March 2, 2015

The Month Ahead: Marching Around the Globe

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:43 am
The baby of the group

The baby of the group with his little dolly.

March is very much characterised by how more global snooker has become of late and no sooner is that daft quick-fire event finished in Blackpool than 64 potters will be heading to India, before some of them head back to Wales, over to Thailand and then China. That’s quite a schedule for the players lucky enough to be in all of them.

We start with the World Seniors, or rather the World Middle Aged Championship. The age of consent to get into this now so low that it won’t be long before Judd can enter. Youngster Mark Williams, who celebrates his 40th birthday this month being the baby of the group and a hot favourite to nab the spoils, though Peter Ebdon, Ken Doherty, Dom Dale, The Ferginator and I dare say a few others will have something to say about that over the best of three frame format, arguably a great leveller.

Then (places head in gas oven) comes the Shootout, thankfully for someone that doesn’t subscribe to Sky Sports this is the only channel where you can watch it so I can pretend it isn’t happening. I noticed Mark Allen sparked a debate about injecting more life into more tournaments by inviting shaved pissed up chimps to more events. Well, if it ever went that way I know what I’d be injecting and it wouldn’t be life. One of these spectacles is more than enough for me thank you very much, in fact it’s one too many.

Then it’s off to Mumbai for the Indian Open, and time for my annual piece of advice for those travelling there wishing to avoid the Bombay Bumshats. I am talking from experience so ignore this at your peril:

1. Stay vegetarian, it’s easy to do and the food is spectacular.
2. Only drink sealed bottled water and remember this when you are brushing your teeth.
3. Have a small tipple every night, the alcohol helps stave off any unwanted bacteria.
4. Follow the above and although you’ll probably still have a slight reaction, it won’t be as bad as those that don’t.

Assuming all make it back in one piece it’s then time for Bazza’s big new event, the World Grand Prix in Llandudno. Llandudno (pronounced Lan-Did-No by the Welsh) is the kind of town that Morrissey sang about in ‘Everyday is like Sunday’, the coastal town that they forgot to close down where you can play bingo to win a cheap tray, but it’s nice that Wales has another event and let’s just hope that the ITV4 coverage doesn’t copy the blatant Welsh bias format of BBC Wales, I’m sure they’ll be a lot more level-headed about the whole thing. For those outside the UK, Eurosport will be covering this event.

Then comes the finals of the EPTC/APTC, the final line up of which was decided in Gdynia following Neil Robertson’s win over Mark Williams. Last year of course this was moved at the last minute to the Preston Guild Hall and it’s a shame that we aren’t going to see an event there this season, it’s a great venue steeped in snooker history. Instead, the land of the hooky wheelbarrows is rewarded with the Grand Finals.

It’s then time for the China Open, which, along with the Indian Open will see the race to The Crucible intensify. We still don’t know the final top 16 or what order they will be seeded, other than definitely knowing Mark Selby as champion will be number 1 seed and Ali Carter number 13. This is the point in the season when all thoughts turn to Sheffield and just 3 days after Beijing concludes, it’s over to Ponds Forge for the start of a month of Sheffield snooker (*lets out a small amount of wee*).

2-3 World Seniors Championship
Blackpool Tower Circus Arena

4-6 Shoot Out
Blackpool Tower Circus Arena

Indian Open
Mumbai, India

World Grand Prix
Venue Cymru, Llandudno

Players Championship

30-5 Apr
China Open
Beijing, China

March 1, 2015

Snookerbacker Classic Derby 8th March

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:54 am

SB2015 A4 Poster1 with amendsThe draw for this qualifier at the Cue Ball Club in Derby was made last night and can be viewed here. All first round matches will commence at 10.30am with the usual rules applying for late arrivals. Dress code is collared shirt or polo with trousers and shoes.

All the information about this year’s tournament is here, including links to reports from all of the qualifiers so far.

