October 24, 2014

International Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:10 am

Int ChampsSunday sees the start of undoubtedly the best tournament China has to offer both in terms of prize money and format. Even in its short time on the circuit the International Championship is now firmly established as one of snooker’s biggest events.

In fact, since they butchered and ruined the UK Championship format, I’d say this is actually a more prestigious title to hold, the money is the same after all. Add to that it’s got long matches from the start and two session semi-finals and the bluff old traditionalist anoraks like me are dancing in the streets with ecstatic abandon clutching our almanacs.

Another bonus is that Ronnie O’Sullivan is in it, OK he might not last long, he rarely does these days when he’s over there but he’s in the hat and faces Ben Woollaston first up. Interestingly but perhaps not suprisingly our Ronald doesn’t make the editors cut on the promotional posters, will they rue the day they missed his moody boat race off the visuals? Maybe.

The two glaring absentees over in Chengdu however are World Champion Mark Selby and the increasingly elusive Ding Junhui. Selby was toppled by the man of moment, boy wonder Oli Lines and the holder Ding lost to fellow Chinese player Wang Zepeng, meaning that the home crowd are left wondering where he’s got to for the second time this season. Barnsley has a lot to answer for. Let’s just hope this gaping void does not further effect the poor crowds which seem to be commonplace in Chinese events when he isn’t there.

The draw for the final stages, which unfortunately includes unnecessary wildcards who don’t deserve a place in the tournament can be viewed on My First PDF at World Snooker by clicking here. The match schedule is listed below.

In terms of the outrights, the bookies are taking no chances whatsoever with Ronnie, I was surprised when clicking on the prices to see him so short given his recent forays in China have not exactly been hugely successful and that his form coming into this is largely unknown (and he’s not on the poster which automatically rules him out of course), he can be backed anywhere between 2/1 and 10/3 but that’s no sort of price for me, he’s not a bet in this even if he turns it on, which would be totally at odds with what he’s done here for quite a few years now.

It’s always worth considering a Chinese player to do well and the 66/1 about Xiao Guodong, who for me is the second best player China has at the moment is worth a small wager. He’s been to a ranking final in China before and is more than capable of doing so again with the home crowd behind him.

My habit of backing Alan McManus for nearly everything this season shows no sign of disappearing, I still think he’ll win something, though knowing my luck it will be the shootout or something like that, but the 175/1 on him, even though he may face Ronnie in Round 2 (who he beat last time they met in China) is big enough to tempt me in again.

Another old geezer who appears to be coming back to form and who has history of winning tournaments in China when you least expect it is Peter Ebdon, who can be backed as big as 250/1 if you have a good look around. It would be hard for any fan to accept that Ebdon will never grace the winners mantle again, he may not be everyone’s favourite to watch, not me I hasten to add as I find his unique shot selection quite fascinating, but he’s one of snooker’s biggest characters and only the harshest fan would begrudge him another title or two before he hangs up his carrot bag.

In terms of a more realistic winner, I have to plump for Mark Allen. His form is solid, he’s on a good winning streak and he represents a bit of value in the market given his draw and the absence of Ding in the top half. It’s also probably worth covering that with one of the poster boys and as Shaun Murphy is in sparkling form and he’s a generous 14/1, let’s have a punt on him aswell for the heck of it.

It’s very early in the morning for us Europeans to be up watching the first session and that is the biggest drawback of this championship as you don’t really get to see a lot of it unless you live the week on China Time. There will be plenty of coverage throughout the week on Eurosport though for insomniacs and early risers everywhere.

Recommended Outright Bets: 2 points each way Mark Allen at 14/1. 2 points win on Shaun Murphy at 14/1. 1 point each way on Alan McManus at 175/1. 1 point each way on Xiao Guodong at 66/1. 0.5 points each way on Peter Ebdon at 250/1.  

Recommended Match Acca: 3 points at over 11/2 with Boyles on Ryan Day, Alan McManus, Kyren Wilson and Matthew Stevens. Add Peter Ebdon for 2 points at over 8/1 with the same firm. Add Mark Williams for 1 point at almost 11/1 with Corals. 2 points on Zak Surety to beat Dave Gilbert at 5/2.


