December 30, 2012

Back to the Future

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:27 pm

The new year period usually finds me in reflective, sometimes mistaken for grumpy mood and it’s a time when I like to take a look back at what the last twelve months have or have not delivered as hoped for, as the case may be.

On a personal basis I’d give it a B+, as ever I continue to be racked with self-doubt, guilt at not being a vegan or at least a vegetarian and worries that I might have said the wrong thing to someone that I shouldn’t have once or twice. The death of my 15 year old spaniel friend in June was also a particular lowpoint, however inevitable it was, the poor little fella.

These are somewhat counter-balanced with having a largely happy home life, a beautiful and very patient wife, with caring for two lovely dogs including a newly rescued greyhound who might otherwise have been somewhere else entirely due to the savagery of this particular ‘sporting’ industry, the fact that my mum still thinks I’m a nice person and the friends I have made as a result of this blog, all of whom it is a pleasure to know most of the time.

From a blogging point of view the reflections are no different, there are things that I’ve been really pleased with and other things that I would rather have gone differently. It’s also a chance to look at the highlights of the snooker year and look ahead to what is in store for the rest of the season and beyond, both on the table and from a bloggers point of view.

Bloggers are an odd sort and the one that I think I have the most in common with when it comes to ‘bloggers woes’ is Matt at Pro-Snooker Blog who does annual awards each year and is very thorough as ever in completing this task. You can vote in all the categories and he uses this fully democratic system to determine the winners. As for me, this is where we differ slightly, I reckon democracy is an overrated system so I prefer to just say what I think have been the highlights of 2012 and if you don’t like what I decide, well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles really isn’t it? You can’t do anything about it so don’t moan at me about it, ok?

My player of the last twelve months if it were to go on the performance of the year would have to be the boy O’Sullivan for his often flawless snooker at the Crucible, I can’t remember another world championship which had such a feeling of inevitability about it from so early on, I’d argue as early as the second session against MJW in round two. It truly illustrated just how far ahead Ronnie is of all the other players when he’s in the right place, he is in a league of his own.

Judd’s had a good year too of course, winning the International Championship being the highlight for him as well as being World Number 1 for a couple of weeks, which he spent partying and celebrating before boring old Selby got it back again. But for me the player that has been the most consistent and the hardest working who has really made 2012 ‘his year’ is Stuart Bingham, so I am going to give my vote to him. I’m not a fan of the Premier League as you know but he took the big cash chance that was offered to him with both hands and has made the effort to make every tournament around the globe and reaped the rewards for it, also scoring a 147 in Wuxi and winning a couple of APTC’s, quite a year and I say good on him.

I’m not going to go through all the categories Matt does but for me the most improved player has to be Dark Mavis. OK, his ranking might not have changed too much like say, Michael White who is climbing faster than a twelve year old in a Jim’ll Fix It ladder challenge, but the increase in events has definitely shown in his results and performances, culminating in his spectacular victory over John Higgins in York, quite something for a player that did sometimes (well, all the time) underperform when the heat was on, he should still embrace the nickname though, it’s his big chance to stand out.

Best match? No question at all for me was Ali Carter v Judd Trump in the World Championship. Arguably because I had a ringside seat for all of it, was close enough to hear the thoughts of Mr Carter (for my ears only) when things weren’t going his way and witness one piece of physical contact between the two that the TV cameras seemed to miss. In short it was a bad tempered affair, full of twists and turns and mind games and I bloody loved every minute of it, it was the highlight of the professional season by a mile for me and a reminder of how dramatic snooker at the Crucible can be.

The high point of my own personal involvement in snooker in 2012 was undoubtedly the crowning of Martin O’Donnell as the first Snookerbacker Classic Champion and his subsequent qualification from Q-School onto the main tour (my emotional reaction to that is here). He was playing Judd on the telly a few weeks ago, how good is that? Martin’s progress being recently followed by the news that Allan Taylor will be joining him next season is great news all round for two top blokes with a sense of humour second and third only to my own. I’m also encouraged that the tournament wot I thought of has been so well received this season and we both look forward to crowning a new champ in February, although we haven’t bought the crown yet.

