Snookerbacker

May 30, 2011

Introducing ‘The Snookerbacker Classic’

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:59 pm

I’ve been rambling on now for a few days about my latest big idea. I should be in holiday mode as myself and Mrs SB leave for Italy on Thursday morning, which means I will miss the fun over in Gloucester of the Pink Ribbon Event. But to her frustration I have predictably found a way to turn my attention to something other than washing and ironing and have been making calls in preparation for ‘The Snookerbacker Classic 2012’.

Here is all you need to know about this in a nutshell:

The Concept:

Four venues, three with a maximum of 32 amateur players competing and one with a maximum of 64 amateur players competing. Quality venues are being negotiated for regional heats in the following areas:

Scotland

Northern England

Wales

Southern England

While I am currently in the negotiation stages it looks likely that the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds will host the Northern England event and Ali Carter’s club in Chelmsford will host the Southern England event. I will be hopefully confirming Terry Griffiths Matchroom in Llaneli for the Welsh event and I’m waiting on some further information about a suitable venue in Scotland.

In each event, the players will play Best of 7 frame matches over the course of one day and be whittled down to a final two, who will then move into ‘Finals Day’ in Chelmsford where the final eight will battle it out. If The Captain is free he will be on hand to present the prizes.

Entrance Fee and Prizes:

Entrance fee will be £50 per entry, per event. There are no restrictions on how many events any one player can enter in attempting to make finals day. Entries are not restricted to players from that region and each event should be looked on as a national competition and a chance to qualify for Finals Day.

All players that make Finals Day will have their £50 entrance fee for the event they are successful in refunded in full.

On Finals Day the eight remaining players will compete for the following prizes:

Winner: Full Entrance Fee paid to the 2012 Q-School, plus Entrance Fee paid to four 2012/13 season PTC Events plus of course The Snookerbacker Classic Trophy.

Runner-Up: Full Entrance Fee paid to the 2012 Q-School.

In return the successful players will enter into the same arrangement as Allan Taylor had with the blog this year. Namely that if they make professional they will agree to return 20% of their first season earnings (after an initial £5000 earned to cover expenses) to blog investors. They will also agree to wear the Snookerbacker.com logo on their waistcoats for the first season (subject to World Snooker regulations).

Dates and Promotion:

I am envisaging holding the first event in November or December 2011 with at least a three week gap between subsequent events. I would hope to hold the Finals Day in March or April 2012. Dates will not clash with 2011/12 PTC events to allow all amateurs the chance to compete. I will be calling in a few favours when it comes to promotion and I would hope that by the time the event is underway it will be something that the snooker community at large are well aware of and looking forward to.

The Next Stages:

Are negotiations with venues and possible sponsors. Once I am happy that everything is in place the tournament will be open for entries.

Allan Taylor on why you should enter:

‘SB has come up with a way for someone in the amateur game to win six matches and get the £1000 Q-school Entry paid, for absolutely nothing but your expenses, win seven and you get a further four PTC events paid for, I can’t think of another event on the amateur circuit offering such an opportunity. Add to this that the venues are top quality and entering this is a no-brainer for a player with serious ambitions. Having worked with SB these past few months I can tell you that you won’t regret ‘sealing the deal’ when it comes to your side of the bargain, the publicity that you will get in return is worth its weight in gold, he’s also a good chap to work with, it’s all good. I will be entering this event as soon as I get the nod from Snookerbacker and I look forward to seeing (and beating haha) some of my regular sparring partners at the venue’

How you can get involved:

Play in it! If you fancy your chances in an event like this the obvious way to get involved is to register for one or more of the events. Details of how to do that will follow but if you would like to express an interest please email me at [email protected] and call your email ‘PLAYER’. Please bear in mind that three of the four qualifying events are restricted to 32 players, while the final qualifying event, probably the Southern England one, will be restricted to 64.

Attend an Event! If you are regular reader of the blog, or a blogger yourself. Come along, watch some top quality snooker in top drawer facilities and tweet and blog away to your heart’s content. If you have any skills that you think you could add to the event’s organisation then please let me know. Email me at [email protected] and call your email ‘ATTEND’.

Sponsor it! If you have your own company or if you know of a company or individual that would like to get involved on a sponsorship basis or even if you just have a suggestion for me then please get in touch at [email protected] and call your email ‘SPONSOR’. I am particularly interested in getting sponsors for each event for the Highest Break, on a ‘pound a point’ basis. I might also like to have a 6-Red Plate Event for first round losers at each venue, for which I’d require some sponsorship of prizes. Sponsorship packages can be discussed directly with me.

