July 31, 2010

I wish I had a story about Jimmy today….

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:30 am

……..then it would give me an excuse to put a photo on the blog of him eating his dinner on the plane over to China (alright then Deco Thailand, I was close enough – anyone for a Chicken Kiev?)  recently for the Six Reds Championship. For some reason I just find it a very funny photograph, so what the heck, here it is anyway.

Jimmy having just removed his bib, he's now looking for someone to play 'Snap' with him..

The Fall of Paradise and the Resurrection of Saint Mozza

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:16 am

You don't mess with Mozza

Just thought I’d flag up this article in today’s Guardian about the one and only Peter Ebdon. It mentions the absence of ‘I am a Clown’ from the internet, though regular readers will be aware some shrewdies in Bulgaria know better, but also comments on ‘that statement’ earlier in the week.

However the best part of what on the whole is a bit of a daft article is where it flags Peter’s follow up to ‘Clown’ in ‘Fall of Paradise’, I’ve never heard of it, I have listened to it and realised that I am pleased I had never heard of it. A truly awful contribution to popular music, dreadful, dreadful, dreadful and here it is. I’m sorry.

On the subject of music (loosely termed in Peter’s case), I strongly recommend that you click over to this thoroughly entertaining gambling blog from a Betfair forumite with a particularly witty line in patter and he gambles on anything by the sound of it, unlike myself.

On it you will be able to hear for yourself the latest weekly instalment of my musical fisticuffs with a Tom Petty devotee.

A slow start by my good self last week for which I was forced to admit a tactical error in my first choice of song, I was rightfully lambasted by my over-zealous opponent. I feel with the song choices this week balance has been restored and it’s onwards and upwards from here on in. After all, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

I mean come on, Tom Petty better than Saint Morrissey of Smithsville? That joke isn’t funny anymore.

July 30, 2010

World Open Random Draw in conjunction with the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:29 am

The matches that will be played at the Glasgow SECC in September following the qualifying stages for the World Open have been drawn ‘at random’.

The World Open receives equal funding and support from Event Scotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau.

In a strange ‘quirk of fate’ Scotland’s own wee man Graeme Dott has drawn World Champion Neil Robertson in a repeat of the World Final, what are the chances eh? Strange what these random draws throw up isn’t it?

Article on World Snooker website here.

The draw for the qualifiers in Gloucester at the weekend featuring none other than The Snookerbaker One,Jack Morgan is featured over on Global Snooker here. Go Jacko!!

July 29, 2010

Shanghai Masters Qualifiers: To Qualify Market Staking Plan

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:42 pm

What was his name again? Ah Yes! That's the fellow! Decent Chap!

Right, first of all let’s get this straight I thought the PTC Event was before the Shanghai qualifiers, otherwise I would not have been bleating on about it all week. I’m so busy looking at a bet I forget sometimes to look at the date, it comes with age, you’ll get there one day and think to yourself, that bloke that used to write that snooker blog told me about this, what was his name again?

But every cloud and all that, in this case the silver lining was the fact that had I not had a peak early doors I would never have spotted the 400/1 on Anthony McGill (now 200/1 and an even shorter 125/1 with Skybet), so I’m not too downhearted.

Anyway, I digress. The early part of this evening has been spent with a printed version of this excellent drawsheet for next week’s Shanghai Masters qualifying in Sheffield (my advice is highlight, copy and paste and put in a landscape Word Document).

Skybet have played a blinder here and put up a ‘to qualify’ market, looking at each little section and seeing who is going to win it. Should be a doddle compared to the PTC, right? Well here goes with the first recommended staking plan of the new season.

I tend to look at these from the right hand column backwards, seeing those entering in Round Four (i.e. the higher seeded players) that may be more vulnerable and then work out who I think might end up beating them from the four contenders they will have to possibly face.

I think snooker in the qualifiers is as open as any sport and betting big on any player to qualify at short odds is a fools game, that said, if you can find two or three that you consider to be more or less ‘nailed on’ a smaller double or treble is your best bet.

