March 4, 2011

Betfred World Championship Qualifying Round 2 Match Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:51 pm


Saturday morning sees the real start of the 2011 Betfred World Snooker Championship Qualifying Stages (image courtesy of World Snooker). This weekend sees the players ranked in the lower echelons of the professional game battling to make one last impression on the rankings list before most of them are forced to sign up for the Q-School to try and get back on the tour next year.

For some this is a forlorn hope, they will have already resigned themselves to a possible three tense weeks in May for the right to carry on as a professional, or alternatively for a life away from the baize having given it their best shot. So how will this affect them? One might argue that with the pressure of getting ranking points lifted from their shoulders they might simply relax and play a more natural game, after all, they all earned the right to become a professional in the first place and you have to be a pretty good player to achieve that.

There are also those competing this weekend, such as James Wattana, David Morris and Kyren Wilson who are still conceivably in with a chance of keeping their place on the tour with a run in the qualifiers, which must bring with it that bit of extra tension. It will be interesting to see how these players handle it.

There are also players such as Liu Song and Michael White, who through their exploits in the PTC’s at the beginning of the season are set to keep their tour place regardless of their performance here and despite not currently holding a top 64 place. This must give them that extra bit of security and make them possibly the most relaxed players at this stage of the event.

For a detailed analysis of the ifs, buts and doyoumindifIdont’s go to Matt’s ProSnooker Blog excellent summary here. At this time of the season the rankings can offer you a further angle when it comes to laying down hard-earned cash and should be ignored at your peril.

We are all set for a pulsating week in Sheffield and those of you who are attending will I’m sure report back with tales of fraught nerves, howlers and heroics. I am hoping to get there at some point myself through the week so will hopefully be able to file reports direct from the venue. For anyone considering going along please click here for details of how to get your ticket.

But here goes with the preview of the matches beginning and ending this weekend.  

All matches this week are the Best of 19 frames. Head to Head statistic is in brackets where they have met before.

Matches below start at 10am on Saturday and conclude at 7pm on Saturday

5. Kyren Wilson v Dermot McGlinchey
6. Liu Song v Michael Judge
7. James Wattana v Justin Astley (1-0; 5-2 China Open 2011)
8. Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon v Sam Baird
9. James McBain v Issara Kachaiwong
10. Igor Figuieredo v Joe Delaney (1-0: PTC event)

The Songman

Judging by the comments section these past few days I think a lot of us are struggling to find a really good bet in this first stream of matches. By that, I mean that there isn’t really one price that sticks out and says ‘Back Me’. But that isn’t to say that multiple punters can’t get involved as there are some very worthy favourites here that will need to have a very bad day at the office not to justify support. As I mentioned above, Kyren Wilson is one of those players that needs a good run in this and he faces Dermot McGlinchey who can relax, safe in the knowledge that he has absolutely no chance of staying on the tour by these means this season. That does throw the outcome into doubt, but assuming Wilson doesn’t let things get to him too much I think he should win with a little bit in hand. Lui Song is a player I have backed to progress this week so it will be no surprise to some that I would make him my banker of the day to beat Michael Judge, who will be another considering his options at the end of the season. James Wattana is in a similar situation to Wilson and has been showing some form of late, he has the experience to handle any added pressure he might feel and is arguably a better player over the longer format, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Crucible last year at the final stage. I’d expect him to also come through with a bit in hand against first season pro Justin Astley who is another that has hardly set the game alight since being handed his tour card. The other favourite that you would expect to win through is Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon. TT has blown hot and cold this season but when he blows he blows, and he is capable of rattling off frames in the blink of an eye, he’ll have far too much for his opponent Sam Baird here you would think. After a great start to the season German Brasilian Igor has really gone off the boil, but because of that good start and his performances in the PTC’s he is likely to remain a professional when his opponent Joe Delaney is fighting at the Q-School. Delaney is a heavy favourite for this match but I think Igor has a fighting chance at a best priced 7/4 with Sportingbet, however on balance I’ll leave that one alone. Finally, we come to McBain against Kachaiwong. The Scotsman (that’s McBain!) had a good win against Jamie Jones last week, on paper at least, in reality it was a very low scoring affair and McBain fizzled out in the next round. His Thai opponent in the meantime had three decent performances before losing to Ken Doherty to qualify for China. I’m surprised at the odds in this one as I’d have the Thai player at around the 8/11 mark, which means that the odds against at Sportingbet is the only single bet I will be having in these matches.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win Issara Kachaiwong (6/5 Sportingbet)

Recommended Bet: 4 points treble Wattana, Song and Wilson pays just on or over Evens almost everywhere.

Matches below start at 2.30pm on Saturday and conclude at 2.30pm on Sunday

11. Liu Chuang v David Gray
12. David Morris v David Gilbert (0-1: 5-4 China Open 2011)
13. Paul Davison v Stephen Rowlings
14. Patrick Wallace v Del Smith

Wallace - Slowcoach.

