November 20, 2014

Ruhr Open Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:07 am
Look at the size of those jugs!

Look at the size of those jugs!

It’s a busy few weeks on the baize coming up with the UK Championship in York next week following the Ruhr Open in Mulheim, Germany this weekend.

The amateurs are already underway battling for the 20-odd places available to join the professionals who start on Friday in the usual PTC format.

The Germans, like the one pictured, of course love their snooker and unlike the Chinese even turn up to watch it, which is a bonus.

They always run a tight ship over there and the tournaments they hold, however big or small, always have a great feel to them. I’m not one for bolstering dated national stereotypes but the German comps are, as might be expected, very well organised from start to finish.

This one will again also benefit from Eurosport coverage although we won’t get to see either Ronnie or World Champion Mark Selby who have decided not to enter, presumably getting themselves geared up for the big one in York, which it’s been announced today will be returning to the sponsorship arms of Corals.

But there are enough faces in there to ensure a crowd with the likes of Robbo, Judd, Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy and Rod Lawler all there to entertain the natives. Apart from Rod of course who is just there. 

We’ve not done too badly on the outrights lately and in the last PTC Shaun Murphy obliged having been flagged up as the main bet at 16/1 and I am nothing if not loyal. It’s always nice to have a small book on the outrights in these as there is usually a spot of value to be had here and there. I usually take one from each quarter and look for a bit of each-way value along the way and it’s served us well in the past so here goes another punt.

Recommended Bets: (Remember to check place terms on Each Way bets, for 1234 go to Skybet, Boyles or Apollobet – all each way below are 1234)

2 points win on Shaun Murphy at 10/1. 1 point each way on Mark Williams and Michael White at 40/1. 1 point each way on Ryan Day at 50/1. 1 point each way on Peter Ebdon at 150/1. 1 point each way on Rod Lawler at 175/1.

MATCH BETTING: 3 point acca pays just over 4/1 at Corals on Ben Wollaston, Gary Wilson, Ryan Day, Chris Melling, Joe Perry and Mark Williams. 1 point on Peter Lines at 9/4 and 1 point on Joel Walker at 3/1 with a 1 point double on the two.

The full draw can be found here and the Order of Play is listed below.



Mark Allen v Hammad Miah
Mark Joyce v
Anthony Hamilton v Zak Surety
James Cahill v Stuart Carrington
Robbie Williams v
Gary Wilson v Lee Page
Elliot Slessor v
Rod Lawler v
Robert Milkins v Cao Xin Long
Ben Woollaston v Ross Muir
Jack Lisowski v Peter Lines

Approx 10am

Jamie Jones v Alexander Ursenbache
Aditya Mehta v
Dominic Dale v
Andrew Higginson v
Anthony McGill v Zhang Anda
Neil Robertson v Noppon Saengkham

Approx 10.30am

Barry Hawkins v Craig Steadman
Andrew Pagett v David Grace
Jak Jones v Lu Haotian
Liang Wenbo v Alfie Burden

Approx 11.30am

Oliver Lines v
Ryan Day v Michael Leslie
Jimmy Robertson v
Stephen Maguire v Mitchell Mann

Approx 12.00pm

Luca Brecel v
Kurt Maflin v Cao Yupeng
Stuart Bingham v Joel Walker
Graeme Dott v Ken Doherty

Approx 1pm

Liam Highfield v Alex Davies
Chris Melling v Ahmed Saif
Peter Ebdon v

Followed by later matches



Judd Trump v Rory McLeod
Sam Baird v Yu Delu
Kyren Wilson v
Matt Selt v Alex Borg
Fraser Patrick v
Scott Donaldson v Li Hang
John Higgins v Vinnie Calabrese
Marco Fu v Barry Pinches
Michael Wasley v
Joe Perry v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Allan Taylor v

Approx 10am

Fergal O’Brien v
Chris Wakelin v
Matthew Stevens v David Morris
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v John Astley
Michael White v Rouzi Maimaiti
Dark Mavis v Ian Burns

Approx 10.30am

Nigel Bond v
Gerard Greene v
Jimmy White v Zhou Yuelong
Ian Glover v

Approx 11.30am

Mark Williams v Tom Ford
Tony Drago v Michael Georgiou
Mark King v Chris Norbury
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Steven Hallworth

Approx 12.00pm

Jamie Cope v
Joe Swail v
Mike Dunn v
Tian Pengfei v

Approx 1pm

Dave Gilbert v Lyu Chenwei
Michael Holt v
Shaun Murphy v Lu Ning

Followed by later matches.

