January 10, 2011

Masters Day 2: Assessing the Damage

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:50 am

Falk knows what happened yesterday.

Two outright bets down, two accumulators down, a quarter bet trixie down, the Great Blog Bet Pot as near as down the toilet as it gets and we are only one day into the Masters.

I feel a little like that old raincoated detective Lieutenant Colombo assessing a crime scene, wondering how to piece together the mysterious happenings at Wembley in what should have been a nice routine start to the London showpiece.

But we’re nothing if not resiliant on here and we must stare those hard facts in the face. Mark King played extremely well to beat defending champion Selby and on that form is a danger to anyone. To further showcase what a strange opening day it was he even hit a 139, his third century of the season and the highest break of the match, despite Selby hitting his 36th.

King said; “I’m delighted. It’s been coming because I’ve been playing well all season. Over Christmas I worked hard on my break building and today it worked out well. Mark seemed to think he’d won the match when he went 2-0 up and that gave me the hump. When it went 4-4 my heart was going 100 miles an hour but I produced some good stuff in the last two frames. It’s nice to know I’ve got that in the locker”.

“That’s probably the best I’ve ever played here and it was fantastic to do that in front of 1,000 people and show them how I can play.” Just a couple of factual errors there, it’s the best he’s ever played anywhere and there were 800 there apparently, but let’s not put a dampener on what was a great performance from everyone’s favourite Manbaby.

He even found time to offer words of assurance to an anxious public and said “I’m not here to dance, I’m here to win the tournament,” thank heavens for that.

Selby said: “I started great, but after the third frame I went flat. As defending champion I should have been right up for it, so I don’t know why that was. I had a break over Christmas to recover from the busy schedule so I’ve got no excuses”. Looks like the wedding buffet might be more sausage on a stick than caviar, but never mind, I’m sure Vicky will understand.

But as if that wasn’t enough, then came a crash landing from Captain Carter with Peter Ebdon completing a day of jubilation for baldies everywhere with a 6-5 win, the first time he has beaten Ali in 8 competitive matches. It was less of a shock result than the afternoon but given that we were led to believe that Ebbo was basically one breath away from meeting his maker earlier in the day, Ali will be very disappointed to be sent packing before leaving the runway.

Those of us who stayed with this saw hopes of a Captain great escape dashed, as despite coming back from 64-0 down to force the decider he became embroiled in the type of frame that Ebdon eats for breakfast, a scrappy affair with colours safe which once Ebbo went 20 odd points up had his name written all over it.

Ebbo: Couldn't stand up.

“I’m shocked to play as well as I did,” said The Force. “I’ve not picked up my cue since Tuesday, I’ve been in bed since Wednesday, feeling very weak and unable to eat anything.”

“This morning I couldn’t even stand up, I was in a right state. If the match had been in the afternoon I wouldn’t have been able to play. It was only in the late afternoon I felt a bit better. Even so I couldn’t see the balls or the pockets properly, and my cueing arm didn’t feel like my own. By the end I was running on empty.”

Given the way he played early on in the match perhaps he needs to start hanging around the Infectious Diseases Ward of the local hospital around the middle of April.

“Against a player as good as Ali I didn’t expect to win, I just tried to make it difficult for him. At least I’ve got a few days off now and I’m going to see the doctor tomorrow.”

Unsurprisingly there is no comment from Ali, you do have to say that despite a decent performance from Ebdon the run of the ball he had in the match was uncanny. Perhaps he might be the first player to escape the clutches of the great Lieutenant and get away with murder.

Today we have a potential cracker between Williams and Ding to open things up and then this evening my final outright hope for the event John Higgins prepares to put the final turd on the manure pile by losing to Graeme Dott.

Just interest bets for me now until I feel I’ve regained a bit of confidence and a correct score cross double bet on the two matches, will probably post in the comments when I’ve decided what to chance.


RESULT: Mark Williams 4-6 Ding Junhui


RESULT: John Higgins 4-6 Graeme Dott (115)

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