July 7, 2010

Punting Danger Zone II: The PTC Returns

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:44 am

No time for Vicky to top up the tan, Mark's got work to do.

Tomorrow sees the summer of snooker continue when the Players Tour Championship second event gets under way from the academy in Sheffield.

For those that have already competed in the first event this will have something of a feeling of ‘Groundhog Day’ to it, same venue, same days of the week, possibly same baking temperatures outside and in and the same faces milling around trying to snatch some ranking points to sneak them up the list and the Order of Merit.

The format has been tweaked so all of the preliminary matches are starting on Thursday, as are four of the first round games, one which involves Jimmy White. The bottom half of the draw then play down to the last 16 on Friday, with the top half competing to the same stage on Saturday. Sunday being finals day.

The excellent Global Snooker will be covering the event live once again, I won’t even bother leading you to the World Snooker scoreboard as the one absolute nailed on certainty of the event is that this will freeze on multiple occasions before they just give up on it.

The draw for this one reflects the performances in the first event, hence Mark Williams who won it is seeded one, Stephen Maguire is seeded two and semi finalists Jamie Cope and Marco Fu are three and four and so it goes on.

There are a few stand out ties in the first round, Mark Williams is rewarded for winning with a tricky tie against Michael Holt, Peter Ebdon plays PTC Event 1 flop Shaun Murphy, Ali Carter faces Barry Hawkins and lady professional Reanne Evans faces stonefaced deadpan comic Liu Chuang.    

In terms of a bet, we must again rely on Skybet to provide the scraps to us poor snooker punters. The last event gave us a 7/1 winner in Mark Williams and Mark starts at 9/1 for this event with the man he hammered in the final Maguire at a cautious 11/2. Looking at each of their draws I can see the logic here.

I’ll stick with the tried once and trusted for now method and select a likely winner and a team of back ups that might upset the applecart a bit. The obvious candidate to win it is Stephen Maguire, but over a format this unpredictable I can’t back him at that price, though he looks to have a fairly safe passage to Sunday, where he might run into an old friend of his in Jamie Burnett, it will be nice to have a catch up.

Tom Ford, looking to improve on his QF finish last time.

But I’m going to select Mark Selby at 9/1  as my winning candidate this time around. He came up against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last event and lost on a decider, no such barrier this time and though he does have a tough draw, in that he’ll first have to dispense with Scouser Rod Lawler before facing the winner of the Murphy/Ebdon clash, I’m going to take a chance that he will emerge through to Sunday from his section of the draw, where he may then have to face Williams.

In terms of who has made the final cut to Team Snookerbacker this time around, I have to say though Stephen Maguire is a very strong candidate to make the final I’m going to take him on in his section with Pinner Potter Martin Gould at 28/1 and the improving quarter finalist from the first event Tom Ford at 40/1. This is based purely on the assumption that having made the first final, lightning won’t strike twice.

In the top section, along with the Jester, I can’t ignore the Captain and Mrs SB’s favourite player Ali Carter at 25/1, which will look very big if he has his shooting boots on and to complete the line up I’ll go with the reliable Marco Fu at 25/1, a semi-finalist here in Event One and clearly at home in relaxed surroundings, he might have the bookies reaching for their satchels to pay out if he brings his usual calm consistency to the event.

So there we have it. Team Snookerbacker for Event Two, Mark Selby, Martin Gould, Tom Ford, Ali Carter and Marco Fu.

Remember that Skybet are offering one quarter of the odds on the final four, making each way punting on the event a bit more attractive. Thanks to Thorpy for leading the way.

Good Luck to everyone if you are having a go this time around. The draw can be found at the bottom of this post.

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