This blog is all about spotting value and ‘runs for your money’ so I’ve decided to focus on this with the staking plan. As well as giving a treble, which Skybet have informed me they will elevate to the status of the ‘Snookerbacker Value Treble’ with bigger odds than it currently would pay were they to allow trebles, which they don’t on this market. Fame and Influence at Last!

Do you know who I am? It's spelt S,N,O,O never mind.

So let’s get the treble out of the way shall we? It would be foolish not to pick three players that just have to turn up and win one match against beatable opponents. So I’ll plump for the grafter and Willie winner last season in Mark Davis, the gentleman Joe Perry and the tenacious Mike Dunn. This treble currently would pay a shade below 11/4, I’ve cheekily asked for 7/2 for the faithful bloggers, Skybet have sensibly priced it up at 3/1, the link directly to the page is below.

Recommended: 2 Points win Treble: The Snookerbacker Value Treble (3/1 Skybet)

But I like outsiders, you all know that and I’ve found six of them, yes six of them that have a live chance, some more close to life than others admittedly.

The two that I am prepared to stake 1 point each on are James Wattana at 11/1 and Jimmy Robertson at 13/2. Wattana is an old favourite of mine and is a fierce competitor, he’s not the scorer that he once was but can still hold his own in qualifying company, he will have a tough opener against possibly the man ‘replacing’ John Higgins in this Liu Song but if he can get over his first hurdle he has Joe Swail and Stuart Bingham ahead of him, for me two beatable opponents. Robertson had a good run in PTC1 and lost to Selby in the second, knows the venue and has Burnett and Holt ahead, sounds tough, but they are two players that can find this type of event tough. Holt should qualify on ability, but he might not, he sometimes flaps a bit as we all know.

Recommended: 1 point win on both James Wattana (11/1 Skybet) and Jimmy Robertson (13/2 Skybet)

Now we’ll go for the ‘just in case’ bets, these are the outsiders with just that, an outside chance, as opposed to no chance.

For this I’m going to go with Alfie Burden at 18/1, Anthony McGill at 28/1, Adam Wicheard at 33/1 and Xiao Guodong at 33/1.

Alfie plays lady pro Reanne Evans first up and assuming he gets through that has beatable opponent Matt Selt before coming up against Marcus ‘the scruff’ Campbell for a tie against Andrew Higginson, who hasn’t done too well in the PTC events so far, but is the class player in this section. But Alfie is a confident lad and full of beans, he’s a match for anyone in this league.

McGill is just a player I will back this season, probably to my detriment, while Wicheard if he beats Paddy Wallace (by no means a certainty) has possibly the weakest section in terms of those ahead. Xiao Guodong is a capable player and if he gets on a roll could possibly give Tony Drago, who judging by the PTC isn’t exactly carrying on from last season just yet and the ever unreliable Sheriff of Pottingham a fright before coming up against Ricky Walden, which admittedly will be a tall order, but at the price he’s worth a small bet.

So finally:

Recommended: 0.25 points on each: Alfie Burden (18/1 Skybet), Anthony McGill (28/1 Skybet), Adam Wicheard (33/1 Skybet), Xiao Guodong (33/1 Skybet)

Good luck if you have a go, surprisingly the section featuring Peter Ebdon is not priced up. Does anyone know anything?

Incidentally, Skybet have now also put their prices up for the PTC which starts a week today, that’s a week today (note to self). It’s fair to say they aren’t taking too many chances with the ones I flagged up but are slightly longer on Joe Perry.

PTC 3: Draw for the Last 128

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:53 pm

If it ain't broke, why fix it? Ask World Snooker.

It seems despite my communication with World Snooker they are not going to revert back to the old format for the draw to the Players Tour Championship.

Apologies for the confusion on the timing of this by the way, it starts a week tomorrow, after the Shanghai qualifiers on Monday-Thursday.

I know some people are having difficulties viewing it in a readable format and as for printing it…well, just don’t bother.

One person in particular is struggling but is probably being distracted by a buxom blonde barmaid.

I thought I’d list the draw for the last 128 in order below.

