June 30, 2011

Burnett v Maguire: Case Closed

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:18 pm

'No evidence to suggest either player was involved'

The WPBSA has just released this statement relating to the match between Stephen Maguire and Jamie Burnett three seasons ago.

World Snooker’s governing body has now reviewed evidence provided by the Strathclyde Police over allegations of suspicious betting on a match between Stephen Maguire and Jamie Burnett in 2008.

The WPBSA’s findings agree that there was suspicious betting activity on this match by people outside of the sport and this required a detailed investigation by Strathclyde Police. However, there is no evidence to suggest that either player was involved in fixing the scoreline and therefore no regulatory action will be taken by the governing body against the players.

WPBSA Chairman, Jason Ferguson, said: “This investigation has been ongoing since 15 December 2008 and I am pleased to see this matter closed.”

Australian Open Final Qualifying Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:45 am

Strewth, I think I need a cold one.

G’Day Cobber. We’ve reached the final day of the Aussie Open qualifying where the successful crop from lower down the rankings take on seeds 17-32 for the right to board the flight to Oz.

It was a mixed day again yesterday with a strong start in the morning and a pretty disappointing end to the day, though Dave Gilbert did at least salvage something with his deciding frame win last night. He returns again later for his fourth match of the week along with Yu Delu, Tian Pengfei, Ben Wollaston, Scott McKenzie and Liam Highfield who have all been here all week.

The winners today will win a minimum of 7500 Australian Dollars, which is about £5000. The flights over there, unless some of the playboi’s are flying business class come out at somewhere around £1500, when you consider all the add-ons such as hotel expenses, surfboard hire, bleach to dye your hair blonde to fit in, sun cream, cork hat purchase and lager you realise just what a tough life it is for the lower professionals. To make a living at this game you need to be consistently making main venues, if you don’t make one in a season, you ain’t gonna last too long on the main tour, not just because your ranking will slip, but surely also because the expenses must sooner or later end up being more than your earnings. But this is what Bazza said he wanted at the beginning, a more competitive environment where only the strong survive.

On to today’s matches now and at time of writing only the morning and afternoon matches have been chalked up by the usual suspects. I’m a bit disappointed at the lack of interest in this event from some firms. These qualifiers offer decent betting opportunities to us poor punters and are getting very difficult to call, making them presumably attractive to the bookies so it’s strange that some of them just don’t bother. Maybe we’ve scared some of them off.

Matthew Selt landed a gamble yesterday against Adrian Gunnell and takes on the Rickster, Ricky Walden this morning. Ricky’s defeated hangdog expression from his Crucible press conference where I was sitting less than 6 feet away from him will forever be etched on my memory. He’s only been spotted once since then and was beaten by Justin Astley in the first round of the PTC last week. You get the feeling that Ricky needs the win here to get himself up and running for the season, but he sometimes has a habit of losing the matches he most needs to win and I wouldn’t put anyone off having a punt on Selt again here. He’s 7/4 over at Paddy Power and I think that represents a bit of value, I’ll just recommend the 1 point on him.

Martin Gould is now one of the most consistent players on the tour and it must only be a matter of time until he gets into the top 16 and stops having to qualify, I think he may have a little too much for Mark Joyce and at 8/15 with Paddies he may tempt some of the bigger punters. He’s one for the multiple bet for me. Robert Milkins (aka Mill Hopkins) has the honour of playing Rory McLeod today after Jimmy became the latest victim of ‘The Dentist’, it’s a tough one to call but I’d marginally side with Milkins, but it’s a real chalk and cheese clash this with Milkins a fast, attacking potter and Rory, well, not.

Last time Jamie Burnett played Andy Higginson he beat him 5-0 on his way to the final of the Shanghai Masters at the start of last season. I’d say that at 11/10 at Paddies, Burnett is worth a punt again this morning and I’ll recommend 1 point on that.

Post-watershed Twitter joker Mike Dunn faces a tough task against Marcus Campbell. Marcus is another that is becoming very consistent at this level and frequently makes venues, he made the QF of the PTC last week, admittedly not beating opposition the standard of his opponent today, but the warm up will have done him good and I’d side with the big Scot in this tie. You’d also expect Ryan Day to end the charge of Yu Delu, the 1/2 at Sportingbet is perhaps another that might appeal to bigger singles punters but I’ll stick to a 2 point treble this morning on Gould, Campbell and Day which pays a little under 5/2 at Sportingbet.