My favourite tournament of the year is a tougher one, the World Championship was great but wasn’t the occasion I had experienced the previous year (too wet) and the UK a couple of weeks back was for me a little flat too (too cold), but I was suffering from an infection at the time so that did somewhat dent the enjoyment (too grumpy). I really enjoyed the first ever International Championship though I wish they would just bin the bloody wildcards now as it’s giving me high blood pressure. I also again enjoyed last season’s German Masters and Masters, Robbo’s win probably being for me the culmination of the best tournament of the year, though of course the best final for entertainment was the Higgins/Trump almost exhibition-like showcase in Shanghai.

There have also been a number of disappointments, Ronnie’s antics and decisions have taken the game’s only truly global star from the sport and I for one think we might not see him again despite the changes to the ranking list which undoubtedly suit a player who likes to pick and choose. I’m really not sure his heart is in it anymore, but I am there to be proven wrong as ever.

I’ll miss his smiling face.

It was sad to see that Scottish bloke Hendry retire too, but for a player with as much pride as him I can understand it, at least he went out with a bang with the 147 at the Crucible, which I famously and carelessly left the media seats a frame too early for and missed while that hanger-on Matt was clapping along, I must unfollow him on Twitter after writing this, been meaning to for ages.

It’s always sad when betting scandals are in the news too, Joe Jogia and Stephen Lee have had better years, well Lee has anyway, and whatever the truth in the matters concerning them, hooky betting patterns in a sport that relies heavily on the gambling industry is never good news. I’ve heard very strong whispers of another match involving an amateur player in the PTC’s, I’ll not be so polite as to not reveal it in the future if his name crops up again.

The PTC’s have been a bit of a mixed bag, some excellent (usually the European ones) some not so (ermm, Scotland). It’s also a great shame that the South West Snooker Academy are not hosting them anymore, particularly the Kay Suzanne Memorial Trophy which added character and a bit of difference to a series of events that do sometimes have the feeling of conveyer belt tournaments with relatively little at stake and no real interest outside of the hardcore snooker and betting community.

In terms of the blog and blogging in general, I’ll not lie and say that the increase in events has really hit the spot with me as a blogger, because it hasn’t and I am not and never have been a fan of saturation coverage of sport as I like to have a life now and again.

This is partly the reason I made the post the other day hinting at stopping the blog after Sheffield, which this year I am choosing not to attend for a number of reasons. I can’t thank people enough for their emails and direct messages asking me not to stop blogging, but some things will change that’s for sure, they will have to as I’m beginning to lose interest in events that I would have been bang up for two seasons ago because I’m having to devote time to qualifiers for an event in Bongo Bongo land that’s three months off. If that isn’t obvious from the coverage I have been giving so far it soon will be.

The future of the blog will also depend on negotiations over the coming months with potential partner bookmakers for next season and getting a deal which will be good for me and for them, but whatever happens this tripe will continue to exist in some format or other and I hope to grow the Snookerbacker Classic alongside it as this still gives me a lot of enjoyment. A new amateur Tour perhaps, who knows?

To summarise, whilst I firmly believe that snooker is on the up, particularly in Europe, my five new year wishes list for Bazza would be (in no particular order apart from the top one and maybe the bottom one, or either or, just pick one):

1. Get rid of wildcards in the Chinese events, please Baz, the doctor says it’s essential to my recovery and I have had a second opinion.

2. Pay players prize money for every match they win in a World Snooker event and stop being a stingy bastard.

3. Take a really good look at the congested calendar and stop putting the Premier League fixtures in front of everything else, it’s always been shite and Ronnie doesn’t even want to play in it now.

4. Don’t move the World Championship to China or consider moving it there for the next 600 years. Move it to Germany if you have to but don’t start fiddling with the format.

5. Write it into Dark Mavis’s (Mark Davis) player contract that he is to be referred to as Dark Mavis from henceforth and pay me a decent royalty for coming up with it. Oh and The Ferginator is good too but he doesn’t make as many venues, if he does, that’s wish numero sixo.

So what are your highs and lows from 2012? What would you like to see change? What are your five wishes to Bazza? How much do you love this blog and not want it to stop? (in no particular order of importance).

December 28, 2012

The Month Ahead on the Baize: January

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:05 pm

That’s the best I can do.