The ongoing Order of Merit can be viewed here, the top two from this list who do not make the Grand Finals by another route will also make the Grand Finals.

You can view the full terms and conditions of entry here.

The only few places left this season now are in the final qualifying event in Gloucester on Sunday 29th March which will decide the final two qualifiers for the Grand Finals as well as the conclusion of the Order of Merit list standings. 

If you would like to enter this event press Add to Cart below, then Checkout, then Pay with Credit or Debit Card and follow the instructions.


Select Event and Add to Cart

Gdynia Open Finals Day Order of Play

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:42 am


9am (UK Time)
Last 16
Shaun Murphy v Alan McManus
Dominic Dale v Rob Milkins
Oli Lines v Neil Robertson
John Higgins v Judd Trump
Liam Highfield v Mark Williams
Joe Perry v Dave Gilbert
Jimmy Robertson v Martin Gould
Luca Brecel v Stuart Carrington

Shaun Murphy/Alan McManus v Dominic Dale/Rob Milkins
Oli Lines/Neil Robertson v John Higgins/Judd Trump
Liam Highfield/Mark Williams v Joe Perry/Dave Gilbert
Jimmy Robertson/Martin Gould v Luca Brecel/Stuart Carrington

Semi Finals



February 27, 2015

Gdynia Open Day 2 Order of Play

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:11 pm

Shaun Murphy v Jak Jones
Allan Taylor v Zak Surety
Kyren Wilson v Andrew Pagett
Joe Swail w/o Zhou Yuelong
Mark King v Dave Harold
Graeme Dott v Lu Ning
Kurt Maflin v Gareth Allen
Alan McManus v Mateusz Baranowski
Michael White v Mitchell Mann
Craig Steadman v David Greig
Noppon Saengkham v Michael Georgiou

Approx 10am
Dominic Dale v Paul S Davison
Marco Fu w/o Vinnie Calabrese
Chris Melling v Chris Norbury
Ben Woollaston v Barry Pinches
Robert Milkins v Josh Boileau
Matt Selt v Alexander Ursenbacher

Approx 10.30am
Thepchaya Un-Nooh v Jason Devaney
Oli Lines v Kacper Filipiak
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Ben Jones
Neil Robertson v Adam Duffy

Approx 11.30am
Anthony Hamilton v Michael Leslie
Fraser Patrick v Tony Drago
Chris Wakelin v David Grace
John Higgins v Cao Xin Long

Approx 12pm
Ricky Walden v Brian Cini
Mark Joyce v Christopher Keogan
Jamie Cope v Jack Lisowski
Jamie Jones v Ian Burns

Approx 1pm
Mike Dunn w/o Lu Haotian
Jimmy White v Jamie Burnett
Judd Trump v Joe O’Connor


February 26, 2015

Gdynia Open Preview: AKA Anoraks Weekend

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:15 pm
One for the Anoraks.

One for the Anoraks.

It’s off to Gdynia in Poland for the final European Players Tour Championship this weekend and for anyone that thinks ‘Oh it’s just another PTC’ I’d encourage them to look again.

Rather than repeat what has all been said about the will’s, the won’t’s, the might’s and the do you mind if I don’t’s, here is a handy little link and guide from Matt, who this tournament is tailor made for. He’s even booked Friday off work to tweet about it and explain how each result will affect rankings and tour places for next season. Anoraks are well and truly off.

It’s a huge competition for some who it would appear have only one way of staying on the tour next season and retaining their two year tour card, amongst those is our very own Allan Taylor who faces Zak Surety first up (interestingly, well, at least for me in a repeat of their 2012 SB Classic Quarter Final, now where did I leave that anorak?) before a likely though not certain meeting with Shaun Murphy who faces Jak Jones, a player on the cusp of overtaking Allan and a ‘must win’ against Shaun. It’s also a big event for fans of Jimmy White who is another looking to secure his tour place through this route first, though he also has a chance of doing it by staying in the top 64.

