Snookerbacker

December 31, 2011

PTC 12 Prediction Contest

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:17 am

Wahay! They are finally over!!!

To celebrate, I mean mark, the end of the marathon PTC schedule this season those kind chaps over at Apollobet have put up a £40 free bet for you all to play for in a tipster contest.

The last 16 of PTC12 gets underway on Friday 6th January over in Munich and is being covered on Eurosport with the final being played out on Sunday 8th. Details of the playing schedule can be found here.

The Rules

One entry per person, no anonymous entries.

Predict the scoreline for each of the Last 16 matches.

You will get 2 points for predicting the winner and a further 5 points for predicting the scoreline correctly.

Then nominate 2 players from the final 16 and you will receive 10 points for every match they win after the first round.

The Matches

Kurt Maflin v Andrew Higginson
Marcus Campbell v Michael Holt
Ricky Walden v Xiao Guodong
Dave Gilbert v Joe Perry
Mike Dunn v Mark Allen
Stephen Hendry v Marco Fu
David Grace v Martin Gould
Stephen Maguire v David Gray

Then nominate your two scoring players.

Make sure your entry is in the comments section by the start of play on Friday. I’ll have a go to start things off and if I win I’ll start a blog betting pot with the free bet.

December 29, 2011

Hunt on for Cue-Wielding ‘Thugs’

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:37 am

The two men that police are keen to speak with.

Welsh police are on high alert this morning after a night of drunken antics on Twitter turned into ugly scenes.

Two men, believed to be in their 30’s, from the Valleys and armed with high quality hand-crafted snooker cues, chalk and one of those things that you put on the top of a rest to ensure centre ball striking when bridging over a ball at distance are being hunted for an unprovoked attack on a wholly innocent blogger who wishes to remain anonymous and is now in hiding at a secret location in Merseyside.

In the attack, one of the men who calls himself ‘Ryan’ says ‘this is ryan , u gutless cxxt if u got anything to say have the balls to say it , knob head’ in another verbal onslaught the other man, who is believed to be the ringleader of the two-man gang refers to the blogger and his friend ‘the cage fighter’ and claims that the other man says ‘anytime anywhere hes bot (sic) afraid’.

The blogger, talking exclusively to this blog a couple of minutes ago in bed said ‘I just woke up this morning, logged on to Twitter and I was faced with this, I haven’t even had my breakfast yet’ he added ‘I think I recognise these men and have given the police as much information as I can about them, as for the idea that I am friends with a cage fighter, the only cage in our house is on the window ledge, it’s a little antique style birdcage that Mrs XX sometimes puts candles into on winter evenings if we are watching the snooker.’

Police are working on the theory that the two men are known to the blogger and that there might be a vital piece of information contained within the archives of the website that holds the clue to this attack. They are keen to speak to two men who are believed to fit the description given to them by the blogger to eliminate them from their enquiries.

Sergeant Harold Ballbag of Merthyr Tydfill Police, who is leading the manhunt says ‘Whilst I cannot condone the behaviour of these two men towards the blogger, it does appear as if he may have said something in the past to upset one, or perhaps both of them, the blogger in question often uses what he terms as ‘humour’ in his work, but having read it extensively I can only assume that this description is merely his own vanity and self-delusion rather than any statement of fact, nevertheless we are currently working on the theory that one of the men may have taken offence to being compared to an animal traditionally kept in a zoo. That is all I can say at this early stage of the investigation, other than my own opinion that he does look a bit like one in a certain light.’

This ugly episode has again highlighted the dangers of drunken tweeting and once again police are urging the public to be on their guard should they encounter anyone with such tendencies.

The well known patron of the ‘Don’t Drink and Tweet’ Campaign Professor Arnold Ringpiece says ‘Again this highlights the dangers involved in trying to type or use text messaging within a social media environment when you can’t see straight. We at DDAT understand that at this time of year people feel the need to tweet more profoundly than at other times in the year and we always seek to encourage responsible tweeting. Our advice is always, if you are having a few drinks, leave the phone at home’.

The investigation continues.

December 28, 2011

The Month Ahead: January

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:31 pm

The Main Event

Welcome back everyone. It’s been as long a break as I can remember ever having from the blog this past week but I’m back now to look forward to another month on the baize in January.

For me personally, January is the worst month of the year by a metric mile. The three worst things that have ever happened to me have all occurred during this month, so I tend to be a little less cheerful than I usually am at this time of year, both because I remember all the events vividly and because I’m always worried in case the fourth of life’s turds is waiting just around the corner.

But at least there is some snooker to keep me occupied and the first event of the new calendar year is the conclusion of PTC12 from Munich in Germany. They played down to the last 16 of this in Sheffield just before Christmas and the likes of Stephen Hendry, Stephen Maguire, Martin Gould, Mark Allen and Ricky Walden are names that will be appearing from the 6th to the 8th. The main focus will be on Walden, who needs to win the event to overtake Ronnie O’Sullivan in the rankings and bump the Rocket out of the top 16. It’s a big ask for Ricky but he’s in good form and has won one of these already so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he can do it. The draw for the last 16 can be found here and Apollobet have prices on all the matches and the outrights here.