Friday 6th August (The top half of the draw play down to 8 players)


Match 38 – Mark Selby v Noppon Saengkham
Match 39 – Graeme Dott v Callum Downing
Match 40 – Justin Astley v Ryan Day
Match 41 – Daniel Wells v David Portman
Match 42 – Paul S Davison v Mitchell Travis
Match 43 – Judd Trump v Michael Holt
Match 44 – Bjorn Haneveer v Michael White
Match 45 – Liu Chuang v Robert Valiant

Not before 11am

Match 46 – Kurt Maflin v Steve Davis
Match 47 – James McGouran v Paul Davies
Match 48 – Matthew Stevens v Damien Wilkes
Match 49 – Barry Hawkins v Lee Spick
Match 50 – Igor Figueiredo v Joe Delaney
Match 51 – Ben Harrison v Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon (Boom!!)
Match 52 – Peter Ebdon v Jamie O’Neill
Match 53 – Jimmy Robertson v Patrick Einsle

Not before 1pm

Match 54 – Mark King v Michael Wild
Match 55 – Dermot McGlinchey v Joe Perry
Match 56 – Matthew Selt v Chris Norbury
Match 57 – Luca Brecel v David Gilbert
Match 58 – Martin Gould v Michael Judge
Match 59 – Alan McManus v Stuart Carrington
Match 60 – Ben Woollaston – Farakh Arjab
Match 61 – Jimmy Michie v Jack Lisowski

Not before 3pm

Match 62 – Jimmy White v Shahrukh Nasir
Match 63 – Tony Drago v Lee Farebrother
Match 64 – Jamie Jones v Ian McCulloch
Match 65 – Ricky Walden v Robbie Williams
Match 66 – Liu Song v Kyren Wilson
Match 67 – Mike Dunn v Liang Wenbo
Match 68 – Stephen Maguire v Craig Barber
Match 69 – Nigel Bond v Luca Brecel/Adam Duffy

Saturday 7th August (The bottom half of the draw play down to eight players)


Match 70 – Barry Pinches v Daniel Skingle
Match 71 – Fergal O’Brien v Anthony Parsons
Match 72 – Dominic Dale v Simon Bedford
Match 73 – Allan Taylor v Neil Robertson
Match 74 – Stuart Bingham v Andrew Norman
Match 75 – Kuldesh Johal v James McBain
Match 76 – Xiao Guodong v Lee Page
Match 77 – Andy Hicks v Greg Davis

Not before 11am

Match 78 – Marcus Campbell v Rod Lawler
Match 79 – Anthony McGill v Jak Jones
Match 80 – Michael Wasley v Steve Judd
Match 81 – Dave Harold v Reanne Evans
Match 82 – Peter Lines v Sam Baird
Match 83 – Tom Ford v Patrick Wallace
Match 84 – Alfie Burden v Robert Milkins
Match 85 – Stephen Lee v Marc Harman

Not before 1pm

Match 86 – Joe Jogia v Issara Kachaiwong
Match 87 – Jordan Brown v Anthony Hamilton
Match 88 – Mitchell Mann v Adam Wicheard
Match 89 – Shaun Murphy v Martin O’Donnell
Match 90 – Gerard Greene v Ian Burns
Match 91 – Joe Swail v Stuart Pettman
Match 92 – Andrew Higginson v Jamie Walker
Match 93 – Andrew Pagett v Charlie Walters

Not before 3pm

Match 94 – Jamie Cope v Ken Doherty
Match 95 – Rory McLeod v Chen Zhe
Match 96 – Mark Davis v Andy Lee
Match 97 – Liam Highfield v David Morris
Match 98 – Mark Joyce v Jeff Cundy
Match 99 – Matthew Couch v Samuel Thistlewhite

Match 100 – Adrian Gunnell v Zhang Anda
Match 101 – Mark Williams v Ian Glover

My preview is a few posts below this. Skybet will also be pricing this up this afternoon.

July 28, 2010

News of the World Hands over Higgins & Mooney Footage

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:04 pm

John is yet to see himself on camera.

The News of the World has handed over to investigators all the video tapes shot during its sting operation on John Higgins.

Roy Greenslade is reporting that the ‘newspaper’ has given its unedited footage to David Douglas, Barry’s chief henchman charged with rooting out the baddies.

