November 30, 2010

UK Qualifiers Final Day Previews

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:44 pm

A Nemesis Awaits......

The last six matches get under way tomorrow and without doubt all baizey eyes will be focused on one table. Can Jimmy White overcome Joe Perry to set up a date with his old nemesis Stephen Hendry in Telford?

The TV executives and a certain Cockney chairman in his huge mansion certainly hope so, as do with respect to Gentleman Joe, a legion of fans just urging Jimmy to give us that one last season of magic. Just for us.

But this is a very different world to the one way back when there were only a few channels to watch and Jimmy enthralled us all, well those of us who are old enough at least, in the early eighties and later through his battles with Hendry in the nineties. He took us to the heights of expectation and excitement and to the depths of despair and sadness. He along with Alex before him, took us to places we didn’t know this sport could. Can we dare to dream he can do it again?

Right you can probably tell who I want to win now so will ignore the preview. But no, that’s enough now I must focus. There are five other matches too and cash to be made, no room for sentiment, or is there? Anyway, here goes with the preview.

Oh, I almost forgot. The Festive Sack has burst open. A £100 free bet with Sportingbet available for the shrewdest judge on these matches and a few others here.

Mark Davis v Joe Swail (H2H 4-3)

As you’d expect these two have history. Dark Mavis winning the last two meetings both on a decider, most recently in the Welsh Open qualifying back in January. Joe gave Simon Bedford a right old pasting in the last round and over this longer distance you have to go back a very very long way since Joe posted a scoreline that convincing. Mavis was the most improved player last season in the ranking list, that is a fact that nobody can dispute. The 38 year old is a player that is growing into his game, having been regarded as a journeyman for many years he is now finding a confidence that sometimes comes only with maturity for some players, perhaps I packed in full time too early at 18. There is no doubt however that when Joe is on a roll he is still a fine player, he is also a very likeable chap. What’s wrong with me tonight? Likeable? Come off it this is a bet man. I have to go with Davis here, but strangely I don’t have the confidence in this match as I thought I’d have at this stage, he is however a member of the Snookerbacker Acca.

More interesting to watch than Paddy.

Mike Dunn v Patrick Wallace (H2H 1-1)

Won’t be pretty will it? Referee with shortest straw required for this one. Paddy has been performing this week of that there is no doubt, but I’m sorry, he just isn’t good to watch. Twitter comic Dunny is a bit in and out and isn’t a player that I think anyone should back big for or against, he usually finds one to beat him. Given Wallace’s form coming into this seems solid, I think he has to be backed at odds against here. But the only way you’d get me to watch this one is if the insomnia returns, instant cure.

Recommended Bet: Patrick Wallace at 5/4 (Paddy Power and Sportingbet)

Ryan Day v Jamie Burnett (H2H 1-1)

Both meetings have been on foreign soil and don’t really offer any clues as a lot can happen in four years. Ryan has been to very near the top and has since suffered an horrendous loss of form and Burnett, well, he had a terrible result against Maguire in this a couple of years back, I think that missed black set him back a bit. But despite that, like a phoenix from the flames he came right back and made the final over in Shanghai a couple of months ago. Ryan showed signs of a slight return to form in the last PTC but is still being beaten by players he would have beaten 18 months ago. I’d put Jay-Bee in that category, at his best Ryan would win, but despite a corner turned he ain’t back to his best just yet and again, at odds against the bet has to be Burnett.

Recommended Bet: Jamie Burnett at 5/4 with Bet 365

Andrew Higginson v Dominic Dale (H2H 1-0)

Haven’t a clue on this one and having backed Dale at 7/4 to qualify I’d be happy to see it close. I’d leave this one alone. Seriously, I have no idea who will win and I can’t with any conviction commit to a selection.

Liang Wenbo v Rory McLeod (H2H 3-1)

Rory is another that I have backed to qualify this time at 11/4 as I often believe that there ain’t no mountain high enough.  So again I am probably not the right person to ask on this one as I heard it through the grapevine and I’ll be looking to lay him in play or back Liang. I think we’ll know after the first few frames how this match is going to go. If they are slow methodical frames and Rory is not behind, I’d say let’s get it on, but if the first two frames go by at the speed of lightning, it’s Liang and it’s Liang very comfortably. This is the real tortoise against the hare, Liang does sometimes lose matches that he should win against renowned ‘match players’, Rod Lawler, Alan McManus, Ian McCulloch and Dom Dale being recent examples of this. Rory is from that school of player if you are one for patterns.

