Snookerbacker

January 27, 2011

The Sky Shootout: Are you Feeling Lucky?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:06 pm

Your name's not down, you're not coming in.

It’s nearly here. Tomorrow night in Blackpool we will be able to witness either the greatest entertainment spectacle of the new baize era under Chairman Bazza or a scene resembling a multi-vehicle pile-up with a number of casualties. Yes readers, fasten your featbelts as it’s time for the Sky Shootout.

64 victims will be led in by glamorous dolly birds who one assumes will be waiting with dollar signs in their eyes for the lucky winners, while burly, butch and generally over-aggressive bouncers with an unhealthy obsession with male bonding will be waiting to dwarf and lead the pathetic losers through a baying rabble of pissed-up halfwits, waving placards filled with misspelt expletives to chants of ‘loooooooozzzzzaaaaaaa‘ and ‘uuurrrr shit haaaaaaa‘ and probably that old classic ‘get yer tits out for the laaads’.

You can see my expectations are high.

But where snooker is involved I’m not one to urinate on an idea before giving it a chance and there is the remote possibility that this might be quite enjoyable. If you just generally busy yourself with other things while the ceremonials are taking place and concentrate on the ten minute, shot clock snooker you never know, it could all turn out ok. But I think they said words to that effect when the Titanic hit that iceberg.

There is only one way to add a bit of spice to this and that’s a good old fashioned Prediction Contest. Once again those generous souls at Betfred have stumped up a free £50 bet for the winner.

The Rules

1. You start with a balance of 50 points.

2. You are allowed to place a minimum of 1 single bet and a maximum of 5 single bets.

3. Each bet you place should be a whole number and a minimum of 5 points. Only single bets are allowed, no doubles/multiples etc.

4. You can place a bet on any of the Friday night match outcomes below or on the outright markets.

5. You must gamble your whole 50 points.

6. The prices used to settle winning bets will be the prices at Betfred at the time you enter the competition. They can be viewed here.

7. The winner is the person that has the most points at the end of the event.

8. Usual rules apply, no multiple or anonymous entries, emails must be provided in the box provided for an entry to count and nobody under the legal gambling age can win the prize, last time I looked I think that was 13.

9. The competition closes when the first ball of the first match on Friday evening is struck.

So will you gamble the whole 50 points on one match or one tournament winner? Will you stick to individual match bets? Will you play it safe or go for broke? It’s up to you, are you feeling lucky?

Good Luck!!

Friday Evening Matches:

Tony Drago v Liang Wenbo
Mark Allen v Ryan Day
Stephen Lee v Michael Holt
Nigel Bond v Joe Jogia
Stephen Hendry v Fergal O’Brien
Robert Milkins v Martin Gould
Andrew Higginson v Jamie Burnett
Tom Ford v Stephen Maguire
Ding Junhui v Dominic Dale
Jimmy White v Ali Carter
Michael Judge v Alan McManus
Mark Williams v John Higgins
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marco Fu
Peter Ebdon v Steve Davis
Jimmy Michie v Marcus Campbell
Mark King v Jimmy Robertson

Betfred Prices can be found by clicking here

Anyone wishing to join Betfred and take advantage of the introductory offer of a £50 free matched bet should click the banner below (it’s even got my name on it, fame at last) .


Championship League Group 4 Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:11 am

Matt: Nearly clear at the top of the table.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. The ‘action’ continues today from Crondon Park after the first day of Group 4 saw good results for Marco Fu and Matthew Stevens who sit in joint first at the top of the table. But it also saw another day of woe for winless Stephen Hendry.

I’ll admit I didn’t catch a lot of the snooker yesterday for one reason and another but it looks like Matthew is in decent form, always a great flowing player when he gets going and one that I’m going to side with in my team for the Sky Shootout at decent odds.

The Captain had another good day but a late night tonight won’t be ideal preparation for a run up the motorway to Blackpool where he faces Jimmy White in his first match tomorrow night. Mark Allen is also amongst the early starters in Blackpool and may be another in for a long day today.

But the same can’t be said for poor old Stephen. He’ll also be making the trip up to the cosmopolitan capital of the north to play tomorrow night against Fergal ‘Lightning’ O’Brien, but you fear the way things are going for him it might not be worth even taking an overnight bag as he might only be there for ten minutes.