51. Ricky Walden 0-5 Matthew Selt (Selt to play John Higgins at venue*)
52. Martin Gould 5-3 Mark Joyce (Gould to play Stephen Hendry at venue*)
53. Robert Milkins 2-5 Rory McLeod (Rory to play Peter Ebdon at venue for a week*)
54. Andrew Higginson 5-4 Jamie Burnett (Winner to play Shaun Murphy at venue*)
55. Marcus Campbell 5-4 Mike Dunn (Campbell to play Ali Carter at venue*)
56. Ryan Day 5-0 Yu Delu (Day to play Mark Allen at venue*)

Tom is no Muppet.

The match that takes my eye here is Tom Ford against Gerard Greene. Last time they met was in the UK Championship when Ford gave GG at pasting of 9-2. Tom has always struck me as a confidence player and when his confidence is high he is top 16 material in my view. I have never, perhaps unfairly, thought that of Gerard. He is usually a player that I like to take on as I do think the bookies, for whatever reason sometimes overrate his chances. This makes the 5/6 available on Ford for this at Sportingbet an attractive bet to me and today’s biggest single, I’ll recommend 3 points on the Leicester man.

You’ll remember my rule about betting on matches involving Michael Holt, he plays Stuart Bingham and they are both in decent form. I find this one a very tough call so won’t be betting on it, there are better bets out there today without getting involved in this one, though with Holt priced up at 11/8….no, no, I can’t back him, I won’t.

Joe Perry’s new found confidence should carry him through against the experienced Fergal O’Brien and at 1/2 he looks a decent bet to win so might be one you’d like to add to the morning treble. Tian Pengfei beat Mark Davis over in China in a decider at the back end of last season and is priced up as favourite in this match. I really rate Tian but I’m quite surprised at the odds, the bookies don’t seem to want to take any chances with him at all. This is a tough call and I’d actually make Davis a slight favourite, but no bet for me on this one.


57. Gerard Greene 2-5 Tom Ford (Ford to play Jamie Cope at venue*)
58. Stuart Bingham 5-2 Michael Holt (Bingham to play Ding Junhui at venue*)
59. Joe Perry 5-2 Fergal O’Brien (Perry to play Mark Selby at venue*)
60. Mark Davis 5-4 Tian Pengfei (Mavis to play Judd Trump at venue*)

Well, it’s been a very good day so far puntingwise so let’s see what we can find for tonight.

Again, there is one match that is jumping out at me but it would mean me going against one of my golden rules of betting on snooker. That being never to bet in a match with Mark King in it. I have been stung by him so many times yet keep going back. So I am going to stick to my rule and not recommend a bet on him beating Dave Gilbert with a bit to spare tonight.

The other match that I am drawn to is the top one between Liang Wenbo and Ben Woolaston. Liang has lost his last 9 competitive main tour matches, he can’t buy a win of late and although he should, logic says, come back to form at some point I am a firm believer in just going with the flow when a player is on a run as bad as this. Therefore, I would say that the 6/4 available on Ben has to be taken. He has been defying odds all week and I don’t see why he can’t again tonight. I’ll recommend 2 points on that.

Two favourites I can see winning are Barry Hawkins and Stephen Lee. They are both class acts on their day and although Barry takes on another experienced campaigner in Nigel Bond I just feel that these days he has a bit too much for Bondy. Lee takes on my old nemesis Barry Pinches and will be very disappointed to lose that one. I’ll recommend a further 2 points double on these two at just over 5/4 with Sportingbet.

I can see the other two being quite close and would not put anyone off backing both outsiders in Liam Highfield and Scott MacKenzie to small stakes. MacKenzie has been doing me favours all week and now has an impressive array of scalps to which he’ll hope to add Ken Doherty and he just might, while Liam takes on the inconsistent Dominic Dale, he has a chance but if Dom brings anywhere near his A-game with him he should be ok. Of the two I’d say MacKenzie has the better chance against the increasingly pre-occupied Kendo.

Maybe also chance a recommended 1 point acca on King, Lee, Hawkins and Woolaston which pays around 15/2 almost everywhere.


61. Liang Wenbo 5-3 Ben Woolaston (Liang to play Matthew Stevens at venue*)
62. Ken Doherty 5-2 Scott MacKenzie (Ken to play Stephen Maguire at venue*)
63. Barry Hawkins 4-5 Nigel Bond (Bond to play Neil Robertson at venue*)
64. Dominic Dale 5-2 Liam Highfield (Dom to play Ronnie O’Sullivan at venue*)
65. Mark King 0-5 Dave Gilbert (Dave to play Graeme Dott at venue*)
66. Stephen Lee 3-5 Barry Pinches (Pinches to play Mark Williams at venue*)

* The two lowest seeded qualifiers will have to play a wild card. Don’t get me started on wildcards….