Invest in the Winners! If you would like to know more about investing in the two successful players from the event then please drop me a line at [email protected] and call your email ‘INVEST’. Investments will start at £50 right up to a full 20% share in one of the winners at £1000.

So what does everyone think? I want to make this a special event with its own unique feel, it’s a big project but I reckon with a bit of hard work, support and creativity we can pull this off.

May 29, 2011

Meet the Q-School Graduates

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:09 am

Disappointment for our main man Allan Taylor yesterday but he remains positive. Well I say that, he was when he spoke to me but that was before he hit the pubs last night in Liverpool, for all I know he might have been crying into a whiskey glass all night. But I doubt it, as he’s a very ‘half full glass’ (of whiskey) kind of fellow and I’m sure his near miss will have only inspired him to greater things.

Stand by for some exciting news by the way. I am currently asking around various contacts I have established with a view to organising something a bit special in order to find our two, yes two, next shots at the big time next season. Anyone wishing to express an interest in investing next March should contact me directly. I think you’ll like what we’re going to do as it will give everyone a chance to get involved in grass roots snooker, but more on that when I have spoken to a couple more people.

In the meantime I thought it might be an idea to give the Q-School Graduates an introduction. Firstly, to give readers with little or no clue as to who they are or where they came from a bit of background and secondly to prepare the poor chaps for the likely puns they might suffer on here should they start winning. So here goes…

Robin Hull

The Serious Bit: Former professional and widely regarded as Finland’s finest (only) baize export. Bags of experience in the professional game but rarely made main venues. Played at the Crucible once, in 2002 losing to Graeme Dott after qualifying wins over amongst others Neal Foulds and Steve Davis. Beat Dott and John Higgins on his way to a QF defeat by MJW in the Regal Welsh Open in 2003. Was forced into what we thought was retirement through ill-health in 2008 but he’s now back on the scene.

Most Likely Overused Puns: Been playing better since he ditched Emu. Some references to being Finnish when on his way to defeat. If he ever plays Anthony Hamilton expect Robin Hood and the Sheriff puns from every blogger worth their salt.

Chances on the Pro-Tour? Average. Would expect him to be in with a fighting chance of climbing the ranks given his experience.

Andrew Norman

The Serious Bit: 31 year old English Professional who spent nine seasons on the professional tour before being relegated in 2010. Another that rarely made main venues and spent a lot of time in Prestatyn.

Unofficial Nickname: Stormin’ Norman

Likely Pun: One of the few professionals that could change his name around and assume a perfectly plausible second identity.

Chances on the Pro-Tour? Doing exactly what he was doing for nine seasons is the last thing you’d expect him to do this time….I’d imagine he will be seen more at the qualifiers than on the TV and may need to negotiate a decent bed and breakfast rate in the Sheffield area or failing that buy a decent tent.

David Grace

The Serious Bit: 26 year old Leeds former professional, but don’t hold the Leeds bit against him. Pro in 2008 and 2009 but it’s fair to say that he didn’t make a great impact. Won just 2 matches in the qualifiers before being booted off the tour, best scalp being Rod Lawler.

Most Likely to be referred to as: ‘Friend of the Blog’

Spurious Puns may include: ‘Saying Grace’, References to Grace Brothers in 70’s department store based comedy ‘Are you Being Served?’

Chances on the Pro Tour? Will have to have learnt the lessons from his two seasons on the tour to stand a chance of staying on there in this more competitive environment. Will have the support of the blog in his quest though so that will surely help.

Adam Wicheard

The Serious Bit: Professional last year and straight back onto the tour. Discounting the PTC events he won 2 main tour matches, against Joe Delaney in the UK before being thumped by Jimmy White and against Fergal O’Brien in the German Masters. Never made a main venue.

Most Likely to be referred to as: The Apprentice Cuebanger, Tattyhead.

Most Likely Pun: Would you Adam and Eve it? Perhaps a spurious link with Adam and the Ants might surface at some point.

Chances on the Pro Tour? Another who will have to have learned lessons and adjusted accordingly to avoid another year at the Q-School next time. Reports of a volatile temperament but a raw talent.

Tian Pengfei

The Serious Bit: Professional from 2006-2008. Some decent scalps to his name, including Ricky Walden, Jamie Cope and Mark King. Will most likely be best remembered for beating Ronnie as a wildcard in China in 2010, when The Rocket missed the black off its spot in the last frame to gift Tian a 5-3 win.

Unofficial Nickname: The Penguin.

Most likely reminder by me if he’s winning: That when asked on Betfair about three years ago for a player to be top 16 in 5 years time who they had never heard of I said him.

