November 4, 2011

UK Championship Qualifiers: Round 1

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:04 pm

The Glory Days of the UK Championship

There has been a lot of talk on the internet, on forums and on Twitter recently much maligning the slow death and decline in status of the once captivating UK Snooker Championship. The event has gone through several guises down the years and in truth has never quite been the same since Corals used to sponsor it back in the day at the excellent and much missed Guild Hall in Preston.

There have been some truly fantastic UK Championships down the years but to many the final nail in the coffin has been the reduction from the traditional best of 17 frames matches up to the final to the best of 11 frames matches we are faced with for the bulk of the event for the first time this year.

Personally, I think the rot started when they did away with the two day final which I always found a great spectacle and a nice early season mouth-waterer for what was to come later in the season at the Crucible. But times have changed and TV is largely dictating what they want now and it seems that the long matches are not high on their agenda when it comes to entertainment.

But, despite these nostalgic ramblings and warnings of impending doom I’d say we are about to embark on what is still one of the top 4 events on the calendar, along with Sheffield, the Masters and the exciting new German Masters. The move away from Telford back to the historic and frankly great city of York for me has given the tournament the shot in the arm it needed, despite the shortening of the matches which though I can see the reasons for, I am not exactly pleased about.

On Sunday, after the two qualifying matches are completed (that is assuming the battle of the invisible baize boys Lucky Vatnani and Robin Hull goes ahead) the long road to The Barbican starts over at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester. We should remember that this time last year we were relying on the various whooshes and ticks of the World Snooker scoreboard to get by, but that this year thanks to the giant leaps that have been made in live streaming we are able to watch it from the comfort of our own homes. It seems to me that the sacrifice of the long matches needs to be weighed up against the positive changes and advances that have been made. All in all, I’m still really looking forward to a great few days qualifiers and even more so to the time I will be spending in York next month giving you all some insights into what’s happening at the venue itself behind the scenes.

As ever, we’ll be hoping to bash the bookies in what looking back at last year was the most profitable tournament to date since the blog began. So let’s start off with the matches taking place on Saturday evening and all day Sunday and check out the return of the Enhanced Snookerbacker Acca at the bottom of the post.

Saturday 6pm

Daniel Wells 6-0 Kacper Filipiak

Lucky Vatnani 4-6 Robin Hull

Of the Saturday starts it’s probably not worth even looking at the Vatnani/Hull match until you know they are both going to turn up. Even then it’s a bit too close to call for me as the only time we have seen Lucky in action this year he scored well. Hull is a great player but has been struggling again with injury and that makes this one fraught with danger from a betting point of view. Of much more interest to me is the match between Daniel Wells and young Pole Kacper. I still don’t think that Filipiak is quite up to this standard and that makes the handicap bets on Wells over at Apollobet appealing to me. At 8/13 (-2.5 frames) in a best of 11, I’m tempted enough to have a go on that so the first recommended bet of the UK Championship this year is 2 points win on Wells (-2.5 frames) at 8/13 with Apollobet.

Sunday 12 noon

Adam Duffy v Dechawat Poomjaeng

Kurt Maflin v David Hogan

Ian McCulloch v Luca Brecel

Bjorn Haneveer v Tian Pengfei

Michael White v Daniel Wells (HEAD TO HEAD 1-0)

Andrew Pagett v Sam Craigie

Matthew Couch v Cao Yupeng

Paul S Davison v Adam Wicheard (HEAD TO HEAD 2-0)

Maffers - Good thing.

Not a great deal to go on in terms of head to heads in these matches with the only pair with history being Davison and SWSA homeboy Adam Wicheard. If you are a believer in home advantage kicking in here you’d be taking advantage of the best priced Evens on offer on the promising Wicheard to win at Boyles and that could end up being a decent bet if Adam can take advantage of his undoubted sway here. But there are more interesting matches here for me and the fact that David Hogan has won just one match this season after winning only two in the last one means Kurt Maflin has to be backed to win that particular encounter. Kurt is capable on his day of wiping the floor with substandard opposition in no time and I think this might be one of those occasions. He is best price 4/7 at Apollobet and I’d say that is a tad generous. I’d fancy Ian McCulloch to take care of Luca Brecel but to me his odds aren’t that attractive, I’m pretty sure that Bjorn Haneveer is out of this one but even if he turns up a match with Tian Pengfei is not a great way to kick start your season after a bout of injury. Tian is one of the best players there in Round 1 and however he does it, he’ll be batting again on Monday I would think. I’m a fan of Sam Craigie and he can be backed at 11/10 to beat pink boy Andrew Pagett at Boyles, whilst neither have yet done a great deal of note all season I get the feeling that Craigie may just show up at a venue at some point this baize year so he’s probably worth a small bet. One of the Chinese players that I don’t rate as highly as some of the others around today and later in the week is Cao Yupeng I wouldn’t be surprised to see Couch take the spoils there, again at Boyles at 17/20 best price.

Recommended Sunday Lunchtime Bets: 5 points win on Maflin to beat Hogan at 4/7 with Apollobet. 1 point win double Wicheard and Couch which pays just on 11/4 at Boylesports.

Sunday 7pm

Liam Highfield v Sam Baird (HEAD TO HEAD 1-0)

Passakorn Suwannawat v Joe Meara

Yu Delu v Robin Hull

Li Yan v Stuart Carrington

David Gilbert v Aditya Mehta

David Morris v David Grace

Rod Lawler v Simon Bedford (HEAD TO HEAD 0-1)

Andrew Norman v Scott Mackenzie

Passakorn (right)

The evening session again throws up a lot of first time match ups. I actually hadn’t realised quite how low Rod Lawler had tumbled down the rankings and it seems not that long ago that he was closing in on a top 32 place. He faces Simon Bedford here who himself is in a pretty poor run of form, expect a scrap, it might not be pretty and it might end way past my bedtime so I’m leaving it well alone. Of more interest to me bettingwise are the matches involving the improving Chinese player Li Yan and the improving Thai Passakorn Suwanawhat’s his name. I reckon they are both nailed on to come through this first round against players who are both struggling to come to terms with things in the professional ranks. I’d say they were a solid double in this session personally. Aditya Mehta is no pushover and has been unlucky to draw Ronnie in the last two PTC’s but he has also had decent wins in others here and there and Dave Gilbert, though undoubtedly favourite for this should not take him lightly. Highfield and Baird for me is too close to call as is the clash between Davy Morris and friend of the blog David Grace so no go for me on these two. The bottom match sees SWSA boy Andrew ‘Stormin’ Norman taking on Scott MacKenzie who looks a bit like Jamie Cope would if he went into a Hall of Mirrors, to me again the home advantage for the steady Norman might prove key here and at a best priced 4/6 at Apollobet he might be one for the multiples too.

Recommended Sunday Evening Bets: 2 points treble on Yan, Suwannawat and Norman at just over 2/1 with Boyles

Recommended Daily Bets:

The Snookerbacker Enhanced Acca Special is BACK!  at Boylesports on Wells (Saturday), Li Yan, Maflin and Suwannawat at an enhanced price of 10/3 we’ll have 3 points on that to start with I think. Back it here

The very best of luck if you are indulging.

Incidentally, if you do not have an account at Boylesports they are offering a very nice introductory offer to those coming from the blog. Bet £20, you get £40 for free, click the box above to open an account and take advantage. 

Also if you haven’t yet entered the Boylesports SB300 Tipster Contest you only have until the midday matches kick off to do so. Click here to enter your team for the season and the chance to win £300 worth of Crucible bets in April. 

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