June 29, 2011

Australian Open Qualifying Day 3

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:02 am

G’Day everyone. It’s certainly been barbecue weather this week to mark the beginning of the Australian Open and you would be forgiven for thinking that the event was actually taking place down under.

A mixed bag yesterday it has to be said. A couple of odds against punts obliging but the doubles recommended going down the pan means that it was a day that was more like feeding off witchetty grubs and kangaroo nads whilst watching everyone tuck into their burgers and juicy prawns and necking a couple of cold ones.

The interesting news for me today is that Anthony Hamilton has withdrawn and this gives Tian Pengfei a bye through to the final round of qualifying tomorrow. Pottingham’s finest was making some very negative noises towards the end of last season, especially after losing in the qualifiers for the Crucible where he claimed to be ‘knackered’ despite only playing two matches. He has only played one since and that saw him losing 4-0 to Luca Brecel in the PTC last week. I hope he gets whatever problem he has at the moment sorted out and comes back refreshed as he’s a cracking bloke, scruffy git, but a cracking bloke and apart from that he still stands head and shoulders above the others in the nickname stakes so he has to come back.

Unfortunately it has to be said that I do like a few today and will again be throwing some of the hard-earned in the general direction of the salivating bookies. I’ll deal with the morning and afternoon sessions first and I’ll be back later on to preview this evening.

The two that I like most this morning are Matthew Selt and Mark Joyce. Despite winning yesterday I still don’t think Adrian Gunnell is quite the player he was and Selt had a half decent season last time which saw him climb the rankings a little. If Twitter is to be believed he has also been trotting around putting the hours in so I see no reason why he can’t land the 8/11. I’m going to recommend 3 points on him. Mark Joyce of course won the Pink Ribbon event at the end of which snooker’s worst kept secret that he’d been set upon outside a nightclub leaving him a pretty bad state for a few months was revealed. He’s obviously back to form now and holds a 3-0 advantage in the head to heads over his opponent today, the improving Jimmy Robertson. I’ll recommend another 2 points on Joyce at 5/6, both these prices being with Sportingbet.

The morning punt has to be Jimmy White who faces Rory ‘who are you calling slow?’ McLeod. Now we all love Rory on here and his legend was enhanced by his delusional comments after his match with Ricky Walden at the Crucible. His ascertain that we should all ‘go and check the shot times’ led those that do this sort of thing to do so and conclude that it was indeed Rory that slowed the match to a snail’s pace and led Ricky to compare it to being at the dentist. Painful stuff. Jimmy is no ‘whirlwind’ around the table these days, in fact he could be re-nicknamed ‘steady breeze’ in truth, but he is experienced enough to cope with Rory’s tactics and I think the odds of 21/20 on him are worth another point so I’ll recommend that too.

I’m not too keen on the other three matches, at a push I’d go for a Burnett, Jogia and Dunn treble but I’ll not recommend that.

This afternoon at time of writing is yet to be priced up in full, which is probably a good job as I might be tempted into having a bet on the match involving Michael Holt and Kurt Maflin. Holt is in decent form at the moment and I’d be tempted to have a hefty bet on him, but very much like Alan McManus yesterday (I told you he’d lose, I didn’t back his opponent naturally) Mikey is in my ‘do not touch’ pile as he is another that usually does the opposite of what I want him to do. I reckon that this will be a high scoring affair but just think Holt is a notch above Maffers.

Jack - feet firmly on the ground

The one I will flag up is our mate Jack ‘don’t call me jumping’ Lisowski who takes on Tom Ford. Tom is a very decent player of course and beat Jack last season in the final of a PTC to win his first ever professional tour event but inexplicably after that he suffered a dip in form. He had a couple of decent wins in last week’s PTC before losing narrowly to eventual runner-up Joe Perry so his form is probably returning, but I just think Jack can beat him today after his solid win yesterday over Robin Hull. This is possibly heart over head punting but I’m going to chance another 1 point on Jacko at Evens.

It will be interesting to see how the bookies rate Sam Craigie’s chances against Fergal, Sam came through a marathon yesterday and may have to do so again today, Fergal is a wily old fox though and perhaps a bridge too far for the young ermm Newcastle player….

