June 30, 2010

A Day in the Life

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:21 pm

If anyone tells you they made a better song than this, murder them.

Not much to talk of on the snooker front today at all, which is quite lucky as I’ve been off leading my double life all day. It really isn’t that easy juggling this all with being Deputy Prime Minister, but it passes the time I suppose and the country can’t run itself.

Anyway, as one very shrewd commenter on here said not long back, the comments section ‘is only for losers’, therefore I have cut and pasted one particular ‘losers’ comments on the betting angle of the latest PTC from an odds compilers point of view, just in case you miss it as I know only the dedicated few post their thoughts on here; which are always welcome and usually replied to by the way.

The text below was posted by the only odds compiler brave enough to take on Team SB in the event; Skybet. I suppose it just gives an interesting insight into things from the bookies angle:

Hi Guys. First of all apologies for not pricing up the matches and outright as promised on Sunday but I just did not have time to do so. Really disappointed with this first event though as there was very little punter interest despite some great tips from Mr Snookerbacker himself including the 7/1 winner. I really did think there would be more interest from snooker punters but apparently not which is a shame. Not going to give up though and hopefully some more shrewd punts on here might persuade punters to get involved.

Going to try and find time to price up the Order of Merit some time today which to be quite honest is going to be a bit of a guess with a lot of the top players schedules unknown. I’m guessing that the likes of Ding, Liang and Robertson will not put in an appearance until later on and Hendry has said that he will play later but not sure at all about Carter and Allen. In fact they are the only other contenders really so should be able to make a pretty good educated guess. Judging by the results of event one it does very much look like the cream is going to rise to the top and it also looks like Ronnie is up for it which is a good thing.

Just before anyone says it, I have no vested interest with Skybet, indeed I would like a lot more choice in snooker markets across the firms, but the World Cup is on so it’s understandable that markets on smaller events are very limited.

Part of the growth of snooker, whether we like it or not will depend on the level of interest from punters on events, though as I’ve said on here before the shorter the formats, the less most serious punters are likely to get too involved in snooker.

I suspect the next event will probably bring out a few more of the top 16, I hope I’m not breaking a confidence in stating that I think Ali Carter will be playing in most of the events including the next. Though as one commenter said yesterday, apparently the top 64 seeds will be the last 64 from the first event, which makes those entering late at a slight disadvantage in that they will have the ‘potential banana skin’ rounds to get through, if you think they’re easy, just ask Shaun Murphy.

June 29, 2010

Joel finds the Golden Ticket

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:20 pm

Rocket Senior watches Rocket Junior

Snooker’s equivalent of Charlie Bucket must surely be hotshot Joel Walker. It was this lucky lad, pictured right who enjoyed a coaching master-class with his mentor Ronnie O’Sullivan at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield last week.

Joel, 16, of Charnock, Sheffield, was personally selected by the Rocket as the winner of the inaugural Rileys Future Stars of Snooker nationwide competition in April.

He pocketed a Rileys cheque for £5,000 to spend on developing his game (I assume there is a clause in there to say he can’t trade it on Betfair).

The prize also includes training sessions with snooker’s own Willy Wonka, Ronnie himself. Quite a prize for the youngster. 

In addition, Joel has also been granted one of the wildcards for the World Snooker Open – billed as the FA Cup of Snooker in August. Being one of 32 amateurs who will compete for the chance to take on the big boys at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield from August 21 to 24.

Joel said: “It was great to train with Ronnie. I’m trying to learn as much as I can from him. I feel on good form. I’m looking forward to the World Snooker Open and hope I can make an impression.”

Snooker now has its very own Ronnie Wonka

Ronnie O’Sullivan is snooker ambassador for Rileys and apparently came up with the idea to find the next, ermmm, Ronnie.

More than 1,000 players aged 16 or under entered but it was Joel who finally found the Golden Ticket.

The New Ranking System

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:37 am

The new list might even have had Arthur stumped

I remember a programme from my childhood that used to captivate youngsters across the land, it was called ‘Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World’ in which the iconic author travelled the globe in an attempt to solve the great mysteries of the universe.

Often our Clarkey came up with some very intelligent theories, he refuted that the Loch Ness Monster existed, he also stated that the famous image of the Apeman, Bigfoot was most likely created through the use of special effects, much to the local tourist board’s dismay(* see foot of post).