Chances on the Pro-Tour? In my view this guy can progress. He has the game and the temperament and assuming he can adapt to life over here I reckon he will do the best out of all the Q-School graduates next season.

David Morris

The Serious Bit: Irish professional since 2006, straight back onto the tour. Made one and only TV appearance when beaten by Neil Robertson in the World Open last October. Another with some decent wins under his belt but a poor season last year saw him having to go to Q-School.

Least Likely to be seen: On the World Snooker scoreboard.

Most Likely to be seen: At the PTC’s which he claimed his sporadic attendance cost him his place on the tour last season, not the fact that he kept on losing.

Most Likely overused puns: Anything that can feasibly be linked to a Morris Minor or Morris Dancing is a shoo-in.

Chances on the Pro-Tour? I think he’ll improve on last season and could be a dangerous opponent in the early rounds. Could do enough to stay on the tour without getting to the business end of events.

Li Yan

The Serious Bit: First season as a professional having had wildcard experience in Chinese events since 2008, losing 5 matches and winning 1, against Gerard Greene.

Least Likely to be confused with: Stephen Lee

Most Likely to be confused with: Ste Lee

Chances on the Pro Tour? Will be helped by Tian being in the same boat and you would hope that they get on ok or Li might find this season one hell of a struggle.

Simon Bedford

The Serious Bit: 13 years a professional before having to go back to Q-School to regain his ticket. Played at the Crucible in his first season as a professional in 1998 losing to Steve Davis but apart from that has rarely been spotted anywhere but the qualifiers. Highlight of career was a win over MJW in 2008.

Most Likely Overused Puns: Some reference to Bedford vans.

Chances on the Pro Tour? Has the experience to make it through first few qualifying rounds against lesser lights but will need to have improved in leaps and bounds to get any further than that on a consistent basis.

Dave Gilbert

The Serious Bit: Highly respected professional since 2002. Previously a regular at main venues until a disastrous season last time out. Played at the Crucible once, beaten by Stephen Hendry 10-7 in 2007. Has beaten a number of big names without ever getting to the deep end in events.

Unofficial Nickname: The Cuban from Tamworth

Most Likely to be referred to as: The man who beat Allan Taylor.

Sartorial Note: Has a natty silver suit which one would hope will grace our screens at some point.

Chances on the Pro-Tour? He has experience and he has the game but strikes me as someone who was a bit on the lazy side last year and may have taken his professional status for granted. If he puts the time and effort in and enters everything he’ll be ok.

Stuart Carrington

The Serious Bit: First season Grimsby professional having played in 6 PTC events last season. Beat some decent players in these events including Martin Gould and Mark King. Very much like when the burglars made off with all the toilets at the local police station, we have nothing else to go on.

Most Likely to be compared to: The fishing town’s previous string of exports Ray Edmonds, Dean Reynolds and Mike Hallett.

Most Likely Puns: Fans of 80’s Power Drama Dynasty will be looking for links with Blake and Crystal Carrington.

Most Likely to be said when he’s in the room: ‘Can anyone smell fish?’

Chances on the Pro-Tour? A great achievement to get this far. Baptism of Fire anyone?

Adam Duffy

The Serious Bit: Played in 5 PTC events which makes Adam the least experienced Q-School graduate of them all. There was very little to suggest that he would get his ticket with the exception of a 4-2 win over Judd Trump. Fair to say he is a bit of a shock qualifier who we know very little about.

Most Likely Puns: Fans of 80’s pop may expect some reference to Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy whilst the younger brigade will patiently be waiting for a picture of the Welsh popstress when he wins a match or does anything of note.

Chances on the Pro-Tour? Like Carrington an unknown prospect, he may take to it like a duck to water or sink like a sack of shite (the non-MJW-floater variety that is).

Kurt Maflin

The Serious Bit: A Norwegian Cockney with two spells as a professional dating back to 2001 under his belt, this will be his third. Made his first ever venue in April when he lost in the China Open to Ding 5-4. Prior to that had been mustard in the China and World qualifiers making centuries for fun. But it proved to be too little too late. No surprise to see him bounce back given his recent form.

Most Likely overused puns: ‘He’s re-writing the Norwegian Cockney record books’, ‘Norwegian Wood/Would’, Spurious references to A-Ha ‘Kurt tells opponents: Take on Me’ ‘Kurt Cries Wolf’ (that kind of thing)

Chances on the Pro-Tour? If he can pick up where he left off last season he will be a force to be reckoned with in the qualifiers and may make the odd venue.

And that’s the 12 graduates.