In terms of an interest treble today I’d go for a 1 pointer on Selt, Burnett and Dunn which pays just over 3/1 at Sportingbet.

I’m not around much during the day today but feel free to have a natter and the best of luck if you are getting involved.


35. Matthew Selt 5-1 Adrian Gunnell
36. Mark Joyce 5-3 Jimmy Robertson
37. Rory McLeod 5-3 Jimmy White
38. Jamie Burnett 5-3 Andrew Norman
39. Mike Dunn 5-3 Rod Lawler
40. Joe Jogia 2-5 Yu Delu


41. Tom Ford 5-3 Jack Lisowski
42. Michael Holt 5-1 Kurt Maflin
43. Fergal O’Brien 5-1 Sam Craigie
44. Tian Pengfei w/o Anthony Hamilton

Well a decent day so far despite the two outside punts losing. It turns out that it wasn’t a blessing in disguise Holt’s match not being priced up this morning as he won easily as I’d suspected he might and that would have made things even better, but mustn’t be greedy. Anyway, having made a bit so far this week I’m feeling good and also have the urge to go in again tonight so let’s see what we can find to bash the bookies.

Jamie Jones is a player I have been keeping an eye on now for a couple of seasons. He faces Ben Woollaston tonight who had a solid win over Ian McCulloch yesterday. Jones looks to have started the season where he left off last in reaching the QF of the PTC last week. I fancy him to be too strong for Ben and he is a confident selection at 8/13 with Victor Chandlers (3 points win).

The Battle of the Daves

Scott Mackenzie landed a bet last night against the odds and I wouldn’t bet against him doing the same tonight against Tony Drago, he can be backed at 21/20 with Sportingbet if you fancy an interest punt.  Li Yan can be backed at 6/5 with the same firm to beat Nigel Bond so I’ll just go for a small 1 point double at 9/2 on those two for interest, Yan hammered McManus last night and although I still think Nigel has the game to compete at a higher level than this Li won’t be phased by him.

I never bet on matches involving Barry Pinches for reasons I have gone into on here a few times, they basically involve a match at the Crucible, an accumulator that I’d cashed in (in my head) as winning when it hadn’t, too much expensive wine and food and a realisation the following morning that Barry had well and truly shafted me. So this leaves the seemingly ever-present Dave Gilbert up against Bananaman, Dave Harold. Harold is out of form and low on confidence, Gilbert on the other hand is razor sharp and on the crest of a wave. When they are both at their best I would argue that there is very little in it and if anything I’d say Gilbert is the slightly better player, despite what the history books would suggest. I have to back Gilbert here, 10/11 at Paddies is too good to miss, another 2 points on that.

Let’s also put in a 2 point double on Jones and Gilbert at a shade over 2/1 at Chandlers.

The best of luck if you are getting involved tonight.


45. Jamie Jones 4-5 Ben Woollaston
46. Tony Drago 1-5 Scott MacKenzie
47. Nigel Bond 5-3 Li Yan
48. Liam Highfield w/o Steve Davis
49. Dave Harold 4-5 David Gilbert
50. Barry Pinches 5-3 Matt Couch

June 28, 2011

Snookerbacker Classic: A Thumbs-Up from the Flightdeck and the Latest Add-on Prize

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:25 pm

The SB Classic is cleared for take-off

Just a brief update for those of you that are interested in the progress I am making on my latest crazy adventure, the Snookerbacker Classic.

Today has been notable for two reasons. First of all regular contributor to the blog and World Number 6, The Captain, Ali Carter has been in touch to add his voice of support to the event. The final qualifying event is being held at Ali’s club in Chelmsford and I’m hoping it will be a real tense affair as the last two places in finals day are up for grabs and I try and stop my eyes wandering in the direction of Essex girls. Ali says:

The Snookerbacker Classic series of tournaments is a great initiative from Snookerbacker and I’m delighted to be able to host one of the events at Chelmsford Snooker Club. Snookerbacker has a passion and enthusiasm for the game at all levels, not just the top flight and I have no doubt that the tournaments will be well run and successful. Snookerbacker has also secured the use of some of the best snooker venues in the country and I would encourage all you keen players out there to sign up and come along and get involved. The tournaments provide a great opportunity for a springboard into the Q school and then maybe even the professional ranks. I look forward to hopefully meeting some of the entrants at my club and who knows, maybe even across the green baize in years to come!. Good luck to all.

The Captain

I think that qualifies as an official endorsement from the cockpit of snooker. Nice one Captain.

