August 16, 2011

PTC3 Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:33 pm

Some things are just plain wrong.

A mixture of a self-enforced and unavoidable absence from the blog this week for me. My life away from the baize is extremely hectic at the moment and is not likely to calm down for a good week or so, but I have found ‘a window’ in my diary to have a look at the PTC3 draw and try and follow up the 125/1 each-way success of Fergal ‘The Ferginator’ O’Brien last week.

For those of you that are new to the blog I should explain that if you are looking for Premier League Snooker coverage this isn’t really the place to be. I’m not a fan of either the format or the pool tables they play on and never have been, but I’m sure with the ever expanding plethora of snooker blogs out there one of them will quickly establish themselves as the place to be for all things Premier League. I have been invited to go along to an event to see if I will change my mind this season but to a fiercely stubborn purist like myself it would be a futile exercise. That said, it’s nothing that a VIP free bar and restaurant couldn’t iron out. I reiterate, I can be bought.

But no, in all seriousness it’s a thanks but no thanks from me as far as the PL goes. Much like eating foie gras or white veal, I can’t bring myself to indulge no matter how it is presented and much like dressing up in a gimp outfit to partake in deviant sexual practices with three prostitutes and a bearded German man holding a jumbo sausage, you can try something once but it just doesn’t feel right. Or is that just me? Anyway, I’ve probably said too much there already so let’s move on to the preview.

As ever these events are awash with ifs and buts and my approach is always to select a Skipper to lead the merry band of outsiders to a Finals Day filled with the familiar sight of the Team Snookerbacker Mustard Jumper. This week is no different.

Starting at the top of the draw, Mark Williams again benefits from a fairly decent draw to Finals Day but I’d suggest that the one fly in the ointment is our old, or rather young friend Jack Lisowski (80/1 generally) who has the benefit of only having to win two matches to make it to Sunday, having drawn the absent Bjorn Haneveer in the first round. Jack makes the team for the second week running and will probably do so again until we win with him, which we will one day.

The  second member of Team Snookerbacker is a man who is big down under and coincidentally is also the Australian Open Champion, Stuart Bingham (25/1 generally). Our Bingo didn’t do that well last week but has that new found confidence as a winner and to me should make it to his match to qualify for Finals Day against Ali or Robbo, I think on current form I’ll side with Bendigo Bingo.

It's not the first time Judd has worn mustard

In the next two sections your eyes are drawn to the bottom half which is populated by Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy and Ding Junhui. Murphy will tempt a few people I reckon at 16/1 and I was very tempted at that price to make him a team skipper, but I’ve decided against it and will instead just take a chance that Dominic Dale (125/1 Sportingbet) might bring his shooting boots along and have a run in what is a very tough section. Our Dom is playing well of late and to me is a player that is already showing that the full-time life as a snooker player is exactly what he’s been looking for, rather than spending most of his time scouring the opera and butterfly houses of Vienna.

The Team Skipper however is last week’s winner Judd Trump (11/1 Sportingbet). I know it’s very rare for players to win two tournaments on the trot these days, but anyone who saw Judd last week will have seen exactly what he is like at his deadly, relaxed yet thoroughly ruthless best. A similar effort this week and it will take a huge effort from a top player to stop him. He has a highly winnable section to Finals Day and if he gets there he’s the man to beat in my book.

To make up the team this week I’m going to again look for value in a couple of underdogs in the bottom section of the draw who are more than capable of having a run in an event like this. Firstly, Matthew Selt (125/1 Sportingbet) who to me has a half decent path to Finals Day and if Ronnie isn’t in the mood to the Quarter Finals, there could be a bit of value in the improving and super-confident Aussie Quarter-Finalist.

Finally, a punt. Liam Highfield (125/1 generally) played extremely well against Ronnie last week and was beaten only narrowly by a clearly impressed Rocket, who tweeted after the match that Liam was one to watch. I agree, he looked composed in the balls and had a confident manner around the table. He’s in a very tough section and is likely to have to beat a few Scotsmen to make Finals Day including Stephen Hendry who is his first opponent, but with the confidence he’ll take from his performance last week behind him you just never know.

Recommended Bets:

2 points win Judd Trump @11/1 with Sportingbet.

0.5 points win Stuart Bingham @25/1 generally.

0.5 points each way Jack Lisowski @ 80/1 generally.

0.25 points each way Matt Selt @ 125/1 Sportingbet and Dominic Dale @ 125/1 Sportingbet.

Skybet and Sportingbet have odds up for anyone looking at a bet. Good Luck.

By the way the completely unreadable and un-user-friendly format for the main stages of the tournament are here, courtesy of World Snooker.

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