Joe Perry v Jimmy White (H2H 1-1)

Joe and Jim’s first meeting in nearly a decade and Jimmy’s biggest match for a long time, to qualify to meet Hendry will mean the world to him. The newly crowned World Seniors Champion has been like the Whirlwind of old this week against mere mortals, but still opponents that he had to account for, which he did very comfortably. Joe on the other hand has been in the doldrums for a couple of seasons since being the model of consistency and is firmly in the Ryan Day school of ‘we used to be that good’ at the minute. You know what? I think Jimmy can win this. Judge for yourselves whether this is the heart, the head or the shrewdie talking, but I’m going to back him at that price as I’d kick myself if I didn’t.

Recommended Bet: Jimmy Whirlwind White at 11/10 with Bet 365

Multiple Bet:

I’d recommend a 3 x 0.5 point doubles and a 0.5 point treble at Bet365 on Jimmy (11/10), Wallace (6/5) and Burnett (5/4), treble alone pays over 9/1.

Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s the Festive Sack: £100 Free Bet Up for Grabs!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:05 pm

It’s here at last, the time you have all been waiting for. Yes folks this is, quite literally Christmas come early for this my friends is Snookerbacker’s Festive Sack Day One!

On Wednesday 1st December you will be competing for the following prize (hand fiddles with sack)


What you have to do:

Simply predict a scoreline in each of these matches that finish on Wednesday, they are all first to 9 frames.

Joe Perry v Jimmy White

Mark Davis v Joe Swail

Mike Dunn v Patrick Wallace

Ryan Day v Jamie Burnett

Andrew Higginson v Dominic Dale

Liang Wenbo v Rory McLeod

Barry Hawkins v Fergal O’Brien (current score 6-2)

Stuart Bingham v Peter Lines (current score 5-3)

Ken Doherty v Rod Lawler (current score 5-3)

Ricky Walden v Liu Chaung (current score 4-4)

The Rules:

1. Post your completed entry with a scoreline for each match in the comments section. Please try and stick to the order the matches are listed for my sanity’s sake. Thanks.

2. You must include a name and an email address (nobody will see this) in the boxes provided above the comments box to be entered. No anonymous entries or entries without an email will be valid and only one entry per person is allowed. This includes duplicate IP addresses.

3. You must be over the legal gambling age in your country to win a free bet or failing that be a very good liar.

4. All entries must be in by 10am UK time, 11am CET on 1st December.


You will receive 2 points for every winning player and a further 5 points for a correctly predicted scoreline.

In the event of a tie the winner will be the person whose total accumulated amount of frames in all match outcomes is closest to the actual final total frames scored (for instance if all ten matches finish 9-8, the total accumulated frames is 10×17= 170).

If it is still a tie, the prize will be split between the winners.

Small Print:

Just the one. This is an online prize and as such if you win and do not have an account with the prize provider you will need to open one. I will email you with details on how best to do this after the competition finishes. You may need to allow a period of time for your bet to be credited. to your account but I will try and make this as short as possible.

May the fun commence!

Good Luck everyone! There is another Festive Sack goodie on the 2nd so don’t be too upset if you don’t win this one. (Tip: Get to know your blog history).

UK Qualifiers: Tuesday from Sheffield Updates

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:12 am

It's nearly time.....

Good morning again everyone. The penultimate day of the qualifiers gets underway with six matches kicking off this morning.

As alluded to in the updated preview below tomorrow sees the sesonal opening of the first ever Snookerbacker Festive Sack and there will be a one day prediction contest on the remaining qualifying matches tomorrow to kick things off. For a rather handsome opening prize.

All will be revealed later today, but be sure to get your entries in before the 10am deadline in the morning. It will include the matches playing to a conclusion as well as the ones staring out, so get studying.

Scores updated throughout the day, would be nice to see the Nugget win and all my thoughts on each match are in the preview.

Conclude Tonight:

Matthew Stevens 9-5 Rob Milkins
Gerard Greene 2-9 Tom Ford
Martin Gould 9-8 James Wattana
Stephen Lee 9-4 Dave Gilbert
Steve Davis 2-9 Mark Joyce
Judd Trump 9-7 Xiao Guodong

Earlier Scores:

Barry Hawkins 6-2 Fergal O’Brien
Stuart Bingham 5-3 Peter Lines
Ken Doherty 5-3 Rod Lawler
Ricky Walden 4-4 Liu Chaung

Conclude Tonight:

Matthew Stevens 4-4 Rob Milkins
Gerard Greene 2-6 Tom Ford
Martin Gould 4-4 James Wattana
Stephen Lee 5-3 Dave Gilbert

Steve Davis 2-6 Mark Joyce
Judd Trump 4-4 Xiao Guodong (XG missed final pink for a 147)

November 29, 2010

Final Qualifying Round: Tuesday Previews *UPDATED*

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:05 pm

The Nugget: Saves the Pennies.

