Snookerbacker

October 20, 2010

EPTC 3 from Germany Outright Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:17 pm

Will Ronnie make the trip?

The European Tour Championship enters it’s third event on Friday with 128 players, some a lot more familiar than others competing over in Germany for more ranking points and a bit of dosh.

A bit of an exclusive for the blog is that Ali Carter has pulled out of the event, we don’t yet know whether the lesser spotted Ronald Antonio will board a flight but if he does, it won’t be Captain Carter flying the plane.

As regulars will know these events are now becoming synonymous with the outfit that everyone is talking about. The Team SB colours and in particular the Skipper’s jumper is what the players all want to give them that advantage going into the event.

So far, we have nailed the team skipper colours to six names, four of whom went on to win events in Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Judd Trump and Ding Junhui. Shaun Murphy, twice a skipper and twice a loser has now lost all rights to the mustard jumper until he has a shoo-in draw path to the semi-finals again.

Skybet have priced this one up early doors so the prices on this preview will initially be their’s until the other firms get involved in the markets. They have even seen fit to price up ‘The Group of Death’, a section of the draw which includes Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Mark Allen and Liang Wenbo amongst others. I’ve had a couple of quid on the improving Chen Zhe at 66/1 on the off-chance.

With the exception of this group this event is largely characterised by some of the more familiar names facing ‘warm up’ matches against locals before they meet someone to give them a game. For instance, it would be a brave punter that took on Mark Williams in his first match, a defeat to Diana Schuler would surely go down in the snooker history books and might possibly also see a retirement speech by Mark, hastily translated into German immediately after the match.

Last week, Team SB skipper Murphy was a less than confident choice though I did think at least one of the supporting crew might shine, but alas this was not to be. I approach this one a little more confident in the team I have chosen to don the mustard cashmere, well as confident as you can be in a 128 runner race.

So who is this week’s captain? Ok, the picture might give you a clue. But to be able to carry this prestigious title all the way to the podium you need a proven winner, with a good draw to finals day who is capable of kicking on once he’s there and this week’s irrefutable candidate in all these respects is the Jester from Leicester Mark Selby (7/1).

Selby pictured after his first success as skipper

OK, he is the joint favourite, but with good reason. He has a very winnable path to the Quarter Finals and once he’s there you’re just hoping that the pride the jester will take in a return to the skippers mantle will kick in. I didn’t really consider anyone else for skipper this week having looked at the draw.

It’s then we look to take advantage of the quarter odds on a semi-final place with the supporting cast.

In terms of the crew I’ve chosen to assist Mark in his cashmere crusade, I’ve first gone with another former skipper Judd Trump (22/1), Judd is a regular in the team and knows the ropes, he has a similar looking draw in terms of standard of opponent to when he won his EPTC event earlier in the summer in this neck of the woods, in horse terms, he’s a course and distance winner that travels well.

Marco Fu (25/1) is another who I won’t have to send a new jumper to and again to me he has a safe enough path to the finals day and merits inclusion in the team.

Barry Hawkins (33/1) and Andrew Higginson (33/1) both have solid each way credentials and could benefit from fairly decent draws all the way up to Sunday.

In terms of the real ‘every dog has it’s day’ longshots this week two new names get a feel of wool against ash in Joe Jogia (250/1) who if all goes to plan will face Marco in the last 16 in an all mustard clash and Xiao Guodong (200/1) who after wins over Zhang Anda and Higginson last weekend only lost 4-3 to Selby in Round 3, he is one who to me looks a bit overpriced at 50/1 for a semi-final place given that he potentially has a reasonable draw to the last 16, one might even argue to the last 8.

But as ever this is filled with ‘if’s’, ‘but’s’, ‘maybe’s’ and ‘do you mind if I don’t’s’.

The draw for the event is here and there is still a chance to enter the Prediction Contest for the £50 free bet which has now been confirmed with Betfred here.

A quick note also that we’ll be having a Prediction Contest for the UK Championships in November when as well as free bets you’ll have the chance to win a pair of tickets to all sessions of the first day of the Masters in January, courtesy of our old chums at World Snooker. To find out details of how to purchase tickets for this prestige event in the snooker calendar click here.

Good Luck to anyone having a go this week.

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