The day after the PTC final qualifying event sees a return to the oversized leather armchairs of Crondon Park in Essex as the Championship League gets underway for another season. The first group features Ali Carter, Matthew Stevens, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Mark Selby, Andrew Higginson and Dark Mavis who play the usual format of trying to finish in the top 4 and not finish 6th or 7th and then battle it out in a knockout contest at the end. It has a strange charm all of it’s own has Crondon Park snooker and increasingly has the feel of a pair of comfy slippers as the dark nights and awful weather begin to take their toll. There are of course some major stakes being played for with players racking up the cash with every frame they win and a lucrative spot in the Premier League awaits the lucky winner, you can view all the dates and fixtures here.

While the last day of Group One of the Championship League is being played out there are qualifiers for the Hainan World Open being played in Sheffield. The event itself will be held in Hainan, China at the end of February and beginning of March.

This then brings us to the main event of the month as the Masters gets underway on the 15th from it’s new home in Alexandra Palace in London, or Ally Pally as it is better known. You can find all you need to know about the event here.

It is sure to get off to a bang of course as the holder Ding Junhui has been drawn to play Ronnie first up in a game that is already sold out. An added bonus for BBC viewers is that apparently Willie Thorne isn’t commentating on this one and Stephen Hendry will be taking to the mike a bit more. If that news doesn’t cheer you up then nothing will. It should be a cracking event and hopefully won’t be as disastrous from a betting perspective as it proved to be last year.

Just a quick note that on the 17th the blog will also be celebrating its second birthday, is it just me or does it seem longer than that since it started?

Anyway, once this year’s Master is decided it’s back to Crondon Park again for Group 2 before embarking on the madness that is the Sky Shootout from the classy seaside resort of Blackpool. Last year provided much mirth and entertainment and I’m sure we can expect more of the same. Of course Ronnie decided not to enter this year but we’ll still have plenty of chaps to laugh at as they are told YOU’RE OUT by the booming voice at the end. Judd plays Higgins and the Nugget plays MJW first up. Also freakishly last year’s finalists Nigel Bond and Rob Milkins are drawn to play each other, I’ll wager the microwave was on full throttle when this draw was made.

That’s it in terms of the professional scene in January, but unfortunately I won’t be able to catch much of the Shootout as the 28th sees me flying over to Dublin for the 2nd qualifying leg of the Snookerbacker Classic and straight from there I’m going to Gloucester on the 30th for the 3rd event there so it’s a bit of a manic end to the month for yours truly.

And that’s January.

Masters Trophy picture courtesy of World Snooker

December 23, 2011

Joining the Q

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:47 am

It's back to school again in May

World Snooker will once again be staging Q School in May, with a full 2 year tour card available for all players who qualify. 

Q School will be open to everyone (subject to terms and conditions) and there will be 12 places available on the World Snooker Tour. All players who come through Q School will be given a guaranteed place on the pro circuit for a minimum of seasons 2012/13 and 2013/14. 

It will be played at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, starting on May 13, 2012, and there will be three separate events, with the semi-finalists from each to be given a Tour Card. 

Entry into all three events is just £1,000, with those who qualify earning the chance to compete for millions of pounds in prize money on the main circuit, and take on the world’s best players. Prize money for the tour has gone up from £3.5million to over £6million within the past two years and is expected to go past £8million in the next year. 

A new Q School ranking list will also be introduced. Players will earn one point for every frame won. During the main tour season, should any of the tournament draws fall below a total entry of 96 (or 128 in 2013/14) then the field will be topped up to 96 or 128 with the highest ranked players from the Q-School list. 

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Q School was staged for the first time last year and we consider it the best and fairest way to give all players the chance to qualify for the tour. Rookies such as Sheffield’s Adam Duffy and China’s Li Yan came through the system, and both have since climbed quickly up the world rankings, so that shows what players can do if they have the talent and the dedication. 

“Snooker is rapidly becoming a global sport, with more tournaments, more prize money and more players. We are increasing the tour from 96 to 128 players in season 2013-14, so the opportunities to qualify for the main tour have increased dramatically. With the two-year exemption and increase in numbers on the tour, Q School could not give players a better chance to get on to the circuit and climb the rankings. 

“For anyone out there who believes they can be part of it and wants to give it their best shot – that’s what Q School is all about. It’s opportunity for all – which is what all sports should be about.” 

ONLINE ENTRY WILL BE AVAILABLE SHORTLY. Make sure you have log-in details for the online entry system. Just go to www.worldsnooker.com, look under New This Month on the home page and click ‘Online Entries’. 

The closing date for entries is March 23, 2012. All players are strongly advised to get their entry in as soon as possible to guarantee their place in Q School. 

