Snookerbacker

August 30, 2011

Snookerbacker Classic: New Venue Announced

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:46 pm

I'm taking the Classic to Dublin

Since this morning’s post I have been busy finalising a date and venue for what will be the third of five qualifying events in the Snookerbacker Classic this year and I am pleased to announce that this will take place on Saturday 15th January 2012 at the Crossguns Snooker Centre in Dublin.

You can find out more about this excellent venue, which is Irelands oldest snooker club having been in business since 1958 by visiting their website here. As you can see some illustrious names have been through their doors including the legendary Hurricane and the Whirlwind, Jimmy listed as having made two maximum breaks on the premises.

The event itself will be limited to 16 players and the winner of the one-day shoot-out will progress onto Finals Day to play for the big prizes. All matches will be played over the best of seven frames.

As with all qualifiers to the Finals, the winner will receive a minimum of £100 even if they lose their first match in Gloucester and they will also receive an award marking their appearance in the first ever finals day of the event. Every player competing in the Snookerbacker Classic will leave with a unique momento of having taken part in the first of what I hope will be many of these events in the future.

I’m over the moon to be going over to Ireland for an event, not just because I like Guinness but also because my dear departed old man was Irish and I absolutely love Dublin as a city. I hope the event will be a great success.

The entrance fee will be 50 Euros (roughly £44) and can either be paid through Paypal or alternatively you can email me for direct payment details. You can do this at [email protected] where you can also reserve a place throughout September pending payment of entrance fees. Full details of the other venues for the tournament can be found here.

It should be a cracking event and I can’t wait to get over there.

The Month Ahead: Shanghai and Samba September

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:19 am

Good morning everyone. It doesn’t seem a month since my last ‘month ahead’ feature when I recounted the tale of a woeful Eric Clapton album that finally shot any street-cred I may have had to smithereens. But time flies and in the words of a fellow Liverpudlian, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

September has always been one of my favourite months of the year I have to say. It would usually signal the start of the snooker season of course but those days are gone now with the seemingly 365/24/7 snooker calendar. But that isn’t the reason I like this month so much. See, I live over the road from a beach and when it’s sunny the seaside attracts people, and I use the term loosely, that don’t respect the environment. By that, I’m not talking about people with dogs, who by and large clean up after themselves, I’m talking about people with out of control kids (usually two or three too many) that leave shitty nappies, Iceland carrier bags and empty boxes of cheap lager all over the place. September traditionally for me signals a time when all that stops and we can have our seafront back and they return to their life of Jeremy Kyle and Playstations. Bloody riff raff.

Anyway, what snooker is in store for us as the nights become that little bit darker and the first signs of frost begin to appear in the UK? Well, in amongst the smattering of Premier League nights which regulars will know I don’t bother with, we have three ranking events; two PTC’s one in Sheffield and one in Poland as well as the main event, the Shanghai Masters which begins next week. We also have the innaugural Brasilian Masters which sees a few of the top players bothering to make the effort to go but a lot of them preferring to come straight home and have a couple of weeks off after a gruelling week, or in some cases no doubt a couple of days in China, the poor overworked loves. I reported on the situation surrounding this event earlier this month here and I think the players originally invited should have gone, particularly the two that are instead lining their own pockets with an ultimately pointless exhibition match.

Shanghai begins on Monday and Ali defends the title he won last year, the last event he won. After a period of ill-health The Captain will be looking to get his season off the ground with a similar performance. The big question on a lot of people’s minds will of course be if Ronnie will make the trip or not. He seems to be a bit more dedicated lately but how long will it last? I’m not of course suggesting that the neck and back problems that forced him out of the Australian event were not genuine, how could you possibly think such a thing of me? Shame on you.

The PTC’s rattle on with a more familiar low-key event in Sheffield running from 21-25th before PTC6 takes in Warsaw at the end of the month taking us into the dark nights of October and the first seeding cut off point.

On a personal note, the Snookerbacker Classic is now only 9 weeks away from the first event taking place in Scotland. I’m a little disappointed with the response to the event in Glasgow I have to say. Compared to the other events the demand has been poor and I’m not sure why that is. I have therefore taken the initial decision to limit this event to 16 rather than the originally intended 32 and play to one qualifier, this retains the four best of 7 matches to Finals Day premise and I am now actively seeking a venue in Dublin to host a similar 16 field event to give Ireland some representation in Finals Day.

I will be monitoring how and if the response to the Glasgow event changes before making a final decision on it. I want to get as close to the 16 as possible, but with a withdrawal coming in yesterday I now have just 7 entries, compared to Gloucester that is now in the 20’s and looking like being full very soon. Leeds is also filling so anyone that wants to enter that should either do so now or follow the instructions below. Essex is likely to be a slow burner I should think and anyone that is knocked out of any of the events will be offered the opportunity to enter the final qualifying event as the tournament progresses.