Whilst, I am all for the need to mix it up a bit with events like this it does seem a little harsh to expect the players to make a long trip for the potential chance to break off and then go home. But this will be far from the minds of the Blackpool crowd, who will no doubt arrive, pissed up and ready to throw rotten eggs at the ‘ten minuters’ as they are led away by a bouncer down the Walk of Shame. Joe Davis RIP.

The schedule for today’s matches at Crondon is below and this afternoon I will get round to putting up the prediction competition for tomorrow night. This one will have a bit of a twist and will call for judgement as well as a little bit of luck. Betfred are once again sponsoring the prizes and if you want to have a look at their match odds for this click here without giving too much away, a good study of these in advance might pay dividends for your chances in the competition.

TABLE 1 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – Mark King 3-2 Mark Allen
11.45am – Marco Fu 1-3 Matthew Stevens
Not before 1.30pm – Ali Carter 2-3 Matthew Stevens
2.45pm – Peter Ebdon 3-2 Stephen Hendry
5.30pm – Play-off – Matthew Stevens 0-3 Mark Allen
6.45pm – Final: Mark Allen v

TABLE 2 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – Ali Carter 3-2 Stephen Hendry
11.45am – Peter Ebdon 1-3 Mark Allen
Not before 1.30pm – Mark King 1-3 Stephen Hendry
2.45pm – Ali Carter 3-0 Mark Allen
4pm – Mark King 3-2 Marco Fu
Not before 5.30pm – Play-off – Ali Carter v Marco Fu

For the updated table after each set of matches click here.

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.

January 24, 2011

Championship Group 3 Day 2: Where have all the Bookies Gone?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:47 pm

The only problem I've got is getting a bet on

The Championship League appears to have gone much the same way as the Players Tour Championship this week with no sign of any outright prices this morning from the usual suspects.

There was betting in running on matches on a couple of sites but largely to me it appears that the firms are increasingly giving this event the cold shoulder.

Of course, Betfair have been babbling on for some time now about integrity issues and use this all encompassing phrase to explain their lack of involvement in the markets, they are now no longer showing the matches either.

Performances like that of Graeme Dott in a previous group match will add weight to the bookies argument of not getting heavily involved in this which is a bit of a shame as they are potentially fun events to bet on and personally I usually have a small punt on the group outrights and the ‘Wooden Spoon’ markets. But ultimately I suppose it’s all about demand and if it costs more to price it up than it’s actually worth to the bookies then you can see their point. The fact that Bet365 are now asking for a deposit before viewing leads me to believe that they are not happy with people just watching it without actually bothering to have a bet.

You wonder whether this might have an impact on the future for this little venture as it always seems to have lent itself to a gambling orientated market and I seem to recall was set up with this specifically in mind. Time will tell, but with all the other events going on could this be the beginning of the end for the oversized armchairs and Bingham’s Pie Bar?

Anyway, on the baize the table after Day 1 sees Shaun Murphy marginally ahead of the Captain on money won, both of them with 3 out of 4 wins under their belt and looking good for a semi-final slot. The remaining five look to be set for a dogfight to make up the remaining two and decide which two play no further part. The table after Day 1 can be viewed here.

Ali: Started well again.

It’s equally tight in the race to win the cue signed by Ronnie, with Doctor Dish leading the chasing pack at the halfway stage. But as yesterday showed everything can change in an instant and there are still plenty there or thereabouts with chances. The overnight standings can be found in the comments section of this post.

Tuesday’s Matches

TABLE 1 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – Stuart Bingham 3-1 Peter Ebdon
11.45am – Ali Carter 3-1 Marco Fu
Not before 1.30pm – John Higgins 0-3 Marco Fu
2.45pm – Shaun Murphy 3-1 Mark King
5.30pm – Play-off – Ali Carter 2-3 Mark King
6.45pm – Final: Shaun Murphy (138/137 yes) 3-2 Mark King

TABLE 2 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – John Higgins 2-3 Mark King
11.45am – Shaun Murphy 1-3 Peter Ebdon
Not before 1.30pm – Stuart Bingham 1-3 Mark King
2.45pm – John Higgins (138) 3-0 Peter Ebdon
4pm – Stuart Bingham 2-3 Ali Carter
Not before 5.30pm – Play-off – Shaun Murphy (122) 3-2 Peter Ebdon

Top of Group: Ali Carter

Eliminated: Stuart Bingham and John Higgins

Overall Winner: Shaun Murphy

Contest Winner: Snooker147blog (Spain)

2nd Prize: Doctor Dish (England)

January 23, 2011

Championship League Group 3 Day 1

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:22 pm

Essex Girls: Well Classy.

