November 20, 2011

Proper Snooker: The German Masters Qualifying Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:57 pm

A Familiar Sight

After two preliminary ties tomorrow, Tuesday sees the start of my personal favourite addition to the calendar as the German Masters qualifying rounds are played in Sheffield to see which lucky 16 players get to board the plane to the fantastic city of Berlin in February. They will join the top 16 players who have been doing something else this weekend. 

It also means that we get to enjoy the delights of German girls that accompany the event on blog posts for a bit. Regular readers will know that this is something which is compulsory and that failure to comply with this baize law would mean that I myself would be forced to explain everything, under oath, to the Integrity Unit, who as we all know randomly hand out ruthless, arbitrary punishments to anyone that dare disobey the rules without a care.

I know my place. I must obey.

The structure of the qualifiers is a little different to the norm, in that all the players aside from those ranked between 17-32 who play on Friday, play in this from the very first round. With the man ranked at number 33 (some bloke named Rory McLeod) starting at the same point as the one ranked 95, Polish paperboy Kacper Filipiak. So for this event at least, it’s only the top 32 that get any preferential treatment and reward for their ranking. Remember that this also counts toward the Tipster Contest scores, the latest standings of which can be found here.

I have listed the first two days matches below together with the sessions they are being played in. I will now attempt to preview the lot of them and pick a few winners.

Those snooker folk at Apollobet have an extensive array of prices and you can find all of them right here.



Mark Joyce [50] 4-5 David Grace [89] h2h 1-0
Jack Lisowski [39] 1-5 Sam Craigie [83]
Joe Jogia [48] 4-5 Stuart Carrington [94] h2h 1-0
Jimmy White [54] 5-2 Matthew Couch [76] h2h 2-0
Jimmy Robertson [57] W/O Bjorn Haneveer [75]
Adrian Gunnell [61] 5-1 Sam Baird [88] h2h 1-0

There isn’t a great deal to get too excited about in this first batch of matches. I’d hope that the tie featuring two of the brightest prospects in the game might be given top billing as Jack Lisowski meets Sam Craigie. I’d marginally fancy Jack to come through but his heavily odds on price doesn’t appeal too much in what could be a close one. To me Sam has a good all round game and has the ability to slow things down if need be, Jack is a fantastic potter and this wins him matches, it remains to be seen how he copes with the great tacticians in the future. Last season’s UK quarter finalist Mark Joyce will fancy his chances against friend of the blog David Grace who is struggling to get to grips with life in the pro ranks at the minute and the 8/15 available on Joyce might be a bit of a steal. Joe Jogia comes fresh from his UK qualification and to me is a player who for whatever reason is improving and consequently is starting to get some impressive results, he faces Stuart Carrington who is another that is struggling in this company, I’d expect a comfortable win for Joe there. Jimmy White plays Matthew Couch who since making a PTC final last year has barely done anything, I’d expect the Whirlwind to take care of business there given his form in the early qualifying rounds of late. Adrian Gunnell is another that is York bound and he faces Sam Baird, as Gunnell seems to have found a bit of form you’d have to take him against a player that for all his promise doesn’t beat players ranked higher than him all that often, but it’s not a bet as The Butcher of Telford himself is not the player he once was.

Recommended Morning Bet: 2 points double on Joyce and Jogia pays just under 5/4 at Apollobet


Alfie Burden [60] 5-2 Scott Mackenzie [82]
Barry Pinches [49] 4-5 Yu Delu [72]
Robert Milkins [36] 5-0 Tian Pengfei [81]
Steve Davis [43] 5-3 Joe Meara [97]
Ben Woollaston [55] 5-1 Rod Lawler [66] h2h 1-1

Probably the match up of this session sees another York qualifier Robert Milkins aka Mill Hopkins taking on the promising Chinese player Tian Pengfei, I’d marginally favour Milkins simply because Tian seems to struggle to get past players ranked as highly as Mill at this stage in his career. Alfie Burden is having a terrible run of results of late and needs to start winning a few now-ish, he has a decent chance of ending his recent losing run against Scottish Scot Scott Mackenzie who is another that struggles at this level. The Legend that is Steve Davis has to be backed against Joe Meara and the Nugget’s recent form may even see him have another good week here, Meara is out of his depth in this company and is yet to win a match this season, it would also be great to see Steve play in Berlin as well as York and hopefully Sheffield again. Barry Pinches has lost his last ten matches so you’d have to fancy his Chinese opponent Yu Delu to make it eleven. Ben Woollaston’s form this season makes me suspect that qualification to a venue is just a matter of time, for me he is a bet against the struggling Scouser Rod Lawler.