Stuart Bingham v Robbie Williams
Barry Hawkins v Jimmy White
Jamie Jones v Zhao Xintong
Oli Lines v Huang Jiahao
Martin Gould v Joel Walker
Mark Joyce v Ryan Day

John Higgins v Li Hang
Oliver Brown v Mark Williams
Joe Swail v Yan Bingtao
Mitchell Mann v Niu Zhuang
Alan McManus v Anthony McGill
Aditya Mehta v Michael White

Ben Woollaston v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Nigel Bond v Mark Allen
Craig Steadman v Graeme Dott
Dominic Dale v Ian Burns
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Dark Mavis
Sam Baird v Kyren Wilson


Shaun Murphy v Yu Delu
Wang ZePeng v Mitchell Mann/Niu Zhuang
Noppon Saengkham v Stephen Maguire
Andrew Pagett v Peter Ebdon
Dave Gilbert v Zak Surety
Jamie Jones/Zhao Xintong v Kurt Maflin

Neil Robertson v Matt Selt
Marco Fu v Liam Highfield
Zhou Yuelong v Chris Melling
Matthew Stevens v Jamie Burnett
Fergal O’Brien v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Joe Swail/Yan Bingtao v Andrew Higginson

Jimmy Robertson v Judd Trump
Xiao Guodong v Eden Sharav
David Morris v Ricky Walden
Joe Perry v Mike Dunn
Barry Pinches v Robert Milkins
Rod Lawler v Oli Lines/Huang Jiahao

October 10, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic – Last Few Places left for 2014 events

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:52 pm

Following the draw for the first two events in Gloucester it’s time for an update on how many places are still available in the qualifiers this side of Xmas.

All events at Gloucester and Liverpool are FULL.

There is 1 place remaining at Preston on 16th November – contact me immediately if you want it and are ready to pay the entry fee.

Leeds 29th November is now FULL.

There are 8 places remaining for Leeds on 30th November – use the link below to pay your fee and nab one of the remaining places.

Anyone that reserved a place and has not paid the fee is no longer assured of a place in the tournament.

To enter Leeds follow the instructions after clicking ‘Add to Cart’ below.

Select Venue and Add

October 8, 2014

SB Classic Gloucester Draw and Match Times

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:15 am

SB2015 A4 Poster1 with amendsBelow players will find all the details of the first two qualifiers in Gloucester for this season’s Snookerbacker Classic following the opening draw last night.

Players should note the match times below and please be aware that frame docking for late arrival will be enforced in all cases, it is the responsibility of the player to ensure they are available for their specified match time.

The dress code is smart with trousers, shoes and polo or shirt. No jeans or trainers. 

The event is free to attend for anyone who wants to come along and watch.

Qualifying Event 1 – South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester. Saturday November 1st.

All Matches the Best of 7 frames. Referees: Clive Brown and Nick Harry. 1 Qualifier.

Round 1 – All Matches Commence at 12.30pm – players must arrive on time.

Phil O’Kane v Jamie Clarke
Andy Marriott v Brett Miller
Wayne Townsend v David Donovan
Paul Norris v Zack Richardson
Adam Bobat v Callum Lloyd
Kishan Hirani v Sean O’Sullivan
Ryan Causton v Reanne Evans
Martin O’Donnell v Syd Wilson

Quarter Finals onwards on a roll-on roll-off basis, players should be available to play when called.

Qualifying Event 2 – South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester. Sunday November 2nd.

All Matches the Best of 7 frames. Referees: Clive Brown and Nick Harry. 2 Qualifiers. PLEASE NOTE THAT IF SATURDAY’S QUALIFIER IS DRAWN TO PLAY ON SUNDAY CHARON PARKER WILL TAKE THEIR PLACE.

Round 1 – The Following Matches Commence at 9.30am – players must arrive on time.

Wayne Townsend v Sean O’Sullivan
Adam Bobat v Phil O’Kane
Martin O’Donnell v Simon Dent
James Burrett v Mike Rogers
Matt Glasby v Alex Taubman
Ricky Hong Chin v Syd Wilson
Samir Ali v Ryan Causton
Paul Norris v Ashley Beal

Players for the following matches should arrive at the venue for 11am.

Adam Holmes v Hassan Vaizie
Matthew Day v Shane Castle
Zack Richardson v Andy Marriott
Alan Tunney v Tom Davie
Brett Miller v Jordan Church
Kishan Hirani v Ben Harrison
Joe Steele v Jamie Clarke
Eden Sharav v Aaron Cook

Later rounds played on a roll-on roll-off basis, players should be available to play when called.

October 7, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Gloucester Draw Tonight

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:45 pm

The draw for the first two qualifying events in this season’s Snookerbacker Classic will be done automatically at 5.30pm today.

To view the draw for the 16 player Saturday 1st November qualifier once it’s done click here

To view the draw for the 32 player Saturday 2nd November qualifier once it’s done click here

The draw is done using the random draw facility at My Snooker Stats.

I’ll be building a specific draw page tomorrow and will confirm match start times at each qualifier on there.


