January 27, 2010

Totesport Welsh Open Day 4 Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:42 pm

John Evans - I kinda miss that guy

First of all, thanks a lot to everyone that has been viewing the blog this week, I had no idea it would be this popular to be honest. Thanks too for the messages of encouragement. However, there was one dissenter, who shall remain nameless unless he does it again, who accused me of being ‘a bloke off the street’, the cheek of it? I live in a Terrace. I’ll keep it up while I’m still enjoying it.

I’m obviously sorry about Hendry for those who followed, if I woke up again every day from now I’d have said the same, I thought he’d hammer Day, I really did. I sat watching it with a friend of mine and we both don’t know how he lost, but he did, so time to move on.  The tips overall are doing ok, but as with all things there will be good times and bad times, a bit like snooker really, winning runs and losing streaks. But hopefully this blog will be more John Higgins than Rodney Goggins. 

Something strange happened yesterday. I started to miss the inaccurate commentary of John ‘Mr Magoo’ Evans (pictured right). He even got a shot right yesterday when I did catch him, he’s getting better and I can’t wait for the winners interview, hopefully it will be up there with his first question to Ali Carter after his first ranking event win last year ‘So tell us about your pilots license’ or words to that effect. Genius. I was keener on the Eurosport matches but got frustrated that they called some shots right. I think I need help. As for the betting the 1pm starts provided enough cheer for the day with the Evens on Dott landed and the punt on Cope to beat Ding. Then came disaster night with Robbo crashing out and the Hendry debacle. I can’t think of another tournament where the holder against a top three player would be relegated to a cubicle in favour of an out of form Welshman. Such are the nuances of the Welsh Open…..For the outrights, I’m now solely with Higgins and the way he played yesterday, the 8/1 looks very big. 

(Head to Heads in Brackets)


Barry Hawkins v Stephen Maguire (1-2)

'This is what Hawkeye would have done John'

I’m not going to waste everyone’s time going on and on about Maguire again. Those of you who have read my various postings over the last year or so know that I back against him whenever there is doubt  to him winning. This is one such occasion. This is a big chance for Hawkins who while currently ranked 17, is provisionally ranked 24. Maguire should have finished Dale off much sooner than he did and had several chances to seal the deal. We didn’t get to see how Hawkins played, or more importantly how bad Ebdon played in Round 1.  But he has beaten good players before and recently when Maguire faces anyone capable he loses. I’m taking The Hawk for this one. 7/4 as I write this, a price like that for a player as good as Barry against Maguire on his current form has to be taken.

Predicted: Hawkins win.

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jamie Cope (2-0)

Jamie landed a touch for me yesterday against Ding and I want to be on him when he wins a ranking event, which I’m sure he will one day. The value is to have a go on him, I probably will but more in hope than anything else. Ronnie coasted to victory against Bingham and then did his usual interview routine afterwards. Is it just me that thinks this has coincided with Barry Hearn coming in? Ronnie was really excited about Hearn getting involved and now claims in every interview that he’ll be nobody’s puppet. Strange that,  seeing as they get on well. Cope tends to raise his game against good players and Ronnie might not have this all his own way but the frame score in matches between these two is 12-2, which suggests to me that Jamie might be a bit overawed by Ronnie. It’s hard enough to outplay him without being scared of him aswell.  I’ll probably have an interest on Cope but you can’t really realistically  predict that he’ll win, so I’ll play it safe.

Recommended: O’Sullivan win.

Mark Allen v Matthew Stevens (0-2)

Put yer tongue in Matt

Stevens is now playing his third match here but to me still looks ill at ease. Murphy should really have beaten him but he didn’t (I’m getting a bit concerned about Murphy’s ability to close matches off to be honest). Mark Allen did enough in his first match despite a scare early on against Rob Walker lookalike Tom Ford and when he gets on a roll he is very hard to beat. Potentially this is a toss of a coin and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see a decider. But my first instinct was Allen wins, so I’ll trust that I think, but not with a great deal of confidence.

Recommended: Allen win.


Andrew Higginson v Mark Williams (1-0)

Higginson must have produced some cracking stuff against Marco Fu with breaks of 94, 94, 70 and 122 in the first four frames and he has a good record here. For those that believe in horses for courses Higginson is a good bet here (I’m not suggesting for one minute that he looks like a horse, ok then, he does a bit), he also thumped Mark 5-1 on their only previous meeting last year in the qualifiers. Mark is back to form, but I still think the pressure the Welsh players put on themselves here is too much. This might sound strange but if Stevens loses in the afternoon I think this might take a bit of the pressure off. I’m tempted to recommend backing 5-4 either way and might do this myself as I find it hard to pick a winner here but in the spirit of the blog I’ll predict

Predicted: Williams to win 5-4

Mark Selby v Mark King (2-2)

Probably the most famous match between these two was when King got the better of a fancied Selby at the Crucible in Round 1 in 2008. Since then Selby has won both their meetings to nil. It’s not really important to know how King played in Round One, you know what you’re getting with him, nothing spectacular, just a battler. But Selby is too strong for him in this form, you can visibly see his confidence is back. Trump made far too many mistakes again in Round 1 but Selby looked quite sharp. This is probably as close to a certainty as you can get in snooker.

Recommended: Selby to win comfortably. 

Graeme Dott v John Higgins (5-11)

Can Dott stop the rot and pot the lot?

Higgins has the upper hand in the previous battles of the Scots and there is precious little evidence that Dotty can do anything about the World Champion sending him packing again. Higgins will go close this week in my opinion and is my outright pick for the tricky bottom half. Can’t see anything other than a clinical win for JH, I think we may be destined for a showdown with Ronnie in the semis

Recommended: Higgins win

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