I have also secured some further sponsorship today from those kind people over at John Parrott Cue Sports. Regulars will know that they can get discounts there on all their snookering needs, if you haven’t had a look around start here to get your discount code and get your links straight to the merchandise.

Anyway, the involvement of these guys means that I can now announce that the losing quarter-finalists on Finals Day will now also get a further £50 each on top of the £50 entrance fee they will be refunded. This means that nobody will leave Finals Day out of pocket, with some big prize opportunities in the offing.

This takes the total prize fund for the event to over £3600 and that is even before Mrs Snookerbacker starts work on local sponsors to secure prizes for the regions. So stay tuned.

Anyone that would like to sponsor further prizes should contact me at [email protected]

All the information you need to enter the event is here and remember that after Friday I am promoting it outside of the internet and across the UK so the limited places are likely to fill up fast. To avoid missing out on the most exciting amateur event of the season outside of the Q-School then I’d make sure you enter before Saturday morning as I can only hold places until they are all filled.

Over and Out. SB.

Australian Open Qualifying Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:11 am

I never had neighbours that looked like that

G’Day boys and girls. Well, well, much like the old boomerang itself yesterday we threw out the readies and just when we thought we might not get a return Dave Gilbert ensured that they came back with a bit on top.

But beware, that old Aussie jack of all trades and former boxer Rolf Harris himself once sang with a passion about his boomerang not coming back so we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. But he also sang about a man with an extra leg so perhaps this is the week to push the boat out.

I’m a little pushed for time this morning so the plan is to just cover the morning matches first and then add the others later this morning. I will try and post up an accumulator if I think there are three or more worth having a go on.

Looking at the morning matches there is one price that to me stands out and a couple that I would think about starting an accumulator with. If you are up early you might want to avail yourselves of the 6/5 about Sam Baird against Adrian Gunnell over at Paddies. Gunnell is on a terrible run of form and has won just one from his last eight tour matches, while young Sam goes from strength to strength on his return to main tour. If this goes to form Baird will win, Adrian’s only outing so far this season saw him lose 4-2 to Craig Steadman in the first PTC, he’s there for the taking and as long as Sam keeps his cool he should come through. I’d recommend 2 points on that one.

In terms of starting off a winning acca, Jimmy White will be confident of beating Paul Davison. Jimmy has been busy this summer and even managed to achieve a unique feat in one of the Legends nights in Dundalk, making a 147 without his dumbstruck opponent even getting a shot. You can watch it here. The other player I would be tempted to throw in an accumulator is Chinese deadpan comic and Stephen Hendry impersonator Liu Chuang, who faces Andrew Norman. The price is a bit restrictive but I think Liu is one of the Chinese players worth sticking with early on in the season as I can see him making a couple of main venues.

I’ll update this post as the day goes on with afternoon and evening selections and if I get a chance I’ll find a treble and possibly an acca to go with these two. There is nothing else that stands out to me this morning as value, gun to head I’d side with Pagett and Swail, but not a bet for me.


19. Adrian Gunnell 5-4 Sam Baird
20. Jimmy Robertson 5-2 Andrew Pagett
21. Jimmy White 5-2 Paul Davison
22. Liu Chuang 3-5 Andrew Norman
23. Rod Lawler 5-3 David Morris
24. Joe Swail 1-5 Yu Delu

OK, this afternoon sees four more ties that are very difficult to call. I’m a big fan of Jack Lisowski, both as a player and because he seems like a very nice lad with his head screwed on (please don’t let your playboi flatmate unscrew it Jack, it’s just a phase, he’ll grow out of it I promise). Jack faces a stiff challenge in Finland’s returning hero Robin Hull, who (recycled gag alert) is playing so much better since he ditched Emu (last time I promise). Rob stormed through a potentially tricky tie yesterday and made the highest break of the day, a 136. He’s in form and that could go either way, no bet. Kurt Maflin is another man in form and will fancy his chances against Peter Lines. Lines however is a capable player and given Maffers is odds on for this I think this is another to steer clear of. I quite fancy Sam Craigie again today to see of the Chinese Professor Liu Song, Liu has a habit of losing the first couple of frames before he gets going but given Sam’s confidence will be high, that could be enough to see him kick on and win with a bit in hand. I’d recommend 1 point on Craigie at 11/10. The final match sees my favourite Chinese player Tian Pengfei taking on Ant McGill, the hot prospect from Scotland, again I find that a very close call and I am surprised that Tian is such a strong favourite as I’d have this one as a coin toss, meaning that potentially the 7/5 on McGill is a punt, but I’ll stop short of recommending it I think.