October 6, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Payments Now Due

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:00 am

The deadline has now passed for reserved place payments to be made for the following qualifying events of the 2015 Snookerbacker Classic:

Preston – 16th November

Leeds – 29th and 30th November

If you have reserved a place in any of these events and not paid then I can no longer guarantee that you will get a place in the event.

There are still a few places left in these qualifiers so if you want to play in them you can use THIS LINK to secure a place with your payment.

To see what’s up for grabs click here

October 5, 2014

Bulgarian Open: Finals Day in Sofia

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:44 am

It’s Finals Day over in Sofia and here is a run down of what to expect today. The first match on TV at 8am British time is the one between The Whirlwind and Shaun Murphy. We still have Murphy (16/1) and Alan McManus (100/1 e/w) in the hunt bettingwise so fingers crossed on those.


Mark Selby v Robbie Williams
Shaun Murphy v Jimmy White
Michael White v Jimmy Robertson
Luca Brecel v Mark King
Ricky Walden v Martin Gould
Mark Davis v Alan McManus
Joe Perry v Peter Ebdon
Michael Wasley v Judd Trump


Quarter Finals
Mark Selby/Robbie Williams v Shaun Murphy/Jimmy White
Michael White/Jimmy Robertson v Luca Brecel/Mark King
Ricky Walden/Martin Gould v Mark Davis/Alan McManus
Joe Perry/Peter Ebdon v Michael Wasley/Judd Trump


Semi Finals



October 2, 2014

Bulgarian Open Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:49 pm
An understated entrance.

An understated entrance.

Sofia it is that stages the third European Tour Championship event of the season in what now has become an established stop for the snooker tour bus.

Talking of buses, take a look at the way a few of the amateur boys have been arriving at the venue. The picture accompanying this post shows none other than my pal Syd Wilson in this plush, ever-so-slightly camp, blinged-up bus which is ferrying the potters to and from the airport, mirrorballs and all.

You can almost hear the smooooth tones of Barry White, the old Walrus of Love, in the background as the Bulgarian ladies throw their knickers and themselves into the arms of these bussed up baize boys. It puts me in mind of the old Bolton Stud and snooker’s greatest ever shagger Tony Knowles from back in the day…how the other half live eh?

Anyway, I’m sure all these distractions won’t stop them from getting serious on the table and Eurosport are also there to cover all the action (from the table, not the bus) from Friday while Syd and the gang try and qualify to that stage through the amateur rounds beforehand.

Looking at the draw, I’ll take one player from each section, all of whom I think have a very decent chance of making it to the Finals Day on Sunday and two of whom are priced in three figures.

In the top section, despite a tricky first round tie against Joel Walker I’ll plump for Shaun Murphy, a favourite with the European crowds who usually ends up winning an event like this each season. In section 2 and given his first round bye and what I’d class as a very winnable path to the last 16 I’m going for Rod Lawler, he’s in good form and like a fine wine is getting better with age.

Another player fitting the fine wine category is Alan McManus, shooting up the rankings and enjoying a resurgence in his career. Angles narrowly missed landing a massive each way gamble last time I flagged him up and I’m keeping the faith with the tartan trousered one. Finally, you have to respect the chances of Neil Robertson who barring accidents must surely land in Finals Day unscathed.

2 x 2 point win bets on Robertson (13/2) and Murphy (16/1). 1 x 1 point e/w at 1/4 odds 1-2-3-4 with Skybet on Lawler (150/1) and McManus (100/1)

Click here for the draw – the times below are UK times.

Friday 7.30am

Mark Selby v Barry Pinches
Joe Swail v Jeff Jacobs
Nigel Bond v Peter Lines
Fraser Patrick v Alex Taubman
Matthew Selt v Sam Harvey
David Gilbert v Mitchell Mann
Robbie Williams v Hammad Miah
Robert Milkins v Christopher Keogan
Kyren Wilson v Josh Boileau
Stuart Carrington w/o Tony Drago  

Approx 9am

Stephen Maguire w/o Dave Harold
James Cahill w/o Robin Hull
Michael Leslie v Zak Surety
Jimmy White v Sydney Wilson
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Matthew Day
Fergal O’Brien v Ahmed Saif

Approx 9.30am

Mark Joyce v Ryan Clark
Sam Baird v Ashley Hugill
Luca Brecel v Craig Steadman
Liam Highfield v Adam Duffy

Approx 10.30am

Shaun Murphy v Joel Walker
Mark King v Alex Borg
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Kurt Maflin
Anthony McGill v Lee Walker