May 27, 2011

Q-School 3 Enters the Final Strait

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:53 am

Scoreboard-induced headache symptoms

Another massive day today for the remaining hopefuls as the boot camp that is the Q-School continues to sort the gonnabees from the wannabees.

Confusion continues to reign over the scoreboard and I was very disappointed that the Assassin’s match last night was the latest to fall foul of the SportStat curse. I do hope that all the necessary bits and bobs have now been bitted and bobbed and that we can get to enjoy this tense day in all its glory.

Allan scraped through last night after being 46-0 down in the decider and showed what referee Jan Verhaas later described as ‘great bottle’ to win through. Whilst I am sure he would rather be winning his matches 4-0 it is amazing the confidence a victory like that can instill. One minute you are experiencing some doubts as to whether you will still be in the mix tomorrow and the next you are sipping your cocoa with a satisfied grin and a look forward to your next match.

Reanne Evans stands in the way of Allan and a second appearance in the penultimate round. She cannot be taken lightly and perhaps demonstrates more than any other player the difference between being a good amateur and a professional. Reanne has put together some decent performances in this and it just goes to show how difficult it must be to make that step up into the pro-ranks. She famously didn’t win a single match as a pro last season but cannot be taken lightly here. I’m sure Allan will feel the same, but hopefully he will come through and be playing again this evening.

On another matter, the confusion caused by the scoreboard almost resulted in headlines of a scandalous nature appearing on the blog this morning. The match in question involved Li Hang and Welshman Jamie Rhys-Clarke, who competed in a marathon frame which, depending on who you believe, smashed the all time frame score record held proudly by Skegness bungalow dweller and part-time Wall of Death rider Graham ‘Don’t call me Crispy’ Cripsey and Sean Storey, from their memorable encounter in the Asian Open back in 1992.

As you know, I often ask regulars to scour the ends of the earth for a story and regular contributor Deco, whose previously unblemished record led to me trusting what he was reporting, excitedly announced that Cripsey’s record was toast. However, as the story unfolded, none other than Dave Hendon waded in claiming to have seen the matchsheet which refuted what Deco had been telling me, even going so far as to say that there were no foul strokes in the frame whatsoever. A cover up? I don’t know, but there seemed more than an air of uncertainty around this which was making me feel decidedly uneasy.

Things were to take a further twist however, as when I actually consulted the record books, the scoreline that Deco had reported as being the record-breaker actually fell short of the 93-92 frame scoreline by a single point.

We may never know the real truth behind that frame but it was a lesson learned for yours truly. I have brought Deco into the office this morning and given him a formal verbal warning for crimes against frame scores and he has promised faithfully to check his facts next time before getting too excited. May I also send my sincere apologies to Mr Cripsey, who I know remains proud of this Herculian achievement to this day.

Here’s todays matches:

10am

93. Kurt Maflin 4-1 Mitchell Travis
94. Michael Leslie 3-4 David McLellan
95. Duane Jones 1-4 Martin O’Donnell
96. Mitchell Mann 3-4 Gary Wilson
97. Shahram Changezi 3-4 Ian Burns
98. Stuart Carrington 4-1 Li Hang
99. Vinnie Calabrese 3-4 Anda Zhang
100. Alex Borg 0-4 Stephen Craigie

2pm

101. Lee Walker 1-4 Adam Duffy
102. Mei Xi Wen 3-4 Alex Davies
103. Craig Steadman 0-4 Luke Simmonds
104. David Gray 4-3 Charlie Walters
105. Kyren Wilson 4-2 Jak Jones
106. Reanne Evans 3-4 Allan Taylor
107. Brijesh Damani 4-0 Jason Tart
108. Bobby Cruickshanks 3-4 David Gilbert

6pm

Stephen Craigie bt Zhang Anda 4-2
78-26; 68 (68)-0; 77 (58)-31; 63 (63)-64; 5-65; 73-51

Stuart Carrington bt Ian Burns 4-1
67-12; 59-36; 95 (51)-0; 0-70 (50); 74-33

David Gilbert bt Brijesh Damani 4-1
0-93 (92); 67-7; 62-36; 109 (109)-6; 72 (72)-0

Adam Duffy bt Alex Davies 4-2
67 (60)-30; 7-76 (72); 0-86 (86); 90 (78)-1; 70 (70)-30; 88 (88)-1

Kurt Maflin bt David McLellan 4-0
68-34; 79 (64)-39; 74-34; 78-49

Martin O’Donnell bt Gary Wilson 4-3
64-61; 28-81 (69); 0-85 (68); 66 (54)-8; 98 (52)-0; 0-85 (76); 74-17

David Gray bt Luke Simmonds 4-0
119 (51, 50)-0; 67 (61)-58; 133 (70, 62)-0; 82-26

Allan Taylor bt Kyren Wilson 4-1
79 (79)-38; 45-64; 82-27; 86 (59)-8; 54-22

May 26, 2011

Q-School 3 Continues

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:34 am

Good Morning everyone. Today we edge ever closer to Saturday’s finale where we find out who will fill the remaining four main tour places.

