Snookerbacker

November 30, 2011

The UK Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:19 pm

You can't beat a ramble down the shambles

It’s finally here, the return of baize action to the mainstream channel. The UK Championship is one of the highlights of the snooker calendar and despite the derision among fans that the format has been tampered with it remains so. The return of the event to the Barbican in York marks the beginning of a new era for it and personally, even though I don’t like the format change either and I’m concerned that the BBC seem to have the final say in an event that they have cut coverage of, I can’t wait for it. I will be travelling to York on Monday for the tournament and hope to bring you a unique view of things while I’m there.

The event will be sponsored by William Hills who not so long ago were dodging snooker like a bat avoiding flying daggers. It just goes to show that things are on the up and again how important the bookies are to the ongoing success of the sport.

Snooker is lucky in that it is a very exciting thing to bet on, it relies on all manner of things for the gambler and for the player, bottle, luck, skill, judgment and as a result it can be unpredictable, it can be edge of the seat stuff and this kind of thing is what draws the bookies to it.

We are also lucky in that we have this obvious other avenue to go down and the right man at the top to open the doors that the previous administration didn’t even appear to know existed and instead spent their time exploring the pie industry and no doubt feeding their faces while doing it. When all things are weighed up, I still firmly believe that things are on the up. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

The tournament itself was won last year by John Higgins at the beginning of his amazing return to the winners enclosure last season. He comes to York to defend the title he won 12 months ago with a live chance and presumably (and hopefully) with rather less facial hair than he has been sporting of late. He went on to win in Sheffield too of course and he’s 50/1 to do that again this season over at Boylesports who have a unique UK and Worlds double up market here. Ronnie is 33/1 for the double.

But that’s enough of me rambling on, let’s get on with the preview.

You can view the full draw and the format here.

Quarter One

John Higgins [1] v Rory McLeod [33] h2h 1-0

Stephen Maguire [9] v Stephen Hendry [21] h2h 3-1 and 1 draw

Ronnie O’Sullivan [14] v Steve Davis [43] h2h since 1997 is 14-0

Judd Trump [8] v Dominic Dale [26] never met

This quarter contains arguably the four best players in the history of the game and the young man who wants to join their exclusive club. Anything can happen and probably will and it is almost impossible to predict with any degree of confidence who will emerge from this quarter no doubt battered and bruised to do battle in the semi-finals. I will say now that a theme throughout this preview when it comes to match betting will be that the seeded player will be my default winner, however should the qualifying player be one that is as used to venues as the seed I will take a second look. In this quarter with the exception of the top match you have qualifiers that are used to these conditions and usually save their best for them. So suffice to say I don’t expect Higgins to lose to McLeod on that basis and he would be a confident selection for an accumulator. Rory is never at his best on TV although he’s not the crumbling wreck he once was. The match between Ronnie and the Nugget is one I’m really looking forward to, Steve is playing as well as he has since his run in the Worlds two years ago and Ronnie comes into this brim full of confidence. I can’t honestly see Steve doing it but as ever I’ll be cheering him on. Ronnie will be many people’s idea of the winner of this but it’s a long time since he’s won an event of this stature, I’d argue that you’d have to go back to his Masters win in January 2009 for his last triumph on the big stage. But he is at least enjoying his snooker, the PTC’s despite his protests about playing in them are clearly helping him. I wouldn’t go heavy on him in the outrights but you would be silly to ignore him completely as a contender. Stephen Maguire’s form is a bit patchy at the moment and he isn’t a player I particularly trust and usually look to take on, but despite going out in the first round in Sheffield his overall record in opening matches is what seems to keep him ranked so highly, he plays Hendry who will be desperate for a win and has had an impressive couple of matches in this weeks PTC, losing in a decider to Higgins after an impressive outing against Martin Gould, on balance I’d marginally favour Maguire but I think Higgins will beat whoever wins in the following round. That leaves the match between Judd and Dom and Judd seems very excited about being back on the BBC this week, even though he probably hasn’t checked the times it’s actually on. Dale does produce the odd shock and if he’s on song can beat the best, but this is not a match that an aspiring playboi should lose and Judd will be wanting a showdown with Ronnie in the second round, the winner of which I reckon will play Higgins. Told you this one was difficult.

Recommended Bet: 2 points win John Higgins to win the UK Championship at 8/1 with Boylesports with cashback if Judd Trump wins the title (details of the ‘Top Trump’ promotion here).

Robbo: My idea of the winner

Quarter Two

Ding Junhui [5] v Mark Davis [17] h2h 2-1

Matthew Stevens [15] v Marcus Campbell [24] h2h 2-1

Graeme Dott [10] v Matthew Selt [40] never met

Neil Robertson [4] v Tom Ford [31] h2h 1-0

After the murky waters of the top section of the draw it’s time to cast our eye over the second quarter. It doesn’t get much easier as we have the World Finalists from 2 years ago and the ‘Chinese Sensation’ Ding in there. Ding plays Mark Davis who it has to be said does not always play his best at venues. He is one place outside the top 16 but to me has the feel of a player that won’t get any higher than that. I would be extremely surprised if he troubled Ding here who saves his best for the big events. In fact given Ding’s draw to the quarter finals I am quite surprised at his outright price given his pedigree, but something is telling me he won’t win it. Marcus Campbell is another player who for me struggles to get to grips with venues, great player in the qualifiers and can usually be relied upon to win through but once he gets to this very different setting it’s a different story for whatever reason. Welsh boyo Matthew Stevens has had a decent start to his season and is used to the surroundings, he is another I’d expect to come through to face Ding. Graeme Dott should never be underestimated and his first match against Matt Selt is another that I would be tempted to bash in a wild roll-up. Selt had a nice run in Australia but has been a bit in and out since and has lost a couple of matches that I’d have expected him to win fairly comfortably, given Dott’s experience you have to fancy him to come through here. Tom Ford qualified for this with ease as he did for Germany last week but is another that struggles at the big venues, he faces the man in form Neil Robertson and I expect the Aussie to start his campaign solidly in a match that I can’t see being that close.

Recommended Bet: You can back Robertson at 9/1 with Apollobet but I’m going to stick with the insurance policy on Trump winning it at Boyles and recommend 4 points on him at 8/1 to win the title. He’s my main pick in this.   

Quarter Three

Mark J Williams [4] v Joe Jogia [48] h2h 1-0

Stephen Lee [13] v Ricky Walden [22] h2h 1-0

Martin Gould [16] v Peter Lines [53] h2h 1-1

Shaun Murphy [6] v Li Yan [70] never met

Quarter Three sees two more former World Champions doing battle in the shape of MJW and Shaun Murphy. MJW is quite rightly heavily odds-on against Joe Jogia and I would suggest that the -2.5 frames bet on Williams at 4/7 with Boylesports should be taken, I’d be very surprised if Jogia won more than 3 frames in this I have to say. Most of the other firms are pitching this at shorter odds for -3.5 which if you are feeling daring you might want to take advantage of, but I’ve always been a bit more cautious where handicap betting is concerned and I’d be prepared to take the longer price to buy that extra frame, but in truth I would not be surprised if it was 6-0. As for Shaun Murphy, he comes up against Li Yan who really turned heads in the qualifiers with four solid wins but lost his first match in the German event last week. Again, Murphy to me is a shoo-in here and the -2.5 frames on Smurf will be doubled with the Williams bet. Martin Gould plays the rarely seen on TV but experienced Peter Lines, Gould saves his best and unfortunately sometimes his worst performances for TV but I’d be very surprised if he didn’t just pot Lines off the table here in his usual fashion. Gould is visibly getting more confident in front of the cameras and is probably the most improved player of the last season, he’s also very good to watch. He is available at 1/2 for this match which for bigger punters I would suggest is something of a steal. The best first round tie in this half of the draw in my opinion is the one between Stephen Lee and Ricky Walden. What I said earlier about assessing players based on their performances at venues as opposed to the qualifiers comes into play here. These two have both been doing really well in the PTC’s, Ricky hit a 147 today (as I write) and is a player that I rate very highly but here’s the rub, he doesn’t win very often in big TV events in the UK. OK, like Lee you could argue that he gets stiff draws, but a player as good as him should win more matches, it’s as simple as that. This is why I favour Lee here, he isn’t scared of winning, has bottle and will relish the surroundings and the chance to play someone other than John Higgins or Mark Williams in the first round.