Approx 11am

Chris Wakelin v Nico Elton
Noppon Saengkham v Elliot Slessor
Dominic Dale v Vinnie Calabrese
Dark Mavis v Michael Georgiou

Approx 12pm

Mike Dunn v Tom Ford
Gary Wilson v Ken Doherty
Jak Jones v Alfie Burden
Alan McManus v Kacper Filipiak


Saturday 7.30am

Rod Lawler w/o Allister Carter
Ben Woollaston v Andrew Pagett
Anthony Hamilton v Rory McLeod
Michael White v Ian Burns
Jamie Cope v Thomas J Dowling
Michael Holt v Tomasz Skalski
Jimmy Robertson v Alex Davies
Aditya Mehta v Mitchell Travis
Stuart Bingham v David Grace
Martin Gould v Ross Muir

Approx 9am

Ricky Walden v Gareth Allen
Ryan Day w/o Jamie Burnett
Jack Lisowski v Jeff Cundy
Mark Williams v Oliver Lines
Jamie Jones v Alexander Ursenbacher
Marco Fu v Chris Norbury

Approx 9.30am

Tian Pengfei v Andrew Higginson
Barry Hawkins v Sanderson Lam
Matthew Stevens v Ben Jones
Scott Donaldson w/o Steve Mifsud

Approx 10.30am

Xiao Guodong v Joe Perry
Neil Robertson v Steven Hallworth
Gerard Greene v Eden Sharav
Chris Melling v Grzegorz Biemadski

Approx 11am

Peter Ebdon v Paul Davison
Michael Wasley v John Astley
Allan Taylor v Lee Page
Liang Wenbo v Lyu Haotian

Approx 12pm

Graeme Dott v Brandon Sargeant
Ian Glover v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
John Higgins v Michael Williams
Judd Trump v Ashley Carty


October 1, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Outright Prices Now Available

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:52 am

It’s the highest profile amateur tournament on the snooker circuit and ahead of the start of the 2015 Snookerbacker Classic on 1st November, Boylesports have today priced up the odds on next year’s champion.

Paul ‘Snowy’ Davison heads the field at 9/1 favourite, with last season’s champion Ant Parsons second favourite at 10/1 to retain his title.

2012 champion Martin O’Donnell is 11/1 while recent International Championship qualifier and SB Classic debutant Eden Sharav is 12/1.

SB2015 A4 Poster1 with amends

There are a host of familiar and not so familiar amateur names in there and it’s probably the most open Classic ever (god, I sound like Bazza)…anyway, if you fancy a punt on the tournament click here to view the prices.

There are still some places left in Preston and Leeds events in November and the first players to pay the entry fee will nab them, don’t miss out, you’ll regret it when it gets under way just have plenty have before.

To see why this is a ‘must enter’ click here and to get your fee in for Preston (3 places left) or Leeds (6 places left) click here.

September 30, 2014

October on the Baize

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:53 pm

tumbleweedOctober is a nice time to go on holiday, well, it is if you are a snooker player as there’s not much else to do over the coming 26 days barring a jolly over to Bulgaria.

Bazza’s much heralded promise of a 24/7/12 non-stop snooker circus and the assertion that somewhere in the world at any time there would be a tournament on doesn’t appear to be coming to fruition lately really does it? The calendar this month looks as sparse as Oscar Pistorius’ dance card with us having to wait another 4 weeks until a main ranker kicks off.

Bulgaria starts in earnest, or rather in Sofia, on Friday with coverage on Eurosport. Ding Junhui has ducked out of this as he continues to choose his events carefully, so carefully in fact that he’s not even qualifying for the ones he does bother playing in. This one was also due to see the return to the baize of Ali Carter, but a temporary setback in his return to full health means we won’t see him back doing what he does best just yet.

There’s an Asian Tour event just before the excellent International Championship (minus Ding and Selby) gets under way at the end of the month in Chengdu, but these smaller events offer little in the way of interest for those around these parts so I’m not really waiting for that one with baited breath.

But the good news is that once Chengdu kicks off, the calendar starts looking lively again in what is surely the best period of the year for the baize, namely the 6 months from the start of November right through until the end of the World Championship in May. Who knows? Maybe on reflection Bazza knows that I was right all along when I was saying there was too much snooker last season? Again, breath will not be held for a thank you letter from the Great Dictator, I mean Director.

November 1st also sees the start of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic in Gloucester and a cracking opening day’s field. I am hoping that one firm at least will be pricing up the main runners and riders in the next few days for your entertainment and possibly punting interest.

So that, very briefly, is October in a nutshell.



