Snookerbacker

September 26, 2010

World Open Final Day: Rocket To End Losing Streak?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:43 am

He'll need to concentrate for just one more day.

It’s been over a year now since Ronnie O’Sullivan won a snooker tournament. That is hard to believe of someone with such an immense gift for the game, but it’s a fact. Ron simply doesn’t win tournaments anymore.

He reached the final of a recent PTC event and even held a commanding lead but ended up losing 4-3 to Barry Pinches. Now I know this was only a small event but nevertheless can we read anything into it? Can Ronnie win again? Well, today we might go some way to finding out.

Anyway, before I move on to today’s action I must thank The Blue Boy, co-pilot One step and the regulars for their sterling work yesterday. Despite the fact that I had to wear a forced permanent smile all day, inside I could feel the love. For I knew that in the face of adversity I had you all with me, I felt a warm glow whenever a text came through and a scoreline was revealed. I knew that I wasn’t alone in my hardship and that the crew were working tirelessly in the background to ensure the snooker facts, figures and opinions were updated in the comments boxes.

A far cry from the selfish couple who ‘chose’ to get married on such a big day in the snooker calendar. We rose above it and have come out all the better for it.

As a ‘thank you’ to the saintly backroom staff I have put a link on the sidebar to allow you to have a good old snooker chinwag in my absence this week. Starting this morning. Here it is here.

As I behaved myself yesterday and Mrs Snookerbacker knew what a huge sacrifice it was for me, added to the fact that I only mentioned the snooker after I received the results through she has also made a wonderful contribution to the blog here. She has devised a ‘snooker menu’ for you all to enjoy and to make you all feel like we’re still around when in reality we will be stuck up a mountain somewhere with our Whippet.

Anyway, I don’t really feel qualified to preview the matches today as I didn’t see a shot yesterday, but it did sound like Ronnie played exceptionally well again. Despite the Gould bet I still managed 3 out of 4 and just the 1 correct score in Ronnie’s game. I did have a sneaky double before we left on MJW and the Rocket which helped cover the stake of a bet on poor old Gouldy.

In terms of the outrights, as I am assured of at least one 16/1 finalist and I’ve also backed the Rocket at 13/2, I felt the only sensible thing to do seeing as I won’t see it again today was to back Ebdon to win it this morning at 12/1. This ensures a healthy end to a half decent week. I won’t recommend anything on the semi-final matches as I don’t need to bet on them now, but I’ll give an opinion based on what I have seen so far.

Another Fine Mess? He just can't seem to beat the Rocket.

2pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Peter Ebdon

Peter will play the frustration game here obviously, expect some slow deliberate play from Ebbo. I laughed when I read Ronnie’s comment yesterday that he was relieved it was only best of 5, if they had met in the slightly longer final you’d probably have to fancy Peter to win. But something tells me Ronnie is actually getting to quite like the idea of winning this event and sometimes with him that’s half the battle. It has to be Ronnie, I’d take him 3-1 which is 9/4 at Skybet.

Mark Williams v Neil Robertson

I can’t really comment in an informed way about this one as I didn’t see them yesterday, though by all accounts Neil continues to be looking like the World Champion after a stuttering start to the season. Mark has looked in great shape this week and isn’t usually one to make the positive noises he’s been making without backing it up. So I think I’ll side with him, a decider, 3-2 which is 4/1 with Betfred.

8pm
Final?

If it is the Rocket and MJW contesting this you should bear in mind that Ronnie’s record against him both recently and in general is extremely good. It’s 2002 since Mark beat him and Ron has won the last nine meetings between the pair.

Good Luck if you’re having a go and I’ll see you all next Saturday!

Final Event Four Prediction Contest Result: (The Top of the Pots Order of Merit has been updated to reflect this event here)

Dani Martinez 48 Joe Gibney 46 Edo 46 liggandestolen 44 Chris 43 Ian White 43 invader 43 Teo 43 totee 43 Darren 43 Ray 42 JayKay 42 Steve K 42 The Blue Boy 42 Black Whippet 41 Lorraine 41 redandblack blog 41 Dan Chipowski 41 Godspeed 41 Spongy 41 Mignon 41 The Game 41 Tina 40 Onestep 40 jjtops 40 Kjbets 40 Cloudyman 38 Volcano 37 Pchell 36 Kimhawkins 36 caberet voltaire 36 Lee Murphy 36 Epure 34 Sonia 34 Duff Man 33 Deco800 33 Taco Bell 30 Kieran Baugh 29