Recommended Bets: 4 points double on Mark Williams (-2.5 frames) and Shaun Murphy (-2.5 frames) at pays an Enhanced 21/10 with Boylesports. 5 points on Martin Gould to beat Peter Lines at 1/2 with Betfred.    

Selby: Big Chance.

Quarter Four

Allister Carter [7] v Robert Milkins [36] h2h 0-1

Mark Allen [12] v Adrian Gunnell [61] never met

Stuart Bingham [11] v Marco Fu [29] h2h 1-1

Mark Selby [3] v Ryan Day [30] h2h 4-1

Quarter Four may be most people’s idea of the easiest one to call with the lurking presence of Mark Selby at the bottom but if you take a closer look there are all manner of tripwires here that may derail the Jester’s seemingly easier path than most to the semi-finals. First off, he faces Ryan Day who is no easy touch whatsoever and seems in the qualifiers at least to be getting his touch back. He is experienced enough to handle the change in feel at the venues but is he good enough to handle the ‘brinkmanship’ (sorry Dave) of the Jester? I would suggest not but this isn’t an easy draw for Mark who has been known to lose when you least expect him to and I don’t expect him to here. The Captain Ali Carter faces another player that has been showing improved form just lately in Shootout Runner-Up Robert Milkins (aka Mill Hopkins), apart from the shootout however Mill has been only rarely seen on TV and usually his appearances don’t last too long and this largely isn’t due to the fact that he is a fast player. Ali hasn’t been at his best so far this season but I’d expect him to win here. Mark Allen faces Adrian Gunnell, it’s been so long since I’ve spotted Adrian on the telly that I’ve forgotten what he looks like but he’s been posting the results of late after a desperate season last year and good on him. He’ll be happy to get this far but he won’t beat Allen I don’t think. Mark’s great friend Stuart Bingham has a very tricky opener against last season’s Masters runner-up Marco Fu. These two guys are two of the nicest people in snooker and it’s a shame that one of them has to lose (I’m beginning to sound like a BBC commentator, it’s catching), but of course one of them will, but who? Well we have enough bets to keep us going in the first round so perhaps there is no need to gamble on this one. But then I looked at the prices, I’d suggest that the 4/5 available on Stuart given the current form of the two of them is a lot better than I thought you’d be able to get, as I thought he’d be around 4/7. Of the two there is no doubt that Bingo comes into this in far better form and if Marco doesn’t find his A-game soon this could be one way traffic.

Recommended Bet: Again, you can back Mark Selby at a point more with Apollobet without the Judd cashback so I’m happy to stake 3 points on Selby at 13/2 with Boylesports with the Top Trump clause. 3 points win on Bingham to beat Fu at 4/5 with Sportingbet. 

Recommended Accas:

3 point accumulator on: The Enhanced Snookerbacker Acca on Higgins, Trump, Ding, Robertson. Williams, Murphy and Allen pays 9/2 over at Boylesports. 

add Stevens, Dott, Gould, Carter and Selby for an Enhanced 28/1 at Boylesports, 1 point on all 12! 

I will be posting recommended bets as the tournament goes on and the very best of luck with your bets.

If you don’t have an account at Boyles, open one by clicking the banner below. When you do and bet £20 or Euros you will get £40 or Euros absolutely free.

 

 

PTC 10 Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:31 am

It's a day for the Mustard Men

It’s Finals Day over in Sheffield and despite the fact that I am sensing this event isn’t exactly grabbing the snooker fans imagination ahead of York it is at least now getting interesting from a betting perspective with the bottom half of the draw being a veritable sea of mustard.

If any further evidence were required (it isn’t) of the almost mystical powers that the mustard jumper can bring yesterday provided it. Ricky Walden (66/1) has been begging me to pick him for one of these and get his hands on the cashmere and this time I felt it was only fair to do so.

No sooner had he donned the now legendary jumper than he knocked in a maximum 147 break, the second of the tournament and the third in a week. What better sight in the game is there than a baize boy, wearing the coveted Team SB colours, knocking in that final black to round off the ‘perfect frame’ ? After winning that match against Snookerbacker Classic Leeds boy Gareth Allen he then went on to win deciders against Mark King and MJW to book his slot today where first up he’ll face Dom Dale.

But that’s not all. Oh no. Because the maiden skipper of Team SB is also carrying the cashmere into Finals Day. Graeme Dott (25/1) once again proving to be probably the most consistent player in this series of events with yet another appearance at the business end of things, where he now faces the equally consistent Stephen Lee.

And still the mustard flowed. Another player that has clearly been waiting patiently in the wings to wear one also strode proudly into Finals Day in the shape of Ken Doherty. Kendo takes his place against Liang Wenbo at 10am this morning in the last 16 and needs to win two further matches to land the 125/1 recommended each way punt on him. The only match in the bottom half to not feature a Mustard Man is between banana lover Dave Harold and friend of the blog David Grace who appears to be finding his feet in this company of late, maybe one day he shall too wear the woollens.

You can keep up with the results and latest scores today by visiting the excellent Snooker.org here and I will attempt to update below as the day goes on.

As ever Apollobet have extensive markets on the PTC’s so keep an eye on their site as the day goes on. You can view their snooker prices here and you can open an account with them by clicking the banner below. They have reopened the outright book and understandably have Higgins and Robertson at the top of the market, but could this be the day that a man dressed in a shade of yellow carries off the cup? It just got interesting in Sheffield.

For those asking, my UK Championship preview will be up as soon as today’s action is complete.

Last 16:

John Higgins 4-3 Neil Robertson
Rory McLeod 1-4 Joe Perry
Chris Norbury 3-4 Jamie Cope
Ben Woollaston 1-4 Michael Holt
Dave Harold 4-2 David Grace
Graeme Dott 3-4 Stephen Lee
Ricky Walden 2-4 Dominic Dale
Liang Wenbo 4-3 Ken Doherty

Quarter Finals

Higgins 4-3 Perry
Cope 0-4 Holt
Harold 1-4 Lee
Dale 4-3 Wenbo

Semi Finals

Higgins 2-4 Holt
Lee 2-4 Dale

Final

Dale v Holt

November 29, 2011

PTC 10 Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:31 am

Robbo: The man in form.