In terms of the events:

Glasgow, Lucky Break Snooker Centre (6/11/11 – 16 players) please email [email protected] to reserve a place and I will hold one open pending payment of entrance fee and subject to spaces available until September 30th.

Leeds, Northern Snooker Centre (2/12/11 – 32 players) please email [email protected] to reserve a place and I will hold one open pending payment of entrance fee and subject to spaces available until September 30th.

Gloucester, South West Snooker Academy (30/1/12 – 32 players) please email [email protected] to reserve a place and I will hold one open pending payment of entrance fee and subject to spaces available until September 16th.

Essex, Chelmsford Snooker Club (10/2/12 – maximum 64 players) please email [email protected] to reserve a place and I will hold one open pending payment of entrance fee and subject to spaces available until November 30th.

Please email me at [email protected] to reserve a place in a 16-player event in Dublin which is likely to be in January at a venue to be confirmed.

I think that’s September in a nutshell. Full steam ahead with a Shanghai preview shortly.

August 28, 2011

PTC4 Paul Hunter Classic Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:32 am

Don't have nightmares

Good Morning everyone. Today sees the culmination of the Paul Hunter Classic from Germany. With the world number 1 elect and two former world champions taking on a field from the lower echelons of the sport.

With the exception of Mark Selby, Ronnie and Neil Robertson, the big names are having a torrid time in this. Mark Williams, Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy were the latest casualties yesterday, Shaun losing in a decider to the highly impressive Michael White, MJW fizzeling out to Passakorn Suwannawat after beating Sanderson Lam earlier in the day and Ding falling victim to The Ferginator late last night.

The one consolation for Shaun is that he has now acquired a new shot selection coach, namely me. A glowing endorsement of my sharp tactical brain was to be seen on Twitter yesterday as I pointed out to Shaun that he may have played the wrong shot in the decider when only needing one snooker. Being the big man he is he took this on the chin and bowed to my judgement, obviously realising that arguing with snooker’s modern day Terry Griffiths was a futile exercise. I feel I owe it to the sport to set up the Snookerbacker Shot Selection School (SSSS) to further my bid for world domination. On the subject of world domination I notice from the latest Alexa Rankings that the blog is now closing in on a top 200,000 slot in terms of world popularity, I feel with the Shot Selection School it’s only a matter of time before we overtake the grossly overrated Facebook.

In terms of today, anyone that thinks it’s going to be ‘The Ronnie Show’ can get 2/1 on the Rocket winning this on Skybet. Given the fact that he is likely to be on the match table throughout with a big crowd this may just be the bet of the week. We will possibly get to see him renew his rivalry with Mark Selby in the semi-finals, but Mark will first have to negotiate a tricky tie against Stephen Lee if they both win their openers this morning.

Up in the top half it’s wide open with all eight names having a realistic chance of reaching the final. Michael White was very impressive yesterday and faces The Ferginator, Mustard Man Dark Mavis has an opener against Matt Selt while Pink Ribbon winner Mark Joyce takes on Robbo. One player that has been catching my eye now for a while is the improving Jamie Jones, he came back to beat Jack Lisowski in a decider yesterday from 3-1 down and then went on to beat PTC3 winner Ben Woollaston to get to this stage and I fancy him to progress to the quarter finals this morning.

Recommended Bets:

2 points win Jamie Jones to beat Passakorn Suwannawat at 5/6 with Sportingbet

2 points win Michael White to beat Fergal O’Brien at 5/6 with Skybet

2 points double Mark Selby and Stephen Lee pays Evens at Sportingbet

1 point accumulator Lee, Selby, De Lu, Jones and White pays over 9/1 at Skybet  

3 points win Ronnie O’Sullivan to win The Paul Hunter Classic at 2/1 with Skybet

Last 16

Passakorn Suwannawat 4-2 Jamie Jones
Mark Joyce 2-4 Neil Robertson
Mark Davis 4-2 Matthew Selt
Michael White 2-4 Fergal O’Brien
Mark Selby 4-0 Andrew Higginson
Joe Jogia 1-4 Stephen Lee
Yu De Lu 4-2 Jimmy Robertson
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Li Yan

Quarter Finals

Passakorn Suwannawat 1-4 Neil Robertson
Mark Davis 4-0 Fergal O’Brien
Mark Selby 4-1 Stephen Lee
Yu DeLu 3-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Semi Finals

Mark Davis 4-2 Neil Robertson
Mark Selby 4-3 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Final

Mark Davis 0-4 Mark Selby

Paul Hunter Classic Champion: Mark Selby

(photo courtesy of/can be blamed on Monique Limbos)

August 27, 2011

PTC4: Paul Hunter Classic Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:50 am

Good Morning Everyone. Well, what can you say about Ronnie that hasn’t already been said? Well, in short nothing, so I won’t bother as we enter the second day of the main event over in Germany.