Douglas has, in turn, passed the video tapes on to Sport Resolutions, the independent dispute resolution service for sport that will judge whether Higgins was at fault.

More on this at sportingintelligence.

Apparently neither Higgins nor Mooney have, as yet, had access to the footage.

Peter Ebdon Issues Bizarre Statement. PLUS! ISSUE YOUR OWN STATEMENT!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:18 pm

What's he playing at?

Former World Champion Peter Ebdon has taken the highly unusual step of issuing a statement through World Snooker to tell people he isn’t playing very well.

It reads:

“I would like to make it known that I consider that I will not be in a position to play to the best of my ability in my Roewe Shanghai Masters qualifying match in Sheffield next week. This is down to personal circumstances, including the fact that I am getting re-married in Hungary this weekend”.

“Since playing in a recent tournament in Thailand I have not been able to practise, and by the time the qualifiers come around I will not have played for ten days or more. I know just how bad I can be when I don’t feel properly prepared as I am the type of player who needs to practise hard in order to play to a reasonable standard”.

“As always, I will be doing my utmost to win what is a very important match for me but in truth, my levels of expectation will not be very high.”

Make of this what you will, an absolutely bizarre move even by Peter’s standards. Even more bizarre that World Snooker feel it is worthy of a statement on their website.

Davis has lost a bit of form since 1981

What next? a statement from his opponent saying he’s not playing that well either? A statement from Stephen Hendry saying he’s not quite as good as he used to be? A statement from Rory McLeod saying he doesn’t like playing on telly?

Some may recall that Peter was criticised in some quarters and subsequently investigated by the Gambling Commission a while ago when he lost 5-0 to Liang Wenbo, afterwards he blamed personal difficulties for the loss. More about this particular episode can be read over at 110sport here.

Given this, it is clear that Peter will want to avoid such accusations again but surely just making sure World Snooker did a story on him getting married and perhaps he slipped in that he hadn’t been practising would have sufficed.

Instead, the Sporting Life have taken the angle that ‘The 39-year-old’s warning about how he may potentially play is understood to have been made to provide bookmakers with advance notice about his prospects’.

Cheers Pete, you could have just told me first. I knew I shouldn’t have reminded people that he sang ‘I am a Clown’.

But from what I know of Ebdon he’s a nice chap so regardless of this I wish him all the best with his weekend.

He is also scheduled to compete in the PTC event, I assume he’ll be pulling out of that.


PTC Event 3: The World Champion enters the fray

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:18 am

It's Grim Up North: The PTC set up at the Academy is a far cry from the Crucible..

The Players Tour Championship Event Three gets under way on Friday week, once again staged in Sheffield at the Academy and behind closed doors.

This event is notable for the addition of three new faces, the World Champion Neil Robertson, the legend that is Steve Davis and Liang Wenbo who also enters for the first time and is now presumably back in the UK and ready to begin his season, albeit a little later than most of the others. He must have read the updated ranking list.

The notable absentees remain Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui and Mark Allen, with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Marco Fu and Ali Carter also sitting this one out having each featured in at least one of the two events so far.

We’ve enjoyed some success from the first two events selecting the two winners in Mark Williams (7/1) and Mark Selby (9/1) which I hope at least a few of you followed in on to take some money from the only bookie brave enough to price this up; Skybet.

I’m pleased to say that this time the other reliable snooker firm Sportingbet have taken up the challenge, which is hopefully a sign of things to come. In terms of the bets I’ll flag up, I’ll go with the best odds I can find at the moment and update if any better offers come along closer to the event as Skybet are yet to price it up.

As usual I will be selecting what I think is a likely winner and a Team Snookerbacker which might be worth an each way investment at the terms of 1/4 of the odds on a semi final place.

I’ve had a good look at the draw despite the fact that it is currently impossible to print off from the World Snooker website as they have changed the format from the first two events (try it and see how it prints out, I have contacted them and to be fair they responded very quickly). It’s fair to say that this one is a little trickier looking than the first two. The ‘method’ I have used so far, if you can call it that, is to select a top player with the best draw to finals day and while Mark Selby is obviously on fire at the moment his draw this time to get to Sunday may include Graeme Dott and Judd Trump, so again, I’m not going to go with the favourite.