It’s day two of this slightly low-key event over in Sheffield. It has the feel of a ‘before the Lord Mayor’s Show’ about it reaally doesn’t it? Yes, the really big event The Snookerbacker Classic kicks off on Friday and then there’s something called the UK Championship for a week. 

But that didn’t stop the man in form Neil Robertson from continuing his fantastic run of form of late and getting through to the Finals Day tomorrow where he will face World Champion John Higgins in the Last 16 in the last day that John will have his moustache.

All the other names to make it through come from outside the top 16 in Jamie Cope who faces amateur Chris ‘The Strawberry’ Norbury, Chris beat 3 professionals including Matthew Stevens yesterday so he’ll be delighted with his performance so far. A PTC winner this season Ben Woollaston won through again to play Hitman Holt and Rory McLeod upped the tempo a bit yesterday and won through in a breeze to face Joe Perry, the runner up in PTC1.

This morning’s matches kick off at 9am and I think I’m going to delve into the handicap betting over at Apollobet and recommend a 2 point treble on David Grace (+2.5 frames), David Morris (+1.5 frames) and James Watanna to beat Barry Pinches which pays almost dead-on 3/1.

You can keep up with the results and latest scores by visiting the excellent Snooker.org here

Apollobet have extensive markets on the PTC’s so keep an eye on their site as the day goes on. You can view their snooker prices here and you can open an account with them by clicking the banner below.

CONGRATULATIONS TO RICKY WALDEN FOR HITTING A 147 TODAY.

November 28, 2011

PTC 10 Day One

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:08 am

I struggle with certain things

A belated good morning to you all. I’ve had a few technical issues this morning which basically to summarise was just me being a bit thick. That side of things has always been a bit of a foggy area to me and this morning a got myself in the usual state of utter confusion over something that to any person with even a passing grasp of these issues would have been as simple as boiling an egg. But then again I often get that wrong too.

Well, PTC 10 gets under way today with the professional stages and this is a gentle curtain raiser for the UK Championship which of course starts on Saturday. A former UK runner up David Gray started the amateur rounds off with a bang in hitting a maximum break yesterday, as he’s entered the Snookerbacker Classic this has further hastened the baking of Mrs SB, whose ‘147 Break Cake’ will be presented to anyone achieving this feat in the qualifying rounds along with a nice £300 prize. And for those asking, yes there is only one 147 prize, if there is more than one maximum the cake will be shared, as will the less important cash prize.

Because of my technical problems I’m a bit too late in the day to start looking at the 9am starts so turning to the later ones I’m looking at four outsiders who all have live chances in their matches I reckon.

Adam Wicheard will fancy his chances against the struggling Jamie Cope at 11/8, improving Indian player Aditya Mehta is 13/8 to beat Michael Holt, Sam Craigie is 5/4 to beat Jack Lisowski, which he did here in the German qualifiers a few days ago quite easily and Liu Song is 11/8 to beat the Nugget who was the latest victim of the Answers on a Postcard slot yesterday and a thoroughly enjoyable interview it was too, you can read it here. I’ll recommend 6 x o.25 point doubles on these four I think.

As ever Apollobet have an array of prices on the PTC’s so keep an eye on their site as the day goes on. You can view their snooker prices here and you can open an account with them by clicking the banner below.

I will endeavour to keep up with the action and update scores on here as the day goes on.

Adrian Gunnell w/o Jamie Burnett
John Higgins 4-2 David Hogan
Nigel Bond 4-1 Ben Harrison
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Zhang Anda
Martin Gould 4-3 Joe Meara
Stephen Hendry 4-2 Daniel Wells
Andrew Higginson 4-3 Ian Burns
Ryan Day 4-1 Lucky Vatnani
Joe Perry 4-0 Paul Metcalf
Marco Fu 4-1 Reanne Evans
Stuart Bingham 4-2 Stuart Carrington
Matthew Couch 4-1 Luca Brecel
Andrew Norman 4-2 Dechawat Pooemjaeng
Jamie Cope 4-3 Adam Wicheard
Ben Woollaston 4-2 Kyren Wilson
Matthew Stevens 4-2 James McGouran
Mike Dunn 4-0 Michael White

Find full updated scores from PTC 10 here.

November 27, 2011

Answers on a Postcard: Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:28 pm

Regular readers will be aware of the irregular interview feature ‘Answers on a Postcard’ where I get to grill top stars of the green baize on the issues that really matter to the fans. None of this ‘how are you playing’ or ‘what are your hopes for the season’ rubbish. On here, we cut to the chase. 

Victims, I mean, interviewees of AOAP so far have included Matthew Stevens, Neal Foulds, Marcus Campbell, Mark King and Stuart Bingham. This time it’s the turn of the legend and A real ermm, OAP, Steve Davis who has one or two things he’d like to bring out into the open.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed it.

So Sir Steve the Legend or shall I call you Nugget? I think I need to start this interview by getting some things off my chest, well two things really which have been bugging me since 1984. Firstly, when you beat Jimmy in the World Final you made me run up to my bedroom crying and secondly, when I partnered you as a junior on the telly just after this, you missed an easy black which would probably have won us the match against Dominic/Christopher Dale and Dennis/Spekky Taylor, what have you got to say for yourself?

Firstly, let’s keep it relaxed, but in perspective SB. I think “Sir Steve” is best for both of us.

On the subject of crying when someone else loses, I’ve never quite understood this. Personally, what I like to see is more people losing. It makes me feel good and also increases the chances that I might be winning. OK, I suppose I can understand that during your formative snookerbacker junior years, you may have not understood the maths involved in this concept, but it would appear that you have taken this ‘soft streak’ into your adult life with you. It sounds to me like you are now one of life’s losers due to this baggage and it can all be traced down to an emotional tie to the Whirlwind. Perhaps at birth there was a picture of him on the wall in the maternity ward? He was pretty prolific during the 80’s.

As far as the claim that I missed an easy black in that doubles match … I think you’ll find that during my heyday I never missed anything.

Ok Nugget, I’m glad that’s out of the way so now let’s play one of my favourite games, Dragons Den. Now Steviebaby, I know that you are loaded and I am very creative so I think in the words of the Pet Shop Boys we should ‘make lots of money’. I have an idea that has been 18-20.5 months in the making and I am looking for £25,000 for a 10% share of the business. It’s called the ‘Steve Davis Doughnut©’ and I have a provisional order from a Mr Lee from Trowbridge, are you in or out?

Sounds.… Interesting. But I’ll need more info please?

OK, I’ve got your interest. Part, well all, of my marketing plan is to get you to product place a ‘Steve Davis Doughnut©’ when you are on telly, we’d sell stacks I reckon, so what d’ya say?

Obviously this is something I can do in my position. Perhaps in the studio I can see this being a winner although it may be best to have plastic ones when JP is there. It may be good at the table during matches too as I spend a fair bit of time in my chair these days so I could also product place them into my mouth, however I can see a potential problem with sticky balls arising.

That’s a good point, I’ll give it some thought. While I do though I’m going to press you for the investment. Now I know some people think it’s wrong to market directly to kids but I reckon this ‘Join the Steve Davis Doughnut© Dots’ puzzle (see left and click on it to make it bigger) will get them eating Steve Davis Doughnuts© from a very early age, which will make us a fortune as they have an additive in them that is addictive. This has to be a winner? Are you in?

