September 19, 2010

World Open Day Two: Enter the Whirlwind

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:06 am

Will there be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for the Whirlwind?

Another day of ‘quickfire’ snooker beckons on this rainy sleepy Sunday. This afternoon sees Stephen Hendry trying to halt his slide down the rankings and fellow former World Champion Mark Williams takes to the baize. Then this evening we have ‘the main event’, Jimmy’s back in town and he’s buzzing, right?

So what do we think of it so far? That isn’t cue for a mass pantomime audience response as it would be nice to gauge opinions on this experiment. On the plus side, we get to see everyone, I always like one table set ups and this delivers on that. The matches weren’t great yesterday, performances were mixed and for me we had to wait until the bananas were delivered late on to see someone really perform, Dave Harold played very solidly in butchering poor Shaun Murphy. I think he needs to start saying his prayers more regularly, as either there is no God or he ain’t listening to our Smurf.

But it is nice to see the players getting edgy and they were obviously over-cautious, well apart from Un-Nooh who it appears stopped reading his coaching manual after Chapter One; ‘Potting’. Mrs Snookerbacker also likes the grey carpet and the set in general, I have to say I agree and having the practice tables visible as part of the BBC coverage is a small plus too.

Though this is outweighed by 75% of the commentary, which I’m afraid to say is far superior in terms of information on Eurosport. I’m afraid Dennis in particular is beginning to get on my nerves and nobody likes it when they are talked to like an idiot, which some of them tend to do sometimes. At least you can rely on Willie to slip in the odd bit of gambling talk to keep us entertained, sighing when he’s obviously done his conkers in-running.

But there are more minuses, the music between frames and flashing lights needs to stop now, it’s a bit embarrassing when it focuses in on old Jock and Ethel McTavish who have come in for a warm on the bus with their £1 OAP discount ticket. Barry, please, I shouldn’t have to say it again, it isn’t darts and it never will be. I still am in the minority however of thinking they should stick with the walk-on music, just a little more imagination from the players or their ‘people’ is needed.

Jimmy asked people on Twitter what his should be, it remains to be seen if he’s listened to any of them, I suggested a couple. Surely Big Dave should change immediately from the god damn awful Florence and the Machine rubbish to something by Bananarama. As much as I like our Ali, surely a reference to flying in his song is long overdue. Come on chaps, get with the programme….

A lot of snooker fans and some of the players are not happy that so many ranking points are available at an event like this. But I’m not too bothered about that as I’m sure the lucky chap who takes home the £100k at the end of the week won’t be, I won’t be feeling too sorry for him.

In terms of performances yesterday, I’ve already mentioned that I thought Dave played very well. Mass counselling is always needed after Stuart ‘Agadoo’ Pettman appears on our screens, not just to get over his latest haircut but this time for his millions of adoring fans in places like Wigan, where any haircut goes, to recover from what was surely one of the biggest meltdowns ever televised on the baize against sulky Maguire. Mags looked to be cueing well straight off and is usually a decent starter, but then he started acting like a bit of a doughnut again. He’s lucky to be in ‘the hat’ for the next round, I fear Pettman may be contemplating the future this morning; Green Baize or Black Lace?

Ali didn’t play well against his Thai opponent, who is so thin I think his bones may actually be half-man half-chicken. Ebdon was solid enough and comfortably took care of the Nugget, Robbo looked edgy and I do hope this slower version of him isn’t going to become the norm, but he won through against tough old Dotty and lives to fight another day, even though he still hasn’t changed his song back to Thunderstruck.

In terms of the betting, yesterday I managed four out of five winners but didn’t get any of the scores correct. I did end up having a bet on Big Dave as I thought the price was out of kilter with recent form, so altogether not a bad start to a small stakes betting event.

'This music is a bit noisy and those lights are hurting my eyes, pass the toffees Cyril that nice boy Selby is on next''

Result: Stephen Hendry 3-0 Bjorn Haneveer

Bjorn is available at 6/4 to win this. Hendry ain’t playing well but I still get the feeling he’ll scrape through here, so I’ll take our Stevie to win a tense decider 3-2 at 4/1 with Sportingbet.

A convincing win in the end for Hendry, he’s up and running. Bjorn had his chances but felt the pressure and never looked like challenging.

Result: Mark Williams 3-0 Igor Figueiredo

MJW takes on everyone’s favourite Brasilian German Igor, who has had a great start to his professional career, will he cut the mustard on TV though? I think this might be the match of the afternoon and I’ll take Mark to win 3-1 at 5/2 with Boylesports.

Bursts from Igor to suggest he’ll be back on the screens soon, but Williams produces a clinical performance and is the best player we’ve seen so far. Still can’t crack this score mullarkey. The Captain awaits….

Result: Ding Junhui 3-0 Adrian Gunnell

Ding is another struggling for form but there isn’t enough to suggest a shock is on the cards here. I’ll take him to win this 3-0 at 3/1 with Boylesports.

Ding completes Whitewash afternoon, let’s hope Jimmy follows suit later before what I think will be a close one.


Result: Jimmy White 3-1 Paul Davison

Jungle Jimmy the Whirlwind of Old London Town takes to the stage and hopefully his adoring fans will turn out in droves. He faces the relative unknown 39 year old Davison and you would expect Jimmy’s experience to tell here, but as ever with Jimbo, expect the unexpected. I’ll take him to win 3-0 and complete a whirlwind whitewash that’s 4/1 at Boylesports.

Jimmy not impressive, but at least he wins against an opponent that looked solid first frame then didn’t….

Result: Mark Selby (109) 2-3 (127) Barry Hawkins

The Jester enters the frey no doubt with a new set of visual gags and one-liners to entertain the late night stragglers. He’s such a hoot. But this is a tricky opener and I wouldn’t take the silly odds on him to win, Hawkins is a fine player and the TV won’t phase him, I think this will be close but given Mark’s final frame pedigree I’ll take him to edge it 3-2 which is 7/2 at Boylesports.

Cracking match, down to the wire, Hawkins wins on the pink.

I’ll be cross-doubling again to small stakes and throwing my £2 into the bookies benevolent fund by backing the accumulator at a miserly 1353/1 at Boyles. If you just fancy a roll up on the predicted winners this pays just on 13/2 at Ladbrokes.

Good Luck if you’re having a go and let’s hope for a decent day’s snooker.

Don’t forget you can read Ali Carter’s Captain’s Log exclusively on the blog here.

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