Remember that the only way to get your Q-School entry PAID IN FULL is to have a crack at the Snookerbacker Classic. Both the winner and the runner-up in the tournament will receive Q-School entry. There are still places left in the final qualifying event in Essex. Email me at [email protected] for full details.

Galway Confirmed as PTC Grand Finals Venue

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:18 am

Following much speculation, it has been confirmed that Ireland will again host the finals of the Players Tour Championships in March. The event will again coincide with St Patrick’s Day and this time will be held in Galway.  

It will take place from March 14 to 18 at the Bailey Allen Hall which can accommodate 650 spectators for each of the sessions with the tickets for the event going on sale early in the New Year.

Councillor Niall McNelis has been instrumental in bringing the tournament to Galway city along with his brother Shay McNelis, who is full time events organiser and who was also involved in getting the event staged in Dublin last season when it was won by Shaun Murphy, who has missed out on the chance to defend his title this time around.

Players that will be there include Ronnie, Judd, Ding, Higgins, Robbo and Selby so there is no shortage of big names for the finale of this marathon series of events.

Cllr. McNelis revealed that Thailand and Malta were also on the shortlist to stage this tournament, but that the final nod was given to Galway in the end.

When asked for the reason why he thought that was, Niall displayed the Irish knack for blarney and said “I think the organisers wanted to hold the competition in Ireland to connect St. Patrick’s Day and the green baize we are just delighted that Galway was chosen as the venue.”

Yes, that’ll be the reason then.

The latest standings for the PTC Order of Merit are here with just the last 16 of PTC12 to be played in Munich in early January.

December 22, 2011

SB’s Christmas Message

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:49 am

A Classic Scene

It’s time to pack up the parchment and quill for a few days once again as this particular blogger has a bit of a rest from things and celebrates Christmas with family and friends in the time honoured way.

But not before I speak to my people, oh no. Well after all the Queen (gawd bless ‘er) does it, Cameron (gawd ‘ave mercy on ‘is rotten soul) does it, so why oh why can’t I? Well I can, as it’s my blog and my rules so whether you want to hear it or not here is my Christmas Message to you.

I have a dream………oh no hang on that’s been done.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen……..no, still not right, third time lucky. Here goes…

…It’s been quite a year on the baize and as a result, on the blog too. The heavy schedule has meant both an increase in posts and an increase in traffic to this particular corner of the blogosphere and I’m always mindful that this load of old rubbish wouldn’t be the relative success that it is without you taking the time to log on, either just to read or to join in and I am very grateful to you for continuing to do so in sufficient enough numbers to still make it worthwhile. The fact that despite only approaching the blogs second birthday, the hits are well into seven figures from all corners of the globe continues to astound me. Obviously a high percentage of those are just looking for soft German porn or pictures of a chimp in a suit, but a hit’s a hit.

As well as all the action on the table in the professional game, this year has also seen the beginning of my own tournament and I’m really pleased so far with how it has gone. The feedback from the players and the venue at Leeds was really positive and I hope the rest of the event is as much of a success and we see some cracking action from here on in. January sees me taking in Dublin before joining Mrs SB in Gloucester over the course of a long weekend. The final qualifying event in Essex is on 10th February, for which there are still places left, then the Finals Day at Gloucester a couple of weeks later when the first ever Snookerbacker Classic winner will be crowned.

Obviously, the betting side of things comes to the fore when the snooker is in play and I would like to thank the bookmakers that I am working with this year Boylesports and Apollobet for supporting the blog and taking us on with enhanced odds bets.

I’d also like to thank those companies that have contributed to the Snookerbacker Classic, in particular Amarya.co.uk , John Parrott Cuesports and Lake Creative Design, as well as the hosting venues for the event. A special word of thanks to Fin Ruane from the Crossguns in Dublin, who has been invaluable in helping me get that event off the ground at his fantastic club, if you haven’t read about my trip over there in October you can read it here. If you are in Ireland, there are a still a handful of places left in that one.

Another aspect of the blog that has taken me a bit by surprise is how widely it is read by the players themselves, as well as people closely involved in the sport. I hope that they will continue to take it in the spirit in which it is meant. My sometimes acerbic attempts at humour and observation won’t be loved by everyone of course but by and large the ribbing and general tomfoolery seems to have been accepted in a ‘it’s just that knob that writes that betting blog’ kind of a way. I must also thank World Snooker for letting me loose in the media centre at the main events, I think it does add something to the blog and from feedback I think this is something that readers like, even if it is just me rambling on about my substandard bed and breakfast accommodation.

So all in all it’s been a very busy second year. I firmly believe that snooker is moving in the right direction at the moment and hopefully this blog, in addition to Dave Hendon’s, Matt at Pro-Snooker and all the others that are too numerous to mention but are linked on the sidebar are all contributing to this in some way, shape or form. There is a thriving blogging community now within snooker as well as all the twits on Twitter of course and this can only be a good thing as it gets people talking and interested in both the sport and the players.

All that remains is for Mrs SB and myself to wish anyone that has read or contributed to the blog this year a very merry festive season and all the best for 2012. Hopefully, a few new features will spring up in the coming months as we approach the really busy part of the season.