Yesterday was a busy old day over there and as ever when the baizefolk up cues and travel over to our European counterparts the event is incredibly well supported. There were even two elderly ladies who appeared to be identical twins in the audience yesterday, unless by some weird twist of fate they just looked alike and ended up wearing the same outfit so decided to sit together to freak us all out.

Before Ronnie’s heroics last night Jimmy White very nearly made the first live streamed maximum in his win over the hapless Kurt Maflin. Kurt’s performance had organisers scouring the local dogs home in the hope of finding a capable Labrador to escort him back to the airport. But even Kurt’s dreadful showing could not outshine what we were to witness next on the match table. The Turkish De-Shite that is Ali Kirim was surely only there to pitch for a Willie at the end of the year for Worst TV performance in losing to Ronnie. Guide Dogs for the Blind surely had a field day yesterday as Ali hopelessly tried to compete against a clearly bored Rocket. It’s fair to say that there wasn’t so much a gulf in ability as several solar systems.

While all this was going on Rory ‘The Dentist’ McLeod was ‘doing a job’ on poor innocent amateur Phil O’Kane. A four and a half hour six frame marathon from King Snail who reportedly was using a new cue because they had lost his somehow in transit. But it made little difference to the sloth-paced potter who came through this latest nail in the coffin of entertainment 4-2, only to be walloped in about half an hour by Mark Selby in the next round. The latest report from McLeod Airlines is that his cue isn’t lost, the plane is simply circling the airport for a couple of days before it finally commits to landing.

Young Geordie (apologies if he is from Sunderland or Middlesborough as I know that lot are a bit prickly about being called Geordies) Sam Craigie then faced John Higgins and despite John winning easily and in the end in some style Sam made a century in the only frame he won. He looked good in spurts and unlike Ali Kirim, I think he may become a more familiar face on our screens given time.

In terms of the Mustard Men, two of the three in action yesterday have made it to Finals Day with Dark Mavis (66/1) and Stephen Lee (40/1) both winning through but somehow John Higgins managed to lose 4-3 to Li Yan just in time to make his flight back to Glasgow last night.

Bettingwise, these events are hard to keep up with after the morning matches as the times that are advertised seem largely irrelevant and this I’m sure puts bookies off pricing any of the later matches up, which is a bit of a shame and I hope they will get involved tomorrow for Finals Day.

I’m going to start the day with a nice looking treble that pays over 4/1 at Victor Chandlers on Tian Pengfei, Nigel Bond and Jamie Jones. I’ll recommend 1 point on this.

Good Luck if you are having a bet and feel free to chat away and mark today’s little minx out of ten in the comments section below.

9.30am

9 Mark Joyce 4-2 Lee Page
10 Barry Pinches 0-4 Tian Pengfei
49 Steve Davis 4-0 Gary Wilson
50 Dave Harold 0-4 Jamie O’Neill
51 James Welsh w/o Graeme Dott
52 Tom Ford 2-4 Yu Delu
53 Andrew Pagett 4-2 Luca Brecel
54 Robert Milkins 4-1 Martin O’Donnell
55 Jimmy Robertson 4-1 Nick Jennings
56 Matthew Couch 0-4 Robbie Williams

11am

11 Mark King 4-2 Kishan Hirani
12 Matthew Stevens 4-1 Paul Davison
13 Neil Robertson 4-0 Chris Norbury
14 David Hogan w/o Tony Drago
15 Peter Lines 4-3 David Gilbert
16 Andrew Norman w/o Ali Carter

11.30am

25 Shaun Murphy w/o Lucky Vatnani
26 Michael White w/o Liang Wenbo
27 Martin Gould 4-1 Ben Harrison
28 Nigel Bond 2-4 Dechewat Poomjaeng

12.30pm

29 Rod Lawler 4-1 Mitchell Travis
30 Fergal O’Brien 4-3 Joe Delaney
31 Ding Junhui 4-1 Sean O’Sullivan
32 Marcus Campbell 4-2 Scott MacKenzie

1pm

1 Mark Williams 4-1 Sanderson Lam
2 Gerard Greene 1-4 Passakorn Suwannawat
3 Ken Doherty 4-0 Liam Monk
4 Liu Song 4-1 Chen Ze

2pm

5 Mike Dunn 4-1 Kacper Filipiak
6 Ben Woollaston w/o Liam Highfield
7 Jamie Jones 4-2 Cao Yupeng
8 Jack Lisowski 4-1 Steve Judd

3.30pm

69 Mark Joyce 4-2 Tian Pengfei
70 Mark King 4-1 Matthew Stevens
71 Neil Robertson 4-2 David Hogan
72 Peter Lines 4-2 Andrew Norman
77 Shaun Murphy 3-4 Michael White
78 Martin Gould 4-1 Dechewat Poomjaeng
89 Steve Davis 4-3 Jamie O’Neill
90 James Welsh 1-4 Yu Delu
91 Andrew Pagett 4-2 Rob Milkins
92 Jimmy Robertson 4-2 Robbie Williams

