January 11, 2011

Masters Day 3: The Curse of Crondon?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:04 am

These results are making monkeys out of a lot of us.

Yesterday saw the two finalists in the recent UK Championship both dumped out of the Masters in the first round continuing the favourites losing run. Mark Williams losing to Ding Junhui and Graeme Dott last night producing one of his customary potting displays to dump John Higgins out and end a quite remarkable run of matches since his return to the baize.

I don’t think there will be many punters out there that can claim to be in a winning position at this stage, obviously I will include myself in that and a fair indicator are the current scores in the Tipster Contest. With 35 entries this time around, 21 of you are stuck on zero, with 9 people having predicted one outcome correctly and 5 people having predicted 2 correctly, nobody has done any better than that.

Ding provided a bit of respite yesterday as he managed to recoup a fraction of the losses thus far but then came the inevitable Higgins defeat that looked on the cards after the first frame. John Parrott made a good point about the two Scots in that Dott tends to play better against John than most because he doesn’t ‘fear him’ as they know each others games inside out. I remember Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry at their peak used to shy away from playing against other top players for this very reason. To keep them guessing.

For those of you that believe in patterns there is something that you might like to take note of going into today’s two tricky encounters. Namely, the ‘Curse of Crondon’; all of the four players that have been beaten so far played well at Crondon Park last week. Selby won Group 1 outright, Ali was runner up, Mark Williams won Group 2 outright as well as topping the group stages and John Higgins topped Group 1 and made two semi-final appearances.

Contrast that with the winners so far, King didn’t play there and spent the break practising his break-building, Ebdon spent the previous week in bed, Ding came in cold after spending the break back home in China and practising for a couple of days with a footballer who can’t even hit a fifty and Graeme Dott went to Crondon, won one match, had a sulk and went home. There is obviously such a thing as being overprepared.

Ronnie looked very sharp at Crondon Park and takes on Mark Allen this afternoon. I wonder if Ron has something in his contract demands that stops him playing in the evenings nowadays. Perhaps he has been hanging round with Ray Reardon again and fears turning into a vampire. But I can’t remember the last time I saw him play an evening session early on in a tournament. I assume it’s a TV thing.

Stephen Maguire who starts his campaign tonight has what has been described by one Betting Exchange Tipster that should know better, as having ‘an easy draw’. Well for a player that can get frustrated and seems to have a short fuse at times, the joint prospects of Marco Fu and Peter Ebdon isn’t what I would describe as easy by any means. But given that tipster’s record this week is currently even worse than mine, it’s no surprise to hear these views.

Insurance Man (and no relation to the picture above)

Both matches today could again go either way which is why I recommend anyone having a single bet on either of them to take advantage of the ‘insurance policy’ being offered at Betfred. If your selection loses in a decider they will refund all single bet stakes up to £100, which given the way things have been going so far could just be a wise move. Anyone wishing to open an account with them should click the sidebar to also take advantage of the matched free bet offer or just click here to go to their website.

Personally, I think Maguire will beat Fu as Marco isn’t looking quite the player of a couple of seasons back and is dropping down the rankings like a sack of spuds. Mags should have enough in the locker and has the advantage of having played rubbish at Crondon.

This afternoon’s match should be a cracker and seeing as I am there for finals weekend I have to start willing the Rocket to be in the mood, I don’t really want my Wembley weekend to be a final of Fu-King hell after all.

Recommended Bet: 3 points win Ronnie O’Sullivan -1.5 frames at 8/11 (widely available)


RESULT: Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-6 Mark Allen

The outsiders run continues….

OK, backing winners is now getting rather difficult and whilst I have backed Maguire tonight after laying the above bet off early this afternoon I’m not going to flag it up as a bet. So I’ve had a good look at other markets and I think there is a bet there which will not result in cold sweats if an outsider should go in. So in an attempt to recoup some blog losses I’m going to recommend another 3 points win on there being over 9 frames tonight which is 11/10 at Bet 365 as well as a 1 point win to secure the stake on there being exactly 9 frames which is 3/1 at Ladbrokes.


(142 Highest Tournament Break) Stephen Maguire 4-6 Marco Fu (109,117)

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