Snookerbacker

March 28, 2011

China Open Day Two Match Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:17 pm

Kurt from The Office

I look forward to the day when I can say “well that’s the wildcards out of the way with all the qualifiers through” but sadly again we find one player beaten by this unfair system and former World Champion Ken Doherty on his way home, or to Australia, but either way out of China after a poor end to his season.

It’s fair to say that Ken won’t be occupying himself on the plane playing Hangman, with his conqueror Li Hang inflicting a clinical victory over the hapless Dubliner. I noticed at the end Ken looked furious, whether this was at himself and his woeful display or at the fact that the guy he beat shouldn’t have been there I don’t know. But I once again call on World Snooker to stop this wildcard nonsense. Barry talks about players earning the right to their tour card, yet persists in pandering to Chinese sponsors and allowing this. If they want their card, let them play for it under a separate Asian Q-School and then go to the qualifying like the others have to.

There were narrow wins in three other matches for Bond, Campbell and Kurt Maflin (or Keith Maflin as Joe Johnson prefers to call him) who all prevailed by five frames to three, whilst Joe Perry came through unscathed a little easier. Our boy Maffers looked shocking at the beginning of his match with Yupeng but on going 3-2 down managed to put together a few balls and settled into the environment eventually. Yupeng it’s fair to say is no world beater and how Keith will cope with Ding is another matter entirely.

Meanwhile, in the real tournament, we saw Stephen Hendry inflict a total hatchet job on Matthew Stevens, who looked like he was barely awake in mustering a dismal 9 points for the whole match. I was scrambling around my ‘Anorak’s Guide to Snooker’ to find out if Matt had made some kind of unwanted record and indeed he has. He has scored the lowest points total for a Best of 9 televised ranking match in snooker history.

Unfortunately, by virtue of a single red he didn’t quite manage the ‘lowest points score of any best of nine ranking event match ever in the universe’, which as we all know is held by Graham Bradley, who was beaten by the mighty Paul Smith in Aldershot in 1992’s Welsh Open qualifiers. Now our Graham has been dining out on this ever since and has obviously done pretty well on the profits as I can exclusively reveal that I managed to catch up with him at his luxury villa in the Maldives for his reaction to this close encounter. He said: ‘F**k off SB’ before slamming the phone down. Some people eh? Why would you not want to be reminded of that?

Then came Neil Robertson who looked pretty good and a lot sharper than he has been since as far back as the World Open. I have a feeling he may be hard to beat this week with a fairly decent draw up to the semi-finals. The future of the Great Blog Bet Pot is on his Aussie Shoulders, so it’s fingers crossed for the Thunder.

I am waiting for an email from my correspondent over in Beijing, Si-Ting Chi-Lee who has rang me to say he has seen Ronnie wandering around. So I suppose that proves at least that he’s there. But I do hope he is staying off the booze as he promised me he would, this doesn’t bode well from what I know of him.

Now to tomorrow’s matches:

2.30pm

1. Mark Williams v Stephen Lee (H2H 11-3)
13. Stephen Maguire v Mark Davis (H2H 3-1)
WC. Rob Milkins v Rouzi Maimaiti
WC. Gerard Greene v Yu Delu

He Bangs.

Mark Williams takes on Stephen Lee on the main TV table and this could be a cracker with both of them showing some excellent form coming into this. The head to heads however are very convincing in favour of MJW, who as we all know travels very well and often performs some of his best stuff when outside the UK. It’s 2002 since Lee beat him, though Big Stevie is playing a lot better now than he has for ages, but I still fancy Williams.

The big unknown in the other first rounder in this session is about Stephen Maguire. Just how will he be feeling coming into this? I have no idea if his baby has been born but I’m assuming it has or he wouldn’t be here. Dark Mavis was seriously awful in Dublin after having to sit through a hiding by Rory McLeod to get to the Crucible. My guess is that he will feel a lot like Ken did today and I think it will take a huge effort for him to get anything out of this match.

In the wildcard matches I’d expect Rob Milkins to come through no problem but I can’t feel quite as confident about Gerard Greene. He is another that will be a little low on confidence against a wildcard that is capable of beating players of his level.

Recommended Bets:

2 points Stephen Maguire (-1.5 frames) 4/5 Boylesports

1 point Mark Williams (-1.5 frames) 9/10 Boylesports

1 point Yu Delu to beat Greene 13/8 Skybet

7.30pm
4. Ding Junhui v Keith Maflin
12. Shaun Murphy v Joe Perry (H2H 2-3)
11. Graeme Dott v Li Hang
6. Mark Allen v Marcus Campbell

We can expect the usual circus to follow Ding around tomorrow and he faces up to Keith on the main table. Like I said, Maffers settled eventually earlier today but he missed some shockers early on. If he does so again Ding will eat him for breakfast and if I’m honest that is what I’d expect here.

Smurf tackles Gentleman Joe and despite meeting five times they have only met once over this distance and in a main ranking event, in the Welsh Open of 2008 where Murphy won 5-0. Murphy was in blistering form in Dublin and there is no reason to suspect he will suffer a further dip in form from now until the end of the season. I think we’ll be seeing him at the business end of things again and I would not expect him to lose this one.

Li Hang played very well against Doherty but was gifted chances and tomorrow faces former winner Graeme Dott who will attack the balls much like Hang did today. In terms of class these two are poles apart and assuming Graeme has got himself settled in and found a McDonalds and somewhere that sells Coke (read his book), he should be fine. It’s fair to say that our Dotty won’t be sampling the local delicacies of deep fried duck shit or pandas testicles any time soon. He’s a Big Mac man is Dotty.

That leaves us with Mark Allen, a semi-finalist last year against our favourite Scottish Scruff Marcus Campbell. Marcus only made one frame winning break in his match earlier and will have to score far heavier against the Ketchup Kid, who despite not yet having the season that a few of us including myself, expected him to have is still a class act on his day and should have enough to deal with this one you would think.

Recommended Bets:

0.25 points on Ding to win 5-0 at 13/2 with Stan James

2 points win Shaun Murphy (-1.5 frames) at 4/5 Generally

1 point win Graeme Dott (-2.5 frames) at 6/4 Extrabet

Recommended Multiple Bets:

2 point roll up on Mark Williams to win, Stephen Maguire to win, Graeme Dott to win and Shaun Murphy (-1.5 frames) pays just on 9/2 at Boylesports.

1 point Mad Acca on Williams, Maguire, Milkins, Ding, Allen, Murphy and Dott pays just on 15/2 at Betfred.


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