I can’t find one for the acca amongst this lot so I’ll just stick with a 2 points double on this morning’s matches on Jimmy and Liu Chaung at a shade below Evens with Sportingbet.


25. Jack Lisowski 5-2 Robin Hull
26. Peter Lines 3-5 Kurt Maflin
27. Liu Song 3-5 Sam Craigie
28. Anthony McGill 1-5 Tian Pengfei

The evening matches for me are probably the best crop today to get involved with from a punting point of view. There are three that I like here and one I’ll take a punt on. I am going to ignore the match between Ian McCulloch and Ben Woolaston, because you never know what to expect with McCulloch. He has won their only meeting back in the Welsh Open qualifiers a few months back which has done enough to put me off my initial eyebrow raise at newly married Ben’s price, no bet. I’m also following a tried and tested formula of not betting in any matches involving Alan McManus who invariably does what I don’t want him to do from a punting perspective. I suspect he will lose to Li Yan, so he will probably win so  again it’s a no bet situation for me.

The one I’ll take a punt on is the improving Scott McKenzie, who has had an encouraging start to the season having beaten Rod Lawler and Mark King in the PTC last week and fresh from a close late finish last night he could be worth a punt in his match against Andy Hicks at odds against. I’ll recommend 1 point on that at 6/5.

I’m also a fan of Alfie Burden and although he lost first round in the PTC last week I’d be prepared to take him to stop the ever-present Dave Gilbert’s charge tonight. Alfie can be backed at 9/10 with Sportingbet so I’ll have 1 point on that too, with a 1 point double on the two above.

My double for tonight is James Wattana and Xiao Guodong which pays 6/4 at Paddies (2 points double) Wattana is a great competitor at this level and has bags of experience, he plays Matthew Couch who is no pushover but with James dispensing with Daniel Wells fairly routinely last night he’s one to stick with as he tends to put runs of wins together at this level. Xiao is becoming a very very good player and a frighteningly heavy scorer, again he faces an opponent that is no mug in the improving youngster Liam Highfield, but this is a test for Liam and Xiao beat him 4-2 in the PTC’s last week so the 4/6 appeals.


29. Ian McCulloch 3-5 Ben Woolaston
30. Andy Hicks 1-5 Scott MacKenzie
31. Alan McManus 1-5 Li Yan
32. Xiao Guodong 4-5 Liam Highfield
33. Alfie Burden 2-5 Dave Gilbert
34. Matt Couch 5-4 James Wattana

June 27, 2011

The Australian Open Qualifying Day 1

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:18 am

Hey mate, you nearly finished on the dunny?

G’Day boys and girls. It’s Day One in Sheffield and hopefully a winning start to the Australian Open for us poor deprived snooker punters. Let’s make this the season that we have those nasty old bookies running for cover shall we?

For anyone that missed it, my preview of today’s first crop of matches is here. It would be nice to build up an early bit of momentum with wins for Morris, Li Yan and Dave Boy Gilbert. Also, despite my write up, let’s wish David Grace all the best as he’s a proud friend of the blog and is also helping me out with the Leeds leg of the Snookerbacker Classic. Good man.

A reminder that to secure your place in the event you should really be aiming for Friday at the latest to get your entry in. After that it will be promoted at the venues and other outlets such as seedy nightclubs, dodgy betting shops, squalid bars and adults only shops and seeing as snooker is commonly referred to as a sign of a misspent youth, it will surely only be a matter of days until places are filled by the great unwashed. You have been warned.

I’ll update the scores below today when they come in.


3. Sam Baird 5-1 Luca Brecel
4. Andrew Pagett 5-4 Adam Wicheard
5. Paul Davison 5-3 David Hogan
6. Bjorn Haneveer 3-5 Andrew Norman
7. Joe Meara 3-5 David Morris
8. Michael White 4-5 Yu Delu


9. Dechawat Poomjaeng 1-5 Robin Hull (136)
10. Cao Yupeng 1-5 Kurt Maflin
11. Sam Craigie 5-1 David Grace
12. Aditya Mehta 1-5 Tian Pengfei


13. Ben Woollaston 5-2 Adam Duffy
14. Scott MacKenzie v Stuart Carrington
15. Kacper Filipiak 0-5 Li Yan
16. Liam Highfield 5-4 Simon Bedford
17. Passakorn Suwannawat 4-5 David Gilbert
18. Daniel Wells 2-5 James Wattana

June 26, 2011

Strewth! The Australian Open Qualifying Monday Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:16 pm

Australian Culture

The latest addition to the snooker ranking list calendar is the Goldfields Australian Open and the qualifying rounds for this event will be played over the course of the next few days in that well known Australian territory of Sheffield.