All this is as well as how it might affect the other rankings, the 24-strong line up for the Grand Finals in Bangkok and of course the 32-man line up for the World Grand Prix.

So, there is lots going on here and I dare say that some will leave this event elated and some deflated, such is the cut-throat nature of the rankings these days.

As usual, I’ll plump for a few in the outrights just for a bit of interest, but it’s lower down the list which will be the topic of conversation for much of the first two days for those pesky snooker anoraks.

The draw for the Gdynia Open is here and it will be covered as ever by Eurosport.

Recommended Outright Bets: 2 points on Mark Selby at 6/1. 2 points on Stephen Maguire at 16/1. 1 point Each Way on Marco Fu at 33/1. 0.5 point Each Way on Peter Ebdon at 80/1, Matt Selt at 80/1 and Alan McManus at 150/1.   

Mark Selby v Rory McLeod
Tian Pengfei v Q13
Liam Highfield v Ian Glover
Stuart Bingham v Q14
Mark Williams v Lee Page
James Cahill v Tom Ford
Andrew Higginson v Peter Lines
Rod Lawler v Ali Carter
Anthony McGill v John Astley
Gary Wilson v Marcus Campbell
Zhang Anda w/o Xiao Guodong  

Approx 10am
Joe Perry v Matthew Stevens
Liang Wenbo v Q15
Robbie Williams v Q16
David Gilbert v Q17
Mark Davis v Q18
Peter Ebdon v Scott Donaldson

Approx 10.30am
Sam Baird w/o Ahmed Saif
Elliot Slessor v Q19
Jimmy Robertson v Q20
Fergal O’Brien v Lu Chenwei

Approx 11.30am
Ryan Day v Ken Doherty
Gerard Greene v Alfie Burden
Martin Gould v Q21
Luca Brecel v Hammad Miah

Approx 12pm
Michael Holt v Igor Figueiredo
Alex Davies w/o Nigel Bond
Aditya Mehta v Robin Hull
Michael Wasley v Steven Hallworth

Approx 1pm
Stuart Carrington v Q22
Joel Walker v Q23
Stephen Maguire v Ross Muir

Followed by later rounds

February 23, 2015

Snookerbacker Classic Gloucester: Wells, Evans and Harrison Join Grand Finals Field

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:08 pm

The weekend in Gloucester at the always excellent South West Snooker Academy saw three more players added to the Final 16 with a further player guaranteeing himself a spot by virtue of his Order of Merit status, leaving the race for the second place on that list wide open.

Saturday's Winner Daniel Wells

Saturday’s Winner Daniel Wells

Saturday saw a win for Welshman and former tour professional Daniel Wells, a first time entrant to the Classic who also managed to set the standard for the tournament highest break in the process.

Daniel went into the day as most people’s favourite to progress and indeed it was clear from the off that he wasn’t there to mess around, knocking in a 133 in his first match having received a bye in the first round. Putting him firmly in line to nab the £500 John Parrott Cuesports Highest Break prize at the end of the event, he was later to add a point for good luck, by compiling a 134 in his semi-final against Brett Miller, a match that Brett led 3-1 before being pegged back and beaten in a decider.

Last year’s Grand Finalist Callum Lloyd, another Welshman, in the meantime was progressing nicely through the top half of the draw, with wins over Phil O’Kane, Matt Glasby and Zack Richardson to progress to a final against his fellow countryman. The final was a rather one-sided affair and Callum never really got going as Daniel coasted to victory at the first time of asking, a trend that has been a common trait of the past 3 SB Classic champions and he I’m sure will be bang up for it on April 5th.