So after a great week of qualifiers we now come down to the wire and these matches decide who goes to Telford.

I’m a bit miffed at the fact that for some reason two of the matches played first thing today were only finalised late last night. I can’t help thinking that a certain Mr Davis and Mr Trump will benefit from that but punters won’t. If anyone can come up with a rational explanation as to why they couldn’t have started two matches we already knew in the morning let me know, other than the fact that the Nugget wants to save on the hotel bills that is.

Bettingwise, a nice afternoon yesterday saw a recommended double and treble landed from Sunday’s preview. But disappointing performances by Michael Holt (again) and Marcus Campbell point to the fact that perhaps winning a PTC early in the season is a blessing in disguise. Jimmy came through however and now faces Joe Perry to qualify tomorrow, a winnable match for the Whirlwind to set up a date with Stephen Hendry in Telford.

Still, a couple of bad calls can’t put a dampener on what has been a good week. Even taking the dent yesterday round three saw over a 5 point profit and on the week so far we are 17.57 points up. Let’s hope we can finish with a flourish.

To keep everyone posted, later on, as well as the preview on the four remaining games I’ll announce the Inaugural Festive Sack Competition. You will have to be quick however as it will involve predictions on tomorrow’s snooker and entries will close when the first ball is struck.

Tomorrow also sees the first day of the Snokvent Calendar, which promises to show the players as you’ve never seen them before in the run up to Xmas Day.

Anyway, to the preview and as ever head to heads are included below and prices are right at time of writing. Good Luck everyone.

10am and 7.30pm

Matthew Stevens v Robert Milkins (H2H 1-1)

These two haven’t played each other for 5 years but the two times they have both ended in a deciding frame, 9-8 either way so on head to heads you can’t split them. So the next place to look is the form book and Matthew on paper has been getting better results but you have to take into account Rob’s ‘baby factor’ and the fact that he has a solid win under his belt already. I’m finding it hard to get motivated for a bet in this one but I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing blog favourite Matthew at the venue.

Martin Gould v James Watanna (H2H 0-1)

One of the most improved players on the circuit and champion of little spectacle wearers across the globe Gould takes on Watanna who is once again proving that there is life in the old dog yet. In fact looking at a recent photo of James he doesn’t seem to have aged at all over the past 20 years, I wish I could say the same about myself. Anyway, Gould will be keen to cement his reputation by making the televised stages here and it would be a massive boost to his bid to break into the top 16. This run by James reminds me of his very near miss on reaching Sheffield, will he get over the final hurdle this time? I don’t think so, it has to be Gould here.

Recommended Bet: Martin Gould 1/2 at Stan James

Stephen Lee v Dave Gilbert

Surprisingly these two have never crossed swords. Lee was mightily impressive in the Gloucester PTC and because it was live streamed we got to witness that Rolls Royce cue action in top gear. The cruel amongst that wicked internet community claimed that the fact that this was the only PTC sponsored in part by a pie company gave Stevie that extra edge he needed. Apparently he gave all the pies away to Robert Milkins. But whatever made him play that way it worked and on that form he is still a top eight player. Dave Gilbert will hopefully have got a bit of confidence back that has been sadly lacking from his game for a while now and a player with a few wins behind him and with his tale up is a danger. But I can’t forget how well Lee played just a few weeks ago and on that form he’ll win this one comfortably, I have to stick with Stevie though the 4/9 at Paddy Power is too short to recommend.

Could be a real cat and mouse game this one

Tom Ford v Gerard Greene (H2H 1-1)

Tom came through a tricky opener against Drago and judging by the speed of scoring played well to win. Tom beat Gerry 4-2 in a recent EPTC event and both have been taking advantage of the additions to the calendar this season so they should both be match fit. It’s actually a surprise to me that Greene remains the higher ranked player of the two as I think personally that Ford is marginally the better player and on that token I’m going to stick with the Leicester man here.

Recommended Bet: Tom Ford 5/6 at Paddy Power

Steve Davis v Mark Joyce (H2H 1-0)

The head to head encounter was a Grand Prix match in the now infamous Round Robin stage which signalled the beginning of the end of that particular event. Davis winning that 4-3. As ever the Nugget will have prepared for this event far more than he does for the others. He has actually kept his eye in over the summer and has beaten some higher ranked players in the PTC’s. Joyce has now shocked me twice this week which leads me to believe that I have underrated him. But I’m going to oppose him again, that wily old Nugget loves long matches and Joyce will have to out-think, as well as outplay him. The Captain awaits the winner in Telford and I’m going to plump for the ageless Steve to make it.