Whatever those crazy christians tell you, christmas is now over and we approach that quite hideous time at the end of the year when everyone dons fake and misplaced optimism and forced cheer toward their fellow man and woman to wish them all the very best for the next 52 weeks. Once again, with the inevitability of a dose of the galloping shites after a night out on the beer and curry with the boys, new year’s eve is almost upon us.  

My new year’s resolution is simple and will be achieved effortlessly within a couple of hours, it is to wish absolutely nobody a happy new year. I mean, who would want to be happy for a whole year anyway? As human beings it is our duty to feel a mix of emotions to help the world go round. We should rightly feel like killing people or at least wishing them serious harm when they take too long at cashpoint machines or supermarket checkouts, without any unnecessary feelings of guilt creeping in. We should reserve the right to laugh and poke fun at other people’s misfortunes, particularly if these people in your view deserve it. Furthermore, we should not just be nice for the sake of it, this rule applies especially to people who have appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show, either in the audience or god forbid as a toothless chavvy guest. They do not deserve your cheer toward them and never will.

The best we can hope for in reality is that a decent chunk of the year can be lived happily and contentedly, that not too many things piss you off so much as to make you ultimately despair of humankind; that animals are well treated and that the living things that are most precious to you remain safe and in tact, or at least in contact. So for almost all of my readers (not the one that once wished me dead in a house fire in my imaginary wheelchair while I looked for my ‘benefit book’ eh? or that really angry guy who gambles his pocket money on things that sometimes lose because I force him to bet on them by wickedly writing it down on here), I wish this sentiment as we move into another week on the planet we inhabit temporarily without really paying the proper rental value.

Anyway, long after resolutions are broken we are back on the baize. January 4th-6th sees the conclusion of the final PTC event of the season in Munich. This you may, or probably don’t remember as I struggled, played down to the last 32 in November with the final line up in Germany in front of the Eurosport cameras to kick off 2013, the draw for the final stages which features surprisingly few top 16 players is here.

It’s then time for the first visit of the season to Crondon Park for the bookies benevolent fund that is the Championship League. For those unfamiliar with this tournament it’s an event mainly played out for the benefit of the bookies coffers with no crowd, a bit like the recent Ravenscraig PTC in Scotland except this time it’s planned like that. It will be covered by the bookies on their live-streams and despite it’s quirkiness, prize money that cannot be sniffed at, huge armchairs and (I am told) legendary Crondon Park breakfasts, it’s not an event that I can get particularly excited about as I once did, given the amount of snooker currently being played and the fact that it’s part of the Premier League, which for me has been given too much importance on the current calendar leading to congestion at other times of the season for more worthy events.

As if to prove this we again have four days of qualifiers for the China Open (which isn’t actually played until late March) leading up to one of the blue riband events of the season, the Masters from Alexandra Palace in London. There isn’t a snooker fan alive or possibly even recently dead who doesn’t or didn’t look forward to this event and I personally hope it’s a little more exciting than the UK Championship which, with due respect to the winner and runner-up failed to live up to the previous year when Judd Trump won it in some style. The draw and format for this annual one table only winter warmer is here and there will be a full preview up on the blog very soon.

During the Masters, on the 17th to be precise, the blog also celebrates 3 years of existence, which will hopefully be more than the BBC TV ‘comedy’ show ‘Miranda’ which I was forced to watch the other day. An arsewipe of a show which celebrates how unfunny some women can be when they put their mind to it, thankfully to redress the sexual balance the men have Michael McIntyre, the very epitome of humour equality and unchauvinistic shit. The unfathomable number of people (I use the term loosely) that watch this form of entertainment can therefore continue, much like the numbers that persevere in reading this tripe, which I will just say to all now will be considering it’s future after the World Championship, with a mind to close down. Sorry.

It’s then back to Crondon Park for another four days before this season’s Snookerbacker Classic crosses over to Dublin for the next qualifying heat at the Crossguns to find the seventh finalist to join Oliver Lines, Adam Wicheard, Kyren Wilson, Andrew Norman, Jamie Clarke and Ant Parsons on Finals Day in February. The entrance fees for this event are NOW DUE and it’s now on a first come first served basis, there is a Paypal link at the top of the right hand side of the blog to forward fees or you can contact me through the usual channels to arrange this.