Recommended Afternoon Bet: 2 points treble on Steve Davis (-1.5 frames), Ben Woollaston and Alfie Burden pays over 3/1 at Apollobet


Jamie Jones [45] 5-2 Andrew Norman [74] h2h 0-1
Tony Drago [51] 2-5 Adam Wicheard [93] h2h 0-1
Mike Dunn [41] 5-0 Kurt Maflin [78] h2h 1-0 Mike Dunn hits a 147
Jamie Burnett [42] 5-2 Dechawat Poomjaeng [87]
Peter Lines [53] 5-2 Simon Bedford [85] h2h 0-1

I’m not that excited about a bet in any of these matches and it will probably depend on how the day develops as to whether I will bother or not, but if you are coming at it cold it’s worth taking a look. I would not discount the chances of outsider Adam Wicheard in this session, even though he loses more than he wins he will know Drago’s game and has beaten him before, the 6/4 on Wicheard at Apollobet makes a bit of appeal as Maltese Tony doesn’t look to be cueing all that well at the moment to me and may be more interested in the increasingly lucrative opportunities that his back catalogue affords him. I’d expect the improving Jamie Jones to take care of Andrew ‘Stormin’ Norman, Jones is a player on the up and has beaten the likes of Graeme Dott and Ricky Walden this season so the 1/2 available at Apollobet should be taken. I can’t call Mike Dunn against Kurt Maflin and neither can the bookies who have them at 5/6 the pair, the poor showing from Dunny in the UK qualifiers after a period of poor health was quickly forgotten with wins over MJW, Jimmy Robertson and Jamie Cope over in Belgium last week and breakbuilder Maffers can be frustratingly inconsistent, I’d marginally side with Dunny if he is coming back to top form and over the worst, but this is one to leave alone in my opinion. Simon Bedford is struggling a bit lately whereas Peter Lines continues to get results here and there, I’d expect this battle of the elder stagers to go to the man in form Lines. As for the match between Jamie Burnett and premliminary winner Dechawat Poomjaeng, I’d expect Burnett to take care of that one pretty cosily.

Recommended Evening Bet: 1 point Adam Wicheard to beat Drago at 6/4 with Apollobet and a 1 point double on Lines and Jones at just over 11/8 with Apollobet. 5 points on Jones to beat Norman at 1/2 with the same firm. 

Recommended Daily Accumulator: 3 points accumulator on Joe Jogia, Steve Davis, Alfie Burden and Jamie Jones pays just under 7/2 at Apollobet. Add Mark Joyce for a 2 point accumulator at dead on 11/2 with the same firm.

Wednesday (preview to follow)


Rory McLeod [33] 5-2 Kacper Filipiak [95]
Liu Song [62] 5-3 Liam Highfield [68]
Nigel Bond [44] 1-5 Andrew Pagett [71] h2h 0-1
James Wattana [58] 5-3 Passakorn Suwannawat [69]
Liu Chuang [59] 5-3 Ian McCulloch [67] h2h 0-1
Liang Wenbo [35] 5-3 Aditya Mehta [84]

From what I can see there are no prices on Rory’s match against Kacper Filipiak, this is probably a wise move by the bookies as it would be simply a case of placing your bet and going straight to the payment window. I just hope Rory goes easy on the young fellow as he’s probably not used to the dentist’s chair just yet at his tender age. If prices do materialise and you feel so inclined, take out a second mortgage and try and get it on McLeod, this is about as uneven a match up as you are likely to see these days in the qualifiers. There are three really tough calls in this session, the matches involving Bond and the two Liu’s (not quite the same ring to it at Ronnies) Song and Chuang are too me all too tight to consider a bet on, particularly seeing as on Twitter last week Ian McCulloch seemed to think that this was a qualifier for an event in China. While Bond is arguably one that you might plump for with a bit of confidence that head to head statistic relates to a particularly painful match for him when Pagett knocked him out of the World Championship last March in the qualifiers in a decider on his way to his pinked-up Crucible appearance. At a push, I’d take James Wattana to come through the battle of the Thai players on experience alone, despite the improving form of his opponent Passakorn. But for me the only bet worth striking in this session is the 6/4 about the improving Indian player Aditya Mehta against the struggling Liang Wenbo. Mehta is a player that I think might surprise a few as the season wears on and despite his lowly ranking he has the feel of a player that is on the up and finding his feet in this company, at the price and considering how in and out Liang is at the moment, he’s worth a small punt.

Recommended Morning Bet: 1 point on Aditya Mehta to beat Liang Wenbo at 6/4 with Apollobet.      