Finally, if you are a TV snooker fan, why not make 2012 the year you go to a venue? Try and get to Sheffield if you can, you’ll love it.

All the Best

SB & Mrs SB  

December 20, 2011

SB Classic: Gloucester Draw

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:15 pm

Monday 30th January 2012

Kashif Khan v Andy Neck

Sydney Wilson v Antony Parsons

James Burrett v Martin O’Donnell

Marianne Williams v Gareth Allen

Sean Hopkin v Tom Doggett

Ryan Causton v Jack Morgan

Craig Scotford v Gary Weeks

Ricky Hong Chin v Ben Harrison

Nick Pearce v Ricky Norris

Kyren Wilson v Gavin Lewis

David Gray v Neal Jones

Marc Harman v Paul Mount

Jamie Clarke v Thomas Goldstein

Callum Lloyd v Brandon Winstone

Steve Winstone v Michael Wasley

Matthew Day v Phil O’Kane

My Snooker List for Santa

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:46 am

You got all that Fatty?

As we all know, Christmas is a time for stuffing your face with food, drinking too much, arguing with the family, receiving presents and getting angry if you get stuff that you don’t want.

This is why I think it’s very important that you make it abundantly clear to Santa Claus and the rest of the elves what it is that you want so as they don’t mess it up. So I have decided to make a list of what I do and don’t want in my Christmas sack this year.

Want

Top of the list is for the World Championship to be largely left alone: Bazza has been dropping hints that things might change, but they don’t need to. The World Championship is the one everyone looks forward to, your snooker fanatics and your once-a-year viewers know what they are getting and they like it. If tweaks are made I’d hope they wouldn’t affect the overall feel of the tournament at all. I like Dave Hendon’s suggestion of starting it on the Friday evening instead of the Saturday morning, I also think the semi-finals could be shortened a little to allow the finalists a bit of a breather before the main event. The sessions of the final itself should be two hours earlier than they are and they should let the fans sit in the front row instead of the suited and booted clueless penguins and blokes with chains around their necks that turn up for the free bar every year. Other than that, leave it alone.

Less frequent 147’s: The last few weeks have taken the sheen off what should be a great sporting achievement. OK, the players are playing more so they will be sharper, but tighten the pockets a bit, we’re not bloody stupid.

More Imaginative Walk-on Music: There are a few players that ‘get it’. The walk-on music should reflect the personality of the player, Robbo’s does, Judd’s does, Ding’s does, but some of the others simply choose a song that they like. Get with it boys, take more chances and be creative. Nobody wants to hear you walk out to some insipid wanky pop tune or some dull arse ballad from a distant cousin of James Blunt. Sort it out.

Less Moaning: It’s a job and a job that lots of people would strangle their own grandma for, I did and look where it got me? In any worthwhile career you should get back what you put in. If you aren’t putting in the graft you don’t deserve the reward, if you are, you do which leads me on to my next point….

Sort the PTC’S out: There are too many of them, they are too condensed and there isn’t enough prize money in the pot. I’m not in the business of telling Bazza how they should be run but if these three basic flaws are addressed we’ll all be happier.

Keep the UK Championships in York: Great city and I want to go again for the week next year. If that isn’t enough to persuade World Snooker I would like to inform them that Mrs Snookerbacker likes the vintage shops there. That should be enough for the contracts to be signed.

Look to Europe rather than China: I have nothing at all against China. Every Chinese person I have ever met has been courteous, well-mannered and friendly, in short everything that English people are not. But they have two ranking events as it is and there are untapped markets closer to home. The German Masters should be lengthened and given the prestige it deserves. Eastern Europe needs a decent ranking event. Why go to Brazil to play in a tent when we have these markets on our doorstep?

A Zhu-in for a Willie this season?

Give Australia another chance: For me this is the slow-burner worth sticking with. It’s the one place where we could see interest increasing. Aussies tend to love any sport that they have a realistic chance of having a winner in. They have that for the next decade or more in Neil Robertson, a player who is increasingly bringing the Aussie ‘win at all costs’ mentality to the sport. Stick with it, this one might just work.

A second coming for the blog Comments section: More readers, less comments. How does that work then? Twitter is great, but sometimes discussion in more than 140 characters is better. Come back to the comments section, we have a nice community on here.

More Ivy Zhu: The foxiest new referee on the baize. More, more, more.

A Professional Tour Card for the SB Classic winner: The tour is being expanded to 128 players. Surely for the next Snookerbacker Classic we could spare just the one? Come on World Snooker, you have my details, let’s talk turkey.

Don’t Want:

Any more Power Snooker: It’s shit beyond shit.

Players gagged on Twitter: OK, make some ground rules about offensive or bullying tweets, excessive swearing or just down right rudeness. But let’s not stop players showing their personalities. Sponsors worth their salt will know the score, personalities sell the game, give the players a chance to show them if they want to.

