April 18, 2010

World Snooker Championship Day 3 Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:46 pm

The Rocket Launches on Monday

Monday sees four matches getting underway, one of them playing to a finish in the evening, as well as the conclusion of a further two matches involving seeds Marco Fu and Ali Carter.

I also have no idea why this writing has started becoming bigger and I can’t seem to fix it.

For anyone interested in the previous records/head to heads between these players you should click here for the full championship preview which includes all this information.

Amongst the new starters on Monday we see recent China Open winner and two times champion Mark Williams taking on what should be a fairly comfortable starter against journeyman Scot and Dumbarton Destroyer, Marcus ‘What do you mean Journeyman, have I mentioned I whitewashed Stephen Hendry in his prime and beat him again’ Campbell.

While all eyes in the afternoon will be on the mouth watering match between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Liang Wenbo, a few people are predicting a tough day at the office for the Rocket, who surely will not play in the same manner as he did in China.

In the evening we see the long-awaited ‘game for the purists’ where cocoa and matchsticks to keep your eyes open will be at the ready for a likely after midnight first session finish between the legend, 52 year old 6 times champion Steve Davis and his old mukker and part time Bez from the Happy Mondays impressionist Mark ‘The Royal’ King. King’s entrance may well be the high point of the evening in terms of entertainment value in this one.


Gould has modelled himself on his childhood hero

Marco Fu v Martin Gould (5-4 played to a conclusion)

I’ll say it again, I just don’t know why Martin Gould wears glasses, though I notice he is sponsored by Supertuff Glass, so maybe he has to as a condition of sponsorship. But he peers over them like a small child looking over a wall standing on his tiptoes. But it works for him, somewhat. He started this year’s first round match much the same as he did last year against Mark Allen, nervously. But he is a good player and relaxed a bit into the session, but this was not a great match to watch, as a lot of Marco’s aren’t, too many missed pots on both sides, either should not expect to be around after week one given who is probably going to be waiting for them in the second round and I don’t think their hotel bills will break the bank.

Gould did improve in the second session last year against Allen but was more or less out of the match at that point and I still think the way under-par Marco will win here but neither are playing well and I’m just glad that unlike this morning, there will be another match to watch on the other table, despite John Virgo’s late assertion that I should ‘set my alarm’ – what time does this man get up? This is definitely one for the spare laptop screen at Snookerbacker Mansions.

Snooker Player and Part-Time Chris Moyles Impersonator Marcus Campbell

Mark Williams v Marcus Campbell

The relaxed and resurgent Williams comes to this brimming with confidence. He has, it’s fair to say one of the easier starters on paper against Campbell who managed to beat the undisputed king of the final frame shootouts Matthew Stevens 10-9 to qualify, despite only hitting three breaks over 50 and a high break of 73, while his opponent knocked in two centuries yet still managed once more to pluck an unlikely defeat from the jaws of victory. In Campbell’s earlier win against another resurgent player James Wattana he again had a highest break of 73 but precious little else to show for his efforts. Mark Williams on the other hand is in a rich vein of form and you can’t see the 1/5 odds on him, not delivering. But I can’t recommend a bet at those odds as Id have to start charging a huge subscription fee for that service. The Evens at Boyles on Williams minus 4.5 frames is tempting as I’d have this at around about the 10-4 or 10-5 scoreline to the Welshman. But for a bet which should cause the minimum of stress, despite Mark’s penchance for showboating and bashing balls all over the place at the end of big breaks I’d go with:

Recommended Bet: Mark Williams to make the Highest Break of the match (2/5 at Boylesports)


Cope sometimes behaves like a spoilt child at the table.

Allister Carter v Jamie Cope (7-2 played to a conclusion)

Another big letdown for all his fans by Jamie Cope. Whilst the commentators insist that he didn’t have a great run of the ball he is now becoming a player in real danger of ending up like Michael Holt. I fully expected this to be close but like Holt, Cope mostly beat himself and played into the clinical and to me, very impressive Carter’s hands from the very first frame. Carter is developing into a very good match player, particularly early on in events and his ranking shows this and if Cope was to study and learn from anyone, he could not go far wrong than looking at the Captain. There is a remote possibility that Cope could come back to this match a completely different player as he is a bit like that and it could still be dramatic, but he’ll have to win the first four tomorrow to put Carter in any doubt, he’s capable, but he just needs to firstly grow up (don’t copy Holt) and secondly start playing the right shots (don’t copy Judd Trump). All in all, he is in danger of becoming a wasted talent as things stand.