September 25, 2010

World Open: Quarter Final Saturday and Prediction Contest Result

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:29 am

I'll have to rely on phone updates today

I’m in a bit of a rush today, I’m writing this in the early hours in bed as Mrs SB is still asleep, the dogs have had their breakfast and are being packed off for the day in about an hour. Then Mrs SB will be ‘stressing’ making sure that her hair is looking top drawer and the make-up, which I don’t think she needs, is to her liking. For today is the day I have to attend this bloody wedding and miss what will be a great day’s snooker. I hope The Blue Boy is on hand to keep me updated with the scores via the medium of electronic text messages.

Yesterday very narrowly missed being the best day so far in terms of bets. A decent bet on the recommended Martin Gould proved to be plain sailing as he breezed through 3-0, but if only Andrew Higginson could have held his nerve I feel he missed a chance yesterday to beat Robbo, though there are now signs that the Thunder from Down Under is beginning to believe that he is actually the World Champion and play accordingly. Nevertheless four out of five, including the odds against shot Ricky Walden ensured that the kitty was topped up once more. A decent week all in all which I hope you have shared.

In terms of the outright bets flagged in the original preview, Maguire (16/1), Williams (16/1) and Robbo (16/1) have all avoided each other in the draw, though Mags has the small matter of Ronald Antonio to deal with. I won’t be too upset if the Rocket wins though as I’ve invested a free bet on him, the first time I have ever backed him to win a tournament.

Before I move on to today’s action I should congratulate Dani Martinez who for the second week running is going to win the Prediction Contest. He is currently 1 point clear of Joe Gibney and Edo with 46 points but has the only two players from the list still in the event, Walden and Gould, in his team meaning he cannot be caught. He will once again see a free £50 bet land in his Betfred account this week. We appear to have the blog’s version of a 90’s Stephen Hendry.

1pm

Mark Williams v Ding Junhui

It’s 3-2 to Mark in the head to heads including the China Open final last April. Ding has been clinical in disposing of lesser opponents in the previous two rounds but now comes up against a player that many are tipping for the title. I’m always one to go against the swathe of opinion when I feel it’s getting a little too carried away, but not this time. It has to be Williams, who is half decent odds just to win and I had considered a recommended bet on just that, but I’ll leave that and simply predict a 3-1 win for MJW at 4/1 with Sportingbet.

Ebbo: Game Plan

Peter Ebdon v Martin Gould

Martin is plenty short enough to win here at 4/6 with some firms, but the 5/6 at Stan James for early risers is very tempting. They have never played each other before and I’m sure Peter will arrive with a game plan to try and put the proverbial strait jacket around the ferocious potter from Pinner. But I don’t think Ebbo has the armour or thumbscrews to stop him, I’ll go with Gould and recommend a 1 point win at 5/6. In terms of a scoreline, why not try the 3-0 at 11/2 with Stan James?

7pm
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stephen Maguire

Wild discrepancies in the outright betting for this with Ronnie as short as 4/11 with Skybet and as long as 8/15 with Boylesports to win this one. Their head to heads has O’Sullivan ahead 11-3 and any regulars on here know that I’ll always take on Mags if I think there is even a possibility of him losing. Well there is more than a possibility here and I’m going to recommend a 1 point bet on the Rocket at 8/15 with Boyles. In terms of a scoreline, I’ll plump for 3-1 which is 3/1 at Corals.

Ricky Walden v Neil Robertson

To round off the day that I won’t see (it’s beginning to kick in) we have what could be a cracking match. There will be plenty clambouring to get the 6/4 on Ricky this morning as he has looked in great shape all week and leads 2-0 on the head to heads. But like I said earlier, to me Robbo is now beginning his season after a shaky start. I’m going to side with him as I think experience may tell here if it gets close, I’ll predict a 3-2 win for the Thunder which is 7/2 at William Hills.

Paddy Power are today’s bookie of choice as they are offering 512/1 on all these scores coming in, I’ll be doubling again. The more sensible accumulator on the winners flagged up pays an attractive 13/2 at Bodog, who are offering a free £25 bet for new customers, let’s put them out of business. It’s just over 11/2 almost everywhere else for those who can’t be bothered opening an account there.

Right I’m off to practice looking happy….

September 24, 2010

Prediction Contest Update

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:40 pm

This one could be a cliffhanger.