The BBC to treat their viewers like idiots: OK, studies show that at least 50% of the British public are stupid and this percentage increases when you drill down to people that like snooker. But there are levels of stupidity and currently a few of the BBC commentators talk to their audience like they have just hatched. It’s time to stop the weathered old catchphrases, nobody gives a shit where the cue ball is going anymore or could give a flying dog shite about who has just gone favourite for the frame. The odd anecdote doesn’t hurt anyone of course but try not to say the same one in every bloody session? More Hendry and Foulds, less Willie and JV, simple.

Snooker every week: Bazza supposedly wants a snooker tournament every week of the year somewhere in the world. Why? Saturation ruins sports, let’s keep the unique, special feel about the big events. Let’s not flog the game to death for the sake of it. Balance, that’s what is needed.

I think that’s about it. I’m sure there are other things that I have totally forgotten, so what would be on your want and don’t want lists this year?

December 19, 2011

Answers on a Postcard Christmas Bumper Special: Barry Hearn

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:00 pm

Just an ordinary Eastender

It’s time once again for the irregular interview slot ‘Answers on a Postcard’. This time it is actually more literal than most as the subject, World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn was actually on his holidays when the interview took place.

I should offer in advance my apologies to anyone who may be unfamiliar with Cockney terminology and I hope that this guide to the way people from London speak may help you a bit as you read through this bumper interview.

The piece gives a rare insight into the mind of a madman, I mean a man mad about new ideas and innovations. You will find out how Barry knows what pushes people’s buttons, his rules of engagement in the business world, the real truth about Steve Davis and ‘that slapper’ from Barnsley and what his real long term plans for the World Championship are.

Be warned, he pulls no punches and this is not for the faint hearted. But what else would you expect from Bazza? At least I think it was him, it’s hard to tell on Skype and during the interview one of his ‘people’ did refer to him as Mr Hagman. Whoever he is.

So Bazza, if I may call you that……

(interrupts) Listen son! You can call me anything you like but say it to my face. I don’t want no person calling me behind my back. I grew up in the East End of London. We were hard back then. Hard but fair. My best school mate’s mother had a client who used to go with another prossie whose milkman delivered to the Krays. We like straight talking, no nonsense. Pounds, Shillings and Pence. You got nothing for two in a bed except possibly the Andy McNabs and that’s the way I like it.

OK, Bazza I’m hearing you. I’ve been trying to get an interview with you for ages but you always seem to be busy, don’t you think at your age you should have a day off now and again?

Listen mee ol’ mucker. Age is a number and I’m top bananas with numbers, I’m a Chartered Accountant for gawds sake. Give me a number?.…..OK, double it..now you take a quarter and I’ll take the rest.…..see how this all works now son? See how easy it is? Age is just a number too. I have three hours sleep a night. I’ve lived two lives, so effectively I’m half my age. You do the sums, it don’t take no genius. I’m told that we’re in a recession and you’ve gotta look outside the box. Well, my box don’t have no inside, I don’t have no days off and I don’t expect nobody round me to have them neither.

I don’t want to go on too much about your age but with due respect, you’re no spring chicken. So how come an old geezer like you reckons he knows so much about what the kids want these days from their snooker then?

Listen me ol’ Cocker Spaniel, I’ve been in this game longer than any of these new saucepans. They don’t know what they want! I grew up with the game in mee blood. I was born with a piece of chalk in mee hand. My old mother gave birth to me on a bloody snooker table for crying out loud. Her waters broke when she was on the backswing of a tricky blue and I was delivered there and then by Safe Hands Lenny (who owed Mum a favour or two) on Table 13 at the Romford Billiard Hall in London. I popped mee head out down the end where the cheap colours get put back and I liked what I saw. I know what these nippers want cos I was one of them.

You say you want to make snooker more appealing, well, my new best mate Steve Davis says you have a little pond in your back yard and you take notes on all your fish, that’s not exactly exciting is it?

Listen me ol’ next best matey, it’s not a pond it’s a bleedin’ lake! That’s what it is and no mistake! It’s bigger than the old Thames for Christ sake! Davis hasn’t got a scooby. The fish are just the tip of the iceberg. I want all the players tagged and chipped before the start of the 2013/14 season. I want to know where they are, where they’re practicing, what they are moaning about and who they’re banging. I want to know the in’s and out’s of a ducks arse when it comes to them. I want to know where they’re getting the ducks from and what they’re doing to ‘em.

I can’t have them walking about talking to all and sundry giving it the Bertie Big Bollocks without me knowing about it. On the table, I want their heart rates beeping on the screen on the final black. I want stats on how often their little tea towel holders twitch in pressure situations. I want bookmakers laying the spread on Stephen Lee’s thrombo’s at the Crucible. Information is king these days and I want it as soon as it’s available, especially if I’m on a reckie to the Gold Coast or somewhere that’s breaking snookerwise.

