (Last 128)
Arena Riga, Latvia

12-15th

Shanghai Masters Qualifiers, Barnsley Metrodome

21st

Paul Hunter Classic/ETC2 (pre qualifier)
Stadhalle, Furth, Germany

22-24th

Paul Hunter Classic/ETC2 (L128)
Stadhalle, Furth, Germany

July 30, 2014

SB Classic Gloucester 21st February FULL

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:19 am

The rearranged SB Classic heat in Gloucester announced the other day on Saturday 21st February is now full. I will take further names as reserves in case any of the players involved have already qualified.

Places for Sunday 22nd February are also being taken at a rate of knots so if you want one reserving, you know the drill.

Full details of this year’s SB Classic can be found here

July 28, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic February Venue Change and Order of Merit Update

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:18 pm

Given the popularity of the Snookerbacker Classic in and around it’s spiritual home of Gloucester I’ve decided to change one of the dates to accommodate all the players that want to enter down there.

Therefore I have changed the venue next February 21st and 22nd from Leeds to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester. All players who have entered and paid for Leeds already have been informed and their places have been transferred to these events. You can find out everything you need to know about this season’s tournament here.

As with the event in Gloucester in November, the Saturday will be a 16 player event with one qualifier and the Sunday a 32 player event with two qualifiers.

This means that we see the return of the Order of Merit List and the player that tops this at the end of the tournament, who hasn’t qualified for the Grand Finals already, will take his or her place in the Grand Finals with the other 15 qualifiers. Full details can be viewed in the terms and conditions.

Contact me today to reserve a place in both events. Payment will be due by the end of October and they are likely to go quickly. To make sure you get one, use this page to forward payment.

July 22, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Information Page

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:38 am

It’s all quiet on the snooker front at the moment with very little happening around the place until we set sail for Riga in Latvia for the opening EPTC of the season.

That means it’s a really good time for me to get everything set up for this season’s SB Classic and I thought it would be useful to place all the information about it on one handy page here.

The latest is that the opening three qualifiers are now full and that the first Preston heat and the weekend in Leeds at the end of November as steadily filling up too.

To reserve a place in any of the remaining events, details of which are on the information page, contact me today.

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