October 27, 2010

EPTC 4 from Gloucester Preview: Not a Power Zone in Sight

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:43 pm

You need peace, quiet and good eyesight to study the EPTC drawsheet.

The European Pro-Tour Championship Event 4 kicks off at the weekend and to the delight of snooker fans, or as we are increasingly becoming known ‘purists’, it will have some matches we’ll be able to watch, yes, watch! From the venue thanks to the live streaming facility over at Paul Mount’s gaff in Gloucester.

Today’s earlier post sparked some debate amongst the regulars, rather like when someone says something controversial in the snug of an old man’s pub, like ‘how about we install a jukebox?’ much to the grunts and general derision of the faithful patrons.

But it’s fair to say that most of the followers of this particular blog will be keeping a closer eye on events over in Gloucester than all the glitz, glamour and razzmatazz of ‘that London’.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Power Snooker it has got the players, though not necessarily the sport of snooker a lot of coverage in the press. I’m not one to urinate on anyone’s mange tout just for the sake of it and I see it for what it is, a gimmick and definitely not ‘the future’ or ‘the revo-bloody-lution’.

I do get a bit disturbed when some accuse those of us who voice an opinion of the product prior to it’s introduction as being ‘stuck in the past’ or ‘afraid of change’. All snooker fans want what’s best for the sport, but just because we don’t think this is, accusations are hurled in every direction from young trendies that are trying to make a fast buck. The phrase ‘standing on the shoulders of a giant’ springs to mind.

Incidentally, Dave Hendon has revealed on his blog that the viewing figures for the recent World Open were down by 10% on the Grand Prix last season, perhaps fast and furious isn’t what people want after all. Either that or the 10% have died of old age in the intervening year. Whatever it is, maybe Shaun Murphy should have a rethink about his recent comments on the World Championship and instead listen to the altogether more reasonable opinions given by Mark Selby on his blog here (don’t worry Captain, it isn’t a patch on yours).

But I’ll watch the Power Snooker, I’ll take the piss out of it, listen to what Ali has to say about the whole experience on his Log and then look forward to the start of the real season in earnest when later in November the qualifying for the first big event of the season, the UK Championships gets under way.

Oh yes, the preview I almost forgot why I was here. I was going to hang fire with it as there is still apparently a doubt over the participation of Mark Williams. I heard from two independent sources yesterday that he wasn’t playing but this is directly contradicted by a story on World Snooker today.

I’d prepared the preview thinking he wasn’t playing, if he is he’s got a decent draw and I would not put anyone off backing him, in fact as I write Sportingbet have priced him up at 16/1, all in. Fair enough as that’s the risk you take I suppose. Latest: I’m 99.9% certain he isn’t playing in this.

True Colours: Only one this weekend and it's Mustard.

But anyway with that caveat, I’ll stick with my original team.

So who is going to be skipper this week of the Mighty Mustard Malitia? Well this week I’m reaching for the top of the ranking list and taking a chance with blog hero from the World Championship, the Champ himself Neil Robertson (14/1 Sportingbet/Skybet). Yes, I know he’s playing in the two events but his draw to Sunday is very winnable and the fact that he’s in a section with Jimmy means that they will probably get that bit finished early to allow them to get themselves off for London. That segment of the draw is Robbo’s to lose and I believe he’ll be trying his best. I’ll take that chance with him.

But if ever there was a weekend when we might find a few big priced bit players this is arguably it and I realise that many readers will be currently choking on their prawn sandwiches at my selection for captain, have I lost the plot?

Maybe, so I’ll try and select a strong supporting cast should Skipper Robbo find it all too much. Last week we managed to get 5 of the 6 selections into finals day but only Andrew Higginson kicked on to the each way spot.

First of all this week I’m going plump for a player who again has rock solid claims to make finals day in Jamie Cope (33/1 Sportingbet/Skybet), I’ll reselect Stuart Bingham (40/1 Sportingbet/Skybet) in his section and hope he faces either a tired Ronnie or Selby or a more beatable opponent in his first match on Sunday should he make it through.

I’ll then go to one of the old timers and hope that Ken Doherty (50/1 Sportingbet/Skybet) can keep up his strong form from last week.

Blog favourite Rory McLeod (100/1 Skybet) is the next crew member and makes his debut in mustard. He has a winnable route to finals day and should Williams not take part or fail to get through, that 80/1 could look big as we go into Sunday for Rory. He hasn’t fired on any cylinders yet in these but there are signs he’s coming back to some consistent form (just keep him away from the cameras until the each way odds are landed please Paul…).

Finally I’m going to give another chance to Xiao Guodong (125/1 Sportingbet/Skybet). He was the only member of the crew last week that let us down in the qualifying day but he again has a winnable section, though a tough opener against James Wattana which could go either way.

So that’s Team SB for this week. Remember the Prediction Contest for the free £50 bet from Betfred can still be entered here.

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