Provisionally count me in! I think we should also get a few more “hero’s to the young” onboard. Especially in the suburbs of England i.e. Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Names that are coming into my head are Eugene Hughes, Doug Mountjoy and Graeme Dott. The Scottish version could be a runner with the “Join the Graeme Dott’s Puzzle?”

Now you’re talking Steve, I think we’re in business.

Talking of ‘bizznizz’ you and Bazza are good pals aren’t you? You’ve made him a packet so I’m not surprised he’s mates with you. If I managed someone that made me loads of dosh I’d pretend to like them too. So come on, now you know he doesn’t really like you give us some dirt on Bazza as an exclusive.

I’ve never really looked at it this way. Although I must admit that I was slightly puzzled to find someone in Romford who said they liked Gingers. The main reason I became so good at snooker was because I wasn’t allowed into Hollywood’s in Romford. Apparently women under the age of 60 don’t like people with Ginger hair. Then they buy bottles of it.

Anyway, I think you may have a point here as I have noticed that he has openly started criticising me in public without my permission, mainly by saying that I am actually boring and not as interesting as most people had previously thought.

At first I thought this was an attempt to get me more noticed and to kick start my career again with a potentially lucrative deal on In the Jungle or Strictly. But the more I thought about it I started to realise that actually he should be saying that I am more interesting than people actually thought and not mention anything about the boring bit. I think sometimes he does open his big fucking mouth before he’s put his brain into gear.

Don’t get me wrong. He gets me work and also now that he runs snooker I get a few perks, like next year’s Premier League spot (for runner-up in the Seniors) and a wildcard to the German Masters (due to the passing of my Great Great Grandmother Helga from Frankfurt bless her!)

He thinks he’s The Dog’s just because his hobby is his fishing pond (he calls it a lake) and he has electronically chipped/tagged all the fish in it and given them names, so that when he catches one he can jot it down in a book and see how much weight it has put on.

He’s dropped me like a hot potato now that I’ve temporarily slipped outside the top 44 but I’ll have the last laugh because Mark King’s dad Bill knows a man who sells Pike cheap in Romford Market.

Knowles: Stud.

OK, I suppose I’d better ask you a snooker question as sometimes some of the anoraks that read this blog want that kind of stuff. So what are the three things that you would do to make snooker as big as it was in the 80’s? And you can’t say bring back Tony Knowles.

It’s no secret that snooker had its heyday in the 80’s when I was easily the best player. You’ve only got to look at your own question to see that. If you have noticed this then there are probably tens of other people who have also noticed that snooker has hit rock bottom. It’s also no secret that all tournaments back in the 80’s had an abundance of daffodils around the table. I think you can see where I’m going with this. I can’t remember the last time I played a match with any type of foliage around the table. I can’t believe Barry Hearn hasn’t cottoned on to this! Well fuck him! See if I care!!

I also think that the BBC are missing a trick by not bringing Ted Lowe back into the commentary box. His dulcet tones were the reason so many young girls used to tune in on a Tuesday night to Pot Black back in the Late 70’s. Sadly though, the powers that be now in the BBC are increasingly being criticised for ageism and I think that this is another glaring example of that at work.

Thirdly SB if I may, a new idea from me. I really think that certain players should not have to play so many rounds in order to win, or at least be in the Final of events. Perhaps Hearn could look at the ranking list and pick a couple of random players out randomly, maybe using a tombola or something like that, the players picked could then be seeded through to the latter stages. Obviously this would have to be trialed at an event before it was brought in permanently. So I was thinking that perhaps for next season’s UK Championships for instance that Jimmy and I could be seeded through to…say the Final…and see how it goes? It would have to be a big money event so as we could see how popular it is with the viewers. Also, another bonus for viewers is that the event wouldn’t drag on so long so the BBC could show some better programmes like Daily Strictly, Cash in the Attic and an extended Eastenders omnibus.

I know that there may be some resistance to this from some of the other players as it would impact on their ranking points but if the loser only got half points (which would reflect only getting half the total prize money of the winner) then I think that we might squeeze it through. Some of the players need to be a little less selfish and stop thinking about themselves so much, like me.

Now I heard a rumour that you fancy yourself as a bit of a DJ. My mum will be having a birthday party soon at our local social club, there will be a free buffet and she really likes you. So will you come and spin the discs for us? But I don’t think she’ll like that electronic funeral music you play so can you stick to Status Quo and Abba and things like that?

I’m contracted by Phoenixfm.com to play Avant Prog music every Monday evening from 10-12 midnight. This is mainly due to the fact that we go off air at midnight and the station controller decided that if we had rubbish music on in the 2 hour slot people would naturally turn off instead of being presented with the shock of nothing at 12 and then clogging up the phone lines complaining about the signal. I personally hate the music that I’m paid to play and it would be a pleasure to once again trawl through my Shawaddywaddy 12” collection.

When I was young I bought your book ‘How to be Really Interesting’ I followed it to the letter and was bullied at school as a result. So how come you get away with it?

I think you missed the point of my book “How to be Really Interesting”. It wasn’t really a tuitional book, it was more a “lifestyle” approach. Just blindly trying to copy what I did (and still do to this day) wasn’t really going to help very much. You had to live the life! You had to REALLY be interesting. The book wasn’t really about How to be Really Interesting but rather about the concept of how to be really interesting. It really is a subtle difference that I’m sure in reality was missed by many a school bully and their prey. Sorry about that.

Mrs Snookerbacker is a bit confused Steve, I said that you were tall but she says she doesn’t think you are. Are you tall? If you are we need to adjust our TV set.

I think Mrs SB might be right but in truth I’m not sure either. Recently I have been noticing that I have been shorter than I used to be. I mentioned this to my Doctor who mumbled something about less fluid in joints and a crumbling back bone but then I went round Hearn’s house and he still has Cathode Ray Tube TV’s and I noticed when I was watching a re-run (in full) of my 2nd round match in the 2010 World Championship that I appeared a lot taller than I was in my recent demolition of Dene O’Kane in the World Seniors.

On a related note and while you have got me on the subject, I have also noticed that many players have been getting wider in recent events. At first I mistakenly put this down to gluttony but I think the real culprit is the 16:9 format. It’s not doing anyone any favours. At worst it’s making more of the top 32 fall into the obesity bracket and at best it’s making me and Zhang Anda a lot shorter and beginning to look the same height, which I think I know for a fact we’re not.

I think we’ll adjust the TV then. Hey, have you seen my tournament? The Snookerbacker Classic? What do you think of it? Great isn’t it? You’d better say something nice Steve as I’ll be putting it on next year’s poster next to Bazza’s quote.

I think it’s a great idea, to have a snooker tournament at grass roots level. Holding it in snooker clubs is another great idea. Most of our events on TV are not full time snooker clubs. The Crucible is actually a place where they have pantomimes during the Xmas period and Ally Pally is really a darts pub. Because of this we actually have to physically put the tables into these places as there aren’t any tables in there as they would basically get in the way of the actors and bar stewards. So the idea of actually having the event where there are actual tables already there is actually a great idea. Hearn could learn a lot from you SB with this idea and then plough the money saved right back to the grass roots level of the top pro’s.

Steve, we all want to know what did you do with the Lada car you won for making that 147 back in the 1950’s?