Arthur also dismissed the idea of reincarnation, though frequently stated that  ‘The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.’ His thoughts were so dark and mysterious that at one point the slapstick 80’s comedy trio The Goodies once claimed that Arthur himself did not exist.

Anyway, I like to think that myself and the great man also had two things in common, firstly our belief in atheism; ACC opined just before his death  “One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion” and secondly, clever as he was, I don’t think he would have fully grasped the workings of the newly devised Snooker Ranking List either.

While I am far too lazy to go into the detail of this new system, my understanding is that at three points in time this year the ranking list will be amended to reflect the most recent events, whilst remaining a reflection of two-years points, therefore in turn the least recent events that carried ranking points will be deducted from ranking point totals. There, clear as mud.

The ranking list will be updated:

  • Following the second European Players Tour Championship event to conclude on the 3rd October 2010.
  • Following the UK Championship to conclude on the 12th December 2010.
  • Following the Welsh Open to conclude on the 20th February 2011.
  • Einstein gives his reaction to the new system

    This means that in theory, the players ‘in form’ will find it easier to rise to the higher places in the list, making the ranking list a lot more fluid than it has been up until now.

    A slight further complication is that World Snooker are yet to decide how many points will be awarded to ‘new starters’ on the list, this still not being decided despite the fact that ranking points have already been accumulated (2000correction thanks to Godspeed for winner Mark Williams) from last weekend’s PTC event.

    So what does this mean for ante-post punters?

    Well firstly, it means that we do not know as yet which players will qualify to play at the Masters in January as this depends on results in the first few events of the season, most importantly, player progression in the UK Championship. Secondly, it means that we as yet have no idea who will be the seeded players at the Crucible next April and we will only know this after the Welsh Open in February.

    Rather than go into further detail I thought I would ask Matt at prosnooker blog if he wouldn’t mind me putting a permanent link to his updated ranking list on the right hand side of this blog, to which he very kindly agreed. He has put a great deal of work into this and this will provide those interested with a running commentary on the ranking climbers and fallers throughout the season. You can view it here.

    I think it’s an excellent idea and will make tournaments such as the Welsh Open, which arguably needed a facelift, take on a whole new sense of importance for those battling for Crucible places. A vast improvement on the system inherited by Barry Hearn.

    *I tend to disagree with Arthur here as the Great Ape was very active on another snooker blog’s comments section yesterday.

    June 28, 2010

    Another Case of Mistaken Identity

    Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:01 pm

    Once again the Daily Star has produced a truly wonderful, well researched article on snooker here.

    It is either a further desperate attempt to be sent a Willie or the person supplying the photographs was headlining Glastonbury last night.

    Ronnie O'Sullivan

    7/1 Williams Claims First PTC

    Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:10 am

    Mark blew Mags away in the Final

    Mark Williams managed to justify my speculative punt on him leading the way for Team Snookerbacker by winning the first Players Tour Championship in Sheffield yesterday, beating Team SB subs bench member Stephen Maguire 4-0 in a 40 minute quickfire final.

    I can’t pretend I was overly confident of the one and only win bet flagged, particularly after the each way punts were pretty disappointing, but it’s always nice when a plan comes to fruition and it’s a decent start to the new season after Jimmy White narrowly failed to justify the 50/1 punt last week in the Pink Ribbon Event.

    This event wasn’t without its teething problems and late finishes to the first two days should be avoided in future events by a little tweaking.

    But all in all the healthy turnout is a real positive and the ranking points that Mark Williams picks up for winning goes some way to boosting his bid to be world number one at the end of the season (6/1 on that happening recommended a while ago).

    You had to laugh at Ronnie’s time of exit, half an hour before the England match and whitewashed by Jamie Cope, who had never previously beaten the Rocket and has often looked like a rabbit in the headlights at the mere mention of his name.

    It's not big, it's not clever and it certainly is no laughing matter.

    All this fun and frivolity is a far cry from the goings on at another comments section of another well known blog where I have been accused of being:

    a) ‘An Idiot’ (correct)

    b) ‘As funny as a sore tooth’ (correct)

    c) ‘Not being able to pick a winner to save my life’ (libellous, read back you’ll see that ain’t true, young man)

    Seriously, there are some miserable so and so’s about, I’m just glad I’m not one of them.