As we get to the business end of the World Open it’s time for another update to reflect the changes since yesterday to the scores.

Edo is still in poll position with Ricky Walden still left in the tournament but the chasing pack will be keeping a close eye on the matches tonight as the lead could change hands after these.

Last week’s winner Dani Martinez is proving that was no fluke and is a clear second.

Who will win the free £50 bet from Betfred?

Current Standings:

1. Edo 45 frames

2. Dani Martinez 43 frames

=3rd. Chris, Darren, Liggandestolen 42 frames

=4th. The Blue Boy, Lorraine 41 frames

=5th. Dan Chipowski, Joe Gibney, Godspeed, KjBets 40 frames

All still to play for.

World Open Day Seven: An Old Rivalry Returns

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:16 am

I mean, come on, what sort of berk wears this kind of stuff?

Apparently there was an email circulating before yesterday’s first match claiming that Ronnie would lose to Jimmy deliberately because he ‘owed him a favour’, well whoever sent that is clearly on the ball.

Though Jimmy was just one ball away from forcing the decider only the most ardent fan of ‘The Wind’ could really have seen anything other than a win for Ronnie, who cleared the table in frame four with a calm assurance which will give his legion of fans hope that the long wait may be over and he might again be seen with a trophy in his hands.

The full story about the email must be true as it comes from Clive Everton and can be read here. For anyone that missed the last few shots and Ronnie’s romantic encounter with one of his better looking fans, not the ones that turn up with a woolly jumper knitted by their gran with a triangle of reds on the front and ‘I love Ronnie’ emblazoned on the back, click here.

After Ronnie we were treated to a more lacklustre display by Marco Fu, who had been waiting in Glasgow for his first match for nearly a week eating boxes and boxes of Coco Pops. He’ll look back and wonder why he bothered as despite a nice clearance in frame 4, he just didn’t perform and was thumped by Andrew Higginson, who Hazel claimed was ‘The Wigan Warrior’ but we all know as ‘The Widnes Warrior’.

Ding was up next and was put under no pressure by Chris Moyles lookalike, Marcus Campbell, who true to form turned up looking like he’d just got out of bed. Ding knocked in a century but it remains to be seen how he copes when someone pushes him as he’s yet to face anything like an opponent in form.

The evening started with a bang and what was possibly the match of the tournament. I don’t think there is any better sight in snooker than Mark Williams in full flow, for entertainment value it’s a match for Ronnie and I’m still shocked that Ron didn’t see fit to include him on his ‘brain list’ yesterday. This is possibly because Mark doesn’t tend to play his best against the Rocket, whereas Selby and Higgins save theirs just for him.

Hawkins: Unlucky

Barry Hawkins can count himself extremely unlucky to have come up against a resurgent MJW, who ended up winning 3-2 and said afterwards: “I think I’d lost five or six deciding frames in a row before tonight so it was nice to win one, I felt calm in the last frame although I knew if I gave Barry a chance he would probably take it”.

He then continued ominously “I wouldn’t have won that match a couple of years ago, it’s amazing what a bit of confidence can do. I’m playing well enough to win more titles.” I think that 16/1 for him to win this looks big now.

Then came the final nail in the coffin of entertainment, the insomniacs idol Peter Ebdon. I will freely admit to only dipping in and out of this one, I was busy watching that Ricky Gervais programme with Mrs SB, who surprisingly wasn’t tempted by Ebbo against the Chinese Professor Liu Song. It turned out to be a very wise decision, I switched on to see Ebdon leading 2-0 and the table looking like a small child had been crawling all over it and just rolling the balls anywhere. I thought, this is classic Ebdon, he’ll win from here.

But no, in a bow to his millions of sleep deprived fans he battled on and tried his best to cure their illness and make them nod off. He eventually won 3-2 after a 54 minute decider, the word on the street is that the General Medical Council are going to patent Pete and use him on sufferers in extreme cases. The mere sight of him striding towards them in his gear with that determined look on his face will render them unconscious in minutes.

Rather sadly, two of these insomniacs were posting on here throughout the final days of the match, but like two ships that pass in the night, neither were actually able to talk to each other as one regular keeps forgetting to fill in the email box when he posts and if I’m not about his comments are stored for me to approve. I think if you fill it in once it will remember you.

Anyway, back to the snooker and bettingwise we hit three out of four yesterday with one correct score in the Ebdon match. The recommended bet on Williams meant that all in all the day saw a profit and all three recommended winners from the tournament preview are still fighting, so let’s see what we can do today.