Recommended Bet: Steve Davis 4/7 Paddy Power

Judd Trump v Xiao Guodong

Four out of the five ‘live contenders’ recommended in the ‘To Qualify’ preview line up in the final qualifying round, the biggest price of which was the 9/1 recommended on Xiao Guodong. This is another that I hope to be able to play in running and a good start for Gwoowy is essential if I’m to do this. Trump should win obviously, but how many times have we said that and he hasn’t? His Chinese opponent has three wins under his belt, this could produce a shock, we’ll see.

2.30 pm

Barry Hawkins v Fergal O’Brien (H2H 2-3)

The head to head statistic masks one potentially important fact, that Fergal has won the last three meetings between these two. Though they haven’t met now for three years and you could argue that in that time Fergal has slipped a little whereas Barry has become a more rounded player. Barry is consistent these days in that he very rarely loses to players ranked below him and in the provisionals Fergal is seven places behind him. I have backed O’Brien to qualify at 11/4 as I have a feeling he is coming into some form, but I backed that as I thought he’d win his first comfortably as he did and on the strength that he would be nothing like that price for this match, which he isn’t. I am toying with the idea of cutting my losses on this one so I hope that it’s close early on to allow me to just have a bit on Hawkins. This is in-running only now for me. Gun to head, Hawkins.

Stuart Bingham v Peter Lines (H2H 2-0)

It’s two years since these two met and the head to heads have produced two comfortable wins for Bingham. Lines has had two battles to get here against inferior opponents to Stuey but all you can do is beat what’s in front of you and he’s done that. Bingham must wonder if he did something wrong in a previous life as not for the first time he is playing this qualifier for the right to face Ronnie in Round 1 but if you take PTC form into account and with respect to Lines, Bingham just doesn’t seem to lose to players like him. Bet of the day in my book.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win Stuart Bingham 1/2 Paddy Power

Rod: In form

Ken Doherty v Rod Lawler (H2H 3-0)

Anyone remember the 1995 Sweater Shop International? No, me neither, but these two met in it before a full 14 years later meeting in Shanghai (The Sweat Shop International?) and coming to exactly the same conclusion, a 5-2 win for Kendo. Just watching the progress of Scouse Rod this week he seems to be doing some pretty heavy scoring and given that these two were more or less plying their trade at the same time as each other and are now firmly approaching ‘established’ status this will be about who is the best on the day. I’m finding this one harder to call than the bookies are and part of me is tempted to have a go on my fellow Liverpudlian at 2/1, all I’ll say is that I wouldn’t back Ken at the current odds, there are better bets out there today, Rod is playing well coming into this.

Oh sod it, it’s been a good week. Recommended Bet Rod Lawler at 2/1 Sportingbet.

Ricky Walden v Liu Chuang

No past meetings to go on and just by his exploits this week the Chinese deadpan comedian is fast becoming a blog favourite. Ricky is now in the provisional top 16 and is the highest ranked player on show today. You get to that status by winning matches like this and although I have been mightily impressed by Liu’s progress and the cash he’s made us this past week I just can’t have him winning this. It has to be Walden, he is a fair notch above the players that Chuang has faced up to now and I expect the scoreline at the end to show that.

Recommended Bet: Ricky Walden at 1/2 Paddy Power

Tuesday’s Toastie Multiple:

Let’s go for a 2 point recommended treble today on Lee, Bingham and Walden which pays just over 2/1 at Paddy Power. I’ll add Tom Ford for a 1 point acca too that pays 7/2 at Paddy Power.

UK Qualifiers: Monday Updates from Sheffield

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:15 am

We've got the bookies where we want them, now let's finish the job.

Good Morning everyone. The action comes thick and fast again today with the last of the third round matches.

Another good day on the betting front yesterday with recommended bets Watanna and Chuang coming through fairly easily against their higher seeded opponents.

Fingers crossed that today can be just as good and see some multiples landed, both Milkins and Dale hold 2 frame leads going into this afternoon whilst in the matches starting out I’ll be keeping a keen eye on the progress of Marcus Campbell and Michael Holt. The preview for this morning’s starts is here.