November 19, 2014

SB Classic Leeds – Draw at 6pm

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:53 pm

The draw for the final two Snookerbacker Classic qualifying heats of 2014 in Leeds on 29th and 30th of November will be made at 6pm this evening.

You will be able to view Saturday’s draw on this page.

You will be able to view Sunday’s draw on this page.

You can view the Highest Break and Order of Merit tables on this page. Remember the top two players from the Order of Merit who do not win through in a qualifying event will also qualify for the Grand Finals in April.


November 17, 2014

SB Classic Preston: James Brown Bags Grand Final Spot

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:05 pm
Our first visit to the Elite but not our last

Our first visit to the Elite but not our last

Sunday saw the latest instalment of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic and for the first time we visited The Elite Club in Preston for a 16 player heat which was won by a new name to the event, Midlander James Brown.

Die-hard snooker fans may recognise the name of this club from a book a few years ago by Stuart Pettman; ‘As sometimes seen on TV’ which was an excellent account of life in and around this place and the circuit in general (I reviewed it at the time here). Stuart has now moved on and in his place Chris Norbury has joined Shokat Ali in taking the club forward and I have to say they are doing a great job.

It’s not your usual club, the immediate attraction from a snooker perspective is the 360 degree viewing platform from the bar area which is also furnished with lovely comfy sofas. It’s a cracking club with a chilled vibe and the players all seemed delighted to be there.

  James won’t mind me saying that he really should have been sent packing in the first round and I’m sure from that he took great confidence. His opponent Craig Millward, a local lad, missed an inexplicable frame ball pink to win a decider and James, who was on the verge of conceding the match prior to the miss, somehow ended up winning. Some days, those snooker gods are just on your side….

There was a strong performance again from Liverpool’s Josh Mulholland who made the semi finals and as a result is now in 2nd place on the Order of Merit as well as being top of the highest break board. You can view both by clicking here

The 2014 champion Ant Parsons went into the day as favourite but such is the standard this year that nobody is certain to make Grand Finals Day, we’ll see him and the man who defeated him, eventual runner up Jason Tart in Leeds in a couple of weeks time for the next set of qualifiers. Jason is in a great position to put himself in the mix in the Order of Merit having entered both the Leeds events.

I don’t know James but he told me afterwards that it was last season’s runner-up Mitchell Mann that told him about the event and that’s why he entered. He was meant to be setting sail for India for the World Amateur Championships but decided against it. Judging by watching him he’s going to be a handful for anyone come finals day.  

I’ll resist the inevitable puns on his name but he said afterwards ‘I feel good, I knew that I would now’ and when asked what he intends to spend the prize money on he simply indicated that his papa needed a brand new bag.

I’ll get mee coat.

Finally, a huge thanks as ever to the family of sponsors, to the refs Roycey and Rob Spencer, to the three Scottish boys who made a mammoth trip and lightened up the day even further with their patter and to Shokat and Chris who made us both feel really welcome in their excellent club. 

All Sunday’s results are here.

Feeling Good: James is into the Grand Finals


November 14, 2014

SB Classic Preston: The Lowdown

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:45 am

This Sunday we travel to the Elite Snooker Centre in Preston for the next qualifying leg of the Snookerbacker Classic which will decide the fifth player through to Grand Finals Day.

You can keep up with the progress of this qualifier as results come in by clicking here and the matches will commence at 10.00am sharp with the usual rules applying for late arrivals.

The dress code, as with all qualifiers is polo or collared shirt, with trousers and shoes. All matches are the best of 7 frames.

This heat sees the return of the defending champion Ant Parsons as well Liverpudlians Anthony Jeffers, who was a Grand Finalist last season and Josh Mulholland who currently tops the highest break board with 128.

