December 8, 2010

UK Championships Quarter Final Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:32 am

Another bloody freezing day here and the boiler remains unfixed. The whippet is looking at me with his big sad eyes wondering why he is so cold. But I’ve put him under his favourite blanket now so he seems happy enough. Poor little fella.

‘The Man’ is coming out later on, quite timely if he’s on time as he said he’d be here about 5 o’clock and hopefully by then we’ll be at the midway point in the two quarter finals being played.

Well the second round didn’t exactly go to plan and my new nemesis Mr Joyce scuppered hopes of a decent return by beating Judd and I have no idea what happened to Marco, big shock that scoreline.

Talking of returns, I returned to my old stomping ground at Betfair yesterday to do a bit of in-running backing and laying for the late afternoon session and couldn’t have picked a better time to do it. Ding and Allen and Higgins and Dott all proving worth that bit of investment.

The forum was a little deserted though and a couple of old verbal sparring partners from there could be found here yesterday, all most welcome of course as long as they behave themselves. We’re now up the low 800,000’s in terms of worldwide popularity and the blog is now the 46,647th most popular website in the UK and not far behind that in Germany. Facebook look out, we’re coming to get yer.

Anyway, despite the profits taking a bit of a hit in terms of the blog bets we are still well in front and hopefully we can steer things in the right direction again today.

Today (1.30pm and 7pm)

Mark Allen v Stuart Bingham (H2H 1-1 with 1 draw)

Finally we get to see Marky on the TV after two good wins in the wilderness of the outer tables. That is frustrating as we have no idea how he is cueing and to some extent go into this just trusting that the results speak for themselves. Bingham for me produced the biggest shock of yesterday with his hammering of Marco Fu to follow up his bizarre match against the Rocket. I’m actually quite surprised that Allen is such a hot favourite for this as Bingham is a dangerous opponent who can produce under pressure as he has shown. The only time that these two have met over the longer format Allen won 9-2, in this championship two years ago. The longer formats and big events seem to bring out the best in Mark and in terms of a bet I have backed him at 7/1 to win the quarter so will be laying a bit of that off on our Stu. But as I have a vested interest on Mark winning I have had a look at a few of the other markets and I think you should be safe enough with the recommended bet on the overs here as I can’t see it being one-way traffic either way.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win  Over 14.5 frames (4/5 BWIN – but be prepared to supply your DNA to get paid out, if not it can be backed at 8/11 at Blue Square)

John will stop at nothing

Stephen Maguire v John Higgins (H2H 4-3)

Maguire sealed his victory against Selby with a total clearance yesterday so must be hitting form. It is a long time since he has posted a win like that and despite my inbuilt doubts about him actually winning an event like this, he has to be respected. They have had a few battles over the years these two and know each other’s games inside out. The last meeting over the longer distance was at this stage, again two years ago which Maguire won 9-7. Incidentally, the head to heads include an irrelevant one frame win for John in Pot Black so to that extent Stephen’s record against him is probably as good as anyone elses in the game. But Higgins has the look of a man possessed, his last two frames against Dott yesterday and his first round performance against the very unlucky Stephen Lee reminded me of when he won his last World Championship. He looks like he’d murder (or murrrrderrrr) his own granny to win this title, something that I’m beginning to think he will do (win I mean, not murder Nana Higgins). So for that reason I can’t oppose him, but I’ve backed him in the outrights so don’t need to back him here. Instead I’ll go for the breaks market as they are two of the best break builders in the game, if they bring their A games today, this could be a bet.

Recommended Bet: Over 2.5 centuries at 6/4 with Skybet


Mark Williams v Mark Joyce (H2H 2-0)

Whatever happens here Mark Joyce has had a fantastic tournament and now plays his seventh match of the event after two cracking wins over Ali and Judd Trump. He doesn’t seem to be letting the increased pressure and different conditions of the venues get to him and I do wonder whether he has re-employed the sports psychologist that brought him albeit limited, success in an event last season. I loved MJW’s quote after the Hendry match, he said it was the worst he has ever played as a professional and that Hendry played like a man ‘with no eyes’. It’s true that the match was woeful, but Mark came through it and lives to fight another day. I flagged him as my main bet in the outrights, but the other two, Allen and Higgins to me look like stronger contenders now. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that MJW will need to up his game immeasurably to stand any chance in this championship, he might get through this match but the manner in which he does it will determine if he has any chance in what will be a very tough semi-final whoever he faces. I would not, I repeat, would not take the heavy odds on for Williams to win, in fact, if he plays anything like he did against Hendry, Joyce may well be the bet of the tournament.

Recommended Bet: Mark Joyce (plus 3.5 frames) 5/6 at Betfred

Robbo: Balls of Steel.

Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson (H2H 4-5)

As you’d expect, the head to heads between these two very evenly matched players is close. Their biggest match was in the semi-finals at Sheffield two seasons ago when Murphy won 17-14 before going on to lose to Higgins in the final. Robbo was to learn from his first time on the one table scenario and came back twelve months later and won it. Today’s Snokvent star really is on the crest of a wave at the moment and if you just watched the TV tournaments you would be forgiven for thinking he is nigh on unbeatable. This is a really difficult call and the likelihood is that it will be a thriller and go all the way to a decider. It’s at that point you need to ask yourself who, if your life depended on it would you want to be on in a one frame match between these two, the answer to that question at the current time for me would be Robertson, he misses less easy balls than Smurf and to me just has the edge in the bottle department. But hopefully this will just be a match to sit back and enjoy, I expect a high quality classic from these two boys here.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win Shaun Murphy (plus 2.5 frames) 4/7 at Corals

For Multiple Backers: Skybet are paying just over 5/2 on a treble of Allen, Higgins and Robertson – any chance of Enhancement Thorpy? I’d recommend 2 points on the Snookerbacker Tricky Treble above.

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