November 3, 2011

Seniors against the Clock

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:08 pm

It's coming to us all.

One day we will all be old people. The population is ageing as we are always being told, advances in medicine mean that soon people wanting to get to work won’t get a seat on the bus for oldies getting a warm for free, it means that you will arrive at the bakery at 9.30am in the morning only to find that they have risen at the crack of dawn and already bought everything even though they have nothing else to do with their day, you will prefer to shop online rather than having to stand behind them in the shopping aisles or wait for them to park.

Yes. They will be EVERYWHERE.

But this weekend it is safe to set foot outdoors as they are all in Peterborough for once again it’s time to reach for the Deep Heat, dig out those comfy old slippers, start moaning about the price of fish, dust off the cue case and get down to business at the World Seniors which is being covered live on Sky Sports 4.

Jimmy White famously picked up the trophy last year and in between his current pastime of selling bags of industrial salt he will be fancying his chances to do the same again as he takes on legendary shagger and Bolton’s answer to Brad Pitt, Tony Knowles.

Favourite for the event is Nigel Bond who must first dispose of Dennis. Obviously the acid test for Nige is trying to keep a straight face as Dennis recounts more hilarious anecdotes than you can shake a stick at in between mentioning comedians and golf partners from yesteryear who are either no longer with us or ‘have not been feeling too well lately’ (about to be no longer with us in other words).

An intriguing tie awaits us between the irrepressible Nugget and the man who it seems like only yesterday could have fallen down a cattle grid he was so thin, Tony Drago. Unfortunately for him but fortunately for the ice cream salesmen of Peterborough, the Maltese Falcon’s expanding girth is now making him more likely to get his buttocks wedged in the farmyard barndoor than the svelt afro-haired young whippersnapper we first saw in the 80’s.

The blasts from the past are never more present than when Den’s best pal Cliff ‘the Rhett Butler of the Baize’ Thorburn takes on Doug Mountjoy. I am personally hoping that Doug digs out one of his old frilly numbers and over-sized bowties for the occasion, that would make me a very happy man indeed. Old Douggy certainly put the frills in frilly with those old shirts of his, the man who has assumed his mantle in the game Dominic Dale learnt all he knows about fashion from the man that exudes manly, hunky Welshness. Yes, it was Doug that first made it acceptable to dress like an absolute arse on TV and somehow make it a fashion statement.    

Kiwi Dene ‘Deno’ O’Kane makes his long awaited (by his mum) return to our screens against our man Fouldsy. Reports from the Foulds camp suggest that he’s not quite at the peak of his form, but he still has a couple of days to recapture that old magic, it’s like riding a bike after all, you never lose it. My abiding memory of Deno was seeing him in action at Pontins, he always wore a plaster on his chin as when he cued the ball it rubbed so hard on it that it bled. Now that’s what I call dedication, I’d like to see some of the mollycoddled pros these days reaching for the Elasoplast having toiled blood, sweat and tears all day on the baize. They don’t know they’re born some of ’em.

Scouse joker and all round raconteur JP takes on Uncle Joe Johnson in another one which is bound to be full of wisecracks and one-liners. The bookies make JP a hefty favourite for this but I’m not so sure they have got this one right and have taken some of the 11/4 about JJ just in case. John doesn’t play much at all these days and is far too busy with other things, whereas Joe has been practising for this and is likely to be taking it more seriously than John will.

The remaining ties involve the four event qualifiers. Dark horse Darren ‘Hi Babe’ Morgan takes on World Snooker’s own tournament organiser Gary ‘I got a bye in the 2nd round of the qualifiers unlike anyone else’ Wilkinson while Karl ‘Who?’ Townsend and Steve ‘I beat Hendry once on telly when he was a baby’ Ventham battle it out in the other match. I don’t know Karl but remember Steve well from my junior playing days, strange that he more or less disappeared at the time most players would be reaching their peak only to resurface here. He cleverly chose to shun convention and attempts to become the only player to ever win a national junior and seniors event and bugger all in between.   

It would be silly to try and predict a winner of this with any certainty as the draw is random after every round, every match is the best of three frames and there is the old shot clock which I think is a bit of a shame but I can see Sky’s insistence on this as nobody wants to listen to Dennis talking about Cliff all the time for too long. Subscriptions would go tits up for a start and poor Rupert has had such a bad year already bless him.

If someone put a gun to my head I’d back Jimmy to win it again. But the only bet I have struck is the one above on Johnson to beat Parrott at 11/4, but you’d have to expect the 6/4 or thereabouts on the treble of Morgan, White and Bond to deliver.       

First Round Draw

Tony Drago v Steve Davis
Dene O’Kane v Neal Foulds
Karl Townsend v Steve Ventham
John Parrott v Joe Johnson
Jimmy White v Tony Knowles
Nigel Bond v Dennis Taylor
Gary Wilkinson v Darren Morgan
Cliff Thorburn v Doug Mountjoy

Calling All Snookerbacker Classic Leeds Entrants

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:42 am

As the first Snookerbacker Classic qualifying leg at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds on 2nd December is now full I thought I would offer anyone playing in it a bit of an insurance policy.

There are four places still left in Event 3 at the South West Snooker Academy in January and I am going to hold these for the next couple of days in case anyone who is playing in Leeds that hasn’t entered SWSA aswell would like to provisionally reserve a slot should they not make Finals Day at the first time of asking.

If you are interested in this little safety net then please email me today at [email protected] and I will hold a provisional place for you in Gloucester, which of course will be cancelled should you win through in Leeds.

As a tempter, I will be requesting that the day at Gloucester will be furnished with a ‘Classic matches and Carry-On Films Chillout Zone’ for in between matches. What more could you ask for?   

The draw for Leeds will be made live on Twitter in a couple of weeks. I will announce the date on here, on Twitter and on Facebook and it will of course be confirmed on here as soon as it is done.

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