March 30, 2010

First Round Wednesday – Match Preview 'Rocket Wednesday'

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:13 pm

Wednesday is Rocket Day

Tomorrow sees the conclusion of the first rounders and the first appearance of the holder Peter Ebdon and the Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan amongst others.

It’s great when a plan comes together, all recommended bets on the last thread obliged to set up a nice little purse for the rest of the week, I even managed a fivefold which is getting tougher to do these days. Talking of plans, on the right hand menu you will find Barry Hearns’s outline for the future of snooker in full. If nothing else, it should help you get to sleep.

This mornings games went more or less as predicted, Williams and Robertson in particular seem to be in good form. But I’m afraid the same could not be said of Bjorn Haneveer, who despite numerous chances against Marco Fu failed to capitalise and will now be back in Belgium fitting kitchens by the end of the week, with his son Poppo or whatever name it was. Maguire looked at one point to be going to a decider against Hawkins but produced a fine break in the final frame and looked impressive in the bits they showed. Looks like he is giving the poker a miss this week and concentrating on the day job. Maybe Sharon has had a word with him and he’s going to ‘do the wall’ instead.

This afternoon saw all the seeds going in again, Higgins and Ding making hard work of their games but both coming through eventually 5-3. Ryan Day and Mark Allen both won 5-1, Allen looked to be in scoring mode and I’m content with my quarter bet on him if not the outright.

But does this mean that the seeds are way ahead of the others? If you believe that then tomorrow should be a piece of cake, so let’s see.

Head to Heads in brackets

7.30 am starts

Peter Ebdon v Judd Trump (1-0)

I’ve just got a sneaking feeling about Ebdon coming back to form. He played some really good stuff at Crondon Park recently and though that doesn’t always translate to ranking events the Budapest resident is clearly getting himself fired up about staying in the elite top 16 for next season. He needs the win here and when he needs to he often does, at the very least living where he does he should be Hungary for it (groans from the crowd, couldn’t resist that one sorry). I think his experience might just tie Judd in knots here, who seems to have lost his way a bit lately. Their last meeting saw a 9-4 victory to Ebdon just before Christmas in the UK. I think he’ll beat Judd again.

Hendry - Showing a typically well mannered and cultured side in China

Stephen Hendry v Andrew Higginson (0-0)

The Widnes Warrior Higginson (I think we can safely assume that unless there is an English Civil War in the pipeline, he’s categorised as ‘nickname safe’ for a while) powered to a 5-0 victory in the wildcard round but didn’t do anything spectacular. Hendry has been busy putting his hand in clay and collecting toy cars and flowers since he arrived in China, he’s even been seen coaching some pretty little Chinese girls. But has he had any time to practice? He has said that he is treating this tournament seriously and not just as a warm up for the World Championship and I’m prepared to take a chance that he’ll come through this tricky first match.

Mark King v James Wattana (1-2, all in the 90’s)

If somebody said to you, right, one seed out of the sixteen will get knocked out in Round 1, you would probably look who Mark King was playing. This is a bit unfair as he is becoming something of a stalwart in there and he does that by winning these type of matches. The Thaiphoon and Phoenix from the Flames Watanna is still a handy customer though and I would expect this match to be close, perhaps even go down to a decider. I have a sneaking suspicion that Watanna might pull off a shock here.

Ali Carter v Liu Chuang (1-0, only a best of three match)

The Captain was grounded by Higgins in his attempt to defend his Welsh Open but played some good stuff to get to the final. He has had a long lay off but has been making determined noises in interviews about this event. Liu Chuang, the conqueror of the TV-averse Rory McLeod must be feeling confident, but by the looks of it Rory had a complete howler there and his Chinese opponent had him on the rack from the first frame when he hit a break of 104. This is totally different and a focused Carter should take care of this no problem.

Recommended Bet: Carter (4/11 Sportingbet)

Recommended Bet: Carter minus 2.5 frames (6/5 Boylesports)

Selby has been learning from the best

12.30 starts

Mark Selby v Rod Lawler

The Jester enters the circus here and kicks off the afternoon matches against the rather less gregarious Rod Lawler, the Liverpudlian who could bore the hind leg off a donkey with his penchance for ‘shots to nothing’ and ‘dump shots’. He is unlikely to have time to perform any mime antics with the old wag Selby, as his pal and fellow joker Mark Allen often does. Rod is not into that sort of thing thank you very much, so much for the stereotypical chirpy scouser. Selby is a player in this tournament by my reckoning and a match up with Ding is what the happy clappy crowd will want to see, when Mark can show off all the new jokes he’s been perfecting since his last match to millions.

Recommended Bet: Selby minus 2.5 frames (10/11 Extrabet)

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Tian Pengfei

A big day for the penguin here. He will probably be elavated to the status of national icon if he can pull off an unlikely win here. But Ronnie should treat this as a warm up and may even treat us to a bit of a spectacle, 147 anyone?

Recommended Bet: O’Sullivan to make the highest break of the match (1/3 Sportingbet)

Joe Perry v Tony Drago (1-0)

A big contrast here, not just in styles of play and waistlines, but in how the season has gone for them. While Joe is a top 16 player, probably only for a month or so longer now, Drago started the season at the bottom of the pile as a new boy, albeit an experienced one. A staggering fact is that despite this huge gap, on the provisional one year list, Drago is 4 places ahead of Perry. Some achievement from the man from Malta. Tony wobbled slightly in his first match against 17  year old wildcard Sha, Shil, Shayu, Samyu…oh look it up I can’t spell it, never mind say it, but finished with a 120 break. Joe hasn’t won a competitive match since October. All these facts point to Drago winning, but I’m going to stick with JP.

Recommended Bet: Joe Perry (1/2 Extrabet)

Shaun Murphy v Nigel Bond (1-0)

By his own standards Nigel isn’t having a great season. You can normally rely on him to beat players ranked below him but you can’t say that with any confidence about 007 anymore. This is his last chance to cement or enhance his ranking this season having been dumped out of the World Championship by Martin Gould. Unusually for Shaun Murphy, he has lost two first rounders this year, he normally waits until later on to find someone to beat him since his last tournament win back in 2008. But he is a good thing to win this match I’d say.

That’s it for these but for multiple punters I’d recommend a fourfold of Carter, Selby, Ronnie and Murphy at just over 11/8 with Sportingbet.

Best of Luck Everyone.

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