12.30pm
RESULT: Jamie Cope 1-3 Ricky Walden

We kick off with what could be a cracker and it’s very hard to split these two. In terms of head to heads Jamie leads 1-0 and is arguably slightly the more experienced of the pair despite the fact that Ricky is a ranking event winner. Toss of a coin this for me, I think it will be 3-2, I’ll plump for Walden which is 4/1 generally.

RESULT: Stephen Hendry 1-3 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie is showing a glowing respect for Stephen this week, a long way from his touchingly eloquent ‘neh, neh, neh, get back to Scotland to your sad little life’ days. If Ronnie continues to play the way he has been he will punish every error that Stephen makes and sadly, in most frames nowadays he makes at least one. I’m going to take a chance on the Rocket continuing his run of form and plump for the 3-0 scoreline which is 3/1 at Betfred.

RESULT: Alan McManus 0-3 Stephen Maguire

Hoots man, Donald where’s yer troosers, it’s murrrder, och aye the noo nah big man. Yes, such stereotypical utterances can only mean one thing. It’s the all Scottish clash between Angles and Mags. The heeed to heeeds show a 3-2 advantage to Mags but they span a decade, some of which included purple patches at different points for both of them. Macca has finally ditched that god-awful stick he’s been using throughout his demise and has now got a proper cue. He looked ok in Round One against Matthew Stevens but Maguire is a different bag of haggis. I think Alan’s main hope is to frustrate Mags into causing bruising to the poor old table again but I can’t really see it. I’ll take Maguire to win 3-1 which is 13/5 at Paddy Power. Nooooo whaar did a poot maaa kilt?

7pm
RESULT: Neil Robertson 3-2 Andrew Higginson

There haven’t been many shocks so far in the event and this first frame thing is very weird. The BBC however would have you believe that the person that wins the first frame has never lost, they have, Selby took the first against Hawkins and lost. Anyway, I digress. Shocks, ok here’s one. I’ll take Higginson here (available at 7/4 generally) who before narrowly losing his only ranking final to date against Robbo had actually previously beaten him comfortably twice, a 3-2 scoreline is 6/1 at Betfred.

The Pride of Pinner

RESULT: Stephen Lee 0-3 Martin Gould

I can feel a recommended bet coming on. Gouldy pots like a demon though as he displayed in the World Championship he has to really as his positional play is not really the best is it? Lee did his best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against a very poor Nigel Bond in his last match. I can only see one outcome here and I’m going to recommend a 1 point win on Gould at 5/6 with Paddy Power. In terms of a score I’ll chance 3-1 which is 4/1 in most places.

The Correct Score Dream pays a pitiful 1967/1 at Bet 365 so it’s back to the hubbly dubblys for me, whereas the roll up on the winners pays just on 20/1 at Stan James, we’ll be lucky to get 5 out of 5 today so I’ll probably do fourfolds too.

As a final note, Ronnie I know is looking to get rid of the 4 grand that he’s going to win for his 147. Well one of the regular posters on here and a huge snooker anorak like myself, suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and has suggested that he gives it to them. You can find the details here.

September 23, 2010

An Update on the Blog

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:34 pm

It's the second road on the left, just past the pet shop.

As we move into the final stages of the World Open I feel the time has come to pre-warn faithful and deluded followers of this tripe that there will be a short period of inaction on the blog from Sunday onwards.

I have alerted the Samaritans and the Emergency Services are on hand.

There are a couple of reasons for this, the first being that myself and my good lady wife, the divine Mrs Snookerbacker are attending a wedding all day on Saturday, followed by our belated break away following our marriage in June. We’ll be away for all the following week which I’m afraid means that I won’t be able to cover the EPTC2 from Bruges on here.

Firstly, I can assure you that I did speak to Saturday’s bride and groom directly and showed them the snooker calendar for this year, but some people just will not listen to reason and they decided to go ahead with the wedding regardless of my quite rational protests. I reluctantly agreed with Mrs SB that in return I’d go along, smile, look happy and at least pretend not to think about events in Glasgow. The sacrifices I make for her are I’m sure you’ll agree of monumental proportions, she’s very lucky to have me. I think she knows that deep down. Anyway, I have located the televisions around the venue so I’m sure I’ll be able to just ‘pop to the loo’ for the odd half hour catch up.