When things started to go wrong for me in the 90’s because Hearn had moved into Boxing, Golf, Darts, Fishing, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Poker, Porn Films, Ten Pin Bowling, Football, Pool etc. I fell on hard times. I had to sell up most of my Bus Ticket collection and most of my Baulkline and Snooker Scene collection was snapped up by those vultures, Dale and Roger Lees for a fraction of their worth. But one thing I wouldn’t part with was my Lada. No way. It had stopped working years ago but luckily I knew a jeweller in Romford Market. A friend of Bill King’s who said he could make things into rings and stuff. So I got the Lada made into a nice pendant which I wear during matches. It’s a bit on the chunky side but it guarantees that I don’t move my head on the shot.

You’ve won loads in your time but what do you do with your old trophies? Are there any you don’t want as I am after one with a bit of history for the Snookerbacker Classic winner? Come on Steve you must have stacks of them.

I’ll have a look in the attic and see if any are suitable although a lot of the early ones were just food hampers, which have probably gone off by now or Pontinental Holiday Vouchers which I gave to my dear Great Aunt Twice-Removed Helga from Dusseldorf. I’ll take a look, maybe I could go on Cash in the ‘Celebrity’ Attic with this? I’ll give Hearn a call.

Now that Alex Higgins is dead and can’t come round to your house and hit you, can you tell us what you really thought of him?

Well I think Alex Higgins was such an amazing character on and off the table that someone should write a book about it. Personally, I’d rather keep my thoughts to myself suffice to say that I was very jealous of the fact that he had a nickname and that I didn’t have one. I’d tried the ‘Plumstead Potter’ and the ‘Romford Robot’ but the commentators and MC’s didn’t come on board with them despite my best efforts and midnight, sometimes hour long phone calls, they said something about making them up themselves which I thought was a bit selfish of them. It was just a pure stroke of luck when Spitting Image gave me the ‘Interesting’ tag. From that moment on I felt I could stand up to Alex and not let him bully me on the table. I had a nickname too and it had more letters in it than his did.

Time for another serious question. You said last year in Sheffield that John Higgins was the best player of all time. I think that’s a load of old cobblers as Hendry, Ronnie and you (I suppose) are better than him, had you been drinking at the time?

Yes, a lot of people have commented on that statement last year at the Crucible after John had won the 2011 World Championship. The truth is that I hadn’t been drinking much. The real reason (SB can you leave this bit out as it will look a bit self indulgent to my many fans but I will tell you in confidence) is that as I had beaten him the previous year, I am the only person to have beaten him during the last two World Championships, which means that while I said that it was him that was the best of all time, what I actually cleverly inferred was that I am actually the best of all time and that he is the second best. Had I said that on air, it may have come over wrong and sounded like I was too full of myself etc.

Ahh, shrewd. I won’t let that one through. Steve, I feel we have bonded now but it’s nearly time to say goodbye. So will you wear something mustard coloured on the TV soon and give a plug to ‘Steve Davis Doughnuts©’?

All my logo deals (currently) go through Hearn (normal 25% me /75% him split) I’ll try and get him to give you a call about this SB although I’ve been told he’s moved recently and the Matchroom Offices told me that they can’t give out confidential information to just anybody. However, I’m following his mate Phil Taylor on Twitter so I’ve DM’d him in the hope he may have a mobile number or PO Box address, he hasn’t got back to me yet though but it’s only been a fortnight and I know he’s busy.

There would have to be one stipulation written in to the contract though. I’m not changing my nickname from “Interesting” to “Doughnut”.

Thank you Steve for this interview and for all the promises you have made to work with me on the Steve Davis Doughnut© and find a trophy for me. Now I think I will make another promise on your behalf seeing as you are feeling so generous.

So, if anyone wants to click onto the Steve Davis Doughnut© Join The Dots image above and join the dots, colour it in, do whatever you like to it and submit it to me at [email protected] before the end of the UK Championship I will ask the great man himself to judge your efforts, the more creative the better. You never know, if it’s really good it might even get on the telly. I will also try and steal some prizes for the best entries when I’m backstage in York, I am a Scouser after all.

Oh and Steve, tell Hearn to note the doughnut copyright, this one is going places.  

Boylesports SB300 Tipster Contest Latest!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:49 pm

The latest standings in the Tipster Contest after the German Masters qualifiers is now available here. Last season’s champion tipster Deco 800 is making the early running, but I’m sure he won’t be getting too ahead of himself and dreaming of £300 of free bets on the World Championship just yet. Or will he?  

November 26, 2011

PTC 10 Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:56 pm

The crowd arrive to the Academy for PTC10

It really is wall to wall snooker at the moment and this week sees PTC10 over in Sheffield as well as the Snookerbacker Classic on Friday in Leeds and the start of the UK Championship on Saturday over in York. For now, just forget your Christmas dinner plans as this is a feast of snooker to start December off and you don’t even have to face the annual tussle with the Brussel sprouts.

The PTC’s are a constant source of chatter both among the players themselves and bloggers and forumites all eager to give an opinion on what is wrong with them. I am no exception but have stopped short of suggesting an alternative as I know how difficult it must be to get the happy balance, even organising my own tournament I have come up against some unexpected hurdles along the way. It’s not just the players that you need to please, the rest takes some organising too which is often forgotten by those quick to criticise the PTC set-up, which is still after all a very new concept.

My best guess would be that there will be either less of them next season or that players will be allowed to take their best say, 6 or 8 performances towards their ranking, which will be moving over to a money based list at some point in the future, the details of which still remain unclear, at least to me. My tiny brain can only cope with a few things at once then I need to lie down in a dark room with Jim Meadowcroft commentaries.

The one thing that is clear however is that the Sheffield ones are almost universally detested by the players who thrive on playing to crowds and audiences, hence (love that word) the new arrangements for PTC11. The stark difference between as John Higgins puts it, the ‘no man and his dog’ events that are held solely at the Academy, which is fast becoming something of an albatross around Bazza’s neck and those in Germany and Belgium for the same prize money make it hard to create a sense of identity and familiarity for these tournaments. This I believe is crucial and the only way that they will be accepted by the players, who, whether you agree or not are at the end of the day the real key to snooker’s long term future.

If anyone missed it, the current World Champion joined the ever expanding group of players prepared to go public with their concerns about the PTC’s here, though he stopped short of the kind of language used by Ronnie or the prostitute analogy used by fellow Scot Mags, which is probably a good idea given his new moustache, I mean come on, who’d pay for that?

Anyway, back to the tournament itself and as ever, the approach for the PTC events is to select a skipper of a team of 6 merry men to head up the Team SB Mustard Army and this one is no exception. You can view the draw for PTC 10 here and Apollobet are once again proving head and shoulders above any other firm in pricing these up, they are truly the undisputed kings of PTC betting and all their prices can be viewed here.

Looking at the draw I think the very top section is quite interesting and I am prepared to select two players in this who I think have a chance of making Finals Day to face each other first up on Wednesday. I will first plump for the recent winner of some daft game that managed to monopolise the television, albeit the equivalent of a second-rate cable channel in Martin Gould (40/1), who now he has a trophy to his name, even though it isn’t a real snooker one he will now be hungry for more. The one good thing to come out of Power Snooker was that it got him a trophy and who knows where he can go from here.

Neil Robertson is in this section of the draw but I am working on the theory, probably a misguided one, that the big boys will have one and a half eyes on the UK this week and that we may see a lack of the faces needed to be around for the impatient hacks for York in Finals Day on Wednesday. In this section I will also have a small dabble on the in-form Ryan Day at 50/1 who has a very winnable route to Finals Day.