Play to a finish tonight

Marcus Campbell 8-9 Mark Joyce
Stuart Pettman 5-9 Xiao Guodong
Adrian Gunnell 4-9 Jimmy White
Joe Swail 9-2 Simon Bedford
Michael Holt 4-9 Patrick Wallace
Jamie Burnett 9-6 Michael White

Earlier Results:

Robert Milkins 9-4 Matthew Couch
Tom Ford 9-6 Tony Drago
Dominic Dale 9-6 Matthew Selt
Rory McLeod 9-4 Kyren Wilson

Doubles and Treble from Sunday’s preview landed 🙂

Tomorrow’s preview is available here

UK Qualifiers: Monday’s Match Previews

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:51 am

Referee Williams stares in wonderment at Pettman's hair.

Monday sees the conclusion of Round Three. The two White’s, veteran Jimmy and youngster Michael are back to try and make it to the final qualifying round.

Once again I can see an opportunity to make a bit of cash on a couple of these. I know a few people are already on Guodong at odds against to beat serial bad hair day man Stuart Pettman, my thoughts on that match are at the foot of the post.

Let’s hope for a decent conclusion to round three for us poor punters.

All prices are correct at time of writing and head to heads are included where applicable.

Jimmy White v Adrian Gunnell

I said the other day that anyone backing Jimmy to win his last match at 1/3 needed their head examining. He won 9-1 in a canter, shows you what I know. There is a widespread belief from some in the game that The Whirlwind can have one more crack at the big time and when he is on his game there is no doubt he can still produce some fabulous snooker. Given that my hero made me look like a dope the other day, I forgive him. So much so in fact that I am going to recommend a bet on him in this one at what I believe to be a great price. Gunnell shouldn’t get near him here.

Recommended Bet: Jimmy White at 4/5 Skybet

Jamie Burnett v Michael White (H2H 0-1)

Strangely the only time these two have met was almost to the day last year at this stage in this event, White winning 9-8.  Michael had a great win over Davy Morris in the last round and will go into this in good spirits. Jay-Bee shocked everyone by getting to the final of the first ranking event over in Shanghai and played some excellent stuff to get there. We haven’t seen much of him since then and his visits to the PTC’s have not been very successful. I think there are other matches that we can get involved in today so I’d leave this one alone.

Joe Swail v Simon Bedford

Poor old Joe, he loses a lot more than he wins these days and suffered an horrendous run of results last season when he lost his first match in all but one ranking event, leading to a slip from the brink of the top 16 to the high forties in the ranking list. The signs aren’t that good for him this season either, though he did beat Jamie Jones last week. Even in this highly winnable match it would be a brave person that lumped on the Outlaw and a far more attractive proposition is the 7/4 on his opponent. If Joe has one of his off days that could look very big a few frames in.

Rab C Nesbitt

Marcus Campbell v Mark Joyce (H2H 1-1)

One of the two PTC event winners on show today, the Scottish scruff Marcus Campbell takes on Joycey who surprised me by beating Alfie Burden the other day. But when Campbell is firing he is a very good player and by all accounts he’s also one of the nicest players you could wish to meet making me feel a bit mean for calling him a scruffbag, but I just can’t help it, something takes over, it’s like a form of Tourettes. Anyway, the Scruff has lost just 5 of his last 24 competitive matches, it’s fair to say he’s on a roll. Joyce was also on his hit list when he won over in Germany. Paddy Power have this priced right and have Marcus at 2/5. Both Hills and Stan James have him at 8/15. Get on while you can.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win Marcus Campbell at 8/15

Michael Holt v Patrick Wallace

Another PTC winner takes the stage with Holt fresh from his fantastic win in Prague last week. He beat Maguire, Murphy, Selby and Higgins on his way to lifting the trophy on what he described as the best snooker day of his life. There are two things I know about Michael Holt, the first is that he is probably the best example of a confidence player on the tour that there is, heart on your sleeve isn’t in it and secondly he can be very very inconsistent, almost freakishly so making him a dangerous player to bet on. His Czech triumph was entirely unexpected and came out of the blue. If his tail is up he’ll carry on where he left off here, Paddy will try and bore him to death but Holt is the better player by quite a long way and will just need to keep his cool to coast into the next round. I won’t recommend him as the 4/11 is a bit too short.

Xiao Guodong v Stuart Pettman (H2H 0-1)

The head to head statistic dates back to 2007 when Pettman won a Grand Prix encounter 4-2. Guodong, or ‘Gwoowy’ as he has been known this week around these parts gave us all a bit of a lift with his demolition job on Michael Judge and he’ll be confident of winning here too. Pettman was last seen on TV snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Stephen Maguire in the World Open, he has also not been taking full advantage of the PTC’s and has only bothered with a few. He’s either had his head (and silly hair) down practising for events like this or been in the doldrums since his TV howler. There are plenty that will be lumping on the Chinese player and he may seem like the bet of the day to some but I wouldn’t rule Pettman out. He does make venues quite regularly which suggests that he is a very different player in the qualifiers and if I’m honest, gun to head I’d side with him, but it’s a no bet for me as I have 9/1 on Gwoowy qualifying, so hopefully he wins.