    Some of them, unlike the players themselves, also seem a little upset at my comments about some of their heroes. I think the more mature amongst us will realise that it’s only meant as a bit of fun, but as they say you can’t please everyone all the time.

    Hopefully some of you got on Mark anyway, it’s always nice to take a few quid from those nasty bookies. Though a thank you to Skybet for being brave enough to price it up.

    June 27, 2010

    The PTC In-Running Updates

    Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:06 pm

    Jogia is still in the hunt at the QF stage

    The Quarter Finalists are now known after the morning matches.

    Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Maguire and Mark Williams all came through again, Maguire in a decider. Joe Jogia also continues his impressive progress with a comfortable win over Nigel Bond.

    All these scores come no thanks to the woeful World Snooker scoreboard which has once again decided to break for the day. Even I’m getting bored of complaining to them now, life’s too short.

    Thanks to the ever reliable Global Snooker for the updates.

    Last 16 Results:

    Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Matthew Stevens

    Jamie Jones 2-4 Jamie Cope

    Marcus Campbell 2-4 Barry Pinches

    Mark Williams 4-0 Judd Trump

    Stephen Lee 2-4 Marco Fu

    Jamie Cope will be trying to beat Ronnie for the first time

    Nigel Bond 1-4 Joe Jogia

    Mark Davis 3-4 Tom Ford

    Barry Hawkins 3-4 Stephen Maguire

    Quarter Finals (Start at 1pm):

    O’Sullivan 0-4 Cope (Ronnie escapes just in time for the football)

    Pinches 3-4 Williams

    Fu 4-2 Jogia

    Ford 2-4 Maguire

    Semi Finals (probably starting after the football)

    Cope 3-4 Williams

    Fu 1-4 Maguire

    Final (7pm start)

    Williams v Maguire

    The PTC Marathon Final Day and Selby Wants Another World War

    Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:12 am

    This has been a bit of a hard slog (and I bet you yawn in the next minute)

    The first day of this event saw 17 hours of continuous snooker. I wasn’t about yesterday so I’m not sure how long it took to complete the top half of the draw, but perhaps a few tweaks may be necessary to avoid these marathon hours for future events as it hardly fits with Barry’s ‘quickfire’ remit.

    The match up between O’Sullivan and Selby materialised, with Ronnie gaining an increasingly rare win over the Jester by four frames to three, which means it is the Rocket that progresses onto the final stages today.

    As for Team Snookerbacker, just one left I’m afraid, which is the outright win on Mark Williams who came through with little fuss. Jimmy White just found Jamie Cope too good for him. The subs bench is doing slightly better with Maguire, Ford and Mark Davis still competing. I now know how Fabio Capello felt when Robert Green made that howler and he caught David James in the corner of his eye mouthing ‘I told you he was shite’.

    Anyway, joining Joe Jogia in the list of unlikely final 16 players is another JJ, Jamie Jones, Joe Johnson should have entered. The terminal scruffbag Marcus Campbell and King of the Alps Judd ‘Von’ Trump have obviously been inspired by their Willie awards as they too make it to the final day today.

    It’s actually quite a surprise to me how few surprises there have been so far. Most of the names left being familiar faces to even casual snooker fans.

    Further down are yesterday’s Last 32 results and the draw for the last 16 which commences this morning at 10am. All will want to avoid playing while a certain other sporting event is taking place this afternoon you would think.

    In fact, none other than Mark Selby actually wants to start World War Three with the Germans on the baize, though if you click here you will see from the picture that the reporter is clearly not a big snooker fan. This is obviously a blatant attempt by the Daily Star to beat the Express writers to a Willie for worst researched piece of journalism. What have I started?

    Finally can I just thank Matt at the excellent Pro-Snooker Blog for the kind words he said about this heap of nonsense on his far superior website. I’d advise any real snooker fan to bookmark this site way ahead of my own. A similarly friendly place to be but with far more actual information than poor attempts at light entertainment.

