May 31, 2010

Ding Junhui Backs Barry's Oppo

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:22 pm

There's someone sitting there mate. Ding doesn't agree with Ron on this one.

The feeling I am getting is that the players are beginning to think a little more carefully about the implications of Barry Hearn’s plans and today the provisional world number one, Ding Junhui has backed his rival John Davison publicly.

Ding isn’t usually one to speak out but he is arguably one of the players that will be most affected by the vote on Wednesday (if it happens that is). Along with the likes of Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, Liang Wenbo and a few others whose best years are arguably still ahead of them.

Ding has come out in support of John Davison’s bid to take control of professional snooker because he does not want to feel “owned”. An interesting choice of phrase that.

He is hoping Davison’s rival proposal is accepted ahead of Barry Hearn’s existing offer.

“John Davison wants to work with us in a partnership rather than own us. Snooker can only belong to the players”

“I do think that he is offering the things I am interested in as a player who has come through the ranks and wants snooker to grow”

“I have taken a few days to look at the options and speak to different people, especially those around me who I trust. And I think we must trust Mr Davison”

Obviously Ding’s friendship with Peter Ebdon and ongoing dealings with all things Hendry has to be taken into account here, but there is no doubt that his opinion will worry those that have previously been so vocal in favour of the Cockney Massive.

I have been quite surprised that a bid from someone more related to Chinese snooker hasn’t been more forthcoming, if, as we are led to believe, this is where the true future of the game lies.

In the meantime, fans of one player in particular may wish to click here

May 30, 2010

Nigel Bond Qualifies for Seniors Event

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:58 pm

Shaken but not Stirred. Bond won through and enjoyed Joe's finger buffet too

Former Crucible finalist 007 Licensed to Pot Nigel Bond has beaten Peter Lines 4-3 to win the World Seniors Championship qualifying event and earn a place in the final stages in November. Which is quite nice as I’ve backed him to win the whole thing.

He trailed 2-1 and 3-2 against Yorkshireman Lines, who made breaks of 70 and 71, but my main man Nigey Baby hit back to win the decider with a break of 57.

“The turning point came in the third frame when Peter had a chance to go 3-1 up, but missed the second-last red” Bondy said “we both missed one or two easy ones, but overall it was a close match and a good game”, the spectator and his dog agreed and left the glitz of Bradford’s Cue Gardens a happy man.

“I’ve really enjoyed the event, the hospitality has been first class and I’m now really looking forward to November and seeing some of the old faces”. A bit rude that but never mind.

But our Nige thinks Pontins is the height of sophistication so I wouldn’t class a few cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off and sausages on a stick in a Bradford Sauce served by tournament organiser and Lord Mayor of Bradford Joe Johnson as first class hospitality.

He must feel a bit miffed at having to qualify to play the likes of Dennis Taylor and Great Uncle eJoe who he’s miles better than anyway, but it’s Joe’s rules and if you don’t like them it’s tough luck.

“I’ve been playing well recently, I won the Pontin’s Open a couple of weeks ago and kept my practice going to be ready for this. Every season is a big one, but the one coming up is really important for me because I’ve dropped out of the top 32 and I want to get back in there. But I reckon that Snookerbacker chap made a good call backing me”

Ok he didn’t say the last bit, but well done Nige now go and beat the rest of them in November.

Ebdon has his say and Lines smashes Drago in Seniors

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:24 am

Ebbo claims that the decision is a no-brainer

Snooker players are not internationally renowned for their brains and business acumen.

It’s not that they are all thick as two short planks, it’s usually a direct result of a ‘misspent youth’ trawling around snooker halls at the expense of school lessons, though they are usually good at maths. John Higgins being a prime example, as in the recent All Star Mr and Mrs TV programme Denise revealed that if he hadn’t been a snooker player he would have been an accountant….

But this week calls for a bit of thought, do they sign away the commercial rights of the game to Barry Hearn in the hope that he can make snooker ‘the new darts’ or do they go with the arguably more level-headed bid of the unproven but successful John Davison?

Since yesterday’s post there has been a bit more from Barry’s nemesis Peter Ebdon, who is predictably firmly nailing his colours to the Davison bid.