5pm

65 Mark Williams 1-4 Passakorn Suwannawat
66 Ken Doherty 4-2 Liu Song
67 Mike Dunn 2-4 Ben Woollaston
68 Jamie Jones 4-3 Jack Lisowski
79 Rod Lawler 1-4 Fergal O’Brien
80 Ding Junhui 4-1 Marcus Campbell

7.30pm

97 Passakorn Suwannawat 4-2 Ken Doherty
98 Ben Woollaston 1-4 Jamie Jones
99 Mark Joyce 4-3 Mark King
100 Neil Robertson 4-1 Peter Lines
103 Michael White 4-1 Martin Gould
104 Fergal O’Brien 4-3 Ding Junhui
109 Steve Davis 2-4 Yu De Lu
110 Andrew Pagett 2-4 Jimmy Robertson

August 26, 2011

Ronnie’s Maximum German Treat

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:18 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan hit a 147 tonight to the delight of the German fans at the Paul Hunter Classic. The final red to get on to the black was magic, he played the pink left-handed……Wonderful.

You can watch it by clicking here

All in a day's work....

Mrs Snookerbacker Yaps Away…

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:53 pm

I have been helping Mr SB out.

Mrs SB has again insisted on having her say on the blog, so here is her latest ramblings….

Hello Bloggers. Well it’s been a very busy few weeks in the snooker calendar lately, there seems to be loads of events and none on the TV for me to relax and fall asleep to. These tournaments are keeping Mr SB very busy and with organising the Snookerbacker Classic it seems our home is on snooker overdrive. But hooray, soon the nights will be drawing in, I can wear one of Mr SB’s old jumpers and pull on my big slippers and snuggle under a blanket, chill out and cuddle my whippet and watch the balls pot and listen to the gentle commentary, bliss.

Though saying that, this autumn is going to be a busy one for us both with the new Snookerbacker Classic. I can’t really remember how the Snookerbacker Classic came about, I think one day over dinner Mr SB said he had an idea to hold a snooker tournament and he was saying if you’re going to do it, do it big and do it national. I think I said at the time “oh that’s a good idea sweetie” served him a big pile of mashed potato and thought nothing much of it. Later on, after some thought and a good brain storming at our local over a crisp white we jotted down some notes on a napkin with a borrowed biro and we both left with a plan of action and feeling excited about the challenge that lay ahead and also slightly nervous too.

Part of the “meeting” was to establish roles, with my event organising experience and love of spreadsheets – yes you did read that right  I LOVE SPREADSHEETS.. my role was firmly decided. I was to organise Mr SB in every way and be his project manager which to him means nag him till it gets things done and look cross when he does not update figures and budgets straight away.. tut..tut!

Last night I asked him for an update. I have recently given him some time off as he has been so busy with the day job and I must say I was slightly peturbed when he just said “arr.. don’t worry ..I am taking care of it..”  Shock … you can’t say that to me!! I said I wanted an exact update tomorrow and gave him a stern look.

I also said to Mr SB last night that he should have a go and enter and try and fulfil a childhood dream, his little eyes lit up and he said he was actually thinking about it but was not sure, after some convincing he has agreed to do it, but he is taking this very seriously and is now scheduling practice time and purchasing a new pair of snooker specs. I said wouldn’t it be fun if I could enter one – but I would need some professional coaching (offers for some professional free coaching sessions will be great) as last time I played snooker was when I was little in a snooker hall with the strippers – a past story. Maybe I am best handing out snacks and prizes  and taking the register and leaving it to the players who can actually play. I don’t think Mr SB is that keen.

So that’s the update from me, It’s all going well and I am really looking forward to it. I have booked the time off work and will soon need to start thinking about more important things, as well as my love for organising events and spreadsheets I also have a love of buying new outfits and somehow I have convinced Mr SB that I would need a new outfit for each one (it’s a kind of payback for me helping him and taking the time off work to come along and help with the day). From now there are only 10 weeks to go till it all starts with the first event in Glasgow .. well.. I had better get shopping and decide on what to wear!

P.S. If anyone knows where to get a t-shirt with I love spreadsheets please send me the link as I want one to wear with pride.

xx

PTC4: Paul Hunter Classic Day 1

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:24 am

Now try concentrating on the snooker.

Good Morning everyone. A very early start over in Fürth this morning with the likes of Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Peter Ebdon all having to set the alarm clocks early to play in the first set of matches.

There have been a few withdrawals filtering through, both official and unconfirmed. Stuart Bingham is understandably staying at home just in case his new arrival decides to make an early curtain call, Ali is struggling with his Crohns and is trying to get himself in shape for his defence in Shanghai, Liang Wenbo isn’t playing but I’m not sure why, presumably he’s over in China preparing for his first match over there, Robin Hull and Joe Meara pulled out yesterday, Meara scuppering what a lot of us thought might be an early heist on the bookies that priced up Liu Chuang at a huge 8/11 to beat him, they got out of jail there. Rumours that Joe received a brown envelope at a service station just down the road from the venue from a bloke called Victor with a satchel and sunglasses are I’m sure untrue. I notice that even now the match is still priced up and Liu is as short as 1/3 in places.