The following week however myself and Mrs SB are away from it all and largely uncontactable, bliss  (well for a couple of hours until I start thinking about the finer points of the miss rule). But I shall return to civilisation the following weekend refreshed and ready to go for the PTC event in Sheffield the following week.

However, on the 4th October, a very kind new friend of mine is helping me do some technical stuff to the blog which I’ve been planning to do for a while now, it shouldn’t take too long according to him and I should only be offline for a further 48 hours. After that, if there is anyone left still waiting we’re back in business.

What is it they say on those monologue impersonal recorded things at train stations?

‘Snookerbacker would like to thank you for your patience and apologises for any inconvenience this may cause you’.

Prediction Contest Latest: It's Tight at the Top

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:16 pm

The tension is almost unbearable.

Much gnashing of teeth and sweaty palms at the top of the leader board in the World Open Tipster Contest, there is a change of leader going into the next round and it’s all very close.

Latest Standings:

1st. Edo 41 frames

=2nd. Lorraine, Joe Gibney 40 frames

=3rd. Dani Martinez, Liggandestolen and KjBets with 39 frames

=4th. Darren, Chris, Totee and Ian White with 38 frames

=5th. Ray, Dan Chipowski, Teo, Mignon, The Blue Boy with 37 frames.

There are also a whole host of others in the thirties so it’s still wide open.

Who will end up with the £50 Betfred free bet?

World Open Day Six: Expect the Unexpected

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:10 am

Let's Get Ready to Rumble

Day Six is upon us and the highlight of the day today is surely the first match between the Whirlwind or ‘The Wind’ as he now prefers to be called and the Rocket.

Anyone who is thinking about having a bet on this match might want to have a quick flick through the Yellow Pages and look under ‘C’ for Counselling or perhaps ‘L’ for Lunatic Asylums, this ain’t a betting match for me and I’m even forsaking my daily doubles bet on this one, anything could happen and probably will.

There were plenty of talking points yesterday and not just on the baize. The Scottish flies in the Glasgow area aren’t having a great week, with big burly Dutch hunk and nemesis of the airborne insect world Jan Verhaas throwing his weight around again and swatting everything that comes within touching distance of the players.

He’d better watch himself in this great nation of animal lovers or he’ll be on the next ferry home, they come over here, steal our jobs, our women, swat our flies….

Jan was in the news the other day too having told Ronnie to get on with it and pot his black for the 147, the official line is that he said ‘for the fans’, but I can exclusively reveal that this is only half the story. If you read his lips what he actually says is ‘pot the f*****g thing or I’ll swat ya’ or words to that effect in his native tongue. No wonder Ronnie did as he was told.

Talking of Ronnie and flies for that matter, the Rocket continues to fly in the face of the establishment and yesterday claimed in the Daily Mail that there have only ever been eight players that possessed ‘a snooker brain’, his elite list throws up one surprise to me as he names himself, Jimmy, Alex Higgins, Ding, Hendry, the late Paul Hunter, Steve Davis and ‘probably’ Mark Selby. It seems even the Rocket is determined to just twist that knife a bit more into his old rival John Higgins’s back, a glaring omission from ‘The Ron List’, don’t think Ray Reardon, Mark Williams or Mick Price will be too amused either.

STOP PRESS: The Mail article now includes John, so that means there are nine, Ronnie obviously having difficulty once he gets past multiples of eight.

Oh hang on a minute it says ‘eight rivals’, I give up, wish I hadn’t written all that now….oh well.

Yesterday we were also treated to the spectacle of the live draw and I have to say Rob Walker continued his magnificent accent to the peak of his profession with a top drawer performance. When I switched it on I thought ‘isn’t that nice involving the locals like that’ as I assumed that the man standing next to him had just been picked at random from a local boozer, but it turned out that he was a top athlete in his chosen profession, darts (there’s that link again…) and was greeted as something of a celebrity.

There was much talk on Twitter prior to the draw of hands in bowls of iced water and draw balls being microwaved, indeed by chance the two balls mentioned were Hendry’s and White/O’Sullivan’s and what do you know? They only go and draw each other. I think I’ll have to hire that guy as a guest tipster as he obviously knows his (microwaved) onions.

As for the snooker, the day started with another rather low key display but a win nevertheless for the World Champion Neil Robertson who beat a nervous Davy Morris, but at least Mozza managed to nick a frame and he’ll be a better player for the experience. Barry Hawkins again played very well in disposing of Kendo, who very nearly had them rolling in the aisles by falling down the stairs on entering the bear-pit. Hawkins is very unlucky to have been drawn against Mark Williams.