Bazza pictured at his pond

I know that no players are allowed to have a bet these days and also that none of their friends, relatives, Facebook friends, Twitter followers or people that have actually seen them on TV are allowed to have a flutter neither, but it’s important that our Sponsors are looked after, just in case they should actually find a punter who is allowed to bet on our great game.

Now then Bazza, I reckon me and you are cut from the same cloth, we both speak our minds and tell it like it is, so come on give us your thoughts on all these whingeing players that just never stop moaning about everything and name a few names so that they’ll all get angry at you.

Listen mee ol’ baker boy. I ain’t got no gripe with no player. We’ve gotta look at the bigger picture. The world is where I see us in 5 years time. Not just Coleridge Road, even though that is part of the world I know. These young carpet grippers need passports and lessons in how to speak proper at press conferences. They need to learn other languages like Chinarin and Welsh so that when they go to these places they can talk at the locals. I’ve been checking out a few top class resorts, ermm, venues for this game. Places like Mauritius, Bali and The Seychelles, undiscovered markets, full of people with the pence. The ground work is being done here and now and it’s being done by yours truly. That’s why I’m dictating this from the pool at the Le Touessrok and not sitting in some poncy office in Bristol giving it large but producing nothing! I want an event on every second day of the year. I want qualifiers on Xmas day and shootouts on New Year’s Eve. If these adult toys are committed then they’ve got to be with me all the way, apart from the trips abroad.

I once saw you on telly and you said the phrase ‘Big Time Charlie Potatoes’ is he a friend of yours?

Listen mee ol’ china. Charlie’s a good geezer! He’d bash Quinten Hann and Mark King around the ring any day given half a chance. The potatoes scam was unfortunate. He’s learnt his lesson and he’s moved on. The video was a set up I know that and so does Charlie. There’s no way he’d have sold ‘em to Pringles. It’s still at the disciplinary stage but it don’t look good for ‘im and we are looking at a 5 or maybe 6 year ban from the game. So he’ll probably be out in time for this year’s Worlds if he comes clean.

Now then Bazza, you can’t go on ruining snooker forever and a lot of people reckon I should take over when you get bored and move onto your next hobby, so can I have a job with you?

Listen mee old Doughy Doughnut, I won’t be bored with this little number for at least 2 years or more, or maybe less as it’s a buyers market my son and you have to act fast to catch the monkeys. OK, so I’ve been seen entertaining the Chairman of the WKA (World Kabaddi Association) but it’s early days so don’t hold your breath. If there’s an opening one day for you then give me a tap on the shoulder and I’ll see what I can do. But I ain’t makin no promises, that ain’t my game you gotta listen to what the market tells you son, you learn that and you’ll make the monkeys, but not before I get there first with me barrow.

I have a lot of ideas Bazza and I’ve had one for a game called Coconut Snooker. All I need is a bit of backing and some money to buy coconuts and paint (Gloss, Dulux is my preference and there is an offer on at B&Q on the big tins), any chance you can help me out here as with it being Xmas I’m running a bit low on funds? 

Listen me old matey. That’s a fucking shit idea! I can’t go wanking away the hard earned on any old hair brained scheme that gets offered to me. Coconut hair or not, you’re gonna do your proverbials in on this one my son. You mark my words. It’s like I said to that Powder Snooker bunch. I said to them “You won’t have a pot to piss in lads by the end of this” but did they listen? Did they Fuck!

Look.. Listen .. No, Look, I listen to all ideas that are laid on my desk, but mine are the best by a fucking long chalk. That’s all you or I need to know son.

But if you can’t take no for an answer then I’m your man to promote it. You’ve come to the right place. That much I do know and now you know it too. I’ll do the commercial and image rights for the coconuts, shampoo commercials for the hair. I’ll set up the TV contracts with Eurosport and arrange a site meeting at the Shy Arena. We go halves on the whole shebang and caboodle. Straight down the middle 75/25, the old fashioned way. Mark my words by the end of this we’ll have a lovely bunch of coconuts. It’s a fantastic idea, let’s get down to business.

Likely Lads, but is it the real Nugget?

Steve Davis made you loads of dosh didn’t he? You didn’t even have to do anything except count it all, money for old rope – respect for that. Anyway, I interviewed him recently and told him that this was the only reason that you liked him, he got a bit upset but it’s true isn’t it?

Listen me ol’ Brown Noser, we go back a long ways me and the Ginger Magician. Longer than the Krays. It was Davis who invented snooker in the 1920’s. I thought he would have looked a bit older when I first met him but anyway I liked him immediately. I liked him cos he did what I told him to do and he didn’t stick his oar in. Ok, so he had no mind of his own but that was a good thing in a way, in every way. He was knocking the crap out of the old bowtie brigade at the time and I was telling anybody who’d listen that he had the biggest gonads out there. The best thing was that all the other players fell for it!