Finland’s Robin Hull also pulled out, the ever absent Un-Lucky Vatnani remains about as easy to find as the Invisible Man and we already knew that Bjorn Haneveer was not fit to make the trip. Unconfirmed rumours are also circulating that tournament favourite and German Master Mark Williams will join the growing list of absentees, which is obviously disappointing for those who are attending hoping to see King Floater in action.

As for the format today, don’t ask me to explain it. Not content with changing the draw in the last PTC this time we find matches all over the shop. Usually we see one half of the draw completed followed by the other half the next day, but not this time, as eight of the top half matches kick off between 11.30 and 1pm including the eagerly awaited clash between Jimmy and Kurt Maflin, the 11/10 on Maffers being well and truly taken. I’ll also be looking for James Watanna to land an 11/10 punt this morning against Peter Ebdon.

I can’t really find much else early on to get excited about from a betting point of view so I’ll probably wait until later to see if anything else materialises in the match betting before recommending any bets.

Before I go I should also mention a qualifying match taking place this evening which is already being billed as a Battle of the Twits, our own Allan ‘The Assassin’ Taylor takes on Ben Harrison in a match that is being eagerly awaited amongst the Twitter stalwarts. I am reliably informed that Allan is currently staying away from the plethora of pretzels on offer over there and has his mind well and truly fixed on the job in hand. Both players have got to this stage without dropping a frame.

Eurosport are covering the event and a schedule of their coverage can be found here. I’m now off to find out how I can get Eurosport Player to work on my laptop. I’ll try and keep things updated throughout the day and keep an eye out for any recommended bets that spring up as the day goes on.

I know the blog has a big German following so anyone that is attending the venue please feel free to post snippits. Also feel free to have a natter below, even if it’s just to score the German girl in the post out of ten, or indeed out of two, I’d give her one.

Friday August 26 (all times are UK+1 hour)

9.30am

33 Mark Selby 4-0 Sam Harvey
34 Rory McLeod 4-2 Phil O’Kane (in just under 4 hours)
35 Barry Hawkins 4-0 Brian Cox
36 Ian McCulloch 3-4 Craig Steadman
37 Peter Ebdon 3-4 James Wattana
38 Judd Trump 4-0 Ashley Wright
39 Liu Chuang w/o Joe Meara
40 Andrew Higginson 4-1 Adam Wicheard
41 Mark Allen 4-0 Christoph Biniarsh
42 Joe Jogia 4-2 Daniel Wells

11am

43 Ryan Day 1-4 Aditya Mehta
44 Simon Bedford w/o Stuart Bingham
45 Stephen Lee 4-0 Ian Burns
46 Alan McManus 2-4 Jamie Walker
47 Ricky Walden 4-2 Stuart Carrington
48 Alfie Burden 3-4 Stephen Craigie

11.30am

17 Jimmy White 4-0 Kurt Maflin
18 Mark Davis w/o Bjorn Haneveer
19 Marco Fu 3-4 Sam Baird
20 Jamie Cope 4-2 Phil Barnes

12.30pm

21 Adrian Gunnell 4-0 Hans Blanckeart
22 Matthew Selt 4-3 David Grace
23 Joe Perry 4-0 Stefan Joachim
24 Dominic Dale 4-1 David Morris

1pm

57 Anthony Hamilton 2-4 Adam Duffy
58 Joe Swail 4-3 Zhang Anda
59 Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-0 Ali Kirim
60 Anthony McGill 4-2 Kyren Wilson

2pm

61 Xiao Guodong 4-1 Bash Maqsood
62 Michael Holt 3-4 Li Yan
63 Stephen Hendry w/o Robin Hull
64 John Higgins 4-1 Sam Craigie

3.30pm (Times appear to be irrelevant as Selby v McLeod started at 2.45pm)

73 Jimmy White 2-4 Mark Davis
74 Sam Baird 2-4 Jamie Cope
81 Mark Selby 4-0 Rory McLeod
82 Barry Hawkins 1-4 Craig Steadman
83 James Wattana 1-4 Judd Trump
84 Liu Chuang 2-4 Andrew Higginson
85 Mark Allen 2-4 Joe Jogia
86 Aditya Mehta 4-0 Simon Bedford
87 Stephen Lee 4-1 Jamie Walker
88 Ricky Walden 4-2 Stephen Craigie

5pm

75 Adrian Gunnell 0-4 Matthew Selt
76 Joe Perry 3-4 Dominic Dale
93 Adam Duffy 4-0 Joe Swail
94 Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Anthony McGill
95 Xiao Guodong 0-4 Li Yan
96 Stephen Hendry 0-4 John Higgins

7.30pm

101 Mark Davis 4-2 Jamie Cope
102 Matthew Selt 4-2 Dominic Dale
105 Mark Selby 4-0 Craig Steadman
106 Judd Trump 3-4 Andrew Higginson
107 Joe Jogia 4-3 Aditya Mehta
108 Stephen Lee 4-0 Ricky Walden
111 Adam Duffy 0-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan (147)
112 Li Yan 4-3 John Higgins

August 24, 2011

PTC4 Paul Hunter Classic Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:51 pm

It's nice of them to wear the SB vest I supplied. Unfortunately, the printer had a stutter.