Don't put your balls in the Microwave.

Ricky Walden nearly beat James McBain without us even seeing if the Scot could actually pot a ball. Then in the evening Stephen Maguire despite performing grievous baizeily harm on the poor table more than once managed to beat Judd Trump with a break of 132 to boot. Trump again proving that he still has a bit to learn in the shot selection department. Mags again conceding a frame early, which is becoming something of a trademark now, watch the fines roll in!

Finally last night for anyone that stuck with it we saw another fantastic display of potting from Martin Gould, when he’s in the mood he just doesn’t miss. With his next round draw he could be a dark horse for this, if they both get through expect the microwave to be revved up again for him to face his Sheffield nemesis and comeback king Neil Robertson.

In terms of the betting, it was another decent day. Four from five with only Judd letting me down for the clean sweep. I did end up having a treble on Robertson, Hawkins and Gould, but also I managed 3 from 5 correct scores so the hubbly bubbly doubles came to fruition again. I still can’t get that four figure odds accumulator out of my mind though….

12.30pm

RESULT: Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-1 Jimmy White

No. No. No. Just don’t have a bet on it. Logic says Ronnie will win 3-0, but since when has logic played any part in a match involving O’Sullivan, particularly this week when he seems determined to steal the limelight. Ron would argue with some justification that he is raising the profile of the sport with his antics, if this is his intention then he’s doing a very good job. But the real story here would be a win for Jimmy, these are the sorts of matches that should just be watched as a spectacle. That’s what I’ll be doing. No bet, you hear me, no bet. Goooooo on Jimmy!!!

RESULT: Marco Fu 1-3 Andrew Higginson

After what promises to be a breathtaking start to the day what better person to calm things down than the robotic, trance-like figure of Marco. Higginson leads the head to head meetings 2-0, both pretty easy wins. But I’m going to side with Marco here and I’ll take the 3-1 scoreline at 15/4 with Hills.

RESULT: Marcus Campbell 0-3 (110) Ding Junhui

It’s 2-0 to Ding in the head to heads, including a meeting back in 2004 when Ding had just taken his first steps and at the tender age of 18 months beat Campbell 10-3 in a World Championship qualifier. Marcus o’the dump played well in bursts first match and I don’t think Ding will have this all his own way, but I think he’ll win so I’ll take the 3-2 scoreline which is 4/1 at Stan James.

7pm
RESULT: Mark Williams 3-2 Barry Hawkins

Two of the best players this week are pitted against each other too early, one of the downsides of the random draw for me. Interestingly these two have played each other at this distance 4 times, 3-1 to Williams. Drum Roll…..I’m going to recommend my second match bet of the week 1 point on Williams at 4/7 with Extrabet. As for a score, I’ll take the 3-1 again which is 3/1 at Corals.

Liu Song

RESULT: Peter Ebdon 3-2 Liu Song

Ebdon is becoming the insomniacs pin up boy and after his coma inducing match with Fergal he’s back to finish you off tonight. These two have met once with Pete winning 4-3. Liu reminds me of a crazy Chinese professor, Ebdon is just barking mad. I don’t like betting on matches involving Peter as he’s very unpredictable, a clown, even, but I’ll take him to win here, a late one though which could well result in the Fall of Paradise, 3-2 at 7/2 generally.

More conservative odds today of 347/1 on the correct score fourfold at William Hills. But the tasty accumulator on the four winners flagged up pays just over 4/1 almost everywhere so I’ll recommend 0.5 points on that too.

Tomorrow:

12.30pm
Jamie Cope v Ricky Walden
Stephen Hendry v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Alan McManus v Stephen Maguire

7pm
Neil Robertson v Andrew Higginson
Stephen Lee v Martin Gould

Finally I would like to congratulate a real stalwart of the game and the blogosphere Matt at Pro Snooker Blog who racked up his 1 millionth hit yesterday. Anyone who isn’t a regular visitor should bookmark it now, it’s an Aladdin’s Cave of information, news and facts and figures and a must for any snooker anorak like myself.

Visit Matt here.

Good Luck to anyone venturing ‘down the bookies’ today.

September 22, 2010

David Douglas Speaks About the Higgins Case

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:02 am

It wasn't this meeting, it was the one before.

Hopefully this will put the entire episode to bed and we can all move on from what has been a particularly unsavoury and forgettable few months for all concerned.