Ebdon has told

“This proposal is fantastic news for all professional players and those who would aspire to join their ranks in the future”

“This is a hugely credible alternative to the changes advocated by Barry and from my perspective is a complete no-brainer. Any player who has an interest in the future of snooker has to see John Davison’s route as the way forward”

“Players want more prize money, which they will get, and want more tournaments, which they will also get. The entire crux of the matter for me is that we will still be in control. John Davison is in effect ‘leasing’ snooker from the players for the next 15 years – we are not being asked to sign away everything we have built up over the years and that we may never see again”.

“Even the most ardent supporter of the other option cannot be happy with that prospect.”

“The players need to see this for what it is; the chance for someone else to maximise the potential of the game, secure the commercial assets, take it forward, secure the future, and then hand back a healthy, vibrant sport at the end of it”

“It will be good for John Davison and his partners, and very good for snooker and the players who are making their career in this great sport”

“The players have to be behind this proposal, one hundred per cent. There is to my mind no debate; this latest offer is so far ahead of the other. We must back it”

Ebbo doesn't like Baz very much

Plenty of people have already pointed out that our Pete opposed Davison’s failed Altium bid in 2002, which in hindsight was probably a bad call, so why the reversal?

“There was a decision to be made then and I took the decision which I believed was right for me at that time. I was not opposed to John, or had anything against him. I did what was right for me then. This time around, I am choosing what he has outlined, again because I believe here and now it is best for me, best for my fellow professionals, and best for the entire game”

I’m glad that he qualified things with that last sentence as I believe part of the reason snooker is in such a mess financially is that there are too many top players who are only bothered about themselves, I think a less selfish attitude and a bit of respect for the game wouldn’t go amiss sometimes.

“I am just so pleased we have not been left in a position where the only course of action was to accept the unacceptable” Ebbo concluded.

This comes after Mark Selby yesterday did an about turn on his unequivocal backing of Baz, though as he’s on a flight to China tomorrow he will (I assume) have to rely on a representative to keep him informed of matters relating to the vote, as will Joe Perry (who has replaced Ali Carter), Mark Allen, Stephen Hendry and the handful of others competing in the Wuxi Classic at the end of the week.

Lines - On the right track

In the meantime, the old codgers are upping the ante in the World Seniors Event in Bradford. Peter Lines, who was a last minute stand in for Darren Morgan and has only just turned 40 (which surely isn’t that old?) gave Tony Drago a hiding and made a career best break of 144 to reach the final of the qualifiers where he will meet either Joe Swail or Nigel Bond.

Lines, from Beeston who had a good run in the UK last year, said afterwards “I only found out that I was playing last week when Darren Morgan pulled out and I always practice hard but to play like I did was fantastic”

Lines only missed two pottable balls and 44-year-old Drago said: “He played fantastic and he deserved to win”

“If he plays like that he will be tough to beat, and I mean in the whole event, not just in the qualifying”

The winner of the final will face Ebdon in the main event.

May 29, 2010

Who will win Snooker's big vote?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:09 am

Bazza's old pal the Nugget

Since the news yesterday that John Davison will be standing toe-to-toe against Barry Hearn for the right to run snooker into what all fans hope is a new dawn there has been plenty of reaction and some might say blatant propaganda about the big vote on Wednesday.

Barry still has unequivocal support from two of snooker’s big hitters, his old pal Steve Davis and the games biggest asset Ronnie O’Sullivan, whilst the likes of Mark Selby, world champion Neil Robertson and Mark Williams have all expressed support for his plans in the past. It will be interesting to hear if they are still so supportive now a rival bid has been tabled.

On the other side of the argument we appear to have another influential figure in Stephen Hendry. It seems that the former Olympian Davison will attract support primarily I would think because his bid isn’t as ‘my way or the highway’ as Barry’s is. Rumour also has it that Davison is a bit handy with a gun too.

On the World Snooker website yesterday we saw a quickly cobbled together show of support for Baz. No doubt orchestrated by the great man himself. Steve Davis extolling the merits of the new Players Tour Championship and Ronnie serving up a standard one-liner that in all likelihood was fed to him by Bazza himself while Ron was concentrating on something else.