While this far superior event is going on, the razzmatazz of the Shootout is back in that cosmopolitan and multicultural mecca that is Blackpool. This has already become a largely ridiculous event after a promising opening year and has now shortened the shot-clock facility to ludicrous and unplayable timings which will doubtless make the entertainment levels dip to lows not seen since re-runs of the Little and Large Show hit TV screens in the early 1990’s, it won’t be covered on here.

Myself and Mrs SB will be heading to Berlin

Finally, it’s one of the best events on the tour and the real feather in Barry Hearn’s cap, the German Masters from Berlin, the final stage draw for which is here. Myself and Mrs SB will be making the trip over there to combine the snooker with a bit of a winter break and we will also be taking along with us the coveted Willie that this event won two season’s ago for best new tournament. The tournament organisers have indicated to me that this will take pride of place in their presentation cabinet, though to be fair they haven’t seen it yet (that is 100% true by the way, they seemed delighted at the honour so it’s only fair they should get to clutch the erection for themselves).

So, all in all it’s a familiar tale and a hectic January on the baize, the snooker is now virtually non-stop until the World Championship which is now only a little matter of 15 or so weeks away. There is still no confirmed sponsor and the participation of Ronnie O’Sullivan as defending champion is still causing much discussion and speculation, despite the fact that he’s said publicly that he isn’t playing in it.

January of course may also be the month that sees the judgement on the currently suspended player Stephen Lee, if you have been living on the moon and don’t know why he isn’t playing you can read all about it here in an article that the great Sir Clive of Everton described in Snooker Scene recently as ‘illuminating’ – guess who got a 12 month subscription for a pressie?



Betfair European Tour 6
January 4-6
Munich, Germany

Championship League 1
January 7-10
Crondon Park

China Open qualifiers
January 9-12
World Snooker Academy, Sheffield

The Betfair Masters
January 13-20
Alexandra Palace

Championship League 2
January 21-24
Crondon Park

The Snookerbacker Classic, Irish Qualifying Leg
January 26th
Crossguns Snooker Club, Dublin

Betfair Snooker Shoot-Out
January 25-27
Circus Arena, Blackpool Tower

Betfair German Masters
January 30 to February 3
Tempodrom, Berlin

December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:49 am

It’s that time of year again and after a hectic year on the baize it’s time for me to shut up shop for a few days and relax with Mrs SB and the dogs here at Snookerbacker Mansions.

The title of the post may sound like a terrible Americanism but for a non-religious person it is actually more accurate and fitting than the more traditional message we give each other during the festive season. But please also take it as a thank you for continuing to log on here on a regular basis and for making it according to the Alexa rating statistics (currently 175,000th in the world) and unfathomably to me, the most popular snooker blog on the internet.

I love Christmas, just without all the God stuff, but if the unquestionable and overwhelming scientific evidence is wrong and that book that someone made up a few years ago is somehow the greatest guess in the history of humanity, below is what I’d like the afterlife to be like.

All the best to you and yours, SB & Mrs SB.

December 20, 2012

World Open Final Qualifying Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:02 pm

Has something died in here? I’m sure the toilets at Hainan Island aren’t all that bad.

We are down to the final 16 matches to decide who gets to make the trip to see dead cats, use disgusting toilet facilities and be confronted by ignorant people on Hainan Island in February at the World Open.

That was the picture painted by last year’s champion Mark Allen but I’m sure it’s not that bad (it probably is) and I’m sure all the players will be relishing the chance to make the trip as the seeded players 17-32 take on those that have come through from the first three rounds (they might not).

This also marks the last day of snooker in 2012 and if I have a chance before the end of the year I will hopefully give you a little reminder of the best  and worst bits of what has been a very busy and eventful year on the baize. But I won’t promise and I’m sure you won’t be too bothered if I forget.

In terms of the betting side of things this week, it’s fair to say there has been a big recovery after what was in all honesty a hugely disappointing UK Championship.

The afternoon session on Thursday produced the long awaited 100% across the board as the decent single, the decent double and the 19/2 acca all landed. Nigel Bond could have let the whole afternoon down but he didn’t, it’s strange how things work out sometimes but it’s always nice to finish the year on a high, whatever happens from now on.

Here’s Friday’s line-up.