Victoria Bulgaria Open (ET3) (pre qualifier)

Universiada Sports Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria


Victoria Bulgaria Open (ET3) (Last 128)

Universiada Sports Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria


Asian Tour 2 – Haining Open

Haining, China

26-2 Nov

International Championship

Chengdu, China

1-2 Nov

Snookerbacker Classic, Qualifiers 1&2

South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester.

September 25, 2014

Hearn Denies Wrongdoing in Qualifying Match

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:46 am
Troublemaking again

Troublemaking again

Last night, while I was quietly minding my own business I received a text message with the picture accompanying this post on it. Obviously, being an inquisitive, some might argue persistent pain in the arse type of person, I went public with it on Twitter.

Almost immediately and after several retweets from people far more interesting than I am, I started receiving details via direct messages of what exactly was going on in terms of bets on the match involving Jamie Burnett and Irish amateur player John Sutton, someone who I know personally given his involvement in the SB Classic in 2012.

Oddly, when I first made this public an avalanche, well perhaps that’s over-egging it a bit, more a meandering stream of replies and opinions came back to me presuming that Burnett was ‘at it’. I’m not sure why this was presumed by so many people following Jamie’s acquittal of any wrongdoing in a match a while ago against his mate Mags which involved half of Glasgow correctly guessing the score and also resulted in a midnight visit from Taggart to yours truly.

What transpired and became clear from the direct messages I had been getting was that this was simply not the case, the Twitter sleuths had got the wrong man and it was volume and size of bets on Burnett to win, by a long margin, which were the cause of concern at the bookies.

I received information from a very trusted source (a source said….) that the concerns were based on bets ‘on Burnett -3.5 frames, -4.5 frames and to win 6-0′ from people known to John Sutton. I was also alerted by a totally independent source working in the snooker betting industry (an insider told me…) that a ‘huge bet on 6-0′ had been refused earlier in the day. This later transpired to be a five figure sum.

The people involved will, I’m sure, be forwarding details in a more formal way and through the proper channels to the chairman, Barry Hearn, who as we know talks a tough game when it comes to fixing and fiddling, Stephen Lee would I’m sure testify to that.

But in the meantime, I decided to alert him to the activity in a more informal manner, his response, once it clicked what match I was on about was typically forthright. ‘Total Rubbish!’ he screamed back from behind his desk at Bazza Towers. When pressed further by someone else he barked:

and he then, having misguidedly got into a conversation with Andrew Pagget (never a good idea) claimed that I was attention seeking and had no real idea, both of which are fair points and one of which is certainly true. I’m not sure what his reference to bras was all about but I have lost my shirt on a few bets in the past and I’m all for equality:

So Barry, at least as things were left last night is having none of it, just as he wasn’t in the matches between Steve Davis and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Passakorn Suwannawat and Mo Khairy and Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon and Ross Muir, all of which I tweeted an uncannily accurate prediction on before a ball was struck, based on the same evidence as last night. Beginners luck perhaps.

A couple of current and former snooker players also waded in with their opinions, these seemed to be based on what they believed the score would have been regardless of the betting patterns, which of course is a fair point, though does not really take into account the level of interest on this match compared to the others as well as the (I stress unsubstantiated) claims that the big money backing the score was coming from people known to one of the players.

Of course, all this does not necessarily mean that the player had any knowledge of these bets, maybe his mates just think he’s shit or knew he hadn’t been playing well, remember Joe Jogia’s defence that he was hobbling around after falling over pissed so all his mates backed the other fella? That kind of thing.

I like John and I hope this is a storm in a teacup and that Bazza’s refusal to listen to me is a wise move, let’s be honest, I refuse to listen to myself sometimes the way I bang on about stuff. But his approach is one I find quite baffling to be honest, if he genuinely has evidence that the majority of the bets were on 6-1 and 6-2 and that all John’s mates got taken, bra’s and all, to the cleaners, then that’s fine and we can all move on and I’ll be looking for more reliable sources in the future. But if, and it is a big if, he is getting a little confused as to what -3.5 frames (Burnett to win AT LEAST 6-2) and -4.5 frames (Burnett to win AT LEAST 6-1) means then he (or more likely those supplying him with the information) may need to do more homework on how betting works. But surely they can’t be that wet behind the ears? Either way, what industry people are telling me is not the same as what Bazza is being told.

All I can say is that it’s now four times this has happened and results/scores were known to the Twitter community before either player got their stick out. That surely is worthy of looking into in greater depth than a head in the sand 140 character (well, 65 if you want to be picky) point blank and frankly quite rude rebuttal. Isn’t it?

Anyone fancy a Guinness? My round.

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