It’s back to the oversized armchairs and general weirdness of Crondon Park on Monday. This starts off what is a jam-packed few months of snooker with back to back tournaments more or less until the World Championship. A veritable feast for baize lovers everywhere.

As we now know, Ronnie has predictably jibbed this event. He was generous enough to appear in one group as he did last year, aren’t we the lucky ones. But as he again failed to win an event despite giving it a really good go (unlike last year) he decided enough was enough and that’s good news for local boy and Crondon member Stuart Bingham, who takes his place.

Mark Allen has apparently got problems with his tip and is replaced by another local boy Mark King. Blimey with Ali playing too one might be forgiven in mistaking this for an episode of ‘The only way is Essex’.

No prices as yet from the bookies which is a bit disappointing. Hopefully they will find the time to cater for us in the morning.

Your last chance to enter the competition to win a cue signed by the absent Rocket is here, I’ll take entries up to 10.30am UK time.

Monday

TABLE 1 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – Stuart Bingham 0-3 John Higgins (106)
11.45am – Mark King (112) 1-3 Peter Ebdon
Not before 1.30pm – John Higgins 0-3 Shaun Murphy
2.45pm – Peter Ebdon 1-3 Marco Fu
Not before 5.30pm – John Higgins 2-3 Ali Carter
6.45pm – Shaun Murphy 3-1 Marco Fu

TABLE 2 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – Shaun Murphy 1-3 Ali Carter
11.45am – Marco Fu 1-3 Stuart Bingham
Not before 1.30pm – Ali Carter 3-0 Mark King
2.45pm – Stuart Bingham 2-3 Shaun Murphy (100)
Not before 5.30pm – Mark King 3-2 Marco Fu
6.45pm – Peter Ebdon 3-1 Ali Carter

Tuesday

TABLE 1 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – Stuart Bingham v Peter Ebdon
11.45am – Ali Carter v Marco Fu
Not before 1.30pm – John Higgins v Marco Fu
2.45pm – Shaun Murphy v Mark King
5.30pm – Play-off – first v fourth
6.45pm – Final

TABLE 2 (all times are approximate)
10.30am – John Higgins v Mark King
11.45am – Shaun Murphy v Peter Ebdon
Not before 1.30pm – Stuart Bingham v Mark King
2.45pm – John Higgins v Peter Ebdon
4pm – Stuart Bingham v Ali Carter
Not before 5.30pm – Play-off – second v third

January 22, 2011

World Snooker/Sky Shootout: Can we rule out the Tacticians?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:26 am

The Nugget using his balls to impress Miss Blackpool

On Thursday I previewed next weekend’s World Snooker/Sky Shootout with a focus on the fast and furious potters that are taking part. But could we be barking up the wrong tree? Will we instead see a weekend of wily tacticians, whose primary aim is to outsmart the ‘pot them off the lampshades’ brigade?

I remember when playing snooker rather than writing about it used to take up a lot of my time and one particular period saw me playing most days with a player that was later to turn professional and was far better than me. He was a ferocious potter and some sessions just made me feel like his own personal, rather deflated referee. I spent a lot of the time taking colours out of pockets while he went on his crusade to pot everything. He once made back to back maximums against me.

But I did have a modicum of success against him on certain occasions by playing a tactical game I liked to refer to as ‘The Temptation Game’, usually accompanied by a musical nod to Heaven 17.

The idea was simple, tempt him into playing a long risky red that I knew he could not resist, which would result in one of two things;

1. Me picking the balls out for another frame.

2. Me getting a chance to make perhaps a 70 or so and persuade him to concede.

It was the snooker equivalent of flipping a coin, but I do wonder if any of the professionals use this when playing players they know will find it hard to turn down even the faintest whiff of a pot.