Further down the draw I’m going to keep on with supporting young Michael White, who again found Dark Mavis too strong for him in the German qualifiers after another highly impressive week.

Why hasn't he won one yet? Because he wants a Mustard Jumper that's why.

We then come to my team skipper. Graeme Dott’s (25/1) record this season is played 40, won 30. That is very impressive considering it’s only November and illustrates his consistency in these events, he is surely going to win one soon and despite the presence of another consistent PTC player in his section in Stephen Lee, I’ll take a chance that this might be his kind of set up. Graeme assumes the Mustard Cashmere’s for the very first time.

I looked at a few players in the bottom section and I’m aware that Ding and Ronnie could just coast through, but I’m sticking with my theory that the big names (with no disrespect meant at all to wee Dotty) will want to be concentrating on York rather than three damp windy days in Sheffield and I will therefore side with the in-form Ricky Walden, who is a huge 66/1 and veteran who is about the same age as me so I find the term insulting Ken Doherty at 125/1. Ken must be absolutely buzzing from his exploits in the German Masters when he came from 4-0 down to beat young Sam Craigie 5-4 in what for me was a fantastic match. Sam obviously will be kicking himself but from what I saw he only missed one or two that he shouldn’t have from 4-1 up and Ken was a worthy winner. I feel the least he should expect as well as all the book plugs I’ve been giving him is a mustard jumper as a reward for his never-say-die approach to the game. He has all the hallmarks of the next Steve Davis in terms of his determination to play on and he has the tactical game to do so for a good while yet.

Recommended Bets: 1 point win on Graeme Dott at 25/1, Martin Gould at 40/1 and Ricky Walden at 66/1. 0.5 points each way on each of the three above and on Ryan Day at 50/1 and Ken Doherty at 125/1. All with Apollobet

To open an account with Apollobet and take advantage of their expansive markets on the PTC’s that you won’t find any other bookmaker pricing up, click the banner above.       

The Month Ahead: December

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:58 am

December is traditionally a month where you buy overpriced crap for people to look excited about when they open it around a tree. Where ungrateful kids get spoiled rotten and where you have to be nice to everyone you see, even though you might not really like them and care little if you ever see them again. It’s the month where you watch all the films you have already seen and are subjected to songs by Bing Crosby, Slade, Cliff Richard and Wizard wherever you go. It’s the season where suicide rates peak and where the first seeds of divorce are sewn when arguments occur about which set of family you will be visiting and when on ‘The Big Day’. It’s the time of year when you can’t get a pint of milk anywhere because retarded people buy it all because the shops close for one whole day. Yes readers, the joyous yuletide season is nearly upon us. 

When it comes to the baize, December means cosy nights in front of the UK Championship which gets underway a week today from the Barbican in York where it returns after an absence of a few years. The finals from 2001-2006 are remembered here and despite the much maligned changes to the format of the event I for one can’t wait for it to start. I will be going to York on the Monday and staying there for the week so will hopefully be bringing you exclusive snippits and observations from behind the scenes as well as full previews and coverage. Snooker, at last, is back on the BBC.

I notice that Boylesports are doing a ‘Top Trump’ offer on the tournament which is quite interesting. Basically if you have a single bet in the outrights (prices here) of anything up to £300 or Euros they will refund all losing bets if Judd Trump wins the title, so it’s a bit like an insurance net with hair straighteners and bling attached. I’d say that is worth taking advantage of personally if you are playing the outrights as Judd obviously has a strong chance of winning. If you haven’t got an account with Boyles you can open one and take advantage of their introductory offer here.

But before York, this Friday sees the start of my own little project as the Snookerbacker Classic gets underway in Leeds. Everything you need to know about the first event can be found here and although I am obviously a little nervous about it I am thoroughly looking forward to getting to the Northern Snooker Centre on Friday to kick things off. If you are around those parts please feel free to drop by and catch some of the action. Fellow bloggers and any journalists that might want to come and cover the event are of course very welcome.

When the UK has finished we are back to Sheffield for another PTC event, this time PTC11. This one is a little different in that there will be three tables set up in the Badminton Hall which are open to paying guests. You can find out how to get some tickets and get away from all the madness in the shops at this time of year by clicking here.

As for what’s going on with PTC12, it’s anyone’s guess. Firstly, changes were made to the qualifying stages for the event due to be held in Germany in the new year here and then it was announced that they want to have a chat with the players before finalising the dates here. Apparently the fiasco stems from something to do with the venue that was booked over in Germany for the whole event being unsuitable for snooker. Rumours that the venue is known to locals as ‘The Slope’ are unconfirmed but either way the whole thing has thrown the final event into disarray and surely marks the start of a change in the way the PTC’s will be structured next season.

So that’s it for December, please do your best to get through it without getting depressed, wine helps. Happy Christmas.

November 24, 2011

German Masters Qualifiers: Friday Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:49 pm

Friday sees the seeded players 17-32 enter the event as they attempt to win their one match against those that have been doing battle this week to get to this stage. It is also the last chance to look at a German girl for a little while.

Bettingwise at least at the time of writing it’s going pretty well. Thursday morning’s bets more or less ensured that a profit will again be shown at the end of this, I think the access to seeing how the players are actually playing is playing a part in that, much in the same way as I am usually more comfortable in the televised stages of events when striking bets. This only goes to prove what a difference live streaming makes.

Hope things are going ok for followers aswell, now let’s see if we can take those nasty old bookies for a few more quid today.

10am

Ken Doherty [32] 5-4 Sam Craigie [83]
Peter Ebdon [19] 5-4 Jimmy White [54] h2h 6-3
Marco Fu [29] 1-5 Adrian Gunnell [61] h2h 2-3
Jamie Cope [18] 3-5 Yu Delu [72]
Joe Perry [27] 5-3 Rob Milkins [36] h2h 2-1
Andrew Higginson [20] 5-2 Jamie Jones [45] h2h 2-0

Some decent match ups as you would expect to start us off this morning. I actually like quite a few of the outsiders here. The first one I like is Sam Craigie who can keep the momentum he has built going against Ken Doherty. Ken was beaten in a decider by Peter Lines in the UK and while he is still obviously a class act he is being beaten now by players that five or six years ago he’d have destroyed. Craigie to me looks the all round player and can mix it in the tactical department as well as go for his shots, I’ll keep faith with him. My bet of the morning however would have to be Robert Milkins at odds against, he plays Joe Perry who despite a very promising start to the season when he finished runner-up to Ronnie in PTC1 has struggled a bit since. Milkins is in fine form and I think he can maintain this by winning here and adding Berlin to York on to his list of destinations this season. I also think both Yu Delu and Jamie Jones have live chances in their matches. I think from the two I’d say Delu has the better hope against Jamie Cope who is struggling a bit at the moment. Jones is a fine player and called his win over Ben Woollaston in the last round his finest performance as a professional, I might have a little interest as though Andy Higginson is undoubtedly in form he does have a habit of throwing in the odd dodgy performance, he’ll need to bring his A game or something very close to it to the table here you feel. Adrian Gunnell has really hit form and only Marco Fu stands between him and a place in Berlin. Marco and Adrian have both qualified for York of course and I would really like to see Marco regain his form as he’s another that doesn’t belong outside the top 16. I don’t think I’ll touch that one, it’s too hard to call. Then of course it’s the battle of the elder statesmen of the game in Peter Ebdon and Jimmy White. Interestingly, that head to head masks the fact that the three Jimmy has won against Peter have been the last three times they played each other, but amazingly the last time they met was in the 2004 Daily Record Players Championship, remember that? Thought not. Ebbo is struggling a bit this season and having missed out on UK qualification will be desperate to get to Germany. Jimmy has an obvious chance here and is cueing quite well but I can’t help thinking that Ebdon is due a good performance, so I think I’ll stick with Baldy Bonce, but it’s not one I’d bet on.