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Liang Wenbo

Snooker’s biggest draw, as well as it’s biggest enigma enters the Crucible to try again to win it for a fourth time. Many including Ronnie himself believe that only being a three times champ is an underachievement by the man widely recognised to be the greatest talent ever to grace the game, but given his fragile temperament and mental state I would tend to disagree. This is his 17th tilt at the big one and some of his greatest moments have happened in this great theatre and there will be an army of supporters hoping for a repeat, not least the ringmaster Barry Hearn as he seeks to resusitate the green baize patient over which he seeks to have total dictatorship, I mean, control next month. I’ve said in a previous thread that despite the improving form of his opponent Liang, I don’t think Ronnie will lose here. My belief that this will be a win for the Rocket is bolstered by a pre-match quote where he states that “I’ve had a few good games with Liang, he’s an impressive, attacking player. He plays with a lot of confidence, but I enjoy playing players who play that type of game, they are just like me.” The key word there my friends is ‘enjoy’, when Ronnie enjoys playing you, you are usually in a bit of trouble. Liang also recently insinuated that his top 16 place was safe and that meant he could relax here and play his game, but by my reckoning that isn’t true and he needs to win this match and could therefore possibly do with not playing into Ronnie’s hands. I do wonder whether someone has pointed the intricacies of the ranking list out to him yet. Anyway, as far as a bet goes whilst I’m tempted by the -3.5 frames handicap prices at around the 4/5 mark on O’Sullivan, I’ll leave that to the big boys. But between the two, they have made 30 centuries so far this season on the main tour and this is a repeat of the first ranking final which O’Sullivan won over in Shanghai, as he has won all the pairs other encounters. You’d expect this to be something of a show, so I reckon the best bet of the day for me is:

Recommended Bet: Over 2.5 centuries (6/4 Skybet)

A typical living room scene from last time Davis played King on the box


Mark King v Steve Davis

The one we’ve all been waiting for. What can be said about Steve Davis that hasn’t already been said? He is the Dr Who, the Peter Pan, the Sam Tyler and the Dorian Grey of snooker all rolled into one, he now plays at the great theatre for the fifth consecutive decade, yes, fifth! and he’s only 52, work that one out – the man must actually live in a TARDIS. What an amazing achievement by the grand old man of the game. He is what could be described as poles apart from O’Sullivan, though Ronnie is a great admirer of his.

Now let’s get this out of the way. This match will not be a classic. It will be dominated by long drawn out safety battles, this is hardcore stuff for die hard fans, this is what heroin is to aspirin, this is what harsh Russian Vodka is to Babycham, this will be tough watching and I’m going to try and watch every ball of it. I’m thinking of asking for sponsorship to do so as surely this is far more of an achievement than any of those mad fools (yes, that’s you Slim, you know who you are) that are pounding the streets of London next week in their own particular marathon.

I don’t have any strong feelings really about this one, apart from an urge to nod off that is, but Davis says he has been practising hard and when he does he can still mix it with a handful of the big boys, King included. He doesn’t really practice for any other tournament except the UK, where he managed to get 6 frames off the winner Ding Junhui and one thing you can still say about him is that he’s better the longer the match.  The rest of his season’s form I think can therefore be discounted and he qualified for this with relative ease (10-4 against Adrian Gunnell), with consistent half century breaks. Dancing Boy King wins matches like this though more often than he loses them and I think he’ll edge it as he’s showing signs even at this relatively late stage in his career of slight improvement to me. It’s a tough one to decide on a bet but I think rather than go with a result I’ll go with:

Recommended Bet: Over 16.5 frames in the match (4/5 generally available)

Mark Williams v Marcus Campbell (5-4 played to a conclusion)

I’ll be brief, didn’t see a lot of this, but I’d expect Mark to pull away tonight and win with a bit in hand. He currently holds the highest break, which was the bet flagged up but I’d hope for something a bit more reassuring than the current 56, although that may even be enough to land the bet, who knows?

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