The Assassin Allan Taylor is still very much in the hunt of course and today faces India’s Shahbaaz Adil Khan for a place in the next round. Let’s hope he is still in the hunt after that one and makes it to a tense Friday which will see them whittled down to the final eight.

Also in action tonight is Dave Gilbert who is attempting to go one better than he has in the previous two events where he has lost in the final round. Still all to play for…

10am

69. Shahram Changezi 4-3 Sydney Wilson (CORRECTED RESULT)
70. Steve Judd 1-4 Ian Burns
71. Justin Astley 0-4 Stuart Carrington
72. Li Hang 4-2 Jamie Rhys Clarke
73. Vinnie Calabrese 4-3 Fraser Patrick
74. Ian Glover 1-4 Zhang Anda

1pm

75. Alex Borg 4-2 Rob James
76. Stephen Craigie 4-1 Michael Wasley
77. Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon 0-4 Lee Walker
78. Stephen Rowlings 3-4 Adam Duffy
79. Mei Xi Wen 4-1 George Marter
80. Alex Davies 4-1 David Portman

4pm

81. Craig Steadman 4-0 Phil O’Kane
82. Craig Barber 0-4 Luke Simmonds
83. David Gray 4-0 Manish Jain
84. Simon Bevz 0-4 Charlie Walters
85. James McBain 2-4 Kyren Wilson
86. Jak Jones 4-3 Bash Maqsood

7pm

87. Ben Judge 1-4 Reanne Evans
88. Shahbaaz Adil Khan 3-4 Allan Taylor
89. Brijesh Damani 4-1 James Burrett
90. Jason Tart w/o Rune Kampe
91. Bobby Cruickshanks 4-2 Lee Spick
92. David Gilbert 4-1 Robbie Williams

May 25, 2011

Q-School 3: A few words from The Assassin

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:13 am
 

The Assassin: Staying Positive.

The final Q-School hopefuls continue in their quest today to snap up the four remaining professional tickets and amongst them our own Allan Taylor starts out at 1pm against Jamie Walker. 

The Assassin found some time between his practice sessions last night to give us an update on his progress ahead of the final round of matches:

“Well, it’s been a while and I haven’t got much else to do in my hotel room alone with 4.5 channels on a broken TV so I thought I would say a few words. It was a bit hectic up towards Q School and preparation was going well for the potential 3 weeks. I always had my mind set on getting the job done in the first event and then it gave me 2 weeks to hit the drink hard in celebratory fashion!! However the sacrifice of zero ale over the past few months had to be extended”. 

“In Event One I lost in the penultimate round to Fraser Patrick. I hadn’t played him since Pontins, Hemsby, which is a good memory cos I’m sure I was still in pull-ups?! I took a positive attitude into Event 2 where I faced Mitchell Mann first round. A good all round solid player. I had a little fortune where I fluked the blue after needing a snooker but that was only to make it 2-2. It wad then I realised that the seats on the academy are pretty comfy as he had 93 and then finished the match off”. 

 “But I’m staying focused and positive, it’s a tough gig but I knew that when I came in and there are a lot of good players still there. But you gotta be in it to win it! I’ll be giving it my best shot”.

Other names in action today include Bolton’s finest bonker Tony Knowles and a player who I have it on good authority is himself a modern day version of the great TK in James Burrett. Now rumour has it that all our Jimbo has to do is open his cue case and produce his wand to have all the ladies within a two mile radius rendered breathless. The bad news for those trying to keep said ladies away from the hot steamy cubicles is that if they both win today they will face each other in the next round.  

It’s also a last chance saloon day today for the only lady competing in the Q-School Reanne Evans, as well as other professionals from last season including James McBain, Jak Jones, Kurt Maflin and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. Just in case he doesn’t play another match I must also give a nod to the wonderfully named Zak Surety, who has taken time away from the cast of Glee to play the Q-Schools.
 
