January 26, 2011

The End of the Armchairs?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:43 pm

Out in the Cold? Crondon armchairs will struggle for work if the CL goes kaput.

I get the feeling that the popularity of the Championship League at least amongst snooker fans appears to be on the wane at the moment. Perhaps it is the first victim of the cramped snooker calendar, perhaps it’s just past it’s sell by date, whatever it is I get the feeling it may be time for a change. 

I have always had a soft spot for this event, unlike it’s big brother the Premier League which I don’t really take an interest in. The strange surroundings, fake oak beams, lack of crowds and big armchairs give the viewer a feeling of intimacy, as though the players are playing their own little match, just for your own personal enjoyment. 

I also enjoy listening to the ‘off the table’ chatter, I have alluded before to a piece of internet gold last year when that Scouse referee that breathes quite heavily was extoling the virtues of the Crondon Park pies to an off-camera colleague. But I have also in the past heard another referee who shall remain nameless asking someone ‘any decent lap dancing joints around here?’. Ok I might have made that last bit up but my point is that this event does offer something a little different, live streaming for a start. 

Yesterday I was highlighting the lack of pre-league markets on Group 3, perhaps because of the withdrawals earlier in the week. But with the biggest betting exchange Betfair increasingly shying away from it that can’t be a good sign for an event which was established to attract the bookies can it? 

The discussion topic on here then turned to in-running betting, which many see as the only way to bet. Apparently, the bookmakers do trade rather a lot on these little log cabin matches and in-running betting is still popular so there is interest out there. But is this just interest from gamblers and traders at the expense of snooker fans? This is where we come to the crux of the matter, namely, at what point should snooker become the priority over the needs of the traders? 

Snooker needs bookies, now more than ever where sponsors are like gold dust that fact is indisputable. But it also needs to continue to be the sport that makes us love it. I’m sure there isn’t a snooker fan in the world that would not want to see the same high standard of live streaming with informed commentaries from the likes of Dave Hendon, Phil Yates, Neal Foulds and Clive Everton on big tournament qualifying events. 

In my view the CL isn’t really a good betting event. It seems to me like the equivalent of playing a fruit machine, these guys are all so good that they can each beat each other on any given day making predicting an event like this almost impossible. 

One trader from a leading bookmaker said yesterday that the in-running betting on a match in this event starting at 10am in the morning would be at a higher level than a ranking event final starting on a Sunday afternoon. In the murky world of pro-gambling it would appear that anything goes if the time is right. A rather sobering thought. 

You need your wits about you when betting in-play

Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to do a bit of the in-running myself. I’d argue that if you have an afternoon free and Ronnie is on the box (for as we know he doesn’t play in the evening anymore), it is an essential in keeping the bank balance topped up. I never cease to be amazed at the reaction of some to the Rocket knocking in a long red, both in frame betting and match betting, but long may it continue. 

If you aren’t greedy and know how to read snooker, you should make money at it. It’s also useful for getting yourself out of an ill-judged bet or on increasingly rare occasions, spotting a buffoon on the exchanges. Betting in-running was largely responsible for me not losing a shedload of cash during the Masters, so it does have its advantages.  

But I would hate to see this take over from ante-post and pre-match betting to a point where it becomes pointless to even look at these markets. Betting in-running with a view to making money is a full time job and requires a speedy mind and hours of dedication often at the expense of washing, relationships and eating. Though at least the armchairs might find a new home. 

Call me an old fuddy-duddy but what I’m waiting for with baited breath is the first firm to price up the Berlin Masters next week and to have a go on the outrights. A return to best of 9’s with a 17 frame final is where I’m at. Bring it on. 

Anyway, for those still awake after this long rambling post, Group 4 is underway with results here  or for anyone that wants to read Matt’s opinion on the Championship League and it’s future click here

Feel free to comment on anything and everything in the comments section, after all I just have.

Ronnie’s Cue is Off to Sunny Spain, A Viva Espana!!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:47 am

Baize fans celebrating the Spanish win last night

Not only do the Spanish win every major football event under the sun they have now also branched out into snooker and claimed it for their own.

There was jubilation on the streets of Madrid, carnivals in the bars of Barcelona and a party atmosphere in the Costa Packet as regular Spanish visitor and fellow blogger Snooker147blog scooped the big prize at the last minute to pip poor old Doctor ‘Nearly Man’ Dish, who is left shell-shocked this morning with thoughts of what might have been.

Shaun Murphy’s victory in yesterday’s Championship League Group 3 final from 2-0 behind to Mark ‘Manbaby’ King means that the cue signed by none other than Ronnie O’Sullivan, kindly donated by Rileys, will be heading to sunnier climbs. Will us English ever win anything?

The Final Standings:

1. Snooker147Blog: 28 points (Wins the Cue)
2. Doctor Dish: 26 points (£30 of Rileys Vouchers)
3. Ian White: 24 points
=4. Black Whippet & Liggandestolen: 23 points
5. Onestep: 22 points

But there is one great piece of news for Englishmen and half-Irishmen everywhere, no, not that the Dishy Doctor will get some Rileys vouchers to numb the pain, but that the postage costs for the cue will also be paid by Rileys saving me a bit of cash!! Wahay!

You can find all you need to know about Group 4 of the Championship League at the Matchroom Sport site here, with Mark Allen, Stephen Hendry and friend of the blog Matthew Stevens all joining in today for a good old sit in the armchairs.

Later today I plan to post up another competition, this time on the Sky Shootout which kicks off from sunny Blackpool on Friday night and is live on Sky. Betfred have kindly offered another free bet so keep an eye out for your chance to win later.

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