Barry himself was unsurprisingly sceptical about his rival and said “John Davison is an excellent investment adviser but there’s a world of difference between running that and the world of professional sport”

“It’s a question of who the players think can do the best job for snooker. I think I can offer something very special to the world of snooker”

“There are big hurdles in front of snooker in terms of revitalising the sport and the integrity of the game. We can’t afford to let this situation go on”

Stephen Hendry however was a little more vocal in his support of Davison and said: “For a sport which many would like to write off, to have two bids on the table to take the game forward shows that there is plenty of life in snooker”

In a subtle swipe at Barry’s plans to ‘sex up’ the sport he said “Players have been crying out for proper tournaments and more money and the proposal put forward by John Davison certainly meets those criteria”

“John is a guy with a fantastic track record and huge experience in the sports industry. That he has come forward again to lend his expertise and acumen to snooker says a lot about what he sees in terms of potential for the sport”

“He has stipulated the time scale he will work within, which for me is more appealing than just handing all of our assets over”. Again a swipe at Barry’s plans for world domination.

The Chuckle Brothers

I think this last point Hendry makes is crucial and echoes the earlier comments made by Peter Ebdon. I can’t help thinking that Barry should have a rethink about his insistence on taking snookers commercial rights all for himself and his sons and heirs for ever and a day.

But realistically the players voting next week are voting for players that we are yet to see on the big screen, those who are probably at the moment making centuries in local clubs around the globe and winning junior events.

To put it in perspective, even if Davison wins the vote, young Belgian hopeful Luca Brecel will be 31 by the time he is up for reselection, Ding Junhui will be 39 but will still look exactly as he does now, Ali Carter will be out of short trousers and eating solids, Mark Selby will be in the rehabilitation clinic for retired clowns, Judd Trump will have learnt how to play safe and Shaun Murphy will have discovered that there is no God. Meanwhile John Higgins will be in his first season back since his ban and Steve Davis will be drawing his pension and probably will have a faint whiff of wee about him, though he’ll probably still be ranked around the high twenties.

Hendry added (bitterly) in his interview with that “Eight years ago his offer then was rejected almost entirely on the back of ill-informed individuals who spread rumours and lies that  myself and Ian Doyle had something to do with the Altium proposal when nothing could have been further from the truth”

“Thankfully this time around, there won’t be that kind of misleading distraction. Ian has retired and some would say I’m going the same way! But this is down to individual players making the right decision this time”.

“I want what is best for snooker. No-one can say that has been the case over the last decade”.

“But this time, whoever comes out the winner at the other end, there should be a shaking of hands and none of the acrimony that has belittled snooker for so long”. He obviously has never seen Barry when he loses…

“That said, which ever proposal is accepted has to succeed.“

World No.15 Mark King has also welcomed the Davison announcement and said “I don’t see how anyone couldn’t be impressed by this offer, several years ago I was one of those who made a wrong call (similar to some of his shot selections) – which proved to be a disaster for snooker – by not backing Mr Davison’s Altium bid”

“Obviously he still sees potential in snooker – and he is investing his money in pushing the game forward. The fact he has come back for another try to save the game shows a huge level of conviction in my eyes”

“All of last week in Austria people were wondering if there was going to be a counter proposal. Now that I’ve seen it, it was worth waiting for. We need serious tournaments, not every event carrying ranking status, playing on tables with pockets like buckets where the outcome is just a lottery” Kingy is clearly non-plussed by some of Barry’s initiatives too.

If the players get this wrong this could be the future of snooker

I have to say I am with him on that last point both as a fan of the game and as someone that tries to make money from betting on it. The short formats and ‘novelty events’ will prove a disaster for serious punters and from a purely punting angle this is another niggle I have about the Hearn plan, he seems to be adapting a few too many dart-isms already for my liking. One of the reasons I never bet on his awful Premier League circus.

In short, whoever they vote in, they will be putting their own personal careers in the entire hands of the winner. I have a sneaking feeling that in a lot of cases their own self interest (i.e wallets) may come before the longer term future of the sport.

For me, as much as I’d love to carry on taking the rise out of Barry for the next 100 years I feel the bid yesterday is a little more amicable and this might carry some favour with the players. It’s tough to call, has Davison got the media ‘clout’ that Barry has got? Dave Hendon states that Sky have said that they won’t work with anyone but Bazza, but given that they prefer the razzmatazz approach to some serious events is this necessarily a bad thing? I’d also doubt that the initial statement is entirely true, since when has a Rupert Murdoch owned corporation taken a moral stance on who they will and won’t work with? If the price is right he would get into bed with anyone.