10am

45. Gareth Edwards v James McBain
46. Ryan Causton v Kyren Wilson
47. Jak Jones v Oliver Brown
48. Stephen Ormerod v Bash Maqsood
49. Ben Judge w/o Sam Baird
50. Saqib Nasir v Reanne Evans

1pm

51. Mohammed Raoof v Shahbaaz Adil Khan
52. Jamie Walker v Allan Taylor
53. Tony Knowles v Brijesh Damani
54. James Burrett v Najm Khan
55. Jason Tart w/o Yu De Lu 
56. Rune Kampe w/o Tian Pengfei   

4pm

57. Brent Kolbeck  v Bobby Cruickshanks
58. Augusto Ruckauf v Lee Spick
59. David Gilbert w/o Simon Bedford
60. Robbie Williams v Dean Venables

Round Two

61. Kurt Maflin v Chris Norbury
62. John Astley v Mitchell Travis

7pm

63. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Michael Leslie
64. James Silverwood v David McLellan
65. Lasse Munstermann v Duane Jones
66. Marc Harman v Martin O’Donnell
67. Mitchell Mann v Zak Surety
68. Liam Monk v Gary Wilson

May 24, 2011

Q-School 3: Chaos Reigns…UPDATED

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:39 am


Try to stay calm

It almost puts you  in mind of the bad old days. We’ve all been there haven’t we? Waiting for the ‘click’ or the ‘whoosh’ of the scoreboard to tell us if our man has potted frame ball only for the whole thing to freeze and leave you on the edge, both of your seat and of despair. Well yesterday the savage beast returned with all the force of ‘The Rapture’, perhaps what Harry Camping was really referring to was that the glory days of the scoreboard were set to end forever.

For those of you that haven’t the foggiest idea what I am talking about, the World Snooker Scoreboard was up to its old tricks again yesterday and there are still some results that we just don’t know. All I can suggest to those desperate to know if their man is still in the hunt for a pro-ticket is to keep checking here which will give you the scores as up to date as is humanly possible.

SportsStat who have done a fantastic job so far in bringing to life this creaking mess have said that they were performing essential maintenance on the scoreboard, so let’s hope they brought the right spanner with them this morning as it still has a decidedly dodgy look about it as I write. I know the top man there is an avid reader of the blog so perhaps he will use this platform to let us know what the problem is and when it’s likely to be back to its best again. Without fear of bitebacks from desperate baize boys and girls.

UPDATE: Mr Sportstat himself has been on the old dog and bone and has informed me that there is indeed essential maintenance ongoing today and that this involves significant software work that may again result in some disruption. This is the last part of a long project which has seen huge improvements in live scoring and to ensure that these improvements continue and result in a quality service throughout the forthcoming professional season which involves shifts in time zones in close proximity, they had to be done in a live environment, that is, when there is actually some live scoring to report on. It was felt that the best time to do this was during the very early stages of the final Q-School as this is not the busiest time for live scoring but is a time that all the software changes can be checked and double-checked. In summary, if the Live Scoring is to continue to be up to scratch for next season, this simply had to be done and this was identified as the best time to do it, when there is actually some snooker on.

Seems fair enough to me, they have to do it sometime.

In the meantime, here’s todays matches:

10am

21. Li Hang v Alex Taubman
22. Jeff Cundy v Jamie Rhys Clarke
23. Vinnie Calabrese v Lee Page
24. James Hill v Fraser Patrick
25. Ian Glover v Tony Else
26. Jamie O’Neil v Zhang Anda

1pm

27. Sam Harvey v Alex Borg
28. Rob M James v Chen Zhe
29. Stephen Craigie v Ben Harrison
30. Michael Wasley W/O Andrew Norman
31. Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon v Shaun Wilkes
32. Lee Walker W/O Luca Brecel

4pm

33. Stephen Rowlings W/O Gareth Coates
34. Adam Duffy v Lyndon Gordon
35. James Welsh v George Marter
36. Alex Davies W/O David Grace
37. David Portman W/O James Watanna
38. Craig Steadman v Mike Hallett

7pm

39. Michael Wild v Phil O’Kane
40. Craig Barber W/O Lucky Vatnani
41. Luke Simmonds W/O Aditya Mehta
42. David Gray v Stephen Groves
43. Manish Jain v Sachin Plaha
44. Charlie Walters v Matthew Simpson

May 23, 2011

Q-School 3: Last Chance Saloon

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:34 am

The third and final Q-School of the season begins this morning and it’s the last chance that the remaining competitors have of reaching the professional ranks this time around.

There will be those who still firmly believe that they can achieve their goal, there will be those that are beginning to realise that it’s not going to be their year, there will be those that will be thinking ‘I could have had a nice holiday with that £1000, what was I thinking?’ and there will be those that will leave the event safe in the knowledge that they have some more experience and will be back, better and stronger next year.