In this article, David Douglas reveals why John Higgins was cleared of the main charge, the extent to which he delved into the evidence, the extent to which the News of the World co-operated with his investigation and why he believes the meeting in Kiev on 30th April was not the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

Instead, much like the old commentary line ‘it wasn’t that shot, it was the one before’ when someone misses a key ball, he believes the real damage was done beforehand much closer to home. 

He describes John Higgins as ‘fundamentally honest’, a statement which he doesn’t extend to Pat Mooney and states that the evidence points to Higgins only knowing about the frame fixing minutes before going into the meeting on the 30th. Apparently Mooney said words to the effect of  ‘By the way, they may bring up throwing a few frames, just go along with it’ to John minutes before going in. 

He also explains why the decision was the only one that could be reached and that he is ‘absolutely confident’ that it was correct.

World Open Day Five

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:37 am

The Captain Crash Landed Yesterday

Yesterday for me stood out because of the number of below-par performances from players. Unfortunately we saw the end of the Captain’s flight and he himself admits to not playing well in his latest update of the highly popular Captain’s Log here.

But Ali did at least come up against an opponent who is bang in form in the shape of Mark Williams and I’d say he’d probably have beaten all the other players yesterday even below par, with the exception of Ding who played well against that jolly joker Jimmy Michie.

Of the others, even the winners didn’t play that well, Hendry did enough again but came up against a very off colour Mark Davis who according to one source in the know spent most of the previous night awake and vomiting having caught a bug off his kids. I think Stephen realises that he’s not in tip-top form and afterwards said “I’m hitting the ball well but what happens when you have no results behind you is that you lose composure. I took my eye off the object ball a couple of times when I should have won the frame in one visit”.

Stephen Lee should have hammered Nigel Bond who for most of the match looked like it was his first time on TV, but somehow Stevie nearly managed to lose. Peter Ebdon also crawled over the line against a spirited fightback from Fearless Fergal. But all in all for me it was a day of under-performance with the two notable exceptions.

In other shock news, Ronnie is threatening to quit again and told TalkSport  “I’m not going to change, I’ll never change. I was talking to Barry Hearn yesterday and I told him: ‘If you like, that can be my last game of snooker ever. I’m quite happy to walk away’ – and I mean that”. His full comments can be read here, but it’s getting to the point now where you could just cut and paste from his last retirement threat. He does however qualify his actions the other day, which have probably been blown out of all proportion, as his little one-man protest to Baz, not that he thinks he’s bigger than the sport of course.

In terms of the betting yesterday, not so good. It started with a correct score in the Williams match but that proved the highpoint with upsets in the shape of Bond and O’Brien faltering in deciders, so back to the drawing board today.

Morris: Big Ask.

12.30pm
RESULT: Neil Robertson 3-1 David Morris

First up today we have the World Champion against TV debutant Davy Morris. I am hearing some good reports about the Irishman and he recently beat Mark Williams, but it is a huge ask for him to win here and for me the best he can hope for is to give a good account of himself. I’ll take him to snatch a frame but Robbo to win 3-1 which is 12/5 at Corals.

RESULT: Ken Doherty 1-3 Barry Hawkins

These two have met 6 times with Ken holding a 4-2 advantage including a 10-1 win over the Hawk at the Crucible. But I was mightily impressed with Barry against Selby and will take him to send giggly Ken back to the commentary box, 3-1 again I think at 7/2 generally.

RESULT: James McBain 0-3 Ricky Walden

Scot McBain was responsible for Mark Allen in the qualifying cubicle in Sheffield but is also a newcomer to this kind of stage. I’m not sure about this one, Walden should win but it isn’t one I can go for with any conviction as he can be a little unreliable and if McBain has the wind in his sails he could well cause an upset. But I’ll play it safe and take Ricky to win 3-2 which is 7/2 with Stan James.

7pm
RESULT: Judd Trump 2-3 Stephen Maguire

A repeat of their recent Shanghai encounter which saw Maguire win 5-3 despite two centuries from young Juddly. If Judd can just tighten up his safety a bit I think he has the game to kick on this season. Maguire looked patchy in the first round so I’ll take young Judd to set off with a bang, I’ll take the 3-1 scoreline at 9/2 with Skybet.