Manic Monday Multiple:

I have already recommended one multiple in the previous preview, with Campbell and Holt in it. But for those fancying a go on just these matches I’d go for a 1 point treble on Jimmy, Campbell and Holt which pays just over 5/2 at William Hills.

Good Luck as ever to anyone entering the bear pit on Monday.

November 28, 2010

Sunday Updates from Sheffield

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:30 pm

Good Morning everyone. Another jam packed day of action today. Scores will be updated throughout the day, feel free to give your thoughts on the action in the comments section.

Playing to a finish tonight:

Fergal O’Brien 9-4 Jamie Jones
Nigel Bond 7-9 Peter Lines
Anthony Hamilton 3-9 Rod Lawler
Alan McManus 5-9 Liu Chaung
Dave Harold 4-9 James Wattana
Barry Pinches 4-9 Dave Gilbert

2.30 pm

Robert Milkins 5-3 Matthew Couch
Tom Ford 4-4 Tony Drago
Dominic Dale 5-3 Matthew Selt
Rory McLeod 4-4 Kyren Wilson

The preview for tomorrow’s matches is here.

November 27, 2010

Sunday from Sheffield: Match Previews

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:47 pm

It's not big and it most certainly is not clever

After far too much red wine, nice grub and great company on Friday evening when I should have been at home laying off in-play on Dave Gilbert I have spent today feeling quite ropey and very sorry for myself. Despite my protests Mrs SB ‘has no sympathy’ for her stupid, idiotic husband.

Despite a bit of a comedown bettingwise on Friday after ‘Super Thursday’ the recommended steam in on Xiao Guodong meant that the profits didn’t take too much of a dent. I very rarely deviate from the 1 point win for a recommended match bet but felt that he was just too good to miss. After the first two rounds we are still well in front on the recommended bets (12.33 points) so let’s not let a couple of losers get us down, none of us can win them all. I hope you are all having a decent week so far too.

Tomorrow sees Round Three get under way and a few more recognisable faces taking to the baize including the Sheriff Anthony Hamilton, Bananaman Dave Harold and old Willy Wonka himself Dominic Dale. They take on the names that have been tussling away these past few days to try and make that leap up the rankings.

Let’s see what we can find shall we? I want those bookies running for cover again, we ain’t quite finished with them yet.

Remember, if you don’t have accounts with Skybet or Paddy Power and you are in the UK/Ireland, click the links either in this paragraph or on the right hand side bar to open an account and take advantage of introductory offers to get more on your selections for nowt.

All prices are correct at time of writing and where the players have met before, the head to head stats are included in each match post.

10.00 am & 7pm

Fergal O’Brien v Jamie Jones

Fearless Fergal takes on the dangerous and improving Welshman Jones. Jamie impressed in the last round with a 9-6 victory over the in-form Joe Jogia and will be full of confidence here. Fergal however is another tough opponent who I have detected is beginning to play rather well recently. In the PTC’s he’s been quite consistent losing only twice in the first round and making a semi-final. He’s a good match player is our Fergs and a real student of snooker, he’s better over the longer distances and he’ll not be phased by the furore surrounding his opponent who it has to be said is having a cracking start to the season. I’m favouring Fergal but it could be very tight.

Nigel Bond v Peter Lines (H2H 3-1)

The first time these two met as professionals was back in the last century, in 1998 in the ‘then’ Liverpool Victoria UK Championship, Bond won 9-6. The last time they met that scoreline was reversed in the 2009 UK Championship qualifiers. Nigel won the two intervening match ups 5-3 and 10-6. In fact looking at the pattern of results, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see the frames averaged out again and one of them to win 9-6, but which one? Lines did us a favour the other day but this is a new day with a new challenge ahead, Nigel is better than his last opponent and he will have to play better to win this one. Another really tough call this but for me Bond will edge it, probably 9-6.

Anthony Hamilton v Rod Lawler (H2H 1-1)

Another tough one to call. Both previous meetings have been over the long distances and both have been close. They met twice in 2006 with the Sheriff winning 10-8 in qualifying for the Crucible and Rod winning 9-7 in this championship. Hamilton has made three quarter final and one final appearance in the PTC events and as a result has risen to a provisional ranking of 36. Rod took care of business in his first match, using the old ‘bore your opponent into submission’ tactics with a four and a half hour first session. I think when they are both in form Hamilton is the better player, so assuming he carries his PTC form and confidence into this I’m going to side with the Sheriff, but there is no value out there pricewise as this could be both a close and a long one.