Next thing I knew we had a monster on our hands. He became World Champ and the old Dog and Bone never stopped ringing. He was working 24. 7. 365. But I knew we could do more. I put 2 and 2 together and came up with a million. We got a top defective Russian scientist on it. He was a genius, at one stage there were 5 Davis automatons out there maximizing his image rights and earning potential. We’d hit the jackpot. We were the Dogs and we were living it large. We won two events on the same day during the 80’s, one in Sydney near Australia and the other in Oldham somewhere past Milton Keynes. It was great. I had one robot picking up some medal from the Queen of England while another was doing an exhibition at the Romford United Services Club. We were raking it in.

Then a bloody tragedy happened. One of them started to get a mind of its own and was caught with some old slapper in a B&B in Barnsley. She blubbed and it got in the News of the Screws. The real Davis had been at home all week but when his missus read it she went ballistic. Apparently the robot had short circuited and nailed the floosie seven times before the motherboard crashed. It was the beginning of the end. The other robots got wind of it and wanted in, so to speak. Before long they’d all gone on strike and started hanging around Stringfellows and the like which left the real Davis holding the fort. Poor ginger bastard was clocking up mileage by the mile. He did OK for a while, knocked in a 147 in the Mercantile Credit Classic in Warrington and in between shots was doing a book signing session in Telford Shopping Centre but something had to give. In the end it was his long shots that suffered. That was the only reason that young Sweaty overtook him in the rankings.

Not sure what happened to the other robots. I think one does commentary for Iranian Sports and another was spotted recently playing in a Poker event in Vegas. I don’t know if any of them play snooker anymore but the door is always open, if they pay their money then they can play in the PTC’s and enter the Q School. Nobody is barred not even women. The only problem is that I was told they mustn’t meet the real Davis, something about space time continuum or just bad luck as the scientist sort of explained.

Walter: Currently Dead.

Right, I’ve got a mate on Twitter called Walter Donaldson, he’s dead at the moment but he seems to know his stuff. He reckons that all matches should be a minimum of best of 155 frames, what are your thoughts on that?

Listen mee old Famous Grouser. These people are living in the past. We can’t give protection to these established players forever, apart from Davis and even he’s on borrowed. What I want is ranking points rewarded for winning shorter matches not longer ones! That way they can play in more events and win more ranking points. And what do points mean? Prizes! Points Prizes, enough said. I reckon by 2014/15 we can do away with money completely, that’s the aim. We’ve upped the prize money from £3.50 2 years ago to over £7.05 this year in real terms and I want to see it get to £10.00 before inflation and before I get my bus pass. When it does we can then start converting this prize money directly to ranking points and then I think you’ll find that worries about the length of matches will be a thing of the past. Shorter and faster with less emphasis on prizes and more on points, that’s all your mate Wally needs to know at this stage.

Is it true that part of your long term plan is to shorten the World Championship by 16 days?

Look … Listen mee old Tree Logger. The game is evolving.  Yes, it would be good if we could have it done and dusted within a day. Then we could have another World Championships the very next day. We could have 17 World Champions every year, that’s nearly 100 every 5 years, you do the sums and double it, it’s a no brainer as all of them will have ranking points coming out of their ears.

But more important than that, we need refs to stop putting the balls back on the table once the new kids on the Michaela (Strachan) have walloped ‘em in a gap. I’m actually thinkin’ that the game would be better if we do away with the reds on the table completely. Look how long some of ‘em take to get rid of em all?  Also, there’s not enough gaps cut into the bumpy parts of the table. This is something that has to be addressed. We need more gaps and also sponsored gaps nearer the balls. Remember, we have to keep the sponsors happy and give them value for their bunce. So I’m bringing in an innovation, I’m making the revolutionary decision next season to put holes in the cloth. That way even if the balls don’t reach the gaps they might fall down a hole somewhere and we’re shut of ‘em, no replacing, no refs, just good old school stuff, hard and fair, straight and true and what your man on the street wants to watch with his pie and mash supper after a day at the factory. We’ve also gotta make it harder for the top players to win. It’s no good seeing the same tired old boats at every event threatening to retire and then they don’t. We’ve gotta keep ‘em all hungry. We need players who say that they are not going to retire and then they do. The papers have their story, the sponsors are sweet as peas and we can all move on. We need new blood in the game not another wave of UK players. OK, the boy Trump will be getting full points win or lose but the rest of ‘em will have to sing for their supper. And winning is not gonna be enough.  So next season all the top 34 UK players are not gonna be allowed to have the leathery bit on the pointy end of their sticks.

Talking of innovations Bazza, we all thought Power Snooker was shit, but what did you think? And I’m really good at spotting liars.

Listen mee ol’ Fridge! … Was it Power? Thought it was Powder? Anyway.

It was OK I suppose, the players got loads of ranking points apart from the Rocket who allegedly bucked the current trend and took the money but I think they missed a trick by not having a dartboard in the shot on the overhead camera. They should have hired a couple of the Legends of Darts who could have thrown a couple of rounds or two, like Phil “The Power” (which was a no brainer for me) and the other one who’s shagging that football presenter.