RESULT: Martin Gould 3-0 Matthew Couch

The bookies are taking no chances on the Pinner Potter here who is plenty short enough in their books. But I have to agree and can’t see anything other than a win for Gould here, if he’s on his game this one could be over quite quickly so I’ll take a chance he is and go for the 3-0 scoreline at 7/2 with Skybet.

The mad accumulator today pays a meagre 1355/1 with Corals whereas the altogether more sensible option of a roll up on the five winners pays over 8/1 at Boylesports.

Good Luck if Playing.

September 21, 2010

World Open Day Four

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:41 am

Jan the Man: You do what he says, when he says, yeah? Got a problem with that?

Another busy day on the baize beckons today with a couple of potentially close matches at least. Obviously yesterday will be remembered for a long time by fans and foes of the Rocket.

What he did yesterday was incredible, the fact that he can more or less in effect, predict and have that much confidence in his ability to tell everyone he’s planning on making a 147 when he is on 8, sets him apart from any other player that has ever played the game.

But what also sets him apart is his attitude. Sure, arrogance is what draws people to you, you become a ‘love or hate’ figure, but yesterday I’d argue that Ronnie again (remember Leo Scullion in the World Championship) crossed the line. It ain’t big and it ain’t clever and it definitely isn’t classy.

King took Ron’s behaviour and lack of general regard for anyone but himself on the chin yesterday, as did the audience but Jan Verhaas has to be applauded for standing up to the petulant Rocket. Perhaps if more people did that he might just knuckle down, stop acting like a twonk and actually win a tournament? Anyway, Jimmy awaits and I know who I’d like to win.

There were other matches on yesterday too and third time lucky I managed to get five out of five and land a 16/1 accumulator to boot! I’m getting a bit frustrated with these correct scores though, I got two right and the other three wrong by one frame, I’m determined to get that 2000/1 plus roll up in the bag before the end of the week! Well, you can dream.

Anyway, after Ronnie’s antics we saw Alan McManus who has at last ditched that two piece cue add to Matthew Stevens vast collection of final frame defeats, he’ll need to move to a bigger house to fit them all in soon. We also saw Liu Song justify the recommended odds by beating Joe Johnson, sorry, Jogia. Later in the day Jamie Cope edged out Big Dave in the Gunfight at the OK Stoke and fresh from the swamp Marcus Campbell beat a poor performing Mike Dunn to round off the evening.

So to today:

1pm
RESULT: Ali Carter 1-3 Mark Williams

We love Ali on here, the Captains Log is a real addition to things and the longer he stays in the tournament the more entries he’ll be making. Mark leads their tussles 5-4 and has won the last two. I would love Ali to win but the only thing we have to go on is first match performances and for that reason I have to side with MJW, I’ll take 3-1 at 4/1 with Corals.

RESULT: Jimmy Michie 1-3 Ding Junhui

Jimmy Michie is no pushover and can still play a bit, but we don’t see this handsome stallion of a man on TV all that often. I think Ding will be too strong for him here and expect a straightforward 3-0 scoreline which is 12/5 with Corals.

RESULT: Stephen Lee 3-2 Nigel Bond

Could be another decent match this between two players that have tasted life in the top echelons but are now scrambling around trying to keep their ranking positions. They have met 9 times with Lee winning 6 of them, but Nigel has won their last 2 encounters. I’m going to take a chance on Nigel to upset the odds here and will take the 3-1 scoreline at 5/1 with Corals.

7pm
RESULT: Stephen Hendry 3-0 Mark Davis

Hendry looked OK in round one and rumours of his demise are still possibly a little premature. These two haven’t met for nearly a decade, so the fact that Stephen leads the head to heads 3-0 is no surprise. But that was a very different Hendry. On form you have to fancy Davis to win here, so I’ll go with my first instincts and again side with him to upset the odds, I’ll take the deciding frame win 3-2 at 4/1 with Boylesports.

RESULT: Peter Ebdon 3-2 (129) Fergal O’Brien

Top Drawer scheduling for the insomniacs here. What better way to cure this curse than to have a bath, put on the cocoa and settle down to watch this? You’ll be sleeping like a baby in minutes. Again, I’m going to go with an upset here as Fergal knows how to handle Peter and that’s sometimes half the battle, but expect a late one. I’ll take 3-1 to Fearless Fergal at 6/1 with Sportingbet. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

So today’s correct score roll up pays a paltry 2982/1 at Corals, I’ll be cross doubling again. The altogether more sensible option of the roll up on the winners flagged up pays just over 24/1 also at Corals.

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