January 22, 2012

The Masters Final

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:41 am

I can buy the bank job but not the Robbo story

On the original preview to this tournament I listed 11 ‘greats’. Players who have won both the Masters and been World Champion, well today a 12th will join this elite group as former World Champions Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson contest what is for both of them, their first Masters final.

So how did they get there yesterday? Well Robbo produced what can only be described as perfect match snooker and displayed again that he is becoming a master at playing the player rather than the table. The first frame demonstrated this perfectly as the Aussie doggedly made sure that every colour at some point was glued to the cushion. Fantastic stuff. Judd easily became frustrated as the pundits in the bubble tried to tell us that Neil ‘didn’t have a game plan’, they then went on to claim that Elvis is alive and well and living in Stoke-on-Trent.

As Judd said afterwards, he has to lose sometimes and he was soundly beaten, he also claimed that he would have won easily if he had played his best, which is always a pretty gormless thing to say. But overall Judd took it on the chin and continues to believe that Robbo is slow, which he isn’t really.

But however daft Judd’s comments were they were surpassed in strides by his hapless supporters. The ‘Gormless Twits of the Day’ award was shared between his mates, who quite frankly made total bellends of themselves before, during and after the match. There was talk of getting ready to ‘intimidate’ the statuesque and unintimidatable Aussie by some bloke who appears to be turning into the Paul Ross of the snooker circuit and who soon will doubtless be appearing on a third rate celebrity reality TV show to cries of ‘who the fuck is he?’ from the watching hundreds. But Judd’s out now so they will all have to put up with a day on the swings and that scary climbing frame today, followed by a bag of sherbet lemons and a fizzy drink before beddy-bo-byes time at 7.30. No tears now little ones, it’s time to turn the lights out.

Robbo as ever rose above these childish methods and gave a gracious and generous assessment of the match and his opponent. I think he is probably not alone in believing that Judd needs to have a think about who he takes with him on his road to wealth and riches as sometimes people can make judgements about you from the company you keep. Judd is a really decent lad and fantastic for the sport, it’s great that he says what he thinks, he just needs to make sure it is what he thinks and not what his hangers-on do, he should also not leave people in charge of his mobile phone while he’s playing. It’s time to ditch the freeloaders, they’ve had their 15 minutes of fame now.

Once all that nonsense died down it was time to return to the baize and a fine performance from Shaun Murphy put John Higgins out. Three century breaks from Smurf helped shake off the dogged Scot who battled and battled and was within a ball in the end of forcing the decider, but he missed the pink, left it over the pocket and that was that.

Afterwards Smurf expressed how happy he was with his performance but decided to not match Robbo’s offer of buying a pint for any supporters he might get in the final. He did rather overestimate how many this might be when claiming that he’d buy a large coke with 1500 straws I’m sure 20 or so would do, if there are any more they could just use a rolled up five pound note to sniff up what was left. What is it with snooker players and drugs lately? It’s like Trainspotting this week with all the substances flying around, a sad state of affairs which Bazza so far has been TOO SLOW to act on. Lives are at stake here, we don’t want them going all Amy Winehouse on us.

Anyway, they meet today to see who wins a whopping £150,000 from the sponsors. Let’s hope it’s a great match that doesn’t go on too late given the daft decision to start the final session at 8pm.

Who'll be sitting down the most today?

The Final: Neil Robertson v Shaun Murphy (Head to Head 7-5) 

One of my favourite Blackadder quotes happens in an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth where Captain Blackadder and General Melchett are discussing tactics to win the latest battle. Blackadder correctly guesses that the latest ruse from the hopeless General is to do the same thing that they have done 18 times before to which Melchett roars excitedly:

‘E-e-exactly! And that is what is so brilliant about it. It will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard. Doing exactly what we’ve done eighteen times before will be the last thing they expect us to do this time.’   

Why am I telling you this in the middle of a snooker preview? Well, because Neil Robertson has never lost in a final as a professional. He has played in nine of them and he’s won every single one. This run started in 2006 with a defeat of Jamie Cope in the Grand Prix and runs right up to a defeat of Judd Trump in PTC8 in October.

So why should we have any reason at all to think that this one might be any different? Why would Neil not simply stick to Melchett’s plan of doing the same thing again?

Murphy has been fantastic in spells this week and I’m sure will have that ‘greats’ list stored somewhere in the back of his mind. The fact that he is also a UK Champion would further cement his ranking when the baize history books are written as one of the real winners in the game, will be an added incentive to win. This kind of thing means a lot to Shaun who often states that he was born in the wrong era and yearns for simpler, more polite times. Though he does often say that he’d like to have lived in the 1930’s, not quite grasping that this was the bleakest decade of the last century with the Great Depression and people dying in the streets.

So who is going to win then? Well in terms of a bet I don’t need one on the match as Robbo was recommended at 10/1 in the original preview and the saving was done on Murphy yesterday before his win over Higgins. Mrs SB has also staked her £5 on Murphy at the beginning and is looking forward to a nice hairdo courtesy of her favourite player. I marginally favour Robertson but think it will be tight. For anyone looking at a correct score for a bit of interest I’d probably plump for 10-8 to the Aussie at around 8/1. But personally, I just hope it’s a good match and will be sitting there enjoying it and no doubt taking the mickey out of the commentators on Twitter. I wonder if Patsy Fagan will be watching?

Hope you have had an enjoyable week and thanks for visiting the blog. There is Championship League action tomorrow before the madness and mayhem of the Sky Shootout gets underway on Friday. Boyles have prices on it, 16/1 the field, click the banner below to open an account with them and get your bets on. 

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