His 134 was also to remain the highest break of the weekend and won him the £100 prize generously donated by

Off the table, there was the usual light-hearted chatter and snooker talk. Phil O’Kane again providing the entertainment along with his long suffering girlfriend Amy. Indeed the snooker wives and girlfriends are becoming a more regular feature at the SB Classic with a lot of the boys deciding to bring along their other halves. And you know what? I think it really adds to the event as a whole and I hope it continues, maybe Mrs SB’s feminine touch is encouraging the SWAG’s to come along, let’s hope so.

Anyway, Daniel left with a wide smile on his face and it was great to meet him. He’s a great lad and I’m sure he’ll be full of confidence come Grand Finals Day.

All Saturday’s results can be found here.

Reanne has qualified for the Grand Finals for the first time

Reanne has qualified for the Grand Finals for the first time

 Sunday saw a busier, more bustling vibe in Gloucester courtesy of the 32 player field (as well as the SWAG’s) and it was Reanne Evans, the Ladies World Champion for the past 100 or so years and last season’s semi-finalist and current English Amateur Champion Ben Harrison who booked their places in the Grand Finals on Easter Sunday.

Reanne received a bye in the first round because Aaron Cook had been taken ill and Mrs SB and I both wish him a speedy recovery, I’m sure his dad Rob will look after him. After this she was to gain revenge on Zack Richardson, who had beaten her on Saturday before overcoming Phil O’Kane, the newly crowned Kent Amateur Champion, a title of which he is most proud, who’d lost in the ‘Last 16′ the previous day….before coming up against that man Brett Miller again, Reanne producing a fabulous clearance when it looked for all the world like Brett was about to force a decider, to win 4-2.

Reanne is obviously a great addition to the Grand Finals line up and it’s great to see her there having got so close in the past. When she’s on her game she is a match for any of the top boys and despite nursing a sore leg throughout the day, she finally did what she’s been threatening to do for the past 3 years. She’s also won something that doubtless her very cute daughter Lauren, who spent hours entertaining us on Saturday, will write all over when she gets it home.

Ben with 2015 prize

Ben battled away to make his second Grand Finals Day

     In the other half of the draw it was Ben Harrison who landed the spoils with wins over Alan Harvey, Tom Barton, Mike Rogers and Dan Ward. Denying finalist Dan the chance to join his partner Reanne on Grand Finals Day.

Ben is the current English Amateur Champion but hasn’t been in a position to give snooker his full attention recently and is now working full time, making his achievement on Sunday all the more impressive as he hasn’t been putting in the hours that he would like to. His SWAG Charlotte looked on as Ben did his thing, again proving the old adage that behind every good man is a good SWAG. Just ask Mrs SB. 

I think Ben would be the first to admit that he wasn’t exactly ‘flying’ but sometimes you have to just bide your time, not get frustrated and play solid match snooker to win and Ben showed that he is a very mature match player these days by getting the right results when not at his best, a great quality to have as a player. That gives him plenty to build on for Grand Finals Day and it’s clear the win meant a lot to him and was a massive confidence boost.

Off the table, myself and Mrs SB were being entertained with tales of the old East End by none other than Joe Lazarus, a legend in the snooker world who’s rubbed shoulders with and probably broken a few shoulders of, snooker’s great and not-so-good.

Joe, now in his seventies though looking exactly how I remember him in the late 1980’s, recounted tales involving red-hot pokers, Bulgarian’s not behaving themselves to his high standards in hospital car parks, hiding up trees and lots of other stuff I dare not write about on here as he has my phone number, while we sat transfixed at the life he has led and experiences he has had.

He also revealed that he holds the award of Basildon’s ‘Unsung Hero’ having raised thousands for children’s charities, as he joked that he has a bit of making up to do now he’s getting a bit older. He’s clearly very proud of this and rightly so, he’s a real character and an old school gent when it comes to the ladies, apologising unreservedly when he let a profanity slip within earshot of Mrs SB. But I like to think that even this softer version of the hard man I remember probably still chews chunks of granite when he’s feeling peckish, 75 or not, you’d want him on your side if you got cornered, trust me.