Barry has a way of convincing sponsors to back events, has Davison the same influence? Barry knows how to handle the press and get snooker back into the papers, does Davison have Barry’s powers of persuasion?

If only Barry would dispense with all the talk of ‘fun’ and ‘short formats’ I’d say take that leap of faith. But real snooker fans don’t want novelty, we want as Hendry puts it ‘proper tournaments’ without as King puts it ‘pockets like buckets’.

If Barry could just see that and mix his talk of new daft events with a bit more detail about the serious events and how he sees those evolving I think he might just get some players attention back on him.

I wonder how Vicky, I mean, Mark will vote?


(Mark previously came out in support of Hearn)

Rival bid could pose a dilemma

I was surprised to hear that an alternative bid to Barry Hearn’s plans for the future of snooker will be presented next week. I understand John Davison is behind it, and I know he tried to launch something similar with the Altium group several years ago.

This could potentially create a dilemma for me, as well as all the other players who will have to wait until next week’s EGM to discover what Davison is proposing. I won’t be making up my mind until I see exactly what is on the table. I know what Barry is proposing, and I know he would do a great job and that he’s got a lot of support, and that it will be difficult to go against what he has already proposed.

But as of now, I’m still undecided. I’m going to wait and see what this rival bid is about and, until then, I don’t intend to put all my eggs in one basket.

May 28, 2010

Barry Has a Rival Bid – John Davison enters the Bear Pit

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:01 am

Barry has been marking his territory now for months

It seems that everyone’s favourite used car salesman and all round cockney geezer Barry Hearn may yet have to fend off a rival bid in order to secure his proposed domination of the baize. are reporting that John Davison who was behind a failed bid to oust the Board of World Snooker under Altium in 2002 will be pitching his hat in the ring with a rival proposal to that tabled by Hearn. He will be taking this to next Wednesday’s EGM which will in all probability decide the fate of snooker for the years to come.

Baz has been blunt in saying that he wants to ‘own’ snookers commercial rights, this is non-negotiable and in return he has promised to wave his magic wand and turn back the clock to snooker’s glory days.

Davison, alternatively wants full control of commercial rights for an initial period of 15 years rather than through infinity and beyond like Baz Lightyear.

Now our Barry has some ideas that have had the purists including myself at times, reaching for the whiskey and paracetomol bottles to end it all but he has also undoubtedly already done some good in securing sponsorship and TV deals in a very short time, putting his money where his extremely big mouth is. His signal of intent no doubt, a bit like a dog when it pisses on every lampost on the street. 

Competition though is no bad thing and Davison is putting forward a challenge which will doubtless appeal to those who are less than convinced by the ideas of Uncle Baz. The dissenters at least now have an alternative to browse over, albeit at the eleventh hour. I do wonder why it has taken this long for a rival to appear on the horizon, I mean did he just think about this in the bath last week or is this a considered proposal?

The players will also have to ask themselves how can they be sure that the promises outlined below will be kept? Is it just hot air or can these figures be backed up with commercial sponsors waiting to line the pockets of the top boys?

He promises the following:

Prize Money:
Guaranteed at £5.0m in 2010/11, £5.2m in 2011/12 and £5.4m in 2012/13. That is £15.6m in prize money in the next three years and minimum guaranteed growth thereafter of 5% per year. In 2010/11the guaranteed prize money for top 64, top 48, top 32 and top 16 players is £9,400, £19,800, £34,600 and £73,000 respectively.

The 2010 season will comprise of 10 ranking events, 2 invitational events and the 6 PTC events. The 2011 season will include one additional new ranking event. 

The ranking system will be agreed between WPBSA, players and players representative bodies such as the SPA.

You can expect plenty of Macho posturing at next week's EGM.

All players in the top 64 will receive full insurance for themselves and their families to cover medical costs when they are in the UK or abroad. They will also receive travel insurance as well as additional personal insurance to cover loss of income in cases where they are injured, ill, have had a family bereavement or missed an event due to a cancelled flight.

Rights ownership:
I would expect to secure the commercial rights to snooker for an initial 15 year period, at the end of which the WPBSA will be free to re-tender the rights to any commercial partner, although by that point I hope that I will have clearly demonstrated the value of reselecting me for a further period.

Share ownership:
I will acquire 63% of WSL from the WPBSA for £315,000, valuing WSL at £500,000. That purchase price will be paid to the top 64 players as a special dividend in cash immediately the acquisition is completed.