Another week and another PTC event, this time it’s from Germany which of course is always welcome at any time as the tradition of the blog is to celebrate this fact with gratuitous, unapologetic pictures of German Girls. One regular last year even suggested starting a petition to ship the World Championships over there such was his love of the headline beauties.

Anyway, this one of course honours the late, great Paul Hunter who I’m sure himself would have enjoyed the pictures being something of a pin-up boy of the baize in his all too brief time on the planet. He is and continues to be very sadly missed indeed by anyone that knew him and also by his many fans all over the world.

It also celebrates the first anniversary of Judd Trump winning this event in what was to mark the beginning of his meteoric rise to fame last season. A momentous occasion of course which saw him carry the coveted Team Snookerbacker Mustard Skipper’s Jumper to the winners podium at odds of 33/1. I remember the day well, though not a great deal about the day after, such were the celebrations in SB Mansions.

The poor old qualifiers from the amateur circuit do battle tomorrow of course and the likes of The Assassin, The MO’D Martin O’Donnell and Chester’s finest Gareth Allen are amongst those in action. They fight it out amongst themselves for the right to join the professionals in the Last 128 that starts on Friday.

These previews don’t mean to dismiss the chances of the amateur players but in a way they reflect the unenviable path they tread as they try and chase what to me seem largely unobtainable professional places on the tour via this route. Matt from Pro Snooker Blog sent me his explanation of the process the other day and to me it seems a bit of a wild goose chase. With the exception of National Championships, I believe the best chance amateurs stand of making professional is at the Q-School and (advanced self-promotion warning) if they can get to enter that for nothing all the better, the winner and runner-up of the Snookerbacker Classic will have just that luxury, with a shedload of match practice in top conditions under their belt. Now that’s what I call value for money.

Anyway back to the matter in hand and at time of writing only Sportingbet have outright prices up though Victor Chandlers have priced up the matches and I have to say the original prices made for some interesting reading for me. When I saw Kurt Maflin and James Wattana both at 11/10 to beat Jimmy White and Peter Ebdon respectively I had to have a small plunge. They are both now more realistic prices of 5/6 and it’s fair to say I’d be happy if they both won from a financial perspective.

So to the preview and as ever I will segment the draw into, ermm segments, plumping for a Team Skipper and a faithful supporting cast. Thankfully I will be able to see some of this as a Bank Holday weekend approaches in the UK and Mrs SB is feeling very sorry for me as I’ve been so busy and missed most of the event last week. I’ve promised that on Bank Holiday Monday we will pack up a picnic and a flask of tea and disappear off walking for the day with the Whippet. This means that I’ll be able to snooker away to my heart’s content this weekend.

Up at the top Mark Williams again has a highly winnable section but he has failed to take advantage of the draws he has had so far so I’m going to trust he will do so again, despite his liking for tournaments overseas where he always seems to perform. His German Masters win last season was the latest in a long line of tournament wins for him away from the UK and he starts favourite for the event here.

But I am not giving up on Jack Lisowski (100/1) despite his incredible final frame loss to Jamie Cope last week. Once he gets on a roll he’ll be hard to stop and while he’s still a three figure price I’m happy to keep faith with him. He wears the Team SB colours again and I doubt this will be for the last time.

The next section of the draw may see Ali and Robbo fight it out again after a grand old tussle last week. But it’s the section underneath this that sees the second member of the Mustard Army in Mark Davis (66/1) Mavis is a solid performer and is already in the second round given that he has drawn the withdrawn Bjorn Haneveer, so two matches to Finals Day against players ranked either below or there or thereabouts with him in the rankings is enough to gain him a team place.

I agonised over the next section and after careful consideration I have decided to plump for Shaun Murphy (12/1) as this week’s Team Snookerbacker Skipper. Shaun is another good traveller and whilst his results in these events so far don’t exactly inspire confidence he is bound to come alive at some point. He is likely to have a bye into the Last 64 too as he faces the lesser-spotted Lucky Vatnani first and may have a match against the man he beat in the Grand Final of this event Martin Gould to qualify to Sunday.