So could a tactician realistically win this event? The modern day father of all things tactical is of course, The Nugget, who has been busy promoting his old mucker Bazza’s event already this week. He faces another wily old head in the first round in the shape of Peter Ebdon and it will be quite a spectacle seeing these two slow coaches attempting to cope with a 15 second shot clock. Ebdon was averaging 52 seconds per shot in the Masters recently. Perhaps Bazza should be looking at the possibility of having individual sponsors for specific matches, I feel he may have missed a trick not getting the old fellas at ‘Deep Heat’ involved in this one with all the creaking bones on show.

My guess is that players like these two won’t last long as they are far too slow these days to adapt to such a frenetic pace. But that isn’t to rule out those that can speed up when required but still have a tactical game that is in tip top shape.

I’m thinking primarily of players like Mark Selby (22/1 Corals) who I think has a fighting chance of doing well here. Lower down the list there are massive prices about players that can mix the tactics with the potting, Barry Hawkins (66/1 Betfred), Ricky Walden (50/1 Betfred) and Stephen Lee (60/1 Paddy Power) can mix it up and are all capable of winning this. Some might even be tempted by the attractive 75/1 on Ken Doherty at Bet365. The Darling of Dublin can still turn in the odd decent display and is not usually beaten in the tactical department.

One thing that this speeded up version of snooker might also take out is the nerves. The lack of time to dwell on the importance of a shot will do a lot for some players that can let the big occasions get to them. This means that a first time winner might not be out of the question.

I think if you are going to back a few players in this you need to take a view whether to go with the out and out potters or favour those that will be going there with a tactical game plan to frustrate and tempt the potting brigade into surrender. Or like me, you might want to sit on the fence and have a little bit of both.

I’m going to select six players to have a small interest on. At the prices it would be silly to ignore O’Sullivan (16/1 Corals, as low as 9/1 in other places) given his liking for this type of event, but whether he can cope with having to spend so long in a town where a day can feel like a month is another matter. He also faces Marco Fu in the first round which just might tip him over the edge. But I’ll take a chance he’s up for it.

The two Marks, Selby (22/1 Corals) and Allen (25/1 Betfred) are others that I can’t ignore. I’ll also have a go on Judd Trump (40/1 Betfred) in the hope that a mad potter with a limited safety game might prevail. To make up the six I’ll look lower down the list at Ricky Walden (50/1 general) and Matthew Stevens (66/1 Betfred). Matthew has suffered in the past from letting the big shots get to him, but a more fluent potter you couldn’t wish to see and with his experience he could potentially have a run in this.

It’s a lottery of course but there are some massive prices about and as long as you don’t get carried away it might be a fun event to have a punt on. So my advice is pick your team and have a bit on each of them. When you have, post your six on here and let’s see how many actually end up backing the winner. In fact, anyone that does can go into a draw for a snooker related prize.

A reminder of the rules and the draw (stand out matches highlighted):

– 1 Frame knock out
– 1 table in play
– Maximum 10 minutes per match
– Shot clock, first 5 minutes at 20 seconds, next 5 minutes at 15 seconds
– Random draw
– Players must hit a cushion or pot a ball on every shot
– Players ‘lag’ for who breaks (it is sometimes referred to as stringing)
– Blue ball shoot out in event of a tie break

Mark Allen v Ryan Day
Stephen Lee v Michael Holt
Nigel Bond v Joe Jogia (one for the purists)
Stephen Hendry v Fergal O’Brien
Robert Milkins v Martin Gould
Andrew Higginson v Jamie Burnett
Tom Ford v Stephen Maguire
Ding Junhui v Dominic Dale
Jimmy White v Ali Carter
Michael Judge v Alan McManus
Mark Williams v John Higgins
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marco Fu

Peter Ebdon v Steve Davis (sponsored by Stanna Stairlifts)
Jimmy Michie v Marcus Campbell
Mark King v Jimmy Robertson
Barry Pinches v Neil Robertson
Peter Lines v Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy v Rory McLeod (Rory back on the box)
Alfie Burden v Matt Selt
Ricky Walden v Joe Perry
Dave Harold v Judd Trump (The Tortoise and the Hare)
Graeme Dott v Matthew Couch
Jamie Cope v Ken Doherty
Adrian Gunnell v David Morris
Tony Drago v Liang Wenbo (blink and you’ll miss it)
Gerard Greene v Rod Lawler (blink and you’ll be gutted you haven’t missed it)
Matthew Stevens v Mike Dunn (Mike will be appearing at the Blackpool Comedy Club if he loses)
Stuart Pettman v Bjorn Haneveer
Joe Swail v Mark Davis
Andy Hicks v Mark Selby
Anthony Hamilton v Anthony McGill
Stuart Bingham v Ian McCulloch

There is still time to win a cue signed by Ronnie O’Sullivan. Click here for details.