The referees this Sunday are Rob Spencer and Martyn Royce.

First Round – 10am

Stevie Baillie v Brandon Crook

Majid Khan v Ant Parsons

Stephen Groves v Joe Steele

Thomas McSorley v Jason Tart

David McSorley v Josh Mulholland

Neville Whalley v Simon Blackwell

Craig Millward v James Brown

Anthony Jeffers v Michael Bamber

All matches that follow will be roll-on roll-off


November 11, 2014

Are Dafabet the Answer?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:31 pm
Dafabet to the Rescue (again)

Dafabet to the Rescue (again)

Today’s announcement that Dafabet are again to sponsor a major snooker event in the UK, this time signing for a further 3 years of Masters support, is bound to meet with a mixed reception across the snooker community.

Obviously, the blurb from the press release sees Barry Hearn and the Managing Director of the company having a verbal mutual love-in and giving it all the corporate waffle, Jason Ferguson has also delivered his expected tweet of delight that one of the biggest events has got backing until 2017, but the fans have been distinctly quiet in their sharing of this joyous news.

It’s long been debated, not least on here slightly ironically, of the perils of an over-reliance on the gambling industry to support the sport almost single-handedly in the UK. This is very different from the Chinese events which attract banks and the like rather than those nasty old bookies. Even a major car manufacturer was involved in a recent European event, so why is it proving so difficult to attract this level of sponsor to snooker’s blue riband events in the UK?

One could argue that in times of financial hardship the bookies are bound to do well, people have a habit of turning to vices in their hour of need and if you haven’t got two pennies to rub together for most of the time, the allure of a punt on sport for some is too hard to resist, even if the kids are going to school starving to death with holes in their unwashed gear.

So, it follows that they will have the cash to splash and it’s obviously good to get involved in your core industry, namely sport, so for them it’s a fairly straightforward and probably quite cost-effective marketing transaction. But should snooker be trying harder and setting its sights a little higher than this?

Dafabet for me were a comedown in terms of the World Championship sponsors from Betfred and even Betfair, they are hardly a household name in the UK and I don’t actually know anyone who bets with them, but for me that’s not the point.

The point is that Bazza made a very clear and unambiguous point when he took over the sport of differentiating events from one another and clearly that isn’t happening yet. You won’t hear him admit this any time soon but to the snooker fan on the street there seems to be a collective failure at all levels to achieve this goal through sponsorship. If he could turn back the clock, would he have been as dismissive of Betfred’s offer to continue sponsorship as it’s rumoured he was?

If he came out and said ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ he’d obviously lose all the support he has left anyway, as that would be like saying ‘look we can’t find anyone else so we’ll have to make do with this lot again’. But I do wonder, whether behind all the bravado, champagne and back slapping, if this is actually what is going on.

November 10, 2014

SB Classic: Whizzkid Wilson Nabs Grand Finals Place

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:18 am
Syd with Prize

Syd: Fail to Prepare. Prepare to Fail.

Sunday was the turn of George Scott’s Snooker Centre in Liverpool to host the next qualifying heat of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic and this saw two time Grand Finalist Syd Wilson beating local lad Josh Mulholland to again book his place at the business end of the tournament.

It just goes to show that there is nothing quite so peculiar as snooker when it comes to preparing yourself mentally and physically for the road ahead. Syd could be found at 2.35 am the previous evening with a glass of red wine in hand (not his first of the evening) chatting away in SB Mansions with not a care in the world, largely unaware that in just under 8 hours time he’d be at the venue breaking off in his first match.

Syd brushed away the early cobwebs despite feeling ‘bloody awful’ to beat Jack Bradford in a round that saw no deciding frame matches, the closest being between Anthony Jeffers, a Grand Finalist from last season and Blackpool’s Jason Tart, Jeffers coming out a 4-2 winner.

By contrast the next round saw three of the four quarter-finals go to the wire with eventual winner Wilson edging out Jeffers in a hard-fought battle and newbie Rhys Williams of Wales coming through against local lad Finn Gallagher. With Brian Robertson also falling at this stage to the dangerous Brett Miller it was left to Josh Mulholland to fly the home flag for Liverpool as he edged out Alex Taubman in a decider.

