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.

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