A Proud Skipper

We then come to the bottom half of the draw and only a fool would ignore Judd here. But I’ve been called a lot worse than that so that is precisely what I am going to do and instead I’m jumping to the next set of eight matches and selecting the in-form Stephen Lee (40/1) to wear the extra-large cashmere this weekend. Hats were well and truly off when Anthony McGill beat Lee last weekend when it looked to be set for a Lee/Dott final, Lee was looking very solid indeed and again has a highly winnable path to Finals Day again here.

It’s the usual ‘punt’ next and this week it’s on Tom Ford (125/1). Tom won a PTC event last season of course and may face the ultra-consistent Graeme Dott in the second round, but Dotty for me isn’t a player that always revels in overseas events and if Tom can beat him I reckon he should make Finals Day, by which time that price will look massive each-way value with a winnable last 16 match ahead.

The final name I am going to plump for is fairly predictable, it being the World Champion John Higgins (11/1). He is definitely showing signs of coming back to form and when he does, god help the rest of them. A Higgins/Murphy final would be a speculative punt for me if any bookies would like to price this up as a Snookerbacker Special. Given the size of the field I’d want at least 66/1? Come on, what are you scared of??

Recommended Bets (all at Sportingbet prices at time of writing):

1 point win Shaun Murphy 12/1

1 point win John Higgins 11/1

0.5 points each way on Stephen Lee 40/1 

0.25points each way on Ford 125/1, Lisowski 100/1 and Mark Davis 66/1

Good Luck if you are having a bet.

August 23, 2011

Baize, German Girls, Bookies, Clauses and..Oh no, that’s Top Secret

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:06 pm

Who is it? We will soon be joined by a new baize diarist.

Good Evening/Morning everyone or as Joe Johnson might say ‘Good Day’. I haven’t had time to think recently, so much so that myself and Mrs SB even forgot to submit our songs of the week here last week, but that’s all sorted out now. Anyway, as I write there is at least light at the end of the tunnel and as soon as the bookies get their outright prices up for the Players Tour Championship 4 AKA The Paul Hunter Classic from Germany which starts on Friday and is covered by Eurosport,  I can get the preview up.

You should be aware that because of broadcasting rights this event will not be covered by the new live streaming channel or by the bookies on live stream. But it will be covered in full for subscribers to Eurosport Player.

Regulars will undoubtedly be waiting in eager anticipation for the return to the blog of the German girls, who traditionally kit themselves out, or sometimes don’t, for my painstakingly thorough audition session to be crowned German Girl of the Day during events hosted by our European neighbours. I’m sure that the huge rise in repeat visits during these periods is due only to the incisive and up to the minute reporting from yours truly and is in no way connected to the lustful thoughts of baizefolk who’s curiosity to just have another little peek at the Euro Goddess that accompanies the posts, gets the better of them. Anyway, I see Chandlers are first up with the match betting but I’ll wait until the usual stalwarts price up the outrights until putting pen to paper or type to screen.

I thought it was also an opportune time to keep you informed of the other things happening in the background as you all know that I’m always tirelessly working behind the scenes to twiddle with knobs and pull strings to get a good deal for us all with the bookies. I have put the feelers out to a couple of firms for a partnership to accompany the PTC events which would basically involve them stumping up some free bets for competitions. Anyone that is reading this that I haven’t contacted and wants to be involved for these smaller events please email me at [email protected]

The free competition bets and more for the major events this season are already secured and we will have a new partner firm who will no doubt offer some exciting enticements to us all in an attempt to grab our baize based betting cash. But of course, the combined knowledge, solidarity and sheer stubborn might of the blog will have them running to the hills by the time the Crucible comes around, but let’s be nice to them when they arrive at least. More on that in the run up to the UK Championship. Oh, how I yearn for those dark baizey nights…..

In terms of the blog itself, we should be hearing from Ali again soon as he jets off to defend his Shanghai Masters title next week. I have also managed to bribe/secure the services of another familiar face to give us the inside story on the circuit and his new slot will be appearing shortly. His identity is in a file marked ‘Top Secret’ on the kitchen table of Snookerbacker Mansions under the watchful eye of our trusted butler, Reardon.

What else is there? Ah, yes, The Snookerbacker Classic is in full flow and it’s now getting to the point where the people that want to enter that haven’t need to start thinking about contacting me. The more astute among you may have noticed that the terms and conditions have altered slightly and that there is no longer any commitment on the winner and runner-up to be tied to the blog in any way, shape or form.

Feedback suggests that it may have been putting a few people off, though I have no idea why as this is a happy, established and trusting place to be and I’m sure any arrangement whether it be financial or linked to publicity would have worked out well for all involved as a leap of faith. But in the words of Robbie Nevil if you are a teenager of the Eighties or these if you are aurally challenged, that’s just the way it goes.

The secret of getting something right of course is listening to the people you are trying to attract and that’s what I have done in removing ‘the 20% clause’. We might just have to find another name to back from the blog through Q-School this year.