Look….Listen. It’s no good wasting all that music, dry ice and dolly birds with big tits on a snooker event if only for the fact that the players and the audience are all bloody sober, which means that you’ve gotta hire better looking birds and that comes off your bottom line. It’s just bad business.

It gets on my nerves when people say there are no characters in the game anymore, what about JP, The Nugget, Dennis, JV, Jimmy, Cliff and Willie? They don’t know what they are on about do they as they are all characters?

Listen mee ol’ Butterscoth Biscuit. You ain’t got a fucking clue what you’re on about. That’s exactly what I’ve been saying. We’ve gotta educate these little shits that it’s not just about getting the balls in the gaps. It’s about being a personality. Jimmy Cliff was a great example. He didn’t just stick to snooker, he was a top notch throat warbler as well. The sooner these spoilt brats wise up and realise that they should stop wasting their time day after day rehearsing all the snooker poses and get a proper job, the sooner I will be able to find ‘em work off the table, which is where they need to be.

I had a chat with a couple of my pals and I reckon you should bring Indoor League back to our screens, what d’ya say? Go on, you turn your hand to any old shite so this should be a piece of cake?

Look … Listen mee ol’ mucker. I can’t say much on this subject as I’m currently taking legal action against the WBBA (World Bar Billiards Association) for plaguerism or something like that. My brief is currently tied up with “Potatoes” and the chippy in Bournemouth but in a nutshell the WBBA have trod on my patch. OK, I’ll give em the mushrooms, that was a nifty idea that I haven’t thought of yet, but my lawyer says they’ll be blowing bubbles up their arse just like the Hammers will be after he’s finished with ‘em. That’s good enough for me.

Bazza aint got time for Xmas

My mate Steve Davis said he thought the shot clock was ‘fucking shit’ live on the BBC, are you going to fine him?

Listen mee ol’ barebacker, if it wasn’t for the shot clock, Davis would still be attempting the break off in the 2008 premier league, that’s the one where I gave him a loyalty points wildcard. He’s entitled to his opinion but the boy’s got shit for brains. I’m not actually sure he’s the real one to be honest. Some days he doesn’t seem as boring as I remember him and also the crowds clap and sometimes even want him to win when he walks out instead of booing.

Anyway, this shot clock, we need faster shots not slower ones. I’ve got unfinished business with this game and I haven’t got long before my boy Eddie takes over the Matchroom business and sends me to that home he keeps showing me the brochures for. Admittedly it’s a nice place; we’ve been there for a day visit just to check out the seating arrangements and perimeter boards. It’s got Eurosport so I don’t have to listen to Willie Thorne rabbit on about flat back packs and drawers and every credit under the sun, but in all honesty I like it where I am here in Romford in London. I don’t want to resign just yet. Actually, thinking about it, I can’t resign… I own the company.

Well, I think that’s all I have time for Bazza, I’d just like to wish you a Merry Xmas on behalf of the readers and myself. 

Let me tell you something about Xmas mee ol’sack rustler. It’s for kids, it’s for wimps and it’s not what I’m in this business for. I’m here to talk about points and prizes, not presents and pheasants. If you want your Xmas you go and have it, but you ain’t hoppin on the gravy boat with me once you’ve finished with your chestnuts, I’ll be long gone by then son, mark my words.

And as quickly as he appeared on the screen he was gone, no doubt off to broker another deal on another corner of the globe. Good old Bazza.

PTC11 Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:15 am

It’s Finals Day in Sheffield for PTC11 and it sees the likes of Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Matthew Stevens and Stephen Maguire competing for the penultimate event in this marathon series.

The Team SB colours are on show with UK Champ Judd flying the flag and Finals Day stalwart Graeme Dott attempting to win his first ever event. It’s a big day of course for fans of Ronnie, two wins for Dark Mavis will see him dumped out of the top 16, so all eyes will be on his opener against Mags. For all things ranking and an excellent simplified explanation of what can happen today and in PTC12, Matt’s you man here.

Oh yes, Jamie Cope hit another maximum yesterday……………….

Last 16 (9am UK Time)

Stephen Maguire 0-4 Mark Davis
Ding Junhui 3-4 Anthony Hamilton
Martin Gould 4-0 Simon Bedford
Michael Holt 4-1 Matthew Stevens
Mark Selby 0-4 Graeme Dott
Ricky Walden 4-2 Sam Craigie
Tom Ford 4-0 Yu Delu
Jamie Cope 0-4 Judd Trump

Quarter Finals

 Davis 3-4 Hamilton (Ronnie stays in the top 16 unless Walden wins PTC12)

Gould 4-2 Holt

Dott 4-1 Walden

Ford 4-1 Trump

Semi Finals

Hamilton 3-4 Gould

Dott 0-4 Ford

Final

MARIN GOULD 3-4 TOM FORD

In terms of an early bet I’d side with a 2 point double on Gould and Maguire which pays almost bang on Evens to start things off.

As ever Apollobet will be pricing up the matches throughout the day.

Click here to view the prices at Apollobet and click the banner below to take advantage of their opening offer to new customers.


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