(I think that’s what’s known in the trade as a sweetener)

Share rights:
The remaining 37% of WSL shares will be held in a Players’ Trust administered by the WPBSA. This will be treated as the players’ equity participation in a joint investment. I expect my investment to generate a dividend income for me in the future, and for the players to receive exactly the same dividend per share that I do. Each of the top 64 players will receive an equal share of the dividends paid out for the 37% of shares held by the Players Trust. When there are dividends available to be paid to shareholders, dividend cheques will be given to the eligible players at the season end awards ceremony which we will reinstitute in the calendar.

The association will receive a day 1 payment of £1,000,000 from WSL to provide it with a robust funding base and support a strong team of new Independent Directors. It will receive a further £250,000 every year, including in 2010, to enable it to promote the game at grassroots level, administer disciplinary procedures and the rules and regulations of the game.

Cash Reserves:

There are cash reserves of c. £3,500,000 in WPBSA/WSL. Following my acquisition of WSL, the WPBSA will have £1,000,000. The remaining reserves of c. £2,500,000 will be left in WSL. Up to £1,500,000 of the reserves in WSL will be invested in the development of new ranking events. Any investment beyond this level will be funded by additional investment from the management team and WPBSA in proportion to their shareholdings. No dividends will be capable of being paid by WSL to its shareholders if it leaves less than £2,000,000 in cash in the WSL Balance Sheet.

After all the boring financial stuff he finishes by saying:

Since I last looked at snooker in 2002 it has moved backwards rather than forwards. Prize money has gone down, the number of ranking events has decreased, sponsorship and broadcast contract values have gone down. We believe that there is a great opportunity to bring long term stability to the sport of snooker and to use our business skills and experience to work with the WPBSA (and the players) to generate an investment return for ourselves along with increases in prize funds, events and dividends for the WPBSA and its members. After all, if the majority of other major sports can enjoy significant growth in revenues and media exposure why can’t snooker?

To refamiliarise yourself with Barry’s plan click here

You've gotta have balls to take on Baz

May 27, 2010

Wixu Classic Preview and Recommended Outright Bets

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:32 am

Liang Wenbo: Likes to get close to the action

The Rundili World Snooker Wixu Classic takes place from the 3rd-6th June and signals the beginning of a new period of monthly action on the baize.

It has attracted some of the usual suspects to the Chinese tournaments such as Stephen Hendry, Mark Selby and last year’s winner Mark Allen as well as the familiar Chinese players Ding and Liang and a couple of the wildcard China Open players including the promising Tian Pengfei, who managed to beat somebody doing a very poor impression of Ronnie O’Sullivan at that event and the newly crowned Chinese National Champion Xiao Guodong.  

A full drawsheet can be viewed here and a few of the firms have already priced up the outright market, so it would be rude of us not to try and find a bet really wouldn’t it?

I had read somewhere (on a German website I think) that this was going to be covered on Eurosport but that now appears not to be the case. This means that the World Snooker backed event should be covered only by our old favourite the new unimproved frozen scoreboard.  This is quite frustrating as the event has been covered live in the past. I’ll probably end up scouring the internet in an attempt to find the Chinese equivalent of Channel Five to find some coverage.

Looks like we'll have to rely on an old favourite of ours for updates on the action at World Snooker

All matches up to the semi-finals are best of nine, the semi-finals are best of eleven and the final is best of seventeen.

In events like this it’s always an idea to look at the value out there and there are some vast differences in some of the prices chalked up by the firms.

In the top set of matches Liang Wenbo takes on Marco Fu for the right to meet the holder Allen. Wenbo will be hoping to regain some of his form from the early season in Shanghai and may feel he has a point to prove having failed to make any impression in the China Open.

Just on his Crucible form alone he would look to me to have a good chance of seeing off the out of form Fu and might also run Allen close in what should be something of a potfest. With Allen at a best priced 9/2 with Skybet to retain his title and with Wenbo as long as 20/1 generally with a winnable semi-final ahead against either Hendry, Xiao Guodong who last week won the Chinese National Championship (click here) or the out-of-sorts Shaun Murphy I’m going to make him my first selection.

The Jester: Been sleeping since Sheffield

In the bottom half of the draw we find Mark Selby, Ali Carter, Ding Junhui and Ryan Day as well as the Chinese hopefuls Yu Delu and Tian Pengfei.