Yes, before the baize boys can don a corked hat, throw another shrimp on the barbie and drink copious amounts of the amber nectar whilst indulging in bar sports such as ‘belching’, ‘projectile vomiting’ and ‘slap the sheila’, they must first qualify from back here in Blighty.

There is actually one match scheduled for tonight between Kurt Maflin and Lucky Vatnani. Lucky to me is both this by name and nature. Nothing that I can see merits his awarding of a wildcard into the ranks this season and it would be an upset if Maffers didn’t dispense with him in time to catch the headline act at Glastonbury later on.

UPDATE: Kurt Maflin has been awarded a walk-over, so no snooker tonight.

The main action starts tomorrow with three sessions scheduled to play the first qualifying round. This round features all the ‘new’ or in some cases returning professionals and those that narrowly clung onto a tour spot by the skin of their teeth last season. As I write only one firm, Paddy Power, have priced the matches up.

So let’s have a look at what is on offer.

The first match that catches the eye is the one between Sam Baird and the (WARNING; Taylorism alert) 16 year old Belgian sensation Luca Brecel. It will be interesting to see how Luca takes to the professional stage having been waiting patiently in the wings for his 16th birthday while seemingly winning everything the European amateur game had to offer since the age of about 4. Sam will provide a stiff test and has earned his place back on the tour after a strong season at amateur level last year. Sam is the more experienced of the two and amazingly is 7 years older than Luca. Whilst Luca beat Anthony Hamilton 4-0 in the PTC last week, without knowing how the Sheriff is approaching the season it is hard to gauge if this was indeed a good performance by the winner or a surrender by a rusty loser. But Sam was similarly walloped by Graeme Dott, so I would marginally favour Luca to make a winning start, but not one I’d bet on personally.

In terms of a bet tomorrow on these there are three matches that I would describe as ‘bank jobs’ with one match that I think should be looked at with a serious view to a bet for however much you might be able to get on. Now, it may seem naive to think about having a really decent bet given the very early point of the season, but unless certain players have experienced a complete turnaround in their games I would say that the combined treble of David Morris, Li Yan and Dave Gilbert is nailed on.

This pays just over 11/10 and I’d recommend a 3 points treble on these three.

The Penguin

They all face weak opponents and all have solid recent form to call upon. Morris made it through Q-School and faces Northern Ireland’s Joe Meara who comes back to the professional ranks after a 7 year break. Li Yan is another Q-School graduate who beat Mark Williams last week in the PTC and should make short work of his inexperienced Polish opponent. Dave Gilbert is a man in form and has played more snooker over the summer than anyone, he also had three good wins in the PTC including playboi Judd Trump. I just can’t see any of them losing.

If you are feeling a little more ambitious you might think about adding Tian Pengfei to that treble. Regulars will know that I really rate Tian and I think he is one to keep on your side in these early rounds. He faces Aditya Mehta from India, Mehta has beaten decent players so is not quite as weak as the opponents of the above three players but I’d still fancy Tian to do the business here. Let’s also start tomorrow with a 2 point accumulator on all four which pays just under 11/4.

They are the only bets I will be having on tomorrow’s matches, but there are two tempting odds against shots in there too. Adam Wicheard is capable of landing the 5/4 against Crucible qualifier Andrew Pagget, just based on the fact that Adam has been the busier of the two over the summer and his confidence will be high. Another one worth keeping an eye out for is Sam Craigie, a player who I know Matt at ProSnooker Blog rates very highly. He takes on friend of the blog David Grace and that one could go either way. Making the 11/8 on Craigie potentially tempting.

I’ll update the scores as they come in tomorrow. The best of luck if you are having a bet.

June 24, 2011

The Snookerbacker Classic Update: Finals Day Confirmed and Add-on Prize Number One

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:15 am

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

Good morning everyone. Given that there is a bit of a gap in the professional calendar I thought today would be a good time to update anyone interested on the current state of play regarding my new venture; The Snookerbacker Classic.

Well, some people are religious and would like to receive a blessing from the big man in the Vatican, I’m not one of those. Some people are royalists and await an invitation to a Palace Tea Party or a gong in the Honours List, I’m not one of those either. But one of the things on my personal wish list was ticked off this week as none other than the head honcho, the big man at the ranch, the daddy, Charlie Big Potatoes himself Bazza gave my new venture the royal seal of approval with this piece on World Snooker. How the devil did that happen then?

