September 4, 2011

Shanghai Masters Monday Wildcards

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:20 pm

Regulars will be well aware of my feelings about wildcard matches but at the risk of everyone just clicking away now I won’t start ranting about how unfair I think they are on the lower ranked players who……..ohh, never mind.

Tomorrow sees the start and end of the wildcard round with the eight lowest ranked qualifiers taking on players of varying degrees of ability who usually manage at least one or two wins between them. Tomorrow looks very much like this might happen again and all the matches have been priced up to set us the challenge of finding out who, if anyone, can upset the players that have won the right to be here.

The matches are going to be covered at the new Live Streaming Channel, if you are in the right territory, which leads me to suspect that for tomorrow at least, viewers in Europe will have to rely on either a dodgy livestream or the scoreboard. From Tuesday onwards there is extensive coverage on Eurosport and Eurosport Player.

So let’s have a look at the matches that are taking place tomorrow. They commence at 7.30am UK time with the second batch of four commencing at 12.45.

The head to head meetings, where the players have met before are in brackets.

7.30am starts:

James Wattana v Jin Long
Fergal O’Brien v Hossein Vafaei
Anthony Hamilton v Li Hang
Jack Lisowski v Rouzi Maimaiti

The top match will decide who plays Ronnie in the next round and sees the resurgent James Wattana take on the Chinese Player that sounds like an alcoholic cocktail, Jin Long. The Thaiphoon won four matches to get here including an impressive win against the in-form Joe Perry but is rewarded with a draw against possibly the most experienced player there is in this round. Jin dropped off the main tour at the end of the 2009/10 season despite being just one match away from a place at the Crucible that year. He also played in this round last year and beat Rob Milkins before losing 5-4 to Ding, he is no pushover. He is a best price 2/1 over at Skybet and I’d suggest that is worth a few quid. Wattana is superb in qualifiers but has not yet shown that he’s as good when he gets to the venues so given that Jin is dangerous, will be prepared and acclimatised, I think he’s worth taking a chance on. Fergal O’Brien is my outside punt at daft odds to have a little run in this, he plays a player I know nothing about in Hossein Vafaei (I found a clip of him practising here), he is from Iran so presumably knows David Roe and from what I can make out he lost in the final of the 2011 Asian Under-21 Championships to current professional Cao Yu Peng. He actually beat the handy Li Hang to get to the final so must be able to play a bit. But I’ll wager he will have never come across someone like Fergal before. Rumour has it that this match is the one likely to be streamed tomorrow morning and I’ll stick with Fergal here who comes into this event as a man in form. The aforementioned Li Hang takes on the Sheriff of Pottingham, the annoyingly inconsistent Anthony Hamilton. Hang did well in last season’s China Open beating former World Champions Ken Doherty and Graeme Dott before losing in a decider to another; Shaun Murphy. Anthony who has been struggling with a neck injury in the early season will need to be sharp tomorrow to win and again the 2/1 at Stan James this time on his opponent is a little tempter. Jack Lisowski shouldn’t struggle to beat Rouzi Maimaiti and a loss for Jacko would be a very bad day at a very far away office. He should make it through easily enough.


Dominic Dale v Cao Xinlong
Nigel Bond v Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon (0-2)
Robert Milkins v Tang Jun
Michael Holt v Cai Jian Zhong (1-0)

Thanawat is making plans for Nigel

Dominic Dale must be a bit like a curiosity over in China. I doubt they have ever seen anyone that looks or acts quite like him outside of the circus. I’m sure if he decided to live there someday he would make a fortune just sitting in a shop window charging people to stare at him. Anyway, he faces a player that has played 5 of these type of matches and has never even got close to winning one, so I reckon Dom should secure his place in the Last 32 with ease. Nigel Bond however takes on Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon who curiously and confusingly is better known in Thailand as Man Nakhonpathom. Anyway, TT won the World Under-21 title in Canada in July and we all know how good he is having seen him cause a few upsets in his year as a professional before dropping off the tour, he famously also hit a 147 in a PTC for good luck. He holds a 2-0 head-to-head lead over his opponent tomorrow, Nigel Bond so the 5/2 available at Stan James has to be taken ‘just in case’. A man not averse to spotting a decent bet who is very much ‘in the know’ when it comes to snooker alerted me to the price the other day while I was out and about and I thought little of it, but looking at it again it stands out. I’d marginally favour Bond to win but looking at the head-to-heads (a 5-1 and a 4-3 win in 2010) and considering TT’s exploits since it has to be a bet, 5/2 is too big. ¬†Michael Holt takes on a player that he beat 5-3 six years ago in the China Open wildcard round and 35 year old Cai Jian Zhong hasn’t been seen since, until tomorrow. Presumably he has been in training with pictures of Holty in the background as he comes back for another crack at him, I know very little about Cai and you would think Holt will come through safe enough, but as this is Michael I won’t be putting him in any accumulators. Rob Milkins aka Mill Hopkins takes on Tang Jun, whose claim to fame is that he beat Judd Trump in the China Open in 2009. As alluded to above, Rob lost at this stage last year but has an easier opponent tomorrow I would say and is another that should win, but his recent form isn’t fantastic so I wouldn’t include him in any multiples against a largely unknown quantity either.

Recommended Bets:

1 point Patent (7 points) at Stan James: Li Hang (2/1), Jin Long (7/4) and Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon (5/2).

1 point win Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon at 5/2 with Stan James.

5 point treble at Boylesports: Lisowski, O’Brien and Dale pays just on 11/10.

The Best of Luck if you are getting involved tomorrow.

Photo courtesy of World Snooker

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Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:10 am

Thanks to regular poster Claus for¬†this link of the boys over in Shanghai. The look on Ronnie’s face in one of them when presented with a box is a picture. These things tend to be added to as the week progresses.

I am currently trying to locate my man over there Si-Ting Chi-Lee who I am trusting once more to deliver the goods direct to us from China. I’m having some difficulty getting hold of him though and one report I have heard said that he was last seen leaving a brothel. I do hope he’s not back to his old ways again as he’s all I’ve got.

I’ll be posting a match preview up later today. The outright preview is here.

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