Whatever happens, the harsh reality is that with every result that comes in from here on in, someones hopes and dreams have been extinguished. Some will bounce back, but I’m sure some will reconsider their future in light of what has happened these past couple of weeks. As JV himself might say, it’s amazing what can happen on a table measuring just 12 B 6.

I think the Q-School has been a successful exercise overall and I’m sure from a financial point of view has also been a decent payday for World Snooker. Again, the only negatives I can think of are the same old chestnuts which I hope one day soon will be addressed, no live streaming or spectators allowed and no chance of us having a bet on it. Not one firm priced up the finals day yesterday even though the matches featured players that will have been familiar to snooker odds compilers, they can’t even use the excuse of timing as we knew the line up the day before.

I’ll be interested to see if anyone can break into the ranks that hasn’t had previous experience either as a professional or as a wildcard under professional conditions. History so far is set against them, with all 15 finalists to date ticking at least one of those boxes.

Blog-backed Assassin Allan Taylor will be hoping that he is the man to buck the trend and in Q-School 1 he came as close to doing this as any of the rookies, losing just one match short of finals day. He starts out on Wednesday against Jamie Walker in his quest to make the ranks. 

10am
1. Kurt Maflin w/o Li Yan
2. Lee Stephens v Chris Norbury
3. Stephen Ellis v John J Astley
4. Mitchell Travis v Ross Jones
5. Sean O’Sullivan v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
6. Michael Leslie v James Loft

1pm 
7. Alex O’Donaghue v James Silverwood
8. David Singh v David McLellan
9. Lasse Munstermann w/o David Morris
10. Duane Jones w/o Adam Wicheard 
11. Martin O’Donnell v Hans Blanckaert
12. Mitchell Mann v Shehzad Iqbal

4pm
13. Zak Surety v Bhavesh Sodha
14. Joel Walker v Liam Monk
15. Kishan Hirani v Gary Wilson
16. Sydney Wilson v Robert Valiant

7pm
17. Gareth Allen v Steve Judd
18. Ian Burns v Antony Parsons
19. Justin Astley w/o  Robin Hull 
20. Nick Jennings v Stuart Carrington

May 22, 2011

Snooker Aussie Style: Goldfields Australian Open Announced

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:36 am

World Snooker have this morning announced that Victoria will be the province to host the first world ranking tournament down under in July from 18th-24th, with the inaugural Australian Goldfields Open to be held at Bendigo Stadium until at least 2013.

Former World Champion Neil Robertson has been busy promoting the event and clearly delighted by this he said “This is a long-standing dream come true for me, as I am sure it is for many snooker players and fans in Australia.”

“To have a world ranking event in my home state will be just unbelievable and I hope to get a lot of support. I know some of the other players are excited about coming to Australia and I’m looking forward to showing them around.” he continued.

“It’s fantastic to see snooker becoming much more of a global game, it looks like we’ll be clocking up a lot of air miles in the next few years!” he quipped.

Robbo is rightly chuffed about this development and added “This is a really special day not just for me but for ALL Aussie snooker fans.”

Yet more exciting developments on the baize.

Q-School 2 Final Morning: A Pattern Emerging?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:41 am

Dave Ja Vu

Finals Day today at the second Q-School and once again it is dominated by players that have experience of the professional ranks. Of the fifteen players that have so far made it to the final match at Q-School, only 2, both Chinese players with wildcard experience, have never been a professional.

Dave Gilbert is down to the final set of matches to get back onto the main tour for the second time having lost a decider in Q-School 1 to Robin Hull. He faces the talented Tian Pengfei who is my pick of the Chinese players competing in this Sheffield marathon, that match should be a cracker and it’s such a shame that we can’t settle down with some tea and toast on a dreary Sunday morning and watch it online with a little bet on it.

Another familiar face (and pair of pants) is former Scottish Open Champion and UK Championship Runner-Up David Gray, who faces the other Chinese player to make it through Li Yan. Li being the only player on show today never to have played professionally, though he has played six matches against professional opposition as a wildcard, winning one against Gerard Greene.

Two more former professionals in Michael Wild and David Morris contest another of the matches. Wild has an interesting profile, in that he came back this year for the PTC’s after a six year period which last saw him in the Embassy World Championship qualifiers losing to all of people, Dave Gilbert. This was to be his last match as a professional, I wonder if the two of them will be celebrating together come lunchtime?

Former Crucible Quarter-Finalist Lee Walker is back again too and faces yet another former pro Simon Bedford. These two have actually met before as professionals back in 2004 in a qualifying round to the Irish Masters where Walker came through a 5-2 winner.