I'm hoping for a Liu day.

Alan McManus v Liu Chaung (H2H 1-0)

Angles McManus, a former Masters champion has been toiling away in the PTC events with limited success over the summer. He did however qualify for the World Open and it was nice to see him back on the box, but he was soundly sent packing by Mags straight away. Chaung is another that has helped us out already this week, two comfortable wins against potentially tricky opponents and plenty of one visit frames lead me to believe that he is in a rich vein of form. McManus will rely on his trademark grit and determination to out think the Chinese funnyman here. I can’t see it working over the longer format and I think Liu will score too heavily and win this.

Recommended Bet: Liu Chaung 4/5 at Paddy Power

Dave Harold v James Wattana (H2H 0-3)

Can we read too much into this head to head statistic given that the last time they met was in 2004? Well, I’ll stick my neck out and say yes. Prior to this they hadn’t met for three years and prior to that they hadn’t met for four years. Watanna edged the result every time and that suggests to me that he isn’t the type of player to let Big Dave’s style of play affect him. After me saying in the last preview that James didn’t hit many breaks over 60 odd, he did hit two or three in his last match. Dave isn’t known for his breakbuilding either and I’m prepared to trust the history books on this one and go for the Thaiphoon.

Recommended Bet: James Watanna 5/4 at Stan James

Barry Pinches v Dave Gilbert (H2H 0-2)

I’m genuinely pleased to see Dave Gilbert coming back from the brink, his form coming into this was poor and sometimes just a couple of wins can completely change your outlook on the game. Now regulars on here will know that I have a history with Mr Pinches, nothing personal as by all accounts the Canary Cueist is a really decent chap (never met him, the therapist thinks it’s not a good idea) but him and me do not agree when it comes to me backing him or backing his opponent. It’s as if the minute I press ‘confirm bet’ on the screen a little gremlin pops in to Barry’s head telling him to do the exact opposite to what I want him to do. So, this time, I’m calling time on it, I am not going to humour him by making a prediction on this one, I refuse to do so. All I will say is that Baz has had a fantastic summer in the PTC’s and should come to this full of confidence. That’s not a tip by the way, I said it isn’t Barry, do you hear me?

2.30 pm

Robert Milkins v Matthew Couch (H2H 4-0)

The head to heads between these two span back from 2002 but they did meet recently in an EPTC event which new dad Milkins won 4-1. Couch managed to claw his way back in the last round to beat Paul Davies in a decider, hardly inspiring form coming into a match with someone you have never beaten. You can forgive Rob some patchy form given his new priorities in the summer, but nappies don’t grow on trees or buy themselves and he now needs to start earning a crust. Starting here. He’ll win this one, I’m pretty sure of that.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win Robert Milkins at 4/9 Skybet

Tom Ford v Tony Drago (H2H 3-1)

These two haven’t played each other for three years, largely due to Tony’s absence from the circuit before his stunning comeback last season, which brought him a well deserved Willie. Ford is the second of three PTC winners on show today and is a much improved player since he decided to knock the birds and booze lifestyle on the head and start becoming a snooker player. Well, the booze anyway, the birds kept asking him if he was Rob Walker. Tommyboy won his PTC without having to beat a player ranked above him but that should not take the gloss off it as those events take some winning. His last two European trips have resulted in defeats to John Higgins, which is obviously nothing to beat yourself up about. We all know that Drago can rattle off frames if he’s in the groove but I think Tom might put a stop to the Falcon’s progress here.

Dale: Wonka.

Dominic Dale v Matthew Selt (H2H 1-0)

The Spaceman aka Willy Wonka aka Christopher is the third PTC winner to be on show today and he takes on the conqueror of Jack Lisowski, Matt Selt. The only previous meeting between these two was back in January at the Welsh Open when proud boyo Dom ran out a comfortable 5-1 winner. He’s hit a bit of form recently and the PTC event saw him beating Martin Gould, Matthew Stevens, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson, so nobody can level the claim against him that he had it easy. Indeed in the final against Gould he needed snookers in the decider only to get them and win. He should progress here and I have him to make it to the venue.

