March 31, 2010

Thursday's Match Preview – Let's hear it for the Triers

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:08 pm

Tries His Heart Out: You've got to peel Mark King off the table

By the end of Thursday we will know the Quarter Final line up, it has been a tournament so far very much dominated by the seeded players. But it was the ‘match’ involving O’Sullivan that stole the headlines.

Personally, it’s the first time I will be very careful what I say, as I think O’Sullivan is a fabulous player and a great asset to our sport. But suffice to say I did not expect the result or how it came about. I’ll just leave it at that as in the words of another professional player ‘we’ve all got to earn a living here’, just can’t remember who said it….

In spite of the four timer going down, all other recommended bets on the last thread won. Selby making a 67 clearance in the last to nail the handicap in his match. So still a profitable day and obviously laid some O’Sullivan when I saw the mood he was in, just wish I’d laid more!

This morning saw all four seeds progressing. I called the final frame right with King and Watanna but James just couldn’t get over the line despite being 4-2 up. King impressively knocking in a century to win, credit to him, he is a battler and deserved to win. Ebdon battled through too against the erratic Trump, whose wild play is matched only by his hair. Hendry looked good in patches but still misses too many easy balls and Carter had a practice session to win 5-1.

This afternoon saw O’Sullivan’s surrender at the hands of the wildcard Tian Pengfei. The young lad took the chances he was handed on a plate very well and we know he is a very good player, but the manner in which it finished was strange to say the least. Rolling the black at that pace is a very strange way to play frame ball. In the other matches, Joe Perry came through unscathed and ended Drago’s great season. Murphy’s poor run of form continued and he was given a beating by a rejuvenated Nigel Bond who looked very assured in the balls and turned back the clock somewhat. The World Games Champion clearly enjoys tournaments overseas. Selby as mentioned survived a jittery start to beat Rod Lawler 5-2.


Stephen Maguire v Mark Allen (1-0 a pretty meaningless best of 5 match)

These two meet in a ranking event for the first time. Without actually seeing Mark Allen in Round 1 we have to assume that he must have played fairly well to dispose of danger man Dott so easily. He was definitely striking the ball well last week and is now over the tricky first hurdle. He now meets Maguire who looked to be playing well against Hawkins, in particular in the final frame of that match where he produced a great break and long red to seal it. I think this has the hallmarks of a high quality affair and I’m going to stick with my man Allen to win, Maguire doesn’t beat his peers in the rankings as much as he should and Allen is capable to reeling off frames without breaking sweat. He will not fear the Scotsman here.

Recommended: Mark Allen plus 1.5 frames (4/7 Boylesports)

Tian Pengfei v Mark King (1-0)

The new national hero takes to the table again. But enough about Mark King, Tian Pengfei having beaten Ding last year can now add Ronnie’s name to his list of victims, a memorable match indeed. The match against King will be very different, for a start Mark will be trying hard to win and Tian cannot expect the chances he got today in this one. I think King is showing some form lately and may just edge home here and break Chinese hearts.

Some cruel people say Joe Perry looks like Nookie Bear, he's the one on the left by the way.

Joe Perry v Ali Carter (3-3)

Joe Perry scored well in one visit snooker against Drago. Ali had a practice session first match so both have had their little warm up. They are good pals these two and their matches tend to be close affairs. The most famous one being the 17-15 victory for Ali at the Crucible a couple of years back. I’d say Ali is the better player and purely on that fact and his record this season, as up to date form isn’t easy to gauge I’ll plump for Captain Carter.

Recommended: Carter (8/15 Sportingbet)

Nigel Bond v Marco Fu (0-2)

Fu just did what he had to do in his first match but could easily have lost. Bond came from 2-0 down to beat Murphy and looked to be playing ok in the balls. I have a feeling we may see the qualifier go through again here, a close call but I’ll stick with Bond.


Peter Ebdon v Neil Robertson (0-0)

Surprising that these two have never met. But they have been mixing in different circles in recent years with Ebdon on a slow decline and Robbo improving in leaps and bounds. Ebdon showed why he is reliable in final frames against Trump, though could easily have lost and his shot selection is still a sight to behold, he plays the game like nobody else. Robertson has never really done well in China but hit two centuries against Mike Dunn in the first round on one of the non-TV tables. I’d be very surprised however if he doesn’t pot Ebdon off the table here.

Recommended: Robertson (4/7 Generally Available)

Happy Birthday to Me - Ding is no April Fool

Ding ‘Birthday Boy’ Junhui v Mark Selby (5-4)

I assume that we will all get to watch this one tomorrow. The pairs last meeting came in Selby’s Masters when an under-prepared Ding lost 6-1 in the first round. They’ve met in a number of events, their first one coming in 2002, when schoolboy wildcard Ding (he must have been about 7) lost 5-2 to the rookie Selby. Things have changed a lot in the nine years that have passed and both have fulfilled their potential from then. Selby is my main bet for the tournament and I’m going to stick with him to spoil Ding’s Birthday Party which he is celebrating with a huge Pukka Pie instead of a cake in recognition of his UK win.

Ryan Day v Stephen Hendry (3-4)

Ryan Day has won the last 3 meetings between this pair. Hendry is still capable of flashes of brilliance but for one reason or another he continues to miss some inexplicable balls. Ryan easily saw of Milkman Milkins in Round One, nothing spectacular breakwise but it didn’t appear too demanding for him. I find this one extremely difficult to call as they both blow hot and cold. However, I’d marginally favour Day, and at the price will probably back him simply because he is on this winning run against Hendry and the legend just misses a few too many important ones these days.

Recommended: Ryan Day (4/5 Generally Available)

That's another fine mess you've gotten me into

Mark Williams v John Higgins (10-12 – since 1995)

These two old warhorses have met more times than either would care to remember in all sorts of far flung destinations. The pattern these last few years is that they seem to win in blocks. John will win a few, then Mark, then John again. Between 2002-2006 Mark definitely had John’s measure but the pendulum has swung back in favour of the World Champion of late. The Williams/Cope match seemed a top notch one with many high scoring single visits, whereas John looked ill at ease in his first match against Fergal. I don’t think Mark will get many better chances to overturn his old mucker and I’ll chance that he might just do that here.

That’s the lot for today. Still 100% on the singles, let’s see if we can keep it up.

For Multiple Backers I’d go with doubles and a treble on Allen, Robertson and Day, the treble pays over 9/2 at BetFred.

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