One for the Roll-up


Alan McManus [46] W/O Robin Hull [92]
Andy Hicks [64] 5-2 Cao Yupeng [86]
Gerard Greene [37] 2-5 David Morris [80] h2h 1-0
Matthew Selt [40] 4-5 Paul S Davison [79]
Anthony Hamilton [34] 5-3 David Hogan [90]

I think this session is all about finding players for your accumulator. The two that obviously stand out are Matt Selt and Anthony Hamilton and I would be very surprised if either of them were overly troubled in their matches. Angles McManus is showing some excellent form in the PTC’s lately and faces Finland’s Robin Hull. On paper and looking at the form book this looks like a straightforward match for old Angles but every time I have seen Hull play I have been impressed with him, rumours are that he’s been beset by off the table problems both with his physical health and with addictions, which is a shame as he is clearly a player with a lot of talent, but we all have our weaknesses. McManus will probably win but if Finland’s finest can find his game that one could produce a turn-up. I’m surprised that Gerard Greene is as short as 4/11 to beat Davy Morris, Mozza has had recent wins over none other than John Higgins and Barry Hawkins and whilst Greene is a capable player and way up the rankings from his opponent, I’m not sure that this is quite the one-sided affair that the bookies seem to think it is. I’m also sensing that Chinese player Cao Yupeng is finding his feet at this level and he faces Andy Hicks who despite a recent run in a PTC is pretty mediocre these days, relatively of course, he’d still give me two blacks…. , again the odds against on Cao appeals in this match.

Recommended Afternoon Bet: 1 point win on each and a 1 point double Morris 2/1 and Yupeng at 6/5 with Apollobet.  


Joe Swail [63] 5-1 Luca Brecel [91]
Dave Harold [47] 3-5 Adam Duffy [77]
Anthony McGill [56] 5-3 Li Yan [70]
Michael Holt [38] 2-5 Michael White [65] h2h 1-0
Xiao Guodong [52] 5-3 David Gilbert [73] h2h 0-1

Another really tough session to find a bet this one in what to me is a really tough day that may well see a lot of close finishes. Outsiders again may be the order of the day as the highly impressive Welsh hope Michael White takes on the unpredictable and thoroughly barmy Michael Holt. You never know what to expect with Holt and he is a fine player on his day, but more than once he has criticised this venue and just that niggle is enough to set him off if he starts badly, I’d be prepared to take a chance on young White again at the odds. Adam Duffy is showing enough to suggest that he might give Big Dave Harold a game. Dave of course is a right old battler and even though he’s not having a great run at the moment can still fight for his life on the baize and can sometimes only be removed from the table with a trowl. If Duffy were around 6/4 for this I’d back him but he isn’t so I won’t. Anthony McGill and Li Yan can’t be split by the bookies that have them at 5/6 the pair. Yan has qualified for the UK and is showing signs of being a climber in the rankings, I would take him to come through against Ants, who judging by his comments is getting a bit frustrated with his results of late. In the other match I can see another Chinese player coming through in Xiao Guodong, who’s results are really picking up and make better reading than Dave Gilbert, who while consistent in the opening rounds tends to struggle a bit the higher up the rankings his opponents are. Depending on how it’s priced up, it may be worth taking a small interest on preliminary qualifier Luca Brecel who is growing in confidence and beginning to win a few matches, he faces Joe Swail who has been very poor lately and is looking like a player very low on confidence.

Recommended Evening Bet: 2 points win on Li Yan at 5/6 and a 2 point double with Xiao Guodong at just under 9/4 with Apollobet.

Recommended First Round Acca: 3 points on Steve Davis, Mark Joyce, Jamie Jones, Matt Selt and Anthony Hamilton pays an enhanced 21/5 at Apollobet in the ‘Snooker Specials’ Section.     

Power Snooker: Is it Over Yet?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:59 am

The Best Bit

Yesterday we were once again treated to a bit of Power Snooker on ITV4. I watched most of it and although I was told on three seperate occasions to switch it off I felt that in order for my opinion on it to have any credibility whatsoever I had to persevere. What I am about to write is my own opinion and you should bear in mind that I am not the type of person that Power Snooker are seeking to attract with their game.

The set, in my opinion is an improvement on last year and Dennis provided some evidence that when he stops blatantly plugging the Legends and talking about Cliff and all his sick and dead friends he is actually a half decent commentator. It was also interesting to hear Ronnie behind the mic for Selby’s match. He provided us with proof that he thinks in a completely different dimension to the more pedestrian Jester. I should also give an honorary mention to the wonderfully named Power Girl Lacey Banghard, a girl who I’m sure takes after her name after a few Tropical Reefs.

