We are one round closer to finding out who will be in the starting line up at York in under a fortnight and Wednesday sees the likes of Jimmy White, Alan McManus, Rod Lawler and Barry Pinches take on those who came through Day 1.
As I write we are nearing the end of the afternoon session of the first day and if Liam Highfield hangs on to beat Ben Judge without Judge winning three more frames (it’s currently 4-1 to Highfield) that would constitute a winning start to the week.
Given that the bookies can be a little slow in pricing these up it’s probably best that I do the previews this week in stages, starting with the morning session of Day 2 and updating the afternoon and evening sessions at the appropriate times.
I’ve flagged up which matches are live streamed in each session below.
Andy Hicks 6-2 Daniel Wells (147 FOR HICKS)
Jimmy White 5-6 Pankaj Advani (Live Stream)
Aditya Mehta 4-6 Chen Zhe (Live Stream)
Alan McManus 2-6 Tian Pengfei
Adam Duffy 6-2 Fraser Patrick
Peter Lines 4-6 Luca Brecel
Experienced pro Andy Hicks is up against Daniel Wells who scored a confidence boosting win over David Grace on Day 1. Wells will take a great deal of heart from that and it may signal him starting to win a few more, but Hicks is still a very decent player who can scrap but also still score heavily, Wells will have to up his game again to carry on the run. For me, the bet of the session at the odds has to be Pankaj Advani to beat Jimmy White, nostalgic fans like me will be kind of hoping for a Jimmy win as the winner will face the Nugget, but the price on India’s billiards star Advani is too good to refuse given his form of late, if he doesn’t let the occasion get to him and why would he, I’d actually make him favourite for this match. His fellow countryman Aditya Mehta is a hugely impressive player and has a very cool head, what I can only describe as a soothing way about the table and an unflappable cue action. He faces Chen Zhe who coasted to victory on Day 1, I’ll admit to not knowing a great deal about Chen but Mehta is a player I am happy to trust at this level, he’s going places in my opinion and has an attitude that a lot of other players should be looking at very closely. I continue to have blinkers where betting for or against Tian Pengfei is concerned but he’s got the talent and is good enough to beat Alan McManus, again Angles is favourite but this could easily be a comfortable victory for the Chinese player, I’ll take a chance that he’s up for it this week. Fraser Patrick continues to be underrated and I’m guessing that’s how he likes it. He faces Judd’s pal Adam Duffy who’s currently making a habit of losing a little more often than he was last season and has only won 2 from his last 15 starts. Again, I’d be happy to give the Scottish player a chance there at decent odds. Finally, Luca Brecel returns to face Peter Lines and he can expect a very different game than his one today and less chances than he was given by Scott Donaldson, who must be a little shell-shocked by the way Luca played in the last three frames from 3-5 down, he basically didn’t miss though Scott did have two chances in the last but had clearly gone by that point. Brecel is improving at a rate of knots and despite Peter’s experience and technical nouse, this boy might be on a roll this week, but the bookies have cottoned on and there is no value there in my view.
Selections: Hicks, Advani, Mehta, Pengfei, Patrick, Brecel.
Recommended Bets: 1 point treble on Advani (+2.5), Pengfei (+2.5) and Patrick (+2.5) at just on 10/3 with Apollobet. 2×1 point singles and a 1 point double on Advani (6/5) and Pengfei (11/10) at Apollobet. 1 point win on Patrick at 9/4 with the same firm.
James Wattana v Jamie O’Neill (Live Stream)
Jimmy Robertson v Michael Wasley
Barry Pinches v Thepchayia Un-Nooh (Live Stream)
Cao Yupeng v Liam Highfield
Kurt Maflin v Ian Burns
Thailand’s James Wattana faces yesterday’s impressive winner Jamie O’Neill, James is notoriously difficult to beat at this stage of events and only seldomly loses his first match in anything, though he did lose 6-5 (surprisingly….) to fellow Thai Un-Nooh in his first match for Shanghai, but he’s pretty solid is James and I’d expect him to come through here. Pink stablemates Michael Wasley and Jimmy Robertson meet up and Wasley has been impressing of late and seems to be revelling in his pro-status, he’s beaten Jimmy in a decider on their only previous meeting and this one might again be very close, I’ll take history to repeat itself and Wazza to win a tight one, he’s a decent price for me in what I consider a coin-toss. Barry Pinches halted a poor run of form by beating Mark King at the PTC last week before losing to John Higgins, he faces Un-Nooh who came through a decider against fellow Thai Suwannawat yesterday, bit of a pattern there in itself. Whilst Un-Nooh and his opponent were awful in spells yesterday he turned it on at the end and I think he might surprise Barry here, who hasn’t been at his best lately. Cao Yupeng is a player I rate highly and he faces Liam Highfield who did us a favour yesterday, I think Yupeng is the better player and he is also the more experienced of the two so he has to be the confident selection here. Ian Burns started well yesterday and is another player that is taking to the professional game very well, he’s solid, keeps it tight and that may frustrate his opponent Kurt Maflin who is generally either brilliant or terrible with very little in between, but on balance it’s one to leave alone for me.
Selections: Wattana, Wasley, Un-Nooh, Yupeng, Burns.
Rod Lawler 6-5 Dechawat Poomjaeng
Yu De Lu 6-4 Paul S Davison
Anthony McGill 6-2 Zhang Anda
Alfie Burden 5-6 Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon
Mike Dunn 4-6 Craig Steadman
The big ‘talking match’ in snooker circles tonight will be the one between Craig Steadman and Mike Dunn. Just two weeks ago Dunny proclaimed that there was no way he would lose his first qualifying match such was his form on the practice table. Since then his tweets have been more downbeat, having been struck by a virus that by the sounds of it has knocked him for six, today he has said he just wants to get the match done with without throwing up. Steadman was 6/5 earlier today, that went quickly as have the match odds at Hills, he’s still 5/6 at Bet 365 and we’d be silly not to get on, not just because of the information above but in view of Dunn’s huge losing streak of late. With most gambling eyes on that we could miss other goodies though a quick look at the prices doesn’t give a great deal of cheer. I think Rod Lawler’s recent form is enough to suggest that he’ll take care of his Thai opponent, Rod beat him 10-8 in the World Championship qualifiers last season. There isn’t a great deal of value in two other favourites that I’d expect to come through in Alfie Burden and Anthony McGill, both in my view some way better than their Asian opponents. Yu Delu has beaten Paul Davison on their only previous meeting but Davison is no pushover and is stringing together some decent results lately, I’ll go for the outsider in that one for a bit of value.
Selections: Lawler, Davison, McGill, Burden, Steadman.
Recommended Bets: 3 points on Steadman at 5/6 with Bet 365. 1 point treble on Lawler, McGill and Burden pays almost 10/3 at William Hills. 1 point on Davison at 5/4 with Bet 365.