'Back of the Net!': Can Shaun find his form?

Instead, as a possible winner I’m going to go with someone who is yet to shine in these events but looks on paper to have a very realistic chance of making Sunday for the first time in Shaun Murphy (12/1 Sportingbet).

Smurf surprisingly lost to Mitchell Mann in the first event not long after winning the Wuxi Classic in China after a Lazarus-like comeback against Ding. He might meet Mann again in Round Two here, where I’d expect him to get revenge and I think once he’s at the finals day he’ll come into the form that we all know he is capable of. Of the top players, he has the best draw and there was no disgrace in Event 2 losing to a brilliant Selby.

We then come to Team Snookerbacker for Event 3 and I have to say my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw that Anthony McGill was 400/1 at Sportingbet. UPDATE: Gone now I’m afraid but still 200/1 for anyone wanting to have a go, hopefully enough of us got on!

The young Scot whitewashed Stephen Maguire on finals day in Event 2 and then narrowly lost a quarter final to Gerard Greene 4-3, just by virtue of the price he has to be backed each way. He is a promising prospect and has been tipped up as a future face by many people ‘in the know’, get on while you can to small stakes ‘just in case’. I’d be surprised if he won it but 100/1 on a semi-final appearance is too good to miss and not beyond the realms of possibility. He currently stands in 9th place on the Order of Merit which can be viewed here.

My other four team members are not such silly prices, though I was tempted to add number three seed Barry Pinches at 100/1 having seen him make the final last time losing very narrowly to Selby, but this time he’ll probably have to beat Robbo so I’ve left him alone.

Hawkins: Good Draw.

So my other team members are Joe Perry (33/1 Sportingbet), Jamie Cope (22/1 Sportingbet), Barry Hawkins (50/1 Sportingbet) and Ricky Walden (40/1 Sportingbet).

Perry is showing some glimpses of form and is a player that will benefit from playing more this season. Jamie Cope enjoys this format, should be in confident mood and should not struggle too much to reach Sunday if he’s playing anywhere near his best.

Barry Hawkins, if he can get over Matthew Stevens has a plum draw potentially all the way to the Quarter Finals. Walden, runner up in the six reds to Selby will likely have a winnable path through to a possible meeting with Maguire on Sunday, Ricky, a ranking event winner is a confidence player and when his tail’s up he’s top eight standard.

I’ll be updating at regular intervals on here throughout the three day snookerfest, Global Snooker I’m sure will be their usual reliable selves in keeping us baize addicts posted on the finer detail, but I’m afraid World Snooker don’t yet seem to be pulling their weight with regard to these events and as yet, the much heralded new scoreboard is yet to materialise.

Good luck if you are having a go.

In other news, the draw for the first ‘full’ ranking event the Shanghai Masters has now been made and Matt at Pro Snooker Blog has done his usual thorough job in marking it up here.

Finally a big thank you to Alun over at Betfair who has unearthed some rare footage of myself and Mrs Snookerbacker, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the height of domestic bliss. It can be viewed here.

July 26, 2010

John Higgins: NOTW will only hand over original tape if he doesn't sue.

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:46 pm

Higgins: Determined to clear his name.

The boys and girls at Sporting Intelligence have been busy again and are reporting that the News of the World, which ran edited footage on its website in May supposedly showing John Higgins agreeing to lose frames for money, will not hand over the full unedited tapes unless the three times world champion agrees not to sue them at any point in the future.

According to the article:

Now, in the latest extraordinary twist in the case, sportingintelligence can reveal that the News of the World has intimated that Higgins should agree not to sue the paper in relation to this case. The NotW has requested the same thing of Higgins’ business partner, Pat Mooney, who was the principal target of the paper’s “long con” sting. Higgins and Mooney have understandably declined to agree to any such thing, reserving the right to sue the paper for libel at some later stage if they choose.