Anyway: 

Quiz Question:

Do you think you know who our new regular snooker diarist might be? One guess each, the first one right will get a prize through the post when his identity is revealed.

Either do it the easy way and post a comment on here or follow me on Twitter (you’ll regret it I promise) here or find me on Facebook here coz I’m really really interesting, honest.  

August 21, 2011

PTC3 Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:17 am

Integral to the new draw system for the PTC's

(Clears throat and sings) Ahem. Oh what a beautiful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. I’ve got a wonderful feeling. I’m watching snooker all day.

Yes, after an an unheard-of absence and self imposed ban from the baize for the last two days I am now finally in a position to get fully absorbed back into our glorious sport and watch a bit of the action today from the Finals Day of PTC3. Having had what can reasonably be described as a busy old week in the real world it’s nice to be able to look forward to a day of self-indulgence with I dare say the odd bet here and there thrown in.

Despite the fact that I have only seen the odd frame in this, one of them being the decider between Jack Lisowski and Jamie Cope, what the hell happened there then…? I have been trying to keep up with the results and such like and having had the odd exchange with the Assassin, it’s clear that this event hasn’t exactly run all that smoothly.

It seems that World Snooker have devised a new cutting edge way of deciding who plays who in these events. It is done in three cleverly thought out phases if I may explain. The first phase is to make the draw a month in advance and let everyone know when they are playing, the second is to publish this on the website and make sure that every player knows who they might face and when on the path to glory.

Then comes the clever bit.

When the event gets underway, they cunningly start changing things around to confuse the players and add that element of surprise, the original draw is largely ignored and a DIY draw approach is adopted. They haven’t yet extended this to include the top players as they have stubbornly stated that they would like to play on the days they were scheduled to in the first place, which is a bit selfish of them I have to say, so for now the only players that this affects are the ones that have to qualify, it’s not like they need to plan ahead or anything so it doesn’t really matter. Everyone’s a winner.

Anyway as well as the introduction of the new draw system, another reason that I am a bit fed up about missing this event is because The Assassin was on the live streaming, adorned with his snookerbacker.com waistcoat. I’m sure if I would have tuned in to that the positive vibes transmitted from my laptop screen would have carried him over the line against Mags, but I’m afraid it was not to be.

Anyway, what of the final 16? No MJW, no Ronnie, no Judd, no Smurf but still a smattering of top names mixed in with those hoping to make a name for themselves by winning their first professional event. John Higgins plays Graeme Dott in the pick of the first crop of matches, Graeme is a very consistent performer in the PTC’s and must surely win one soon and he has now reached the finals day in all three events so far this season. As well as this all Scottish clash we also find Alan McManus, Anthony McGill, Stephen Maguire and Marcus Campbell in the last 16, giving today a particularly tartan flavour.

Ste Lee: Tasty Morning Opener?

Matthew Selt is the only member of Team SB still fighting and may face the winner of Higgins and Dott to land the 125/1 each-way odds. Mark Selby, another PTC stalwart will fancy his chances today too and it would be no surprise to see the Jester romp to victory today. It’s also nice to see Ken Doherty continuing his good start to the season and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Crafty Ken might make it to the final. Former PTC winners Stephen Lee and Michael Holt will also be looking to go deep today. All in all, it’s a pretty interesting line up.

I’m going to start the morning by backing Stephen Lee to beat Maguire, Lee is 6/5 over at Paddy Power and I reckon he’s got Maguire’s measure so I am happy to recommend a bet.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win Stephen Lee to beat Stephen Maguire @ 6/5 with Paddy Power

Good Luck if you are having a bet.

 

Last 16

Ben Woollaston 4-0 Ken Doherty
Alan McManus 4-1 Joe Jogia
Michael Holt 1-4 Anthony McGill
Stephen Maguire 1-4 Stephen Lee
Mark Selby 2-4 Marcus Campbell
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Xiao Guodong
Matthew Selt 3-4 Jamie Jones
John Higgins 2-4 Graeme Dott

Sportingbet now have prices on the Quarter Finals and I’m going to recommend reinvesting the winnings from this morning on a double which pays 6/5 over there.

Recommended Bet: 2 Points Double Stephen Lee and Graeme Dott pays 6/5 at Sportingbet.

Quarter Finals

Ben Woollaston 4-3 Alan McManus
Anthony McGill 4-2 Stephen Lee
Barry Hawkins 4-0 Marcus Campbell
Graeme Dott 4-0 Jamie Jones

Watching Dott earlier he looks to be hitting the ball so well and for me this is now his to lose. His price of 8/13 to beat Hawkins has to be taken at Sportingbet.

Recommended Bet: 3 Points Dott to beat Hawkins at 8/13 

Semi Finals

Woollaston 4-0 McGill
Hawkins 1-4 Dott

FINAL

Ben Woollaston v Graeme Dott

Powered by WordPress

Website transfer complete