Recommended Bets: 3 points Rob Milkins to beat Joe Perry at 11/10 with Apollobet. 1 point win on each of Craigie at 5/4, Delu at 6/5 and Jones at 11/8 with a further 0.5 point trixie on the three at Apollobet

2.30pm

Mark King [25] 3-5 Mike Dunn [41] h2h 1-2
Marcus Campbell [24] 5-3 Peter Lines [53]  h2h 1-1
Fergal O’Brien [28] 4-5 Liu Song [62] h2h 2-2
Stephen Hendry [21] 1-5 James Watanna [58] h2h 4-1
Ricky Walden [22] 5-1 Liu Chuang [59] h2h 2-0

Mike Dunn sure has the wind in his sails this week and is yet to drop a frame, he will be ultra confident going into his match against Essex geezer Mark King. Kingy is on the slide a little at the moment after a couple of seasons embedded in the top 16, it’s going to be an uphill struggle for him to get back there at this stage in his career. Given Dunn’s form this week you have to take the 5/4 available on him to triumph again here. We then turn to the King of Crucible Stephen Hendry who warms up for his match against Stephen Maguire in York with a tie against James Watanna, a former Embassy World Championship semi-finalist who actually lost to Hendry back in 1997 at the Crucible. Hendry will detest being outside the top 16 and this is his first real taste of it in front of, as John Higgins put it yesterday ‘no man and his dog’ after he played to a packed arena at the SWSA to qualify for the UK. I think he’ll acclimatise to this and will see the bigger picture that he at least only has to play 1 match in this environment to get to venues, I think he’ll win today. The Ferginator enters the building in what could be a long one against the Chinese Professor, Liu Song. Song tends to throw in good runs in qualifiers when you don’t expect him to and that is what he is doing here. But Fergal is in form and I think he’ll have too much in the ‘grit and steel’ department, so I’d take him to win this, but I don’t think it will be pretty. Ricky Walden is a player I rate highly and he faces Chinese deadpan comedian and Stephen Hendry lookalike Liu Chuang, Chuang took advantage of the Liang Wenbo’s limitations in the tactical department yesterday to win through, but I think Ricky is in a different league to him and would be my best bet of the afternoon. I’ve no strong feelings on the Campbell v Lines match, Marcus has not been winning a lot lately but managed to qualify for the UK with a good win over Ben Woollaston, Lines however is finding a level of consistency which makes him a dangerous opponent, I think on balance I’d marginally side with the Leeds man, but probably not with a bet.

Recommended Bets: 2 points win Mike Dunn at 5/4 with Boylesports. 2 point treble on Walden, Hendry and O’Brien at an Enhanced 27/10 with Apollobet.          

Ryan - Eats, Pots and Leaves

7pm

Barry Hawkins [23] 5-4 Andy Hicks [64] h2h 3-0
Dominic Dale [26] 4-5 Paul Davison [79]
Tom Ford [31] 5-0 Anthony Hamilton [34] h2h 3-1
Ryan Day [30] 5-4 Anthony McGill [56]
Mark Davis [17] 5-2 Michael White [65] h2h 3-0

A remarkable similarity occurs in this session, well remarkable to me anyway. Michael White performed in the UK qualifiers much as he has performed this week, quite brilliantly. He went into his final match full of confidence to face Mark Davis, just as he does here and was beaten quite easily. Is there any reason to suspect the same won’t happen again against a player he has not beaten in three attempts? Well, I’d say no but I’d like White to win as he’s obviously a big talent and deserves to make at least one venue this year. Ryan Day seems to be getting back to something resembling form lately, he faces Anthony McGill, another young man that people are talking about in ‘future world champion’ terms. Day wiped the floor with Jamie Burnett in the UK qualifiers in next to no time and he can win frames at a rapid rate if he’s in the mood.  I don’t expect McGill to trouble him here. Paul Davison has defied the odds and made it here with two decent wins but he’s not a player that I rate particularly highly and I’d expect Dominic Dale to come through easily enough in that one. Barry Hawkins is a player that will be desperate to make Germany having missed out on qualification for York, he plays Andy Hicks who came through a marathon last night to win on the final black against Angles McManus. I think that one could be a tight one and not as one-sided as the bookies prices suggest, they make Hawkins a comfortable favourite but I think the experienced Hicks has a chance. Another very tough call is the match between Ford and Hamilton. Tom battered Xiao Guodong to qualify for York and followed that with a finals day appearance at a PTC, so he’s clearly in form and has a good record against the Sheriff, although the matches do tend to be close. I think I’d marginally side with Ford who I believe is slightly the better player of the two these days.

Recommended Bets: 1 point win on Andy Hicks at 13/8 at Boylesports. 4 point double on Day and Dale pays an Enhanced 21/20 at Apollobet who have put some permed specials up on selections here.

3 points win on Tom Ford at Evens with Boylesports. 

Afternoon and Evening Acca: 2 points on Walden, Hendry, Day and Dale at a shade over 7/2 with Boylesports

November 23, 2011

German Masters Qualifiers: Thursday Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:56 pm

With due respect, she's better looking by far.

We have reached the second round of the qualifiers after a busy couple of days over at the cubicles in Sheffield. The highlight of the event so far being undoubtedly the maximum break by Mike Dunn which had he done it on the telly would have netted him the main rollover prize, in actual fact he just got £3500 (correction) for his troubles.

Now I’m not one to add insult to injury but that isn’t the only thing that the Twitter prankster has missed out on. Usually when someone achieves this perfect frame I will furnish the blog with their image to forever log their great achievement but poor old Mike went and did it in the German Masters which means that he will be replaced by the latest German girl as is the tradition of the blog, like I say I don’t like to kick a man when he’s down but rules are rules after all.

In terms of the betting so far, day one was just 2 deciding frames away from being a perfect day and as I write day 2 looks to be heading for a bit of an in between turnout. Assuming results go our way in the evening session on Wednesday the blog should be showing a profit at this stage of things and hopefully we can add to that in this round with all the winners from the last two days competing.