Ding failed to win the All-China Games Snooker event last week and was beaten by a lesser known Chinese player which suggests to me that he’s still not fully focused since Sheffield and I’d be prepared to overlook the favourite for the tournament on this occasion.

I think the second selection has to come from the bottom three players of Pengfei, Selby or Carter. At the current odds it would be foolish not to at least have a very small saver on the Chinese player as he is capable of beating either of the more illustrious players on his day and of course has the all important home advantage. So along with him I’ll also take a shot at the much shorter priced Selby, who seems to like this type of event and has been on holiday relaxing after his Crucible adventure, where to be frank his intense second week seemed to take it out of him after his cracking start.

So the three points based bets for me are:

0.5 points Liang Wenbo to win Wixu Classic (20/1 Boylesports, Blue Square)

0.25 points Tian Pengfei to win Wixu Classic (40/1 Skybet)

1 point Mark Selby to win Wixu Classic (9/2 Skybet) 

Good Luck as ever to anyone having a go.

May 25, 2010

Trump is King of the Alps

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:47 am

Judd Von Trump

Judd Trump, a player of whom great things are expected by some put the shame of scooping the Willie for Most Disappointing Season behind him by winning the Austrian Open yesterday.

Young Juddly defeated the newly crowned World Champion Neil Robertson 6-4 in the final in Wels and I’d like to think his Willie spurred him on.

He beat a few big names to get to the final too and I’m sure proved again the potential he has, but he has to start bringing it to the big stage soon if he is to justify some people’s claims about his future glories. Is it really still a young man’s game? Most evidence suggests not.

It’s been quite a few days over in Austria and despite the fact that this tournament is probably off the radar of most snooker followers it did attract a decent field including not only Robertson, but also the likes of Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, Peter Ebdon and Ryan Day.

Perhaps if the event is running next year we might even get to see some of it or even have the opportunity for a punt on it. The two 147 breaks this week by Robbo and Bingham alone have made it stand out, though it’s unclear as to whether these breaks will count towards official statistics.

But at least they can cover their fare there with a share of the 1500 Euro maximum break prize, though with the prices in Austria they’d probably be lucky to get a beer and a large amusingly shaped sausage with that.

It would be nice if a European internet provider could possibly take the lead and stream this type of event online. Pat Mooney is looking for a job so I’m sure he’d be able to offer some advice for the right price and one thing is for sure, he knows his way around Europe. He’s got contacts too.

Next week sees the qualifiers to the World Seniors in the (apologies to inhabitants in advance) less exotic location of Bradford, Darren Morgan has apparently pulled out so I’d better go and see if Paddy Power have refunded my small bet on him at 66/1. Given recent form I’ve taken a punt on Nigel Bond for this one but the conclusion isn’t for a few months yet. My take on this event can be viewed here.

The Wuxu Classic is the next professional event and to view a full list for next season click here

May 24, 2010

Anything you can do….

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:38 am

Bingham - Max Man

They are going snooker loopy over in Austria, or ‘the home of the maximum’ as it is now known.

The Austrian Open proving a fertile ground for potters with Stuart Bingham emulating Neil Robertson’s maximum break with one of his own. This being his third competitive 147. He lost to Robbo however as the maximum annoyed the Champ a bit who wanted all the limelight to himself.

It must be all that Alpine air, Baz must be considering moving the whole tour to Austria after this, inevitable surely.

UPDATE: The Final will be contested tonight between Neil Robertson and Judd Trump.

The Quarter Final line up features:

Ryan Day 2-4 Joe Perry

Tom Ford 1-4 Judd Trump

Shaun Murphy 3-4 Mark King

Peter Ebdon 2-4 Neil Robertson

(Perry now plays Trump and King plays Robertson in the semi finals)

With the professionals quickly dispensing with all the jokers that entered this tournament with the hopes that one of them might let them win a frame.

Betting on the first Austrian/German/Danish World Champion being during this millenium is a 66/1 shot for anyone that has a few quid to tie up on a long term bet, or maybe fancies handing down a betting slip as a family heirloom.