The semi-final between Syd and Brett was surprisingly one-sided, Syd playing at almost breakneck speed to win 4-1 in just over an hour, he was still not feeling 100% but somehow was finding his potting boots despite his rather unusual preparation routine the previous evening. 

The other semi-final was undoubtedly the match of the day with Josh Mulholland and Rhys Williams producing a quality display, a real punch by punch affair. From 2-1 down and 61-0 behind, Williams somehow manufactured a 73 clearance to level at 2-2 before Mulholland produced a flawless 128 clearance to restore his lead. This makes Josh top of the tree in terms of the highest break of the tournament and the £500 prize from John Parrott Cuesports with the ninth century from just 3 events. He went on to clinch the next leaving Williams wondering what he had done wrong.

The final seemed to be a match too far for Josh and Syd again bullied his way around the table in determined and very attacking fashion. He never really looked like losing and eventually prevailed 4-2 to nab the Grand Finals spot.

Syd then returned to SB Mansions where Mrs SB was to spoil him with a casserole and some homemade bread after his celebratory bath, that’s one lucky boy right there.

We then spent a bit of time trying to come up with a nickname for this ferocious potter, I liked Cyclone Syd, Syd is quite taken with ‘The Wolf’, but we didn’t come up with a final decision and perhaps this is one that needs to go to Twitter.

A massive thanks to our team of sponsors and to the venue for making this another enjoyable heat, also to the referees Graham Stanley and Peter Bennett, one of whom once threatened to kill Alex Higgins to his face. It’s off to Preston next Sunday and then Leeds at the end of the month. 

All the scores for the Liverpool leg can be found here

The latest Order of Merit List can be found here and we now see that Brett Miller tops the list of those who have not qualified with 25 points, having done well in all events so far and only been beaten by winners. Brett is marginally ahead of Sean O’Sullivan on 23 points with the likes of Ryan Causton, Josh Mulholland, Matthew Day and Zak Richardson heading the chasing pack. Remember the top 2 from this list will also be lining up on Grand Finals Day.


November 7, 2014

SB Classic Liverpool: The Lowdown

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:23 pm

On Sunday we travel a little closer to home to Scotties in Liverpool for a 16 player qualifier to decide the next player to join Jamie Clarke, Martin O’Donnell and Eden Sharav in the Grand Finals next April.

You can keep up with the progress of this qualifier as results come in by clicking here and the matches will commence at 10.30am sharp with the usual rules applying for late arrivals.

The dress code, as with all qualifiers is polo or collared shirt, with trousers and shoes. All matches are the best of 7 frames.

It’s a pretty decent heat with last season’s Quarter Finalists Anthony Jeffers and Syd Wilson and former qualifying finalists Alex Taubman, Josh Mulholland, Joe Steele and Brian Robertson as well as the century machine from Gloucester Brett Miller all in the mix with others who are looking to make the Gloucester finale.

If anyone is in the area please feel free to come and watch, Scotties is a fantastic club and Mrs SB is again bringing cake.

The referees for the day are Graham Stanley and Peter Bennett.

Round 1 – 10.30am start

Phillip Borg v Rhys Williams
Kobi Mates v Finn Gallagher
Clayton Humphries v Josh Mulholland
Alex Taubman v Billy England
Jack Bradford v Syd Wilson
Anthony Jeffers v Jason Tart
Majid Khan v Brett Miller
Joe Steele v Brian Robertson

The following rounds will be roll-on roll-off and players must be available to play throughout the day with no extended breaks.


The Captain Returns to the COC Pit

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:13 am
Flying High.

Flying High.

Today isn’t just about snooker, today is the day that the snooker family welcomes back it’s biggest winner, Ali Carter, who is back in the big events much sooner than we might have expected having won his biggest fight of all. 

I’ve purposely not touched on Ali’s private battle while it was going on as for me it’s not really the type of thing that belongs on a snooker blog, but having had a long association with him I can now say how in awe of him I am. His positivity and determination throughout what must have been a living hell has seen him come out of the other side smiling and winning. I hope his reception in Coventry today befits one of a returning hero, for that is nothing less than he is.

