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.

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