    Last 32 Results

    Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 Mark Selby

    Matthew Stevens 4-2 Igor Figueiredo

    Ben Woollaston 3-4 Jamie Jones

    Jimmy White 1-4 Jamie Cope

    Alfie Burden 2-4 Marcus Campbell

    Judd Trump 4-2 Paul Davison

    Mark Williams 4-2 Xiao Guodong

    Anthony McGill 2-4 Barry Pinches

    (Full Results are available here)

    Draw for the Last 16

    Ronnie O’Sullivan v Matthew Stevens

    Jamie Jones v Jamie Cope

    Marcus Campbell v Judd Trump

    Mark Williams v Barry Pinches

    Stephen Lee v Marco Fu

    Nigel Bond v Joe Jogia

    Mark Davis v Tom Ford

    Barry Hawkins v Stephen Maguire

    June 26, 2010

    The PTC and the Latest on Higgins

    Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:29 am

    Jamie Burnett got knocked out yesterday

    This bloke Allan Taylor is a bit of a nuisance. He only went and beat Graeme Dott yesterday, adding further misery to the now depleted Team Snookerbacker who also saw Rory McLeod and Mark King dumped out of the Players Tour Championship in what is predictably a complete lottery in terms of betting.

    Unfortunately for people like me who like to have a bet on snooker, some of the recent changes have made this even more of a part-time job.

    We still have the big betting events like the UK, Masters and World, but we now have to contend with these events and the likes of the World Open, which to me are now simply form guides.

    London-born Norwegian Kurt Maflin, who has qualified as a professional for the first time this year (make that third time! Thanks to Kim for the correction) hit a maximum yesterday, but even that wasn’t enough to see him through. Joe Jogia hit a 133 break and is through to the last 16, Dave Harold hit a 136, yes viewers, the snooker world is officially in meltdown. We have entered a parallel universe in which Jogia is world number one, Maflin is the new Willie Thorne  and Dave Harold doesn’t eat bananas anymore.

    Of the form horses through to the last 16 on Sunday in the bottom half of the draw we find Stephen Maguire, Marco Fu, Stephen Lee, Nigel Bond, Barry Hawkins, Mark Davis and Tom Ford, each of whom join Jogia to fight out the final stages. The SB subs bench clearly performed better than the starting six. Full results are given at the foot of this post.

    Today sees the top half of the draw play down to the same stage with the likes of O’Sullivan, Mark Williams and Jimmy White in action. Who knows what might happen?

    In other news Sportingintelligence are reporting that John Higgins and Pat Mooney aka Laurel and Hardy, will find out next week whether they will face any charges relating to the News of the World stories, after which they have 28 days to compile a case. The full article is here.

    There were a few comments in other quarters of the snooker blogging world yesterday which pointed to potentially libellous comments written on blogs and forums about the Higgins matter. I don’t think they referred to this blog but what I will say is that when a story this big appears in a national (and international) newspaper, people are entitled to an opinion.

    Making a comment on something that is out there in the public domain is known as freedom of speech, the right to be right or wrong. It’s very easy to be right or ‘wise’ after an event, it’s braver to have an opinion beforehand. I still think Higgins faces a lengthy ban, I can’t think of a defence that will be in any way credible. I for one remember how I felt when the first story appeared, I also remember some of the comments made by certain individuals who would now rather take a ‘holier than thou’ stance. The case continues…

    Here are yesterdays results:

    Last 32 (Bottom half of draw)