Mrs SB however, could not resist telling Joe that she expected him to be ‘a good boy’ from now on and to ‘stop being naughty or you’ll have me to answer to’ and I think this might have sunk in, it’s the first time I’ve seen the man who eats nails for breakfast and could knock down a tower block with a right hook have a slight look of fear in his eyes, Mrs SB’s glares can do that. Again, trust me.

Anyway, the day was rounded off with a trip to Gloucester Quays with some bloke called Craig who keeps following me around for a bite to eat and a bit of wine. Oddly on leaving we bumped into another Grand Finalist Eden Sharav and gave him a lift home, Gloucester is a small place…

It’s Derby next on March 8th before Liverpool on 14th then it’s the Last Chance Saloon back in Gloucester on 29th, that is the only event now with any spare places available and you can enter by clicking here and scrolling down to the Paypal link.

All Sunday’s results can be found here.

A big thanks to all at the SWSA and to referees Nick Harry and Clive Brown.


Following the weekend, it is now mathematically impossible for Brett Miller to be caught in the Order of Merit so Brett will also be joining the qualifiers at Grand Finals Day. He will not be entering any more qualifiers.

There remains however one more place on this list up for grabs and it is currently headed by Zack Richardson on 26, with Jason Tart (not in any further events), Josh Mulholland (entered Liverpool) Ryan Causton and Matthew Day all in the 20’s with lots of others within touching distance, including Paul Davison who is in both Derby and Liverpool.

Last season the last place went down to the last frame of the last qualifier. I wonder if this year we’ll see a similarly tense finish? 

 The latest standings can be found here.

February 20, 2015

Snookerbacker Classic Gloucester Weekend

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:16 pm

As the Welsh Open comes to a conclusion, this weekend we are heading to Gloucester for another round of qualifiers for this season’s Snookerbacker Classic.

You can keep in touch with Saturday’s event by clicking here.

You can keep in touch with Sunday’s event by clicking here.

You can keep up to date with the ongoing Order of Merit list by clicking here.

A big thanks to the guys at SBAT who have kindly donated £100 as a prize for the highest break of the weekend.

You can read all about this season’s SB Classic here.

Welsh Open Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:43 am

LucaIt’s Quarter Final time in Cardiff and I’m pretty sure at the start of the event nobody could have expected the line up we have left. Strange things are happening out there and upsetting the snooker applecart somewhat.

I asked the question earlier, when was the last time we reached the Quarter Final stages of a ranking event where the widely acknowledged ‘Big 6′ of Ronnie, Selby, Robbo, Ding, Judd and Smurf were all absent? I’d have guessed we’d need to go back at least a decade and indeed someone came up with the answer.

Apparently, it was the 2006 Malta Cup, an event which was to become about as straight as Joe Swail’s backarm once it became a round-robin invitational in 2008. But given that of the six mentioned only half of them were in it (Selby, Robbo and Murphy) that answer just goes to show exactly how rare this is. In fact, could it conceivably be the first time ever that this has happened in an event that all six have entered?

Quite amazing John.

Anyway, there are still a few proven winners left in there in Higgins, Maguire, Fu, MJW and Ricky Walden who are all ranking winners so the odds are still heavily in favour of this not being won by a first timer. But regardless of whether they win or not, it’s a huge day for Ben Woollaston who Ali Carter told me played ‘unreal’ for three frames against him yesterday, Gary Wilson, who a few shrewdies know has it in him and Belgian Bullet Luca Brecel, who produced a fine performance yesterday to knock out Selby.

A typical Daily Mail comment poster.

A typical Daily Mail comment poster.

Luca’s interview later was full of his trademark lovely smiles and a very impressive grasp of English. He’s clearly matured a lot since I last saw him at the UK Championship and thankfully, unlike so many before him, he’s come out the other side with his talent in tact, hopefully a very bright future awaits as he is just what snooker needs.