Now for the negatives. Where do I start? I think I’ll go with the Power Band. There is a pub in Liverpool city centre just opposite Central Station called Coopers, people who are familiar with Liverpool will probably know it, not because they have ever been in there but because whenever you pass it there is somebody singing an absolutely god awful version of a god awful song. The karaoke in there is seemingly never ending and always reminds me of Vic Reeves singing ‘in the club style’. Well, I have actually heard more talent coming from this place than was on display from the collection of third rate wedding band musicians that heralded the appearance of snooker’s finest yesterday. The fact that they sang that fucking awful Black Eyed Peas song that was actually written exclusively for pissed up chavs further cemented my belief that this was where musicians go when they die. Hideous.

Secondly, the production. The host Matt whatshisname tried in vain to drum up enthusiasm and at one point could even be heard asking for divine intervention to make this turgid spectacle appeal. The blonde eye candy was exactly what it said on the tin, absolutely zero knowledge of snooker, let alone the bastardized version of the great sport that she was there to actually present. She looked great, but that was about it. Frequent descriptions from both of them of the event being ‘brilliant’, ‘amazing’ and ‘the future’ couldn’t have looked more forced and only served to further alienate me from this dreadful concept. The ‘technical’ issues that were encountered as the evening session was getting underway provided the highlight of the day, a totally black screen for around 10 minutes which created much mirth over on Twitter. The only genuine treat of the day for snooker fans.

Thirdly the crowd, who grew steadily more obnoxious as the evening went on. I’m sure some of the worst stuff that was shouted from the troglodytes at the back was blotted out by the sound department, who should be commended for their efforts.

It's all about the money

But I must reserve my real contempt for the game itself which quite frankly it is just rather dull. A table like an ice rink, rules which some hadn’t even bothered to learn and a scoring system that doesn’t exactly tailor itself to close finishes in an overly long half hour game all served to make this about as thrilling as an Alan Yentob documentary about concrete.

There are those that argue that if this gets young people interested in snooker it has to be a good thing, but this doesn’t wash with me. Nothing could be further from the minds of those that came up with this tripe. If for one minute you think that this is what the endgame is all about I suggest you think again. This is simply a marketing exercise for the game of Power Snooker itself and has nothing at all to do with promoting it’s distant cousin. Bundles of cash have been launched at this by businessmen with about as much creative flair as a plank of wood. It’s about selling the tables, the sets of balls and the weird rest and all the other paraphernalia to a mass market.

The promotion of the far superior game of snooker is nothing more than an afterthought to make us all think that the deluded fat cats with more money than sense actually give a shit about something other than lining their own pockets. If they really cared about snooker they would direct their suitcases of cash at it and not at this rubbish. What makes it funnier is that they don’t actually seem to yet understand that the old phrase ‘you can’t polish a turd’ has never been more applicable than it is here. My advice would be to get out while you can and redirect your efforts at a real sport, why not get ITV to consider a six red event or something like that, anything, just not this.

So there it is. It isn’t over yet but I’m not going to bother with it today. There is ‘proper’ snooker on tomorrow when the qualifiers for the best new event of last season the German Masters get under way. I will be previewing the 16 matches that play tomorrow later on today. Apollobet have prices up on all of them here.

If Power Snooker is the future, then I’m saving up for a DeLorean to get me back here.  

November 19, 2011

Power Snooker In-Running

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:08 pm

For anyone that is watching and wants to give their opinion on the event in more than 140 characters please feel free to do so below.

I will admit to having had a bet on it so I might as well recommend it. 2 points on ‘Name The Finalists’ Ronnie O’Sullivan to face Judd Trump at 7/1 with Skybet.

Now let the circus begin.

Judd Calls for Shot Clock At The Masters

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:54 am

Trump's got the Hump with the Snails

Everyone’s favourite playboi Judd Trump has been throwing his dodgy bow tie into the ring of the ongoing debate about shot clocks ahead of the Power Snooker event in Manchester today. Purists and people who get easily riled should now click away from this post before reading on. You have been warned.

Juddly reckons that introducing a shot clock to the Masters and the UK Championship would be fine. But he stops short of advocating a similar move in the World Championship. Myself and two other prominent bloggers online have actually agreed a combined blog suicide and switch-off if that ever happens. Just a gentle warning Bazza…

Anyway, Judd says that even he finds snooker ‘boring’ sometimes and gets sick of people walking around the table for two minutes before taking a shot and that he can see why people switch off the television when they see this.

But Judd doesn’t mean rush the players, instead he reckons they should get 30/40 seconds to play their shots, although to Rory this would feel like he’s being asked to increase his pace to the speed of sound of course.