Recommended Bet: Dom Dale at 8/15 Sportingbet

Rory McLeod v Kyren Wilson

A cracking win in the last round for Wilson against Ian McCulloch and he is one that is fulfilling his promise and grasping his first season as a pro with both hands. Rory ‘Where’s the Cameras?’ McLeod’s record in qualifiers is the stuff of legend but he’s not really been firing on all cylinders for a few months now. You wonder why he puts himself through it as he’s playing for the chance to play Robbo on TV here, I hope for all our sakes but mostly for Rory’s that he’s been in therapy to conquer that inner hacker that appears whenever someone shouts ‘Action!’ in his direction. I’ve got a sneaking feeling that this could be a surprise and that Wilson will progress again to the final qualifying round. But I’ll stop short of recommending it.

Sunday Roast Potato Multiple:

We’ve been doing well with the multiples so let’s see if Lui Chuang and Rob Milkins can land us a 2 point double at a shade over 6/4 with Paddy Power and then add Dom Dale for a 1 point treble which pays a shade over 11/4 again with Paddy Power.

I still haven’t had a good look at Monday’s starts but I’ll also recommend in advance a 3 point treble on Milkins, Marcus Campbell and Michael Holt at around 13/8 with Sportingbet. I just can’t see that losing, but I have been wrong before.

Good Luck to everyone having a bet.

Ronnie in ‘I haven’t been offered bribes’ Shocker

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:17 pm

Ronnie: His Own Harshest Critic but Clean as a Whistle

A sensationalist ‘story’ appears today in that fantastic bastion for truth, justice and integrity the Daily Mail here in the UK. They are well known for their factual analysis on these shores.

This time the shocking revelation is that Ronnie O’Sullivan himself, snooker’s big draw, snooker’s top showman, snooker’s bad boy, snooker’s pin up behind Tony Knowles and his own harshest critic, has NEVER been offered a bribe to throw a frame or a match.

But being the Daily Mail they don’t stop at this shocking revelation and base the entire story on five words uttered by our Ronald, namely: ‘but it does go on’.

In fact they even state in the headline that the Rocket says ‘Bribes in Snooker are Common’ when he didn’t actually even say that. What he said was this:

‘I haven’t been offered one (a bribe) but it does go on. It’s not just in snooker, it goes on in all forms of life. MPs are all taking backhanders left, right and centre.’

I had no idea Ronnie had such an insight into politics. I think he should name and shame these scoundrels, has Bazza set up an anti-corruption squad for the government yet?

Ron continues: ‘That’s the way the world is sometimes. A lot of people try to influence their way with money. It is not just snooker, it is life in general. They’re just trying to exploit whatever they can.’ I think he’s having another one of his dark days readers.

He concludes that ‘I wouldn’t do it. It’s too dangerous. It is the kind of thing I wouldn’t even entertain because I enjoy playing the game. I love competing.’

I’m sure you’ll agree a ground breaking piece of journalism there from all involved. The best place for the Daily Mail is in the bin.

Anyway, I’m dipping in and out of the preview for tomorrow at the moment and am patiently waiting for the firms to get some prices up. It will be up before this evening assuming some more prices start appearing. My hangover is over the worst.

November 26, 2010

Friday Updates from Sheffield

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:52 am

Paddy and Ant were escorted from the premises

Good Morning everyone. Well last night all turned out fine again didn’t it? Never in doubt as both Couch and Lines coasted into the next round…..

It’s fair to say that we are having a pretty good start to the championship and I do think it’s worth getting involved in these earlier rounds from a punting point of view, there are often pickings to be had and hopefully today’s recommended cavalry charge can round off a nice week and pay for the weekend spends.

As well as the winning bets yesterday special mention has to go to Anthony McGill and Paddy ‘The Tortoise’ Wallace’s marathon match. The third frame lasted 73 minutes, I think they were playing the final brown for about 72 of those, I pity the poor referee who has to come back this afternoon with the pair of them locked in battle at 3-3.

That aside, isn’t it great having these long matches back? Proper snooker, I love it and can’t wait until the main event starts next Saturday. Three festive sack giveaways before then remember so be sure to tune in on the 1st December for your chance to scoop prize numero uno.

Results (not fantastic yesterday but at least Guodong won, was bound to lose a couple of final framers eventually. I got plastered last night so will be playing catch up today, bear with me..)

Jimmy Robertson 6-9 James Wattana
Andy Hicks 8-9 Dave Gilbert
Alfie Burden 7-9 Mark Joyce
Michael Judge 1-9 Xiao Guodong
Matthew Selt 9-8 Jack Lisowski
Ian McCulloch 8-9 Kyren Wilson

Earlier Results

Jimmy White 9-1 Adam Wicheard
Bjorn Haneveer 4-9 Simon Bedford
Anthony McGill 4-9 Patrick Wallace
David Morris 3-9 Michael White

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