In other lunacy. That ‘story’ otherwise known as a Twitter pisstake involving Rory’s logo has escalated courtesy of that renowned piece of arsewipe The Daily Mail. Desperation levels have sunk to a new low (or should that be high?) as they seek to stir up some racist comments by any possible means and they’ve only gone and printed it here.

Expect plenty of ‘I’m not a racist but (>insert racist comment here<)’ type comments in the Comments section, already 600 deep. This section of the website is a dangerous and inhospitable cesspit of humanity and is generally inhabited by those with an IQ slightly lower than their (UK) shoe size and a hateful mind passively dressed up with a smile and online ‘banter’, disguising their deep-rooted hatred of anything that is remotely ‘not normal’ and serial masturbation when one of their comments gets a thumbs up from a fellow fuckwit.

Maybe I should ask for a finders fee?

Anyway. here’s today. My picks would be Higgins, Williams, Woollaston and Walden. We still have Ricky at 50/1 in the outrights.

Click on the match for the head to head.

John Higgins v Stephen Maguire

NB 1pm
Marco Fu v Mark Williams

Ben Woollaston v Gary Wilson
Ricky Walden v Luca Brecel


February 19, 2015

Welsh Open Last 16

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:30 am
Maths Rage: Dazza's interesting interview technique.

Maths Rage: Dazza’s interesting interview technique.

We’re now down to the two table situation in Cardiff and although this round is still only the best of 7 frames, perhaps now the tournament will start to feel more like a proper ranking event than a bog standard PTC.

Yesterday was notable mainly for the match between Matthew Stevens and Ronnie O’Sullivan. A grumpy looking and unshaven Rocket ‘crashing’ out with a whimper following a careless display which saw him throw away a match he should really have won.

After an altercation with a camera person earlier in the match, Ronnie when 3-2 up missed a straightforward yellow for the match which Darren Morgan later described as ‘one he would pot 100 times out of 100′, before further upping the stakes to ‘1000 out of 1000′ even though he’d claimed that one was the 101st time he’d played it – yes, I don’t get that either, perhaps he should just have said it was an unexpected miss rather than demonstrating his total misunderstanding of mathematics and percentages. Anyway, he missed it and that’s that and he’s out.

The post-match interview saw Ronnie back to his old self when quizzed by the hacks, lamenting on the length of time it’s been since Matthew last beat him he mused  “That’s another one that has beaten me after a long time, fuck it, I’m bang in trouble – fucking hell, I’ve got no chance.” I make that a round £500. Pay up.

Matthew meanwhile was busy being strangled in the studio by Darren, who made great pains to say that he was a mate of his, if that’s a mate I wouldn’t like to be his enemy. Perhaps our Dazza was simply trying to make the audience watching forget what a total arse he’d made of himself earlier. Anyway, Matthew escaped with his life and along with MJW continues to fly the flag for the watching Welshies.

Before racism was wrong.

Before racism was wrong.

The BBC Wales coverage is a joy to behold (if you are Alf Garnett), the blatant jingoism that accompanies each sentence when a Welsh player is playing would border on offensive if it wasn’t so funny.

We’re used to it in China, where some audience members have been rumoured to shout ‘Burn the Foreign Devil!!’ when one of their own is in play, the Welsh don’t quite go that far (yet) but it’s still good old fashioned racism that shines through when one of their boys is playing. It’s like the last 30 years never really happened, perhaps they didn’t in Wales and racism is still OK.

Anyway, bettingwise we still have Judd (9/1), Ricky Walden (50/1) and Ali Carter (100/1) in the mix from the four selections so hopefully they can kick on to make the best of 9’s tomorrow.

Here’s today’s order of play.

Michael Georgiou v John Higgins
Luca Brecel v Mark Selby

NB 2pm
Mark Williams v Judd Trump
Ben Woollaston v Ali Carter

Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu
Stephen Maguire v Alan McManus

NB 8pm
Stuart Bingham v Ricky Walden
Gary Wilson v Neil Robertson

February 18, 2015

Welsh Open Last 32

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:16 am
We're down to 4 tables now.