So why is it that we aren’t seeing an amateur, in the true sense of the word breaking through as yet? Is there a gulf in class between those that have experience of playing professionally and those who have not? Or is it that very experience in terms of handling pressure which is giving them the huge advantage that they appear to have on the rookies and first time hopefuls?

Either way, it seems the Q-School is providing a realistic platform for those who want another crack at the big time, rather than those that want to get in the mix for the first time. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues into the last chance saloon that is Q-School 3, which begins tomorrow.

10am

David Gray 1-4 Li Yan
Michael Wild 3-4 David Morris
Lee Walker 3-4 Simon Bedford
David Gilbert 2-4 Tian Pengfei

(Thanks to Matt at Pro Snooker Blog for letting me use his photo of Dave in his natty threads, I asked him ages ago, he’ll remember I reckon)

May 21, 2011

Q-School 2: Survival Saturday?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:57 am

Harry: Carry on Camping?

The marathon that is the Q-School ploughs on today with plenty still in the hunt for the coveted semi-final slots that ensure a professional main tour ticket next season.

This is all of course assuming that a certain Harold Camping, an 89 year old Evangelist aka Nutter from California is wrong in his assertion that today is the day that the chosen few ascend to the skies to have a party in Heaven, while the rest of us doubters are left here on earth to cope with the earthquakes and general carnage that is heading our way. It’s all going to happen sometime in between breakfast and the start of the repeat of my current favourite TV show ‘Two Greedy Italians’ a 3.30pm UK time on BBC2 (times may vary depending on coverage of End of the World LIVE presented by David Dimbleby).

I’d have to say it’s a bit unfortunate if the world does end today, but it would be typical, just as snooker is promising to enter its own second coming. But daft old Harry has been wrong on this before when he mistakenly calculated that in 1994 we’d all perish, a schoolboy error which was eventually blamed on a faulty battery in his previously ultra reliable Casio calculator.

I’m going to stick my neck out and say that our Harry is as mad as a box of frogs. Which means that the players can happily keep knocking in the balls and playing their dump shots with a view to competing with the big names next season.

On another note, that non-story about Ronnie yesterday seems to have made a number of newspapers. It is not a great surprise though really is it? I reckon if I was a full-time gossip journalist I’d never have to actually leave the house to make a living. Just keep your eyes peeled for the latest celebrity to utter some drivel on a social networking site or their own personal website, get there first and bingo! There’s your pay cheque right there.

But it does reflect how the vast majority of people, particularly young people get their news nowadays. In terms of snooker, the power of Twitter has been on display all season, from live shot by shot updates from venues for non-televised events to press conference quotes live as they happen. It’s the way the world is nowadays and we no longer live in a world where people are prepared to wait until the morning papers to find out what their favourite player said after a gruelling 19 framer.

If we want to get the younger audience switched on to the game we have to move with the times and embrace the technology at our fingertips. The old adage that today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper can now be updated, in that anything over an hour old is now considered worthy of the salt and vinegar treatment. News is instant these days.

But if old Harry is right, he definitely got there first with the end of the world exclusive and should expect plenty of journalistic accolades coming his way if we’re all doomed later on, just a shame he won’t be around to collect them. The daft old duffer.

Here’s today’s schedule of play (subject to earthquakes):

10am

93. Brijesh Damani 1-4 David Gray
94. Antony Parsons 0-4 Li Hang
95. Michael Wasley 3-4 Kyren Wilson
96. Li Yan 4-0 Vinnie Calabrese
97. David Singh 2-4 Michael Wild
98. Chen Zhe 2-4 Lee Spick
99. Adam Duffy 4-1 Saqib Nasir
100. Gary Wilson 3-4 David Morris

2pm

101. Thanawat Thirapongpiaboon 4-1 Mitchell Mann
102. Lee Walker 4-1 Ian Burns
103. Ben Harrison 2-4 Joel Walker
104. Stuart Carrington 3-4 Simon Bedford
105. David Gilbert 4-0 Martin O’Donnell
106. Mitchell Travis 3-4 Stephen Rowlings
107. Ben Judge 0-4 Tian Pengfei
108. Shaun Wilkes 2-4 Sean O’Sullivan

Round 4

6pm

109. David Gray 4-3 Li Hang
110. Kyren Wilson 3-4 Li Yan
111. Michael Wild 4-1 Lee Spick
112. Adam Duffy 0-4 David Morris
113. Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon 3-4 Lee Walker
114. Joel Walker 2-4 Simon Bedford
115. David Gilbert 4-0 Stephen Rowlings
116. Tian Pengfei 4-0 Sean O’Sullivan

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