So is Judd right? Do we need to introduce this into some of the big events? Would it bring in a younger audience? Is this ‘need for speed’ as widespread amongst the ‘yoof’ as we are always told?

My opinion is that on this occasion Judd is wrong. I think there are places that you shouldn’t go. However, I’m not saying that the shot clock is always a bad thing and I am not against it being used at ranking events. In fact, I am quite surprised that it wasn’t introduced in the PTC’s as this would appear to me the logical place for it to slot into the ranking calendar given the volume of matches and the time constraints at some of the venues. It may go some way to shortening the days which sometimes go on until the very early hours.

But the Masters is already unique and pits the skills of the best 16 players in the world against each other and to me has always been a fantastic spectacle, rarely if ever ruined by slow play. If anything a slow drawn-out match at the Masters is something I look forward to every year and has provided some of it’s best moments. The UK can hopefully regain it’s identity at York this year and retake it’s place as one of the blue riband events. The World Championship of course, should not be even mentioned in the same. Sentence as the shot-clock.

What do you think? Do you agree with Juddly? Is this the way to go in the main events?

You can read the full interview with the playboi here 

November 18, 2011

Prince Randian the Living Torso presents…..Power Snooker

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:20 pm

The Fat Boy of Peckham aka Robbie Coltrane

In Victorian times it was quite acceptable to attend Freak Shows. Families would often make quite an occasion of them at times. I actually took a minute to look up some genuine examples of freaks as painstaking research for this post and they range from Alice Bounds the Bear Lady to Patrick O’Brien the Irish Giant and The Fat Boy of Peckham through to Sacco-Homann the Famous Fasting Man and Prince Randian the Living Torso. 

That is quite a collection I’m sure you will agree, only one of which (this being Prince Randian) can now not be found quite easily on any high street in any major UK city. Though I’m sure if you knew the right places even Randian himself might materialise in some form or other.

Now I like to think of myself as a compassionate human being, someone that does not take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune, someone that would stand up for my beliefs and bravely fight for the things I hold most dear to me and the things that I believe are just and right. You wouldn’t catch me attending one of these shows, watching the poor unfortunate creatures therein simply display themselves to the gasps and guffaws of a baying, cackling crowd of idiots.

Now, I like to think of myself in these terms but I’m afraid the temptation to switch the TV to ITV4 this weekend may prove too much for me. Television gives us all the opportunity to be the Victorians in the privacy of our own homes, to watch things that we would never dream of attending in person. To cackle along with the idiots, to bay along with the transfixed crowds. That my friends, is my utterly pathetic justification for watching Power Snooker this weekend.

There were several things that I utterly detested about it last year that to other less opinionated and snobbish people than myself would probably be a good reason to tune in. First and foremost it was the rabble that was watching. A collection of thuggish, mob-mentality dimwits that seemed to revel in such hilarious repetitive ‘catchphrases’ such as ‘Pot the Brown’ and ‘Powerzone’ whilst hurling sometimes inappropriate insults at the players and sexual innuendo at a female referee until she started crying.

Secondly, it was the game itself which was utterly silly and not especially well thought out. Thirdly, it was just well, how can I put this? All of it. I just felt that someone had taken the sport I loved, ripped the insides out of it, thrown them to a pack of rabid dogs and replaced it with a soul made out of pound notes and tacky holiday souvenirs.

But a year has passed and as I get older I not only forget things, I also grow a little more tolerant of other people’s ways. I even watched the X-Factor last week for a whole ten minutes before starting to swear and being told to leave the room by Mrs SB.

A Power Girl aka Not Robbie Coltrane

So I figured that maybe, just maybe Power Snooker isn’t that bad after all? Maybe the move to Manchester and the Trafford Centre might help a bit? Maybe the introduction of the Power Snooker Band might drown out some of the less-evolved elements of the audience? Maybe with all the top 16 there it might have less of an experimental, novelty feel? Maybe they have made the rules a bit clearer and more geared towards tighter finishes? Maybe they will stop the referees shouting the same phrase over and over again?

Or maybe I should just go back to being intolerant?

The tournament starts tomorrow at 1.10pm when Mark Selby and Matthew Stevens take to the baize, the losers in the first round no doubt will have one eye on the free bar and the other on the Power Girls, such as Rhiann Sugden who is pictured left for purely illustrative and in no sense gratuitous or tasteless purposes.

Now I don’t know the people behind this venture personally, but whoever is behind their Twitter account clearly has a sense of humour and was actually the first account to follow me back on there months ago when my original account was hacked and deleted. So I suppose I feel I owe them one with this highly positive promotional post.

Ronnie and Judd are best priced 4/1 and 15/2 at Boylesports for this circus of snooker and anyone that backs anyone else to win this, in my humble opinion, needs their head examining as it is tailormade to their games.