Right, that’s that bit over with. Having spoken to Ali it’s clear that his attitude towards snooker has also changed, who knows we might even see Mr Grumpy transform into Mr Happy before our very eyes. With all the bickering, back-stabbing and moaning that goes on in snooker, it’s worth everyone taking a minute to step back and put things into perspective, it is, after all, only a game and not as one daft football manager once put it, more important than life or death.

Ali has already made a comeback of sorts of course over in Hong Kong when he won the General Cup beating Shaun Murphy in the final. That seemed an ideal way to get back into the groove and while to the snooker fan it may not have been a big deal, I assure you for Ali it was.

Today he faces Neil Robertson first up and with due respect to Robbo I don’t think there is a snooker fan out there that would begrudge Ali the win. But the main thing is he’s here, he’s fit and healthy and he’s playing.

The winner of that will face either International Champion Ricky Walden or the in-form Mark Allen who face each other in the other semi-final in a repeat of their final in Chengdu last weekend.

Call me a sentimental old fool, call me Susan if you like but I’m putting my cash where my loyalties lie today. I wouldn’t blame you for not following me in, but sometimes fairy tales can come true.

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Ali Carter to win the group at 6/1. 1 point on Ali Carter to win the COC at 45/1.


Neil Robertson v Ali Carter
NB 3pm

Ricky Walden v Mark Allen


Neil Robertson/Ali Carter v Ricky Walden/Mark Allen


November 5, 2014

Enter King COC

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:20 am


The Champion of Champions continues in Coventry today and sees the reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan take centre stage as he opens his defence against Stuart Bingham.

Already through to the semi finals or Final Group if you prefer to call it that are Ding Junhui and Judd Trump. I’ll admit to not seeing how Ding played but Judd was mightily impressive last night against Mark Selby, some of his shots were so audacious that they smashed through the naughty scale into full on criminal damage, but you’ve gotta love the way he bashes them around with his stick when he’s in the mood.

The crowds so far have been a bit disappointing, they are all shoved up to the front to try and make it looked packed but no matter how you look at it it doesn’t seem to be bursting with atmosphere at the venue, maybe today that will change with the arrival of The Rocket, who still remains easily snooker’s biggest asset in terms of bums on seats.

The ITV coverage however has been it’s usual high standard. Alan McManus, who I am currently enjoying a manlove affair with on Twitter compliments Clive’s commentary perfectly and it’s as if they were meant for each other (if Angles wasn’t taken by me of course). The commentary is intelligent without being stuffy, informative without being patronising and best of all is devoid of tired old cliches.

Jill and Fouldsy are holding things together in the studio well too. We are yet to see a repeat of the infamous ‘Curry Incident‘ of a couple of years ago and I’m sure Jill will be hoping that Neal doesn’t start cracking the funnies again while they are on air, she’ll also be hoping that Clive is a little less careless when they are out for dinner together.

All in all, I quite enjoy this tournament and with today being the day our greyhound gets scared out of her wits at bloody fireworks it’s good to know we can hike up the volume later on while all the retards watch their money go up into the sky for no good reason. Clive I am sure will make sure she’s OK, it would be nice if he could send her a little message live on air to comfort her during the evening session. One can dream…..

The recommended 5/2 on Judd yesterday landed and I actually think it’s worth taking a chance on the outsider and serially under-rated Marco Fu today, just in case the Rocket is misfiring.

Recommended Bet: 1 point on Marco Fu to win Group 1 at 13/2

Click on the match for the head to heads.

Group 1

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham

NB 3pm
Shaun Murphy v Marco Fu

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marco Fu

Snookerbacker Classic Liverpool Details

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:54 am

The SB Classic continues this Sunday as once again The George Scott Snooker Centre or ‘Scotties’ as it’s universally known opens it’s doors to 16 more hopefuls to find the next Grand Finalist.

The draw was made last night and this heat involves a few top names from the Merseyside scene and some from further afield looking to nab the fourth qualifying place.

You can view the draw here and the matches will commence at 10.30am sharp with the usual rules applying for late arrivals. The dress code, as with all qualifiers is polo or collared shirt, with trousers and shoes. All matches are the best of 7 frames.

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