    Stephen Lee 4-2 Andrew Higginson

    Marco Fu 4-1 Allan Taylor

    Martin Gould 1-4 Nigel Bond

    Mark King 1-4 Joe Jogia

    Mark Davis 4-3 Matthew Couch

    Tom Ford 4-3 Stuart Bingham

    Dave Harold 2-4 Barry Hawkins

    Daniel Wells 1-4 Stephen Maguire

    Last 64

    Mitchell Mann 3-4 Andrew Higginson

    Stephen Lee 4-0 Rory McLeod

    Marco Fu 4-2 Andy Hicks

    Graeme Dott 2-4 Allan Taylor

    Nigel Bond 4-0 Jamie Burnett

    Martin Gould 4-2 Mike Dunn

    Adrian Gunnell 1-4 Mark King

    Joe Jogia 4-3 Patrick Wallace

    Justin Astley 3-4 Matthew Couch

    Jordan Brown 1-4 Mark Davis

    Stuart Bingham 4-1 Nick Jennings

    Andrew Norman 3-4 Tom Ford

    Kurt Maflin 2-4 Barry Hawkins

    Ricky Walden 0-4 Dave Harold

    Daniel Wells 4-2 Fergal O’Brien

    Bjorn Haneveer 0-4 Stephen Maguire

    June 25, 2010

    Murphy Dumped Out of PTC at First Hurdle

    Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:11 pm

    Mitchell Mann arrives for his match with Murphy earlier today

    Shaun Murphy, the recent winner of the Wuxi Classic and third favourite for the event was this morning unceremoniously dumped out of the first Players Tour Championship Event in Sheffield by Birmingham teenager Mitchell Mann.

    Mann led 2-0 before being pegged back and finally completed the final frame victory with a clearance to win on the black. It means Murphy has failed to steal a march on his fellow top 16 players in the ranking list, that haven’t entered this event. A disappointment for him no doubt.

    Another notable first round scalp was young Luca Brecel, who didn’t manage to bring down Marco Fu and only managed to score one point in the final two frames. Preston’s Ian McCulloch was also beaten by someone called Allan Taylor but apart from that, at time of writing at least, the rest of the matches seem to be going to form.

    Of the three Team Snookerbacker players to have played so far Rory McLeod, Graeme Dott and Mark King have all come through unscathed. Dott arguably now looking much shorter than a 20/1 shot with the exit of Murphy clearing an easier path for him, on paper at least.

    I’m off out tonight so won’t be able to update until the morning for the later matches but results so far are:

    Shaun Murphy 3-4 Mitchell Mann

    Andrew Higginson 4-0 Ahmed Saif

    Stephen Lee 4-1 Lee Spick

    Rory McLeod 4-1 Oliver Vandenboheede

    Marco Fu 4-0 Luca Brecel

    Andy Hicks 4-3 Kuldesh Johal

    Ian McCulloch 1-4 Allan Taylor

    Graeme Dott 4-0 Adam Stefanow

    Nigel Bond 4-0 Gavin Buller

    Jamie Burnett 4-2 Jamie Clarke

    Martin Gould 4-0 Greg Davis

    Mike Dunn 4-2 Aditya Mehta

    Adrian Gunnell 4-1 Sam Craigie

    Mark King 4-2 Stephen Ormerod

    Joe Jogia 4-1 David Craggs

    Justin Astley 4-0 Kamran Ashraf

    Patrick Wallace 4-2 Stephen Craigie

    Justin Astley 4-0 Kamran Ashraf

    Matthew Couch 4-2 Shahrukh Nasir

    Anthony Hamilton 1-4 Jordan Brown

    Mark Davis 4-3 Robert Redmond

    Stuart Bingham 4-0 Shaun Parkes

    David Gilbert 2-4 Nick Jennings

    Simon Bedford 2-4 Andrew Norman

    Tom Ford 4-0 Martin O’Donnell

    Kurt Maflin (147) 4-0 Michal Zielinski

    Barry Hawkins 4-3 Hugh Abernethy

    Ricky Walden 4-3 Andy Lee

    Dave Harold 4-3 Michael Wild

    Michael Holt 2-4 Daniel Wells

    Fergal O’Brien 4-0 Marc Davis

    Bjorn Haneveer 4-2 Ashik Nathwani

    Stephen Maguire 4-2 Stuart Carrington

    In the meantime, Barry Hearn has found yet another sponsor, this time for six of the PTC events. More here.

    The World Snooker Scoreboard: New Era, Still Rubbish.

    Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:46 am


    Please use this link to once again start the season off with a bang.

    It seems that the World Snooker Scoreboard is not yet aware of the dawning of a new era in the sport.

    At least we can always rely on it to never work for the duration of an entire match.

    It is only through complaining about it that it can change. Apparently there is a wholescale revamp of the site coming soon. Can’t come soon enough in my opinion.

    And as for the snooker poet……don’t get me started, no seriously, don’t.

    They can send man to the moon but they can’t let us know how our heroes are performing in the first ranking event of the season. It just ain’t good enough and I will, as last season, continue to flag up to World Snooker its inadequacies for as long as it takes.

    In the words of Barry himself ‘I’ll be your worst enemy’.

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