June 11, 2010

Murphy on Sausages; Rankings, Punting and Still no news on Higgins

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:49 am

Can Germany produce some home grown talent?

The potential of snooker in Europe has often been overlooked by previous regimes in favour of the obvious new multi-million person target over in China but it’s a market that now appears to have got some attention from the new chief.

Germany will stage a ranking event in February in freezing cold Berlin (trust me, I’ve been at that time of year, it’s Baltic) where we hope the undoubted potential of the German market will ignite a flame across Europe.

Shaun Murphy has been spouting to his local paper about his belief in all things Germanic, typical smart timing from the Magician ahead of the world cup, sure to further swell his fanbase that.

Super Smurf said “We’ve seen snooker become massive in China, and in Germany it could be just as big”

“I’ve played in events and exhibitions there and we are playing to packed houses”. That’s all very well, though to pack our house would only mean 40 or so people, but I suppose if you filled the bathroom too you’d probably squeeze in an extra 10 or so, downstairs bog a further 4 and if a small child or midget attended they might fit in the spaniels dog basket. But perhaps the houses in Germany are a little bigger than Snookerbacker Mansions.

Anyway, he continued that “We’ve seen great players like Ding come out of China, and Germany could be the next breeding ground for potential world champions”

I’m not sure where his evidence for the next big German thing comes from, Belgium perhaps? Though I’ve seen the size of the sausages they consume on a daily basis and they are gigantic. From my travels across Rheinland I once encountered the very odd habit of having a glass of hot water, a huge sausage and a pot of mustard to the side. The sausage is dipped into the water and mustard and munched down. Usually this is accompanied by a large booming ‘belly laugh’, a song and lots of beer.

Anyway, I digress. Suffice to say that I hope Smurf doesn’t have an ulterior motive here and isn’t after sausage based sponsor as he’s been looking a little trimmer lately and this is the last thing he needs.

A (Steve) Davis Cup Perhaps?

I agree with him though that for a while the interest in Europe in countries such as Holland, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark seems to outstrip the dwindling interest in the UK. Pat Mooney also has some contacts in Russia and Ukraine that might be utilised.

To me this offers the opportunity to bring in a tennis style ‘Davis Cup’ type event which sees national teams competing against each other on the continent, this might then feed into a World Cup type event to bring in Australia, China, Thailand etc. If it were handicapped according to ranking or status that might also add to the spice of such an event.

Talking of rankings, Dave Hendon has put a little more clarification up here on the changes to the system this year. It is definitely designed to keep the players on their toes and steadily erodes older results which should eventually see the ‘in form’ players rise to the top. Interestingly we will not know the seeded players for the World Championship until later on in the season.

All in all, the changes should be welcomed though as a fellow blogger has pointed here updating ranking lists will be a nightmare. Thankfully I don’t provide a rolling rankings page so I’ll happily let others do all the work while I carry on spouting nonsense.

This is now turning into something of a catch all article so I might as well address a brief thought I had about punting on snooker this year. I’ll say now that from a betting angle the changes to the Grand Prix/World Open make it an event that I probably won’t bet on. The event needed a new lease of life, that is for sure, but the new format will only attract ‘mug money’ in terms of betting and to me is best left alone. Which is a shame as it will continue to be covered on BBC for this year at least. But Best of Five’s all the way to a Best of Nine final make it a lottery, and I don’t play that load of balls either.

This means that in terms of decent betting events we are left with Shanghai, the Masters, the UK, Welsh Open, China Open and the World Championship.

Oi! Remember Me?

I refuse to part with any cash on the Premier League and as yet the format for Berlin is uncertain but it’s only on for a few days so ‘fast and furious’ may be the order of the day there too. The Championship League provides snooker buffs with some entertainment in the cold winter months but isn’t a betting event and as for the Sky Shootout, well…….

So I would largely welcome the changes being made in terms of attracting new audiences to the game, but as a punter on snooker it isn’t great. In a sport that must attract sponsorship money from such quarters I’m not sure the new events will have the bookies rubbing their hands and patting their satchels with joy.

My advice; don’t bet on the short formats/random draw events or the Premier League and save the kitty for the main events.

Also, still no news on John Higgins, perhaps the powers that be are waiting until the World Cup begins in earnest to ‘bury bad news?’. Dave Hendon has commented that the delay may mean there is more to this than was first thought, Dennis Taylor tweeted two weeks ago that a decision was imminent. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it coincided with coverage of an England match the previous night.

Damn, I’m getting cynical.

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