Also, good luck to Allan Taylor who is in action today in Gloucester. Go the Assassin!

January 21, 2011

Championship League Prediction Contest: Win a Cue signed by The Rocket!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:24 am

Appearing on Antiques Roadshow to gasps of 'How Much?' in 80 years time.

Any snooker fan would want this. So much so that Mrs Snookerbacker is going to be entering so that she won’t have to buy me a birthday present this year. Yes readers, to brighten up an otherwise dreary start to another dark winter week you have the chance to win a cue that has been hand-signed by none other than Ronnie O’Sullivan, courtesy of those generous people over at Rileys.

Monday and Tuesday sees the return of the Championship League over at Crondon Park, which is streamed live on several betting sites. Please note that Ronnie and Mark Allen have both withdrawn from the group and have been replaced by local boys Stuart Bingham and Mark King.

To win the prize, simply predict a score in all the matches on the first day and then answer the three questions relating to Day 2 and the conclusion of the group.

The winner and recipient of the cue will be the person with the most points at the end of Group 3. To soften the blow, Rileys have also provided some vouchers as a second prize so that the unlucky soul can at least go to one of their clubs and get drunk, crying and swearing into a glass at what might have been.     

Day 1 Matches: Predict the Scores (Best of 5 frames)

1 point for match winner, a further 2 points for the correct score

Stuart Bingham v John Higgins
Shaun Murphy v Ali Carter
Mark King v Peter Ebdon
Marco Fu v Stuart Bingham

John Higgins v Shaun Murphy
Ali Carter v Mark King
Peter Ebdon v Marco Fu
Stuart Bingham v Shaun Murphy

John Higgins v Ali Carter
Mark King v Marco Fu
Shaun Murphy v Marco Fu
Peter Ebdon v Ali Carter

Day 2:

Who will top the Group after the matches? (5 points)

Name the four semi-finalists (2 points for each correct)

Who will be the overall winner of Group 3? (10 points)

THE RULES:

Strictly 1 entry per person

No anonymous entries, all entries must be accompanied by an email address in the box provided (not visible to others)

No age restriction on entering to win the cue, but to win the vouchers you must at least be able to grow a moustache (proof may be required).

In the event of a tie, I’ll snap the cue in half, keep it myself or think of something – tell you what, if there is a tie the player with the most correct scores from Day 1 wins, if it is still a tie we’ll have a play off on Group 4 and if it’s still a tie after that you will both be entered into the Guinness Book of Records under the section ‘Most Inseperable Competition Entrants’.

If I suspect multiple entries I have the right to arbitrarily throw someone out for cheating without further explanation.

Deadline for entries: 9am (UK Time) Monday morning.

Think that about covers it. Good Luck everyone.

Visit www.rileys.co.uk or click the above logo to find your nearest club and book a table online.

January 20, 2011

Line Up the Potters: The World Snooker/Sky Shootout

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:36 pm

This is the coastal town, that they forgot to close down.

A week tomorrow the world’s top 64 players, the very cream of snooker make their way to Blackpool for something very very different. It’s the potfest, rapid-fire madness that is Bazza’s big idea, the new Sky Shootout.

Ten minute frames, a shot clock which speeds up to just 15 seconds half way through the frame, a random draw after every match, dolly birds, bouncers, loud music and a walk of shame are all elements of this fiasco that will have purists reaching for either their old Ray Reardon videos or the whiskey bottle, depending on their levels of despair.

As you would expect, such a serious format has attracted the big hitting, highbrow, intelligentsia of the television world and Sky Sports promise extensive coverage of the event.

As Blackpool, that cosmopolitan, bohemian English Riviera town is known for it’s extensive libraries and stunning architecture and is just up my street, I have decided to ‘treat the Mrs’ to a weekend there, where I will be hopefully filing some reports from behind the scenes for the blog.

I haven’t a clue what to expect but at least it is snooker, not that dreadful game they played on ITV a few weeks back.

The bookmakers have been quick to price it up and as well as match by match betting there are also the outrights and if you fancy an out and out potter to win it there are several players that you might want to take a look at.