You can check out the schedule and everything to do with all things Power Snooker at their website here.  

Now I am going to cleanse myself in a bath of strong detergent.

(One of the images was used with the permission of Power Snooker, I’ll leave you to deduce which one) 

Attention All Players! Snookerbacker Classic Leeds 2nd December – The Lowdown

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:03 am

All players should report to the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds at 10.15am on Friday 2nd December 2011. 

Dress code for qualifying events should be trousers, shoes and long or short sleeved collared shirt or T-shirt. No Jeans or Trainers. 

Please refer to the full terms and conditions of the event here

 At every qualifying event there will be a ‘Beauty’ High Break Prize of £1 per point kindly sponsored by

Schedule of Play

First Round – All Matches Best of 7 Frames (10.30am start) – Roaming Referees 

Table 4: Elliot Slessor v John Astley

Table 5: Roland ‘The Shuttle’ Cox v Sean Hopkin

Table 6: Allan ‘The Albino Assassin’ Taylor v Sydney Wilson

Table 21: Michael Rhodes v Craig Steadman

Table 22: Gareth Allen v James ‘Shoot to’ Kilmartin

Table 7: Ryan Causton v Antony Parsons

Table 24: Jamie Barrett v Matthew Samples

Table 25: Alex Taubman v Jack ‘The Brad’ Bradford

Second Round – All Matches Best of 7 Frames (not before 12.30pm) – Roaming Referees 

9. Slessor/Astley v Cox/Hopkin 

10. Taylor/Wilson v Rhodes/Steadman

11. Allen/Kilmartin v Causton/Parsons

12. Barrett/Samples v Taubman/Bradford 

Final Qualifying Round – All Matches Best of 7 Frames (not before 3.30pm) 

13. Winner Match 9 v Winner Match 10 (Refereed)

14. Winner Match 11 v Winner Match 12 (Refereed) 

Winners of Matches 13 & 14 will qualify to Finals Day at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester on Friday 24th February 2012  

There are still 2 places left at the qualifying event in Gloucester and places available in Dublin and in Essex. Please contact me at [email protected] to get involved in THE amateur event of the season.

Double Take?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:12 am

Can this evil genius do it again?

Good Morning All. After a couple of days gap in posts I’m afraid you probably won’t be able to shut me up over the next few days what with Power Snooker (yes, I’ll probably comment on it) and the beginning of the German Masters Qualifiers on Monday we’re in for another busy week on the baize.

Anyone that reads this blog regularly will know that I am partial to a bit of ante-post action on outright markets. One of the frustrations for me is that you can’t play with multiples on the major events, when after all, there are players who are more or less certain to be in them that you could include in multiples at the beginning of the season. The bookies could do better on this front I reckon.

Well at least our friends over at Boylesports have gone some way to addressing this obvious gap by coming up with a market called ‘Major Men’, where we get the chance to double up on any of the big names winning both the UK and the World Championship.

It may sound like a tall order, but John Higgins did just that last season and if you fancy him to do it again Boyles are offering 50/1 on it happening. Ronnie did it too four seasons ago after his last Crucible win and the in-form Rocket can be backed at 33/1 market leader.

Mark Williams also did it nearly a decade ago and is 50/1 to do so again. I’m sure Hendry has done it more than once and will await someone to tell me how many times and for those nostalgic fools with more money than sense the price on him to turn back time is a whopping 2000/1.

I’m sure the Nugget is another that has done this countless times and again I will await confirmation of this, if anyone wants a price on him to do it again I have the telephone number of your local ‘Home for the Bewildered’ about my person, just get in touch. In the words of Bullseye host Jim Bowen ‘If that happens I’ll give you the money myself’.

(I’m at it again, it’s nearly time for Power Snooker and I’m on about Bullseye already – it’s the graphics you see, which pay more than a passing resemblance to a bit of bully)

Thanks Lorraine, it was Des Lennis on Family Fortunes that actually coined the phrase, but hey, two comedy legends, easy mistake..

But back to the matter in hand and maybe it’s time for someone else to carve their name in amongst the greats and carry off this achievement? World Number One Mark Selby at 40/1 perhaps? Judd Trump? The Playboi can be backed at 80/1 or Ding perhaps? Capable and raises his game for the big events, he’s 100/1. Anyway, all the prices are here.

I can almost hear the cries of ‘Why not just back them for the UK and then put the lot on them for the Worlds SB? The odds would be better surely?’ But come on gang, would you really, hand on heart, ever do this? Imagine sitting back after the UK knowing that to a smaller stake you effectively have 50/1 on John Higgins to win in Sheffield? 80/1 on Judd Trump? 60/1 on Robbo?

