March 3, 2010

10am Starts on 'Entertainment' Thursday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:35 pm

Who Needs Ukrainian Dancing Troupe 'The Cossack Brothers' when you have Gunnell, Angles and Lawler?

Thursday sees a few more recognisable faces entering the tournament as the seeds 33-48 start their quest for glory. In amongst them are Ken Doherty, Dom Dale and the Sheriff of Pottingham and the Robin Hood of Snooker all rolled into one, Anthony Hamilton.

Whilst there are quite a few interesting ties it’s fair to say that the top three on this preview aren’t likely to have Simon Cowell worried that he’s in the wrong business. Maybe on the comments of this you can list in what order you think these three ‘borefest’ matches will finish.

It’s quite a busy day also preview-wise as I’ll have to update as and when the match ups materialise, we have to wait until later tonight to know two of the match ups for the morning with Jimmy yet to finish, though Tom Ford looks safe enough at 7-2 up.

Early prices are up but I’ll update as, if and when better ones come along

10am & 7pm (Head to Heads in Brackets)

Adrian Gunnell v Joe Delaney (1-0)

Adrian ‘Slowcoach’ Gunnell enters the frey today to take on the whitewasher Joe Delaney. Delaney made five breaks over 50 in his demolition job over Sam Baird in the last round but he is likely to have fewer chances against a player whose trump hand is the ability to bore his opponent to sleep for victories. According to my records Gunnell has never made it to the final stages, but he won’t have a better opportunity than this to do just that, with a win here, which I’d expect, setting him up for a tie with Steve Davis to qualify. As draws go, his ain’t bad at all. Recommended: Gunnell – 8/15 Sportingbet. RESULT: GUNNELL 10-7 (From 8-0 UP! He likes to drag it out for his fans does Adrian)

McManus - Won't fork out for a better cue

Alan McManus v Paul Davies (2-1)

Poor old Angles, his fall from grace has been quite sharp these last few years and my own personal theory is that he should really have ditched that £2.99 Woolworths cue he uses and embraced the new technology a few years ago. But he persists with it and is another who plays such a negative game on occasion that the crowd might even prefer to watch Gunnell than this one. He has won a couple of matches lately against mediocre opposition, but for his last real ‘scalp’ if you leave out wins over an out of form Matthew Stevens and Mark King in 2008, came back in 2006 when he gave Shaun Murphy a hiding in the UK. But Davies is not a scalp and is another player struggling for form. He dispensed with Joe Jogia in the last round in pretty mediocre fashion, but before that was on a losing streak and he is perilously close to losing his tour place. I’d marginally favour McManus (4/6 Sportingbet) for this but can’t back him even with a free bet. In truth this could go either way and I’d expect there only to be a couple of frames or fewer in it at the end. RESULT: McManus 10-9

Dominic Dale v Rod Lawler (1-3)

Blimey the crowd are really in for a treat here, Gunnell, McManus AND Rod Lawler (6/5 Sportingbet). Who said entertainment was dead? These two met recently in the China Open, Rod winning 5-3 and Rod has also beaten Dale over the longer distance in this a few years ago. Rod is finding some form and hit breaks of 132 and 121 in the final two frames of his last match. He is also hot on the heels of Dale in the ranking list. All things factored in I’d plump for the Scouser to send Dale back to Ohhh-Vienna. Recommended: Lawler. RESULT: LAWLER 10-5.

Martin Gould v Bjorn Haneveer

Belgian Bjorn carried on his impressive run of recent form despite falling 4-0 behind to beat Dave Gilbert 10-6. He is also carrying some of my cash at 12/1 to qualify (correction it was 16/1), which if he wins this he will have a great chance of doing against Nigel Bond. Martin Gould had a good run of form last season and he is a player that has won me a bit in the past but he is on a four match losing run and until he wins a couple on the spin he won’t be carrying any more of my money. I have to stick with my man Haneveer (5/4 Sportingbet), his confidence is high and his form is good, something you can’t say about his opponent.  I hope that he makes it through so I can lay a bit off on Bond. RESULT: GOULD 10-8, still awaiting the first Belgian to grace the Crucible, sigh.

You should not mess with Lily and Mark's Old Man.

Anthony Hamilton v Tom Ford (0-2)

I would say that the head to heads are irrelevant here as they relate to a few years back, but Ford is improving and Anthony is, well Anthony. Someone recently suggested that he is the best player never to win a ranking event, this is historical of course as Mark Allen, Ali Bassiri and Ryan Day would have something to say about that to name but three, but he is an underachiever. I like him and I wish I had more confidence in him. But in terms of statistics the player with, in my opinion, the best two nicknames in snooker cannot disguise the inconsistency that has haunted him his whole career. Ford on the other hand from limbering up with an easy win to prepare for this can claim that only being beaten by Trump, Allen and Neil Robertson since the UK Championship constitutes a decent run. I’d like Ant to win, but the betting head says otherwise, I have to go for Ford here. RESULT: FORD 10-6 – not sure what price he was but I don’t think he was favourite for this one)

Jimmy prefers a nice buffet to a Pukka Pie.

Ken Doherty v Jimmy White (5-5)

Jimmy came through late last night to land the treble and has to get up early this morning to play Crafty Ken. This is where live streaming would really kick in, a match like this online would surely attract viewers, but instead we are left with the frozen scoreboard to see how these two are getting on. Let’s look at who has beaten Ken in ranking events this year: Dott twice, Cope, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy. In Jimmy’s case we find: Guodong, McCulloch, Selt and Higginson, he is one short as he decided to go to the jungle instead of the Pukka Pies UK in November. Though he has won the last two meetings between the pair. I would love Jimmy to win here as I think the winner of this has a great chance to qualify, I actually wish they could both get through as I’ve always been a big fan of Ken’s too, but even though the heart says Jimmy the head says Recommended: Ken Doherty. RESULT: KEN 10-3.

The Afternoon Starts will feature on a seperate thread.

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