49) Ryan Day v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
50) Robert Milkins v Jack Lisowski
51) Peter Ebdon v Liam Highfield
52) Marcus Campbell v Michael White
53) Marco Fu v Liu Chuang
54) Michael Holt v Chen Zhe

Un-Nooh is proving to be a seriously improved player in the last few months but he takes on a player who for me is possibly one of the top five (or four) under-achievers in the game given the talent he has. Ryan Day, for whatever reason has never reached the heights of his early years but perhaps, just perhaps, his best ones are still ahead of him in the game. Assuming he fancies the trip to China I’d side with him as he is a class act on his day and usually ultra-reliable in the qualifiers, but Un-Nooh is scoring heavily so any lapses from Day will be capitalised on. Mill Hopkins takes on Jack Lisowski in a match that will probably be over before you have realised it has started, local rivalry is at stake around their way and I marginally fancy Milkins, who loves the quickfire kind of matches and for me is still the better player of the two, my only confident prediction is that it will finish first, regardless of the scoreline. I will admit that Liam Highfield is a player that has gone under my radar as a few players do from time to time but his run of results this week suggests he’s bang up for a run in something, he faces the puzzle/enigma/nutter that is Peter ‘Vegan Power’ Ebdon, Ebbo has been playing dreadfully in his last few matches but since when has that mattered with him? His price is far too short though given the question marks that always surround him, but he should win. Michael White was impressive in patches today and given that he’s won the only encounter between himself and Marcus Campbell to date I would be prepared to side with him at odds against, though Marcus is playing himself into form and has to be respected, no match bet other than the handicap on White appeals. I would take Marco Fu every day to beat Liu Chaung at a venue and it’s really interesting to see how the draw has been tailored to ensure a Chinese qualifier this time, in other words, don’t put the mortgage on Fu as a bank job, because he isn’t even though he is by far the better player of the two. Finally, my old mucker Holty takes on Chen Zhe, he’ll want to make another venue will Michael and something tells me he will as he’ll want to fly with MJW, he played well in the UK against Higgins and he’s a player I think will have a run in something this year, maybe this.

Selections: Day, Milkins, Ebdon, White, Chuang, Holt.

Recommended Bets: 2.5 points on Milkins (-1.5) at Evens with Apollobet. 2.5 point double on Chuang and White (both +2.5 frames) at almost bang on Evens with Apollobet.


55) Andrew Higginson v Rod Lawler
56) Tom Ford v Alan McManus
57) Joe Perry v Mark Joyce
58) Jamie Burnett v Nigel Bond
59) Mark King v Dave Gilbert

Andrew Higginson comes here fresh from a semi-final spot in Scotland to face Rod Lawler who scored a fine win over Matt Selt yesterday with four breaks over 50. Higginson however I feel just has a little more in the tank than Rod and is capable of reeling off frames at a rate of knots on his day. Tom Ford was beaten by Higginson in Scotland and was last seen on TV on the end of a magical display by Neil Robertson in the UK, but prior to this he was in fine form and knocked in a maximum a few weeks back, his scoring power should be enough to secure a place in China at the expense of Angles McManus. Mark Joyce is riding the crest of a wave recently and faces the consistent Joe Perry, Joe is a tough proposition in the qualifiers and I think he may put an end to Joyce’s good run of results of late though the 5-0 whitewash of Jimmy Robertson yesterday by his opponent has to be respected. Nigel Bond struggled a little yesterday against  Jimmy White and will have to up his game considerably to get near Jamie Burnett, I’d have Jaybee as the bet of the session here. Finally, Mark King faces Dave Gilbert and the old adage of ‘never bet in a match with King in it’ springs to mind, but he’s playing very well and as much as I rate Gilbert, I think King will win, I might even have a bet on it.

Selections: Higginson, Ford, Perry, Burnett, King.

Recommended Bet: 3×1 point doubles and a 1 point treble on Ford, Burnett and King. The treble pays 3.89 at Apollobet.  