If you think that someone can do this, my opinion is that only Ronnie, John, Robbo or possibly Judd can, then have a go. If there are any combinations that you would like a price on, list them in the comments section and I will see what I can do. Remember that the UK starts in a couple of weeks time, just a day after the biggest event on the calendar kicks off in Leeds; the Snookerbacker Classic.

In the meantime, if you would like to take advantage of Boyles opening offer to new customers of place a bet of £20/20Euros and get double that free, click the box below to open an account.

Recommended Bets from me: 1 point on each – John Higgins (50/1) Ronnie O’Sullivan (33/1) and Neil Robertson (60/1)

November 15, 2011

Bazza: ‘I am here to reward stars’

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:47 pm

Bazza tells it like it is

He’s only at it again. Chairman Bazza has been speaking to the Yorkshire Post and this time he’s been telling them and anyone else within earshot about his long-term plans for snooker, why he wants the players to be happy but will not reward mediocrity and why young snooker players are the luckiest people in the world.  

He starts by outlining his main immediate plan and says “The aim is within 12 months there will be a snooker event on every week of the year somewhere in the world, and I think that’s achievable. Snooker has gone from 6 or 7 tournaments a year to about 30, The players are working flat-out, on a proper tour, similar to golf. It’s a global tour so they are travelling the world.”

He hints that announcements about new events are imminent and continues “We are talking to so many people about new events around the world. Particularly in Asia, there are events which could evolve over the next few weeks – not even months – as we are flavour of the month there.”

He then adds the observation that the whole of China apparently stops working when the snooker is on. Which is quite fortunate as with the current economic climate in Europe it won’t be long until everyone here stops working too, not to watch the snooker of course, just actually stops working. But I suppose with all this free time snooker might benefit.  

He divulges the locations he is considering branching out on the baize and says “At any one time, we probably have a dozen potential venues ranging from India to Scandinavia to North America to Canada. Of those 12 potentials you will probably get 2 or 3.”

He (sort of) addresses the concerns of some of the players about the way things are going and shows that even he has a softer side saying “I want the players to be happy and would like them to travel to all the events, but I understand they have to make choices. If I am going to put on 52 weeks of snooker, clearly they’re not going to play in all of them and that’s their choice. They have families.” Actually, that’s not really addressing their concerns at all is it? But at least he shows he’s aware of them. He’s aware of them, but basically doesn’t give a monkeys. 

That seems the extent to which Baz is prepared to acknowledge that some players aren’t quite getting it and he gets right back on track saying “I always take the view that if I was a youngster starting off in my chosen career, I look at my life and think what did I do. There wasn’t a day I didn’t work, there wasn’t a second when I wasn’t putting in maximum effort. I think youngsters in sport are so lucky to have the opportunity to earn a career doing something they love. In some ways, as you get older, that enthusiasm dies and it’s quite sad.”

He draws on his experiences and relationship with his old pal The Nugget to illustrate his point.

Big Time Charlies

“When I remember one of the greatest players of all time, Steve Davis, he never knew the prize money in any event he played in. That’s what made him a great. He went for the trophy and, by the way, made a fortune as well but that was secondary. His love for the game is what the youngsters have got, and my responsibility is to get the new players to challenge the established stars. To give them the opportunity if they are good enough. If they’re not, I won’t sponsor mediocrity.”

“That’s why I love the golf system, if you don’t make the cut, you don’t get paid. That’s terrific. I am not here to hand out money I am here to reward the stars.”

He then moves fleetingly onto today’s big names, plucking a random name out of mid-air and says “If Ronnie O’Sullivan is a star, he is entitled to get every penny out of the game he can. But I do expect them to do their bit as well, as I think it’s a team effort.”

“I am trying to drag this game screaming into the 21st century and I need help. I’m getting it, and the odd hiccough along the way is nothing compared to the tens of thousands of miles these boys are flying round the world. My driving force is always thinking if I was a youngster picking up a cue on the tour in my first year, what do I want? And the answer is I want to play snooker. I love it and want to entertain people, get better and better. At the back of my mind is if I do, I change my life.”

It’s at this point that Jason Ferguson started the X-Factor style music on a small CD player in the corner of the room, gradually turning the volume up with every sentence uttered by his boss.

“I want them to get rich, but keep that poor mentality. I want them to appreciate the opportunity as opposed to 99.9 per cent of the young generation who are struggling, looking for a job. All sportsmen are the luckiest people alive, and I want them to appreciate it. I want excellence; by playing 30 tournaments a year the standard has gone through the roof.”