Sportingintelligence further understands that as a result of Higgins and Mooney declining to give up their right to sue, the News of the World has yet to hand over “evidence” to the (separate) legal teams of Higgins and Mooney. According to one source with insight into the News of the World’s thinking, the paper does not want its evidence analysed or scrutinised without the safety net of an agreement that it won’t be sued. “The paper is protecting its position,” one ‘informed’ (sic) source says.


  • Higgins and Mooney have both been issued with a “charge sheet” by the WPBSA, and while this website does not know the precise charges, it is understood they are “general” including failure to report an approach about betting / fixing, and bringing the game into disrepute.
  • the WPBSA investigation established that Mooney (as he himself always said) had much more contact with the News of the World’s reporters, who posed as fake businessmen and fake gangsters during the sting, than Higgins, who one source described as having “peripheral involvement”.
  • the tribunal hearing in early September will be chaired, according to a source, by Ian Mill, QC, a leading silk with an array of sports law cases on his CV.

I had a feeling that we’d hear something on this when the attention was turned elsewhere, try typing Higgins and Snooker into Google and you’ll see what I mean…interesting times.

Whilst I hope that John is completely cleared of any wrongdoing, part of me feels that despite the professionalism of this piece and legal aspects and the ins and the outs of things, this story is nothing new. Newspapers behave badly (shock horror) and take advantage of greedy people (even more shock horror) – nothing can be proved either way and so shall it be, no more questions as it’s always been that way, now run along.

There is an understandable shared hope amongst snooker fans that John is found innocent but this piece still doesn’t alter the fact that Stan and Ollie came out with that Russian Mafia nonsense and failed to report anything to the governing body despite ‘fearing for their lives’.

If John, as he should have done had maintained a dignified silent innocence and hadn’t concocted this ridiculous story then I think he’d be being seen in a better light after this news. He’s been very stupid and very very badly advised. Max Clifford should have been on speed dial the second the story broke.

I wonder if they will divulge who put them onto Mooney? Will they/he be hung out to dry? Whoever you are, in the words of a far better man, Jack Karnehm ‘Good luck mate’. I think you’re going to need it. Names don’t get bigger than Higgins so I’d imagine you are next in line, probably a far more ruthless piece and very probably the end of your career.

Lots of things going on here that we know little or nothing about people.

Anyway, the full article can be read here.

More importantly a tribute to Alex Higgins is being broadcast on Radio 5Live tonight at 9pm, with Clive Everton amongst the contributors. If it isn’t available to blog readers further afield I will do my best to locate a link where you can also listen tomorrow.

World Open Latest: The Snookerbacker One Crashes Out – Literally

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:40 pm

Jack's preparation was far from ideal.

Regular readers will recall my recent exclusive interview with blog torch bearer Jack Morgan, who kindly agreed to fly the flag for all of us in the World Open.

Well, obviously word had got round that Jack was on the prowl as it appears his chances of qualifying yesterday were sabotaged from the word go, underhand tricks were at work and conspired to leave him with just one more shot at glory.

I’ll let Jack himself take up this tale of woe:

‘Because of the extraordinarily expensive hotels in Brighton, and all the camp sites being full, I elected to drive down the night before and sleep in the car. This also meant having to take my piece of lead of a snooker cue since my 1 piece one wouldn’t fit in the car if I were sleeping in there’.

‘Needless to say, in a motorway service station in my car I didn’t get much sleep. I also realised I’d forgotten all my smart clothes, so had to hurry to Asda when it opened at 10am the morning of my match and kit myself out in snooker appropriate clothing and shoes’. Jack showing his dedication and professionalism in the face of adversity there.

He continues: ‘Eventually I stumbled into the snooker club I’d never been in before, bleary eyed, kitted out in cheap Asda clothing, with my second-rate cue, slightly late, and promptly got smashed 3-0’.

So, after crashing out in the car, Jack crashed out of the tournament.

I’m sure all readers will agree that Jack has been the victim of an elaborate stitch-up here. But fear not, the Snookerbacker One is a resilient chap and will be playing in the regional finals in Plymouth next weekend where surely the tide will turn.

I have it on good authority that all the campsites around the area are open for business and I have taken the liberty of securing a cowshed with a comfortable haystack inside should Jack struggle for accommodation again.

Watch this space.

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