Not the most mouth watering of line ups this afternoon with matches including three pre qualifiers, Pattaya’s favourite son David Gray, Del Smith and Stephen Rowlings who has only lost three frames in three matches to get here, all those being to professional Jak Jones yesterday. The ‘all professional’ match involves David Gilbert and Ireland’s Davy Morris who met in the qualifiers last week with Gilbert winning in a decider. Gilbert has lost his first qualifying match for the past three seasons and his ranking this year is as low as I can ever remember him being. Morris on the other hand made the final qualifying round last year before losing to Michael Holt. I would say that if they both play at their best Gilbert will win but with Morris backable at 11/8 in places he will have his supporters, I think it’s too close to call. You would not expect Chinese deadpan comedian Liu Chuang to slip up against David Gray and at 1/3 he is a backable price for bigger punters. Wallace should also take care of Clapped Out Club regular Del ‘Boy’ Smith, Wallace is a snail of a player who can play some turgid stuff but you have to fancy him to ride out what I guarantee will not be the match of the round. In the other match Stephen Rowlings is worth taking a chance on to beat Paul Davison given he has been chalked up at 5/2 to do so. He’s obviously still a very capable player and Davison is no world beater, so given he has a long match under his belt and will come to this used to the conditions I think he’s worth an interest.

Recommended Bet: 1 point win Stephen Rowlings at 5/2 with Skybet

Matches below start at 10am on Sunday and conclude at 7pm on Sunday

15. Michael White v Adam Wicheard 1-0 (4-2 in Welsh Open 2011)
16. Liam Highfield v Kuldesh Johal 1-0 (9-7 UK Championship 2010)
17. Simon Bedford v Noppon Saengkham
18. Ben Woollaston v Jamie O’Neill
19. Andrew Pagett v Anda Zhang
20. Xiao Guodong v Kurt Maflin (1-2, last meeting 2008)

Guodong: Can he cope with Hurricane Kurt?

The match that has aroused the most interest this weekend so far is the one at the bottom between Kurt Maflin and Xiao Guodong. Even leading one poster to divulge he has had his biggest bet this year to date on the Chinese player. Now, I am a fan of Guodong and I do think there is more to come from him. He is also right on the cusp of keeping his pro tour card and it isn’t too far fetched to say that if he wins here he probably will. Maffers on the other hand would need to progress a lot further to stand any chance of hanging onto his place after a poor season overall. But just look at how he played last week, quite awesome snooker and that won’t wear off in this short a time, he is not some kid that has just started playing well and has been around the block a couple of times. He had a similar run in 2007 when in the Masters he beat (wait for this) Gerard Greene, Judd Trump, Andrew Higginson, Liang Wenbo and Jimmy White before losing narrowly to Barry Hawkins. But he then immediately went on a long losing run against lesser ranked players, including Xiao. But the difference here is that the winning run has not yet been broken and his confidence will still be high. On balance therefore, I slightly favour him but not enough to get involved so I hope I am wrong as the poster who has backed Guodong is a long time faithful follower of the blog and we are all in this to bash the bookies. Of the other matches I’d say it will be a favourites day overall on Sunday. I would expect Michael White, Liam Highfield, Ben Woollaston, Simon Bedford and last year’s surprise package Zhang Anda to come through but the one player that I wouldn’t be rushing to put in an accumulator is Bedford, even though he should win, there are sufficient doubts in my mind with that one to ignore the temptation to include him in a daft acca. For readers, as it’s the first day of the World Championship proper I will be recommending a ‘Mad Acca’ for the smaller punters out there and of course the big punters who just can’t get enough.

Recommended Bet: 2 points accumulator on Zhang, Highfield, White and Woollaston pays just under 3/1 at Skybet.

Recommended Weekend Multiple: 2 points accumulator on Wattana, Song, Wilson, Zhang and Wollaston pays just on 10/3 at Unibet.

Recommended Mad Weekend Acca: 1 point accumulator on Wattana, Song, Wilson, Zhang, Woollaston, Highfield, White pays over 13/2 at Unibet.

Remember that the bet flagged up at Betfred in the ‘To Qualify’ preview here is still there to back until they kick off tomorrow. Apparently it’s proving very popular.

You also have until 10am tomorrow to enter the Prediction Contest here.

The best of luck to anyone getting involved this weekend and indeed over the rest of the week.

A Big Day for Reanne

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:32 am

The Last Chance Saloon

Can she do it? Reanne Evans today faces pre-qualifier Sam Baird over the Best of 19 frames and aims to win her first match of the season on the professional tour.

I’m not sure if anyone has ever gone a whole season without winning a match but if Reanne loses today she has done precisely that. There were plenty that accused Bazza of tokenism when he awarded a tour card to her, I didn’t do that but I do think it was a little unfair to offer her a card ahead of players that were better than her.

There is betting on both matches today, with Jak Jones the other main tour professional in action against Stephen Rowlings who didn’t lose a frame yesterday against sub-standard opponents. I marginally fancy Jak to win that one and for interest today will be backing him at Evens (-1.5 frames) in that match. I’ll double it up with Reanne at 5/6 (+4.5 frames) in the hope that the first lady of the baize (if you discount Mrs Snookerbacker) can give it one last push and make a match of it.

Recommended Bet: 1 point double Jones (-1.5) and Evans (+4.5) pays over 5/2 at Sportingbet.

World Championship Qulifying Round 1 starts at 10am

Jak Jones v Stephen Rowlings

Reanne Evans v Sam Baird

I’ll be working on a match preview for Round 2 today.

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