Morning and Afternoon Acca 2 points on Milkins, Holt, Ford, Burnett and King pays over 17/2 at Apollobet


60) Martin Gould v Yu Delu
61) Dominic Dale v Dave Harold
62) Jamie Cope v Zhang Anda
63) Fergal O’Brien v Ian Burns
64) Ken Doherty v Simon Bedford

Yu Delu coasted past Mike Dunn last night to set up an encounter with Martin Gould, the bespectacled potter suffered a poor run at the back end of last season but is now showing signs of a return to form and I expect him to qualify here. Next up, Dom Dale takes on Bananaman Dave Harold who scored a win over Cao Yupeng last night with a highest break of 40. The two met in this last season and Dale won a decider, it could be a close affair again but Dale has been playing very well lately and my feeling is he’ll win a little cosier this time. Jamie Cope is struggling lately and is putting together something of a losing streak, he faces Zhang Anda who has already taken care of three opponents including Luca Brecel, a tough one this for Jamie and if his form hasn’t improved you’d have to fancy an upset there, Zhang has also won their only meeting to date. Ian Burns walloped Ben Woollaston last night and is one of the most improved players out there at the moment, Woollaston was gushing with praise afterwards for his opponent who seems to have scored very solidly throughout, he has a great chance of reaching the venue against Fergal and given the momentum he has I’d be prepared to back him to do just that. Finally, Ken Doherty faces another player that has surprised a few this week Simon Bedford, I’m sure Simon will be relieved to hear that I will again assume he is going to lose as I have all week, not a betting heat for me that one though.

Selections: Gould, Dale, Anda, Burns, Doherty.

Recommended Bet: 2 point treble on Anda (+2.5) Burns (+2.5) and Dale pays over 2/1 at Apollobet. 1 point on Burns at 6/4 and 1 point on Anda at 11/8 both at Apollobet.    

World Open Qualifiers Day 3

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:00 am

Things will soon be getting flatter

It’s the penultimate day of qualifying for the World Open as the players seeded 33-48 take to the baize to battle it out with those still left from the first two days. 

It seems that qualifiers like these will become increasingly rare as time goes by. Strong rumour has it that in eight ranking events next season, including the UK Championship, all players will start from the very first round and play down to 32 for the venues, a real step-change and a welcome one on the whole which has provoked much debate between a handful of players on Twitter.

Anyway, as far as the betting side of things goes this week it was going really well until it hit the buffers slightly yesterday. The tactic of backing against Mike Dunn has fared well for the past few weeks, just based on the fact that his heart doesn’t seem to be in it anymore, but it was bound to come to an end eventually and it duly did last night against Sam Baird. I was surprised to see Luca Brecel lose though, I thought he’d be involved for a bit longer this week.

Here are Day 3’s fixtures, previews will follow throughout the day.


33) Anthony Hamilton v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
34) Jack Lisowski v Anthony McGill
35) Liang Wenbo v Liam Highfield
36) Michael White v Robbie Williams
37) Xiao Guodong v Liu Chuang
38) Steve Davis v Chen Zhe

Un-nooh is probably one of the most improved players in the lower ranks and some fairly heavy scoring saw him beat Michael Leslie with ease yesterday, he faces Anthony Hamilton who is beginning to wake up after a slow start to the season with 12 wins from his last 16 matches with narrow defeats to John Higgins and Neil Robertson forming two of the defeats. On that kind of form you would expect the scruffiest player in snooker to come through. Jack Lisowski could be accused of carelessness in Scotland and should really have beaten Sean O’Sullivan if truth be told, he faces McGill who yesterday revealed that he fouled a ball with his hair….anyway, Lisowski you would assume will be a little more careful here and is generally the heavier scorer of the two so I marginally favour him here. Liang Wenbo has been hugely impressive of late and despite his loss in the UK he has been looking razor sharp in the qualifiers recently. Liam Highfield did however beat him in November in a PTC and Liang can be wildly unpredictable, but assuming his form is as good as it has been lately you’d have to favour him. Robbie Williams continues to impress and a win over Andy Hicks sets up a meeting with Michael White next. After a strong start to the season, White is now on a four match losing run and may be showing signs of a player that has done his best work in the early part of the season, I’d marginally side with White, but the handicap on Williams is the small bet for me here. I won’t touch Guodong and Chuang, Chuang won a recent encounter between the pair in a PTC but for me Guodong is the more consistent of the two. Finally, the Nugget continues to fly the flag for the over-fifties and found himself again in the latter stages of the recent PTC after his run to the UK final stages, Chen Zhe beat an under-par Adam Duffy yesterday and it’s not inconceivable that he might upset the odds in this one.