He then starts talking about golf again “You can’t expect a professional golfer to produce brilliant golf if he plays once a month, you have to play every day. It’s called going to work, just like every person in this country knows the feeling of getting up in the morning and going to work.”

Bazza then draws breath to talk a bit about himself, hang on, hasn’t he just been doing that? Well anyway, he goes on “People keep telling me to slow down, but I think I am getting faster. I am getting more enthusiastic because I can see the opportunities. I think you appreciate it more as you get older. Sometimes when you are younger, you take things for granted and get complacent. When you are older, and you are closer to God, you don’t take anything for granted. You want to enjoy every second, of every day. I have been like that for 63 years.”

You would be forgiven for thinking that our Baz, with all his riches would be completely happy with his lot, but even he has a niggling frustration and says “I think the only frustration I have had in my life, while I have a huge amount of enthusiasm for sport, is that I have never been particularly good at anything other than perhaps making money. That’s okay,” he accepts. “I look upon the business side of sport as an extension of the sport, that’s my game. I don’t win medals, cups and trophies, but what I do is deliver a set of accounts where everyone goes ‘wow’. That’s how I judge my performance, but it comes at a price. I’m boring really. It’s getting worse – 24 hours a day – I have no other interests. I don’t watch X-Factor or Coronation Street. I eat, drink, sleep, walk, talk my business.”

You gotta love Saint Bazza.

Read the full Yorkshire Post article here.

November 13, 2011

Bingo Calling!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:58 pm

Say a big welcome to Australian Open Champion Stuart Bingham who joins the blog today with an exclusive insight into his season so far. Want to know what really happened with Mark Allen? What was going through his mind when he won in Australia? Then click here and read Bingo Calling

PTC 9 Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:34 am

How John might look

Good Morning all. It’s Finals Day in Belgium and the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson are all left in there fighting which ensures that we’ll see more quality snooker today in Antwerp.

Talking of twerps, John Higgins moustache has been a talking point this weekend. It seems to have more than a hint of ginger about it and you do wonder if he ever went full throttle and grew a full ensemble to match whether he’d have to change his nickname to Redbeard. But it seems to be working judging by the results he’s starting to post, personally I believe that it’s only a matter of time before the Integrity Unit are involved as it’s clearly giving the World Champion an even greater advantage as opponents snigger at him and wind him up even more. But it’s all in a good cause of course and hats off to John for making himself look a total plank, at least this year it’s only for a month instead of six.

Meanwhile, Martin Gould has got some new clobber and it’s obviously inspired him as he’s made Finals Day. Gone is the trademark dog turd brown number and our Gouldy is now sporting some natty new threads. Rumour has it that he has even got some new shoes, he’s obviously been taking style tips from Mark Selby, either that or he’s got himself a bird.

Also through yesterday were Matthew Stevens, Tom Ford, Andy Hicks who surprisingly knocked out Selby and India’s Aditya Mehta. The line up is completed by Twitter prankster and after hours blue comedian Mike Dunn, who after losing last week in Gloucester was very low but has now made a full recovery and I’m sure is only days away from telling us some more jokes about paedophiles.

Apollobet have outright odds back up this morning and Neil Robertson heads the market at 9/2 with Ronnie and John Higgins at 5/1 and Trump at 11/2. Robbo is obviously the man in form at the moment but he faces a potential banana skin against Michael White first up. Of more interest to me in this market would be Graeme Dott who must be due to win one of these soon and at 7/1 with a clearer path to the semi-finals he’d be my pick of them this morning.

In terms of the matches they are all quite tricky to call, I think my best three would be Lisowski, Dott and Gould so I will recommend a 2 point treble on these three which pays just under 5/2 at Apollobet.

I will also be posting up the first update of the Tipster Contest later and there is a familiar name heading the list after the UK Qualifiers.

Last 16

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Stephen Lee
Neil Robertson 4-1 Michael White
David Morris 0-4 Jack Lisowski
Graeme Dott 4-2 Alan McManus
Judd Trump 4-0 Tom Ford
Mike Dunn 0-4 John Higgins
Aditya Mehta 4-3 Matthew Stevens
Martin Gould 4-3 Andy Hicks

Quarter Finals

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Neil Robertson
Jack Lisowski 2-4 Graeme Dott
Judd Trump 4-2 John Higgins
Aditya Mehta 1-4 Martin Gould

Semi Finals – Prices up now at Apollobet here

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Graeme Dott
Judd Trump 4-1 Martin Gould

Final – I think I’ll chance 2 points on Trump at 6/4 with Stan James, feel Ronnie was let off the hook a bit against Dotty and doesn’t look like Judd is hanging around today.

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-4 Judd Trump

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