The template for the pockets in Austria

Last 16 results:

Ryan Day 3 – 2 Dave Harold

Ricky Walden 0 – 3 Joe Perry

Graeme Dott 0 – 3 Tom Ford

Judd Trump 3 – 2 Mark Williams

Shaun Murphy 3 – 2 Dominic Dale

Matthew Selt 2 – 3 Mark King

Peter Ebdon 3 – 1 Barry Hawkins

Neil Robertson 3 – 1 Stuart Bingham

May 23, 2010

Another 147 for guess who?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:28 am


May 22, 2010

Bazza's Brave New World

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:49 am

Has anyone seen Z? Soon we will see the coming of Barry's Brave New World

If you, like me always thought that of a Brave New World as a ground-breaking futuristic novel by Aldous Huxley which has been adapted to stage and screen in many forms, or if you are not a big reader but recognise it as an iconic album by Iron Maiden, you’d be wrong.

It’s what the typically understated Barry Hearn is doing for snooker with the formation of  the World Snooker Player Tour Championship, which is set to start next month and will, we are reliably informed, form an integral part of the sport’s era of innovation.

Bazza is already delivering on his promises of more events and more money and also appears to be acting like the vote to trust him and go with his dictatorship, I mean leadership, is as good as in the bag.

The series will feature 12 three-day events (PTCs), the first of which takes place at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield from June 25 to 27.  A new Order of Merit, which will be distinct from the World Rankings, will also be incorporated into the series based on money earned at each event.

Upon conclusion of the 12 PTCs, the top 24 on the final Order of Merit will go through to the televised stages in March. It’s essentially a reworking of the failed Pro-Series event last year with some extra dosh  and a new ranking list thrown in, but credit to Bazza as he appears to have secured a TV deal for the last bit when £200k will be up for grabs, with £50k available for each of the twelve events, making this not far off snooker’s first £1m event.

In a further thumbscrews incentive for all players to participate, World Ranking points will also be available throughout for Main Tour players. So my advice is, get your holidays out the way this month boys as you’re gonna be a bit busy this season.

Six of the PTCs will be held at the Academy, with the other six in continental Europe, including at least four in Germany, where the popularity of snooker is increasing.

Could YOU be the Top Drawer Player this season?

I hope they take one to Sweden too as judging by the influx on here since the World Championship, there is clearly a similar feel towards snooker there at the moment, helped no doubt by the weird and wonderful commentaries of blog friend Kim Hartman, who even gave us a mention on Eurosport. Kim clearly has a sense of irony and comes out with random gems such as: ‘To play snooker with a pool cue is like playing golf with a shovel’. Classic Stuff.

Anyway, the maximum field for each event will be 128 competitors; this will allow for a minimum of 32 places for amateurs to compete against the 96 professional players.  An amateur pre-qualifier will be held should the event be over-subscribed.

Again, anyone who reads this that is planning to enter, let’s find a Top Drawer player to back this season. We need a man on the inside to keep a diary for us at these events.

Our baize hero Baz said: “The Player Tour Championship forms the backbone of our (his) brave new world for snooker. It plugs the gaps between the main ranking events, providing plenty of opportunities for the professionals, which is what they have been crying out for”.

“I’m particularly excited about the new Order of Merit.  This will create extra interest among fans and media as players battle to get one of those 24 spots in the final stages. It will be like the race to get into the Ryder Cup team in golf, with players sweating over every pound. It gives talented young players the chance to come from nowhere and surge up the list, while the top boys will have to be on their mettle”.

The race to the line will be fast and furious

“I hope that all of the leading stars will enter these events, and with a lot of money and ranking points available, there is every incentive. They will have to play in at least six of the PTCs to be eligible for the televised finals”.

“I’ve used a similar model in darts (now there’s a surprise) and it’s worked fantastically well”.

So clearly when he says he ‘hopes’ they will enter that can be taken as a rather thinly veiled threat to those that don’t/can’t be arsed. Barry’s nemesis, the Journeyman Pro.

“I’ll also be fascinated to see how the events go in Europe. The new series provides World Snooker with a strong structure through which to enter new international markets” he continued.

Each event will cost £100 to enter. Details on how to enter will follow soon on

So come on readers, let’s find the Top Drawer Player of the Season to fly the flag for us, any takers?

Incidentally, after just under five months on the road yesterday saw the 50,000th visitor to the blog, for a so-called ‘minority sport’ that ain’t too bad really is it? Many thanks again for your continued support, even it seems during the closed-season.

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