Selections: Hamilton, Lisowski, Wenbo, White, Guodong, Zhe.

Recommended Bet: 4×1 point singles and a 1 point acca on Wenbo (-1.5), Hamilton, Williams (+2.5) and Zhe (+2.5), the acca pays 5.80 at Apollobet.  

Licensed to Pot.


39) Matthew Selt v Rod Lawler
40) Jamie Jones v Alan McManus
41) Jimmy Robertson v Mark Joyce
42) Nigel Bond v Jimmy White
43) David Gilbert v Alfie Burden

Rod Lawler holds a 2-1 advantage over Matt Selt in their head to heads and the Liverpool man ground out a result yesterday with only one break over 40 in the match. Selt could do with a win here, he has failed to qualify for anything since the Australian Open and was knocked out of the forthcoming German Masters by Marco Fu. I think this one is a coin toss, gun to head I’d back Selt but the handicap prices on Rod make more appeal. Jamie Jones seems to be a little in the doldrums of late after his great run in the World Championship, his season just hasn’t got started, he’s up against the experienced McManus who scored pretty well yesterday against Martin O’Donnell, again I think McManus on the handicaps is the bet here. Mark Joyce holds a 2-0 head to head lead over Jimmy Robertson, who despite some decent performances in PTC’s is also finding venues somewhat elusive at the moment, the bookies can’t split these but I’d suggest that Joyce is the man with the momentum at the moment so I would side with him. Veterans Nigel Bond and Jimmy White are next up and the Whirlwind did what he had to do to win yesterday without any real heroics, Bond won 3 matches last week in the PTC after a pretty poor run of form for him and for me Jimmy continues to struggle to find any real rhythm these days and seems to make problems for himself sometimes where there aren’t any, I strongly fancy a win for Nigel in that one. Finally Dave Gilbert and Alfie Burden in what should be a decent match to watch, Alfie swept aside Sean O’Sullivan yesterday but has not beaten Gilbert before, Dave needs a boost as much like Jamie Jones he has struggled to get his season really going since the Crucible, I rate Gilbert quite highly and I think if he is up for this he wins, the price offers a bit of value for me in this one.

Selections: Selt, McManus, Joyce, Bond, Gilbert.

Recommended Bet: 4 points win on Bond at 8/13 with Apollobet. 2 point double on Joyce and Gilbert pays over 6/4 at Bet 365. 2 point acca on Joyce, Bond, Gilbert, McManus (+2.5) and Lawler (+2.5) pays 19/2 with Apollobet.    


44) Yu De Lu v Mike Dunn
45) Dave Harold v Cao Yupeng
46) Rory McLeod v Zhang Anda
47) Ben Woollaston v Ian Burns
48) Gerard Greene v Simon Bedford

Mike Dunn broke a long long losing run last night against Sam Baird despite admitting to winding down for the season in preparation for retirement at the end of it. It remains to be seen if this will be carried through and it can have a flipside effect on form of course. He faces Yu Delu next and although the Chinese player isn’t in great form he did have a run in the UK qualifiers, but after last night I think that one is best left alone. Dave Harold gained revenge on Cao Yupeng for knocking him out of the World Championship in a decider by beating him in the Shanghai qualifiers 5-3, their record suggests another tight match tonight so it’s another one to avoid. Zhang Anda surprised Luca last night and is rewarded with a trip to the Dentist. Rory McLeod remains a tough nut to crack in qualifiers and I think he’ll have a bit too much for his Chinese opponent in that one. Ian Burns might attract some at odds against to beat Ben Woollaston, but for me Ben is beginning to find a bit of form lately and if that’s the case I think he’s a little above Ian in the rankings pecking order and a steady performance from him should see him safely through. Gerard Greene is a player I rarely back, I don’t mean that in any disrespectful way, he just seems to lose when I expect him to and the bookies in my view tend to underprice him, I’d say that given Simon Bedford whitewashed Peter Lines last night, albeit with few breaks of any proportion he might be worth a punt at odds against, but something is stopping me this time and I have a feeling Greene will win, he’s one of the few players I seem to be able to predict correctly almost every time!

Selections: De Lu, Yupeng, McLeod, Woollaston, Greene.

Recommended Bet: 2 points double on McLeod and