We’re down to 4 tables now.

It’s Last 32 day over in Cardiff today as we get down to a 4 table set up at the car boot sale. Yesterday was slightly less eventful on the table as the fall out continued from Ronnie’s comments from day one, with some players and predictably the Chairman hitting back and praising the venue.

I also discovered yesterday that Rory McLeod had decided to block me on Twitter, this possibly followed the furore that I admit I created in jest on Monday night, but poor old Rory obviously failed to see the funny side or grasp my rather twisted sense of humour, believing instead presumably that I actually believed that he was sponsored by a load of froth-mouthed, brainwashed, bloodthirsty savages and not by an investment company, who I must say are doing quite well for publicity out of this.

For clarification, Rory is NOT sponsored by a load of fanatics in Syria and any misunderstanding on anyone’s part that he was is more to do with their own stupidity than anything I have done.

Maybe he just blocked me because I’m an atheist and he posts links from a muslim site that attacks the likes of us and in very grown up fashion blots out the faces of famous unbelievers such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, thus encouraging adult and informed debate.

Anyway, back to the snooker and there was still some criticism yesterday, not this time about the venue, more about that old chestnut, the playing conditions, with Rob Milkins claiming they were the worst he’s ever encountered.

This led to a twitter chat again and I was rather surprised when Mark Allen revealed that at one venue, when he complained about the lighting he was told that it was more important that the spectators got to see the action than the players playing in acceptable conditions, this came from a prominent figure in World Snooker. I suppose that’s what happens when you have a regime that values entertainment over sport.

LesTalking of entertainment, the bloke in the studio at BBC Wales is providing us with plenty. It’s becoming something of a surprise when he gets one of the players names right, yesterday he proclaimed that Stephen McManus had just won, which was kind of right as they both had but I’m sure Alan Maguire was left feeling a little aggrieved.

At least he has Dom Dale there to help him along, Dom’s a very demonstrative character and uses his hands a lot when he speaks, I noticed yesterday that he quite liked moving them into a position akin to the cupping of female breasts, in a kind of 1970’s Les Dawson style. I don’t know if this is subconscious but for any deaf viewers watching who can’t lip-read they must wonder what he’s going on about.

On the table, there was another awful performance by Ding Junhui, who is now getting to the point where the whole season is looking like a write-off, credit to local boy Lee Walker for his performance as it’s a long time since he’s been on the big stage but Ding seems to have totally lost his way this season. All very peculiar.

In fact it wasn’t a great day for China at all as it was announced that the Wuxi Classic is to join the World Open on the snooker scrapheap. Is the love affair with snooker in China coming to a messy end? It’s probably too early to say that but word on the street is that pool is quickly overtaking snooker in the hearts of the Chinese people, perhaps the snooker revolution is fizzling out, we’ll have to wait and see how this pans out as Bazza and Jason scour the globe for new markets. I’d try Russia personally.

Bettingwise, we still have 3 of the 4 recommended outrights left in, after the misguided punt on Ding, so hopefully they won’t all be sent packing today.

Here’s the schedule for today.

Matt Selt v Ali Carter
Joe Perry v Gary Wilson

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Matthew Stevens
Mark Allen v Ben Woollaston

NB 2pm
Michael Georgiou v Graeme Dott
Martin Gould v Ricky Walden
Peter Ebdon v Mark Selby
Jamie Cope v Neil Robertson

Alan McManus v Aditya Mehta
Luca Brecel v Oliver Brown
Liang Wenbo v John Higgins
Jamie Jones v Mark Williams

NB 8pm
Stephen Maguire v Sam Baird
Stuart Bingham v Michael White
Ashley Carty v Marco Fu
Michael Wasley v Judd Trump


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