Ronnie starts as obvious favourite in a tournament that is arguably made for him and he is best priced 16/1 with Corals who are also best priced on newly crowned Masters Champion Ding Junhui at 22/1.

Two of the best potters in the game at the moment are Mark Williams and Mark Allen, who are both best priced 25/1 at Betfred.

Looking further down for fast fearless potters you might want to have an interest in Graeme Dott (33/1), Judd Trump (40/1) Liang Wenbo (40/1) or Martin Gould (50/1), all best priced at Betfred.

Even further down we have veteran potters Jimmy White (80/1 Skybet) who plays Ali Carter (28/1 general) first match and Tony Drago (125/1 Boylesports).

It really is anyone’s guess who will come through this but it’s fair to say some of them will have to get their skates on to stand any chance. I can’t imagine Rory McLeod, Alan McManus, Rod Lawler or Fergal O’Brien will be going into this brim full of confidence. Although according to the headline of this story, I hope they have a stop and search in operation for when local boy Ian McCulloch enters the building or the TV cameras might get more than they bargained for.

Ronnie is another that frequently likes to talk to the serious media and has given some very interesting interviews about his theories on life in the past. But not this week, as Ron has been chatting to soft-porn teenagers jazz mag Zoo here about cars, Spurs players and that mate he’s got from that rubbish band that sang that terrible song about Muhammad Ali.

It’s certainly different and it remains to be seen how it goes, but with a total prize fund of £130,000 and £32,000 up for grabs for potentially winning just 6 ten minute frames of snooker, it could be fun, you never know.

What do you think of the idea? Are you going to give it a try or do you agree with the great Morrissey?

Who’s next to find a Golden Ticket?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:08 am

Ronnie pictured here with Mark Allen.

One of my favourite books when I was a kid was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and regulars on here may recall references to it now and again relating to stories about the baize.

The original film remains another favourite of mine, not the remake with Johnny Depp which was a bit daft. Even though as years would pass and older, more cynical eyes might have the ‘Candyman’ down as a bit weird with some sort of twisted hidden agenda. It’s still a great watch and takes me back to the wide-eyed innocence of youth.

As many know given some of his recent displays, snooker’s biggest Wonka is Ronnie O’Sullivan. The Rocket is again tirelessly scouring the country to find this year’s Rileys Future Star and award them their own real-life Golden Ticket.

This is the competition where boys and girls under the age of 16 take some time off from mugging old ladies, entering shops in hoodies to steal cigarettes and cheap lager, hanging around parks in the hope of a grope with the town bike and generally making a bloody nuisance of themselves to concentrate on earning five grand to develop their skills on the baize (and buy better quality lager).

Last year, it was won by Joel Walker who even got a wildcard entry into the World Open as well as having the Rocket on hand to teach him how refuse to pot blacks after the referee gets to 140.

The competition is again being run by Rileys and players aged 16 or under on April 30 can register free at www.rileys.co.uk/futurestars before February 28. The preliminary rounds, best-of-five frame Super 6 knockouts, will take place at Rileys clubs nationwide on Saturday March 19.

Ron said: “I’m excited about the 2011 competition, I’m looking for a candidate with the potential to become a top professional player. I’ve really enjoyed the coaching role with Joel, I enjoy passing on experience and seeing people get better. I’m looking for someone with a unique talent – you can spot it straight away. With backing from Rileys and some mentoring from me – hopefully we can uncover a new World Champion.”

“If I can help stop just one old person having their pension stolen by one of these little sods, it will have been worth it”. OK, I made that bit up, he didn’t really say that.

Rileys Chief Executive Maurice ‘The Mozfather’ Kelly said: “We are delighted to see the return of Future Stars. The standard of entrants in 2010, our first year, was exceptional and I’m sure this year will be even better. The competition is a real chance for a youngster to break into the snooker big time.”

If you’re a pushy parent with a young protege on your hands you don’t know what to do with or you just want £5000 to buy a top of the range home cinema system to watch the snooker, for more information on the competition, endorsed by Bazza and World Snooker, you should head to Facebook at www.facebook.com/futurestarsofsnooker

Talking of Rileys, they have stumped up the prize for our next competition which will take in next Monday and Tuesday’s third group in the Championship League at Crondon Park so be sure to look in tomorrow for more details on how to win.

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