February 4, 2010

Sanyuan Foods China Open Qualifiers Final Day – 10am starts

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:30 pm

The top performances from yesterday’s 10am starters came, in no particular order from Ken Doherty, Robert Milkins, Andrew Higginson and Michael Judge and all of them will go into their matches with some confidence and a good win under their belts. Tom Ford eventually got going as did Mike Dunn. Rod Lawler and Alan McManus carved out results as only they know how, doggedly, though to be fair to Rod, he seemed to play quite consistently and Dale isn’t easy to beat at this level. The final day of qualifiers is always the toughest to predict, the standard is now pretty similar across the board and the ‘stand-out’ winners are much harder to find, almost all these games today have ifs and buts all over them. But if you find ifs too much you are but fooling yourself….OK I’ll stop that straight away. Let’s see what we can find to bash the bookies.

So now we ask, what chance do each of the progressing qualifiers have today as the seeds 17-32 enter the ‘free trip to China’ lottery? I’d imagine that most eyes will be focused on the battle of the two former world champions who met at the same stage only a few weeks back in the Welsh Open, Graeme Dott winning 5-3 on that occasion. Ken comes into the match in much the same mood and Dotty did little wrong in the Welsh Open when outplayed by John Higgins, so logic would say a repeat peformance from Dott is the order of the day. But since when has logic had anything to do with it? I wouldn’t touch this match with a bargepole. Gun to head, Doherty, I’ve never been a big fan of logic and I ‘taut’ Ken would win last time too.

A legend, but not over 9 frames

Mr Grumpy - Hitman Holt

I’d say the next most likely candidates of the medium-named newcomers to this venue (with one notable exception) today for disappointment and hastily unpacked suitcases are Michael Holt, Steve Davis and Gerrard Greene.

Robert ‘The Fastest Milkman in North Wales’  Milkins seems to have hit a bit of form and can be very dangerous if he’s in quickfire mode, Holt has looked devoid of confidence of late and that is never a good sign with him as he seems to play on his emotions, he’ll need to be in a positive frame of mind to win here but just lately he hasn’t been, so I think siding with the Milkman may pay dividends and perhaps a pint of gold top to boot. Talking of gold tops, the Nuggett is up against Mike Dunn, but it is ‘interesting’ to note that while he continues to compete over the longer matches you have to go back almost a year to the day for his last ranking tournament win over 9 frames, in the Welsh Open against Tom Ford. He has developed a habit of losing this type of match and tomorrow, I think he will again. Gerrard ‘My favourite colour is’ Greene has often flattered to deceive and likes to take a nap every match for at least a couple of frames, he has also lost all three previous meetings with Judge, who I noted earlier performed well yesterday. 

Ricky Walden - you wouldn't like him when he's angry

Judd Trump really needs to be on that plane to China (though I believe direct flights are very expensive and confined to ranking event winners, Judd though has secured a provisional seat on Barry Hearn’s knee) anyway Tom Ford is a tough opponent. Juddly however I think will just have too much for him. Of the others you would expect Ricky Walden to book his place at the expense of Rod Lawler, Walden is a heavy scorer and is unlikely to get bogged down into a slow grind.

Another player who will be desperate to have a run in this is Liang Wenbo, failure to qualify for the Welsh Open has threatened to derail his great start to the season and leave him battling for a top 16 place next season.  Standing in his way is Andrew Higginson, who is capable of winning 3 or 4 frames on the bounce before you’ve even opened your Highland Spring, tough one to call, but I’ll take Liang to come through and then possibly be a player in this.

Oh and Hawkins will beat McManus*

*see previous posts relating to Angles before lumping on……

I think that more or less covers every match this morning. Yesterday saw 6 from 7 going in, the shortest price pick dipping, but well done to young Sam Baird who put in the performance of his professional career to beat Ian McCulloch comfortably in the end, perhaps a name for the future, who knows? Anyway, in terms of bets I’m going to recommend 5 single bets on:

Mike Dunn to beat Steve Davis (11/10 Sportingbet)

Robert Milkins to beat Michael Holt (Evens Boylesports and Paddy Power)

Barry Hawkins to beat Alan McManus (8/15 Boylesports and Paddy Power)

Judd Trump to beat Tom Ford (8/15 Boylesports)

Ricky Walden to beat Rod Lawler (4/11 Sportingbet and BWIN)

I’ll update best prices as they materialise. I notice that Boylesports have priced the later ones up too and a fivefold of Trump, Walden, Hawkins, McLeod and Bingham pays over 8/1 for anyone looking for an interest to small stakes. I’m hoping that the message is getting through to the bookies that there is some interest in these events from the betting public as well as the snooker brigade. I hear that Pontins might not be the qualifying venue for too much longer by the way, will keep my ear to the ground and my nose to the ceiling on that one.

4pm starts will be up at about noon-ish. 


Match 49 – Judd Trump v Tom Ford

Match 50 – Steve Davis v Mike Dunn

Match 51 – Gerard Greene v Michael Judge

Match 52 – Ricky Walden v Rod Lawler

Match 53 – Michael Holt v Robert Milkins

Match 54 – Liang Wenbo v Andrew Higginson

Match 55 – Graeme Dott v Ken Doherty

Match 56-  Barry Hawkins v Alan McManus

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