10am

David Grace [89] 2-5 Sam Craigie [83] h2h 0-1
Stuart Carrington [94] 3-5 Jimmy White [54]
Jimmy Robertson [57] 0-5 Adrian Gunnell [61] h2h 1-0
Alfie Burden [60] 2-5 Yu Delu [72]
Robert Milkins [36] 5-1 Steve Davis [43] h2h 0-2
Ben Woollaston [55] 2-5 Jamie Jones [45] h2h 1-2

Legends of the game and the two players responsible for me running up to my bedroom crying in 1984 continue to defy the laws of ageing this morning. Jimmy White faces Stuart Carrington who broke a long losing spell to beat the frustratingly inconsistent Joe Jogia in a decider in round one. Despite Carrington reversing this losing run I will be very surprised if he beats Jimmy who coasted through his first match against Matthew Couch, who is arguably a stronger opponent. I’d make Jimmy the best bet of the morning here. The Nugget on the other hand faces Rob Milkins who gave Tian Pengfei an absolute hiding. Steve is playing very very well at the moment and you should never write him off, but looking at the prices it would be very foolish to ignore the 4/5 about Milkins with Paddy Power, he’s a very dangerous player and although Steve will try and dictate the pace of the match I get the feeling that the Milkman is coming into some form, he has to be backed at that price. There is an absolutely mouthwatering tie between Jamie Jones and Ben Woollaston, two of the best qualifiers out there, they had a 5-4 tussle in the Australian Open qualifiers which Ben won and I’d hazard a guess that this one will be just as close, no bet. Recent form would suggest that the Evens available on Yu Delu would be a cracking bet to beat Alfie Burden, but Alfie got a long awaited main ranking event win under his belt in the last round and sometimes that can give you the kick you need, I was tempted by Delu, but rate Burden highly enough to resist. Friend of the Blog David Grace will not be liking what I am just about to say but my suggestion would be to take it as a lucky charm into his next match if he reads this. I backed against him in the last round and he won, I’m going to do so again with Sam Craigie, who regulars will know I am keeping on the right side of while he’s still backable, a win over Jack Lisowski can only boost his confidence of making a main venue. I’m also going to side with Adrian Gunnell, who after a terrible run of form has all of a sudden found his game. Jimmy Robertson is a player that blows a bit hot and cold and strikes me as someone that might need to up his tactical side a notch and rein in his attacking instincts at times, Gunnell at his best would win and results suggest he might not be far from it at the moment.

Recommended Bets: 3 points win on Rob Milkins at 4/5 with Paddy Power. 2 points double on Jimmy White and Sam Craigie pays just over 11/8 at Apollobet. 1 point treble on White, Craigie and Gunnell at 22/5 Enhanced odds at Apollobet and a 1 point acca adding Milkins is enhanced at 17/2 with Apollobet. Click on Snooker Specials to find these markets.

Click here for all Apollobet match prices

2.30pm

Adam Wicheard [93] 0-5 Mike Dunn [41]
Jamie Burnett [42] 3-5 Peter Lines [53] h2h 1-0
Rory McLeod [33] 3-5 Liu Song [62] h2h 1-1
Andrew Pagett [71] 1-5 James Wattana [58]
Liu Chuang [59] 5-3 Liang Wenbo [35] h2h 0-1

I have looked at these matches on paper and as ever I sometimes jump to a bet that I will definitely be having, sometimes I stick with it after doing a bit of writing and research (yes, contrary to popular belief I do sometimes do research) and sometimes after I’ve had a good look at things I go off it. As I write at this point in this post I can truly say that absolutely nothing leaps out at me in the five matches above, possibly two, but let’s have a closer look. My eyes, for some reason are drawn to the match involving my old pal Jamie Burnett. He remains for me a very frustrating player in that he is such a great break-builder and actually as good as he ever was in that department if not better which makes it all the more puzzling why he doesn’t win more matches at this level. But he remains comfortable against players he is familiar with and I think he’s a better player than the more consistent Peter Lines, if they were both on their A-game Burnett would win, as ever it’s a big IF, but I’d side with Jay-Bee. You would assume that Mike Dunn has got over his recent health problems and dark thoughts of impending baize doom with his rousing response to playing a bit shit in the UK qualifiers, if that is the case he’d have to be a shoo-in against Adam Wicheard, but Adam did me a favour in the last round and could be the ‘springer’ this week on the back of it. Rory (The Dentist) and Liu Song (The Professor) could have a right old slog. Even if Rory appears to be running away with it by winning the first three frames in as many hours this might only be because Liu is biding his time. It won’t be one that will draw in the crowds but given Rory’s record in qualifiers and his mental attitude you’d have to pick him to get through, but it’s a no bet as I’m a bit busy tomorrow and staring at a scoreboard with a bet on in this would possibly be a good initiative in the torture rooms amidst the fog of war. Andrew Pagett is a dangerous if overly pink player when he is in the mood but there is something about the steady, calm assurance of James Wattana that always makes me side with him in this kind of match. A match I would actually like (I use the term loosely) to see would be James against Rory as it would be more of a battle of wills and minds than a snooker match and I’d like to see who won it. Liang Wenbo faces Liu Chuang and again I can’t pick a winner, Liang is historically the better player, but of late Liu is. I think this is a session where I simply can’t find a bet, so I will recommend and back for interest an oxymoron; a cautious yet wild bet. If you fancy any of the selections, go for it, as in terms of singles if someone asked who would win I would say all of them. But if you only bet one single I’d probably plump for Dunn, or Wenbo or….oh it’s up to you. Best of Luck.

Recommended Bet: 5 x 0.5 point fourfolds and a 0.5 point fivefold on Dunn, Burnett, McLeod, Wattana and Wenbo. The roll-up pays around 11/1 in most places and for the benefit of the blog Profit and Loss I will take the prices at Apollobet. Keep a look out in case they put an enhanced acca bet up here without telling me, the rascals.

If you have this bet I’m sure you’ll do it with your regular bookie. If you don’t have an account with Apollobet and fancy an interest on these matches you can open one by clicking the banner at the foot of this post.

No relation to Davy

7pm

Alan McManus [46] 4-5 Andy Hicks [64] h2h 1-1
David Morris [80] 3-5 Paul Davison [79]
Anthony Hamilton [34] 5-4 Joe Swail [63] h2h 1-1
Adam Duffy [77] 2-5 Anthony McGill [56]
Michael White [65] 5-2 Xiao Guodong [52] h2h 0-2

The final session of this round sees a few interesting match ups and in particular the one between Guodong and the fast improving Welshman Michael White catches the eye. White powered through against Michael Holt in the last round underlining that he is ready to mix it with players higher up the rankings, Guodong continues to make progress too and this has all the makings of a very decent match with possibly a few centuries to boot. While I wouldn’t say it’s the bet of the session by any stretch I was surprised to see a couple of the firms going odds against on the Welshman, I say he’s worth a bet if you can find the price. I watched quite a bit of Andy Hicks in his last match and I have to say he is cueing really well, again he is the outsider of the two against Angles who is yet to play having received a bye in the first round, I quite fancy Hicks looking at how well he played in his last match. Joe Swail at last got a win under his belt in the last round against young Luca Brecel but faces a stiff ask to beat the Sheriff of Pottingham, it has to be Hamilton for that one. I was also impressed with how easily Davy Morris disposed of Gerard Greene yesterday and there is no reason to suggest that he can’t do the same to Paul Davison, he’s another favourite for the treble I think. The only match that I haven’t really got an opinion on is between Adam Duffy and Anthony McGill. Those with long memories will remember that I used to be very keen on McGill and I didn’t see a lot of return on my investment so stopped backing him, but he’s obviously a talented lad, Duffy is also getting good results here and there and he can be forgiven losing to Rory in the UK qualifiers, the poor lad. I can’t call that one as I will admit to only having fleetingly seen Adam play, leave it alone I reckon.

Recommended Bets: 2 points win on Michael White at 11/10 with Blue Square. 2 points treble on Hicks, Hamilton and Morris pays almost 9/2 at Apollobet


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