But not just this, then came more accolades from the two big hitters in the blogosphere as Dave Hendon bigged up the event here (I’ll even forgive him for forgetting the true facts of our after show drinks at Wembley, you should have seen what he made me drink, scandalous behaviour) and Matt also put his thoughts down here at Pro Snooker Blog. A big thanks to the two of them, Matt, a coke for you next time we meet, Dave, I’ll return that bottle of Moonshine when I see you next, despite your recommendation it’s not really my kind of drink.

So here is an update on the various bits and bobs that have happened this week surrounding the tournament:

Finals Day Confirmed: 

I have secured the Finals Day date which will take place at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester on Friday February 24th 2012. I am going to speak to the SWSA about the feasibility of live streaming this.

Prize Fund Add-Ons:

It has always been my intention to build the prize fund as entries begin to be confirmed. Basically, the more people enter the event, the greater the prize pool will become. I have hit my first ‘target’ if you like already, a bit sooner than I thought to be honest so I can now confirm that the losing semi-finalists on Finals Day will now each receive £100 as well as the refunded entry fee they will have received for winning through. As well as this, every entrant will get a small momento of being a competitor in the event.


Junior Entrants:   

I am hoping to attract a fair few junior entrants into the event. The only stipulation is that the entrant must be 16 years of age by the start of the Q-School in May 2012. So if you are 15 now, have a word with the ones that hold the cash and get your name in the hat for an event. Where else can you potentially make professional for nothing?

Sponsored Entrants:

Maybe you have a player that you would like to pay for to enter the event? Maybe you have a group of mates, one of whom you reckon could go far in this kind of event? If that’s the case why not sponsor them to play in it? There are no restrictions on logos on clothing in the Qualifiers as long as the ‘smart dress code’ is adhered to. Similarly, there is nothing to stop friends coming and supporting a player they have each thrown a tenner in to enter, as long as they behave themselves and buy me a drink.   


Anyone that is having problems with the payment side of things should contact me for alternative methods of forwarding the entrance fee. You should email me in the first instance at [email protected] (you may also like to email [email protected] in case your email goes astray). I will then contact you to discuss.

Players with existing Management Arrangements in place:

If this is the case, either yourself or your manager should contact me directly. Whilst the terms and conditions state that the winner and runner-up will be linked to the blog for one season should they make professional, I have no desire to tread on existing commitments. This should not be a barrier to you entering the event.  

Entry Deadlines:

While there are specified deadlines which fall closer to the event. At the current rate of traffic it is unlikely that these will be the actual deadlines, which are likely to be a lot earlier.

Places are limited and I have purposely only promoted the first phase of entries to blog readers, Twitter followers and Facebook chums to spread the word. After 1st July, I will be working on promoting the event to a wider audience around the UK, so anyone that wants to enter but hasn’t yet done so should aim to get their entry in by this date. Remember there are only 32 places available in each event (possibly more in Essex depending on demand) and with many people already choosing to enter more than one event these places are not going to last forever. In short, if you want to enter, do it soon and then get practising!

Promotion and Sponsorship:

If, when I get the promotional materials printed you would like a few to dot around your local snooker club or promote through a local league or even to stick to car windscreens and phone boxes (joke). Please just email me and I’ll send you some. If you are a member of any local snooker forums please feel free to link them to the details of the event, stealing any images you wish to in order to spread the word.

If you are interested in sponsoring a prize, in particular I would like a decent prize to give away for a maximum break in the event, please get in touch to discuss options.

I think that’s it for now. For anyone that has entered or is entering the event, please keep an eye on the blog as this will be your first port of call for these kind of updates.   

[email protected]  or [email protected]

June 23, 2011

Prediction Contest – Any Advance?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:10 am

Good Morning all, I’ll admit to being a bit busy and a tad lazy this morning. But I will get round to marking the prediction contest, honestly I will. But for now, has anyone scored more than the 1200 points accumulated by blog regular Godspeed ? If so please let me know in the comments section. If not, Godspeed may well be making off with the £50 free bet that was kindly donated by Skybet. 

June 22, 2011

Ronnie Wins PTC1

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:57 pm

Now that is a headline I didn’t think I would be writing a few months ago. But it looks like our Ron blew all away and let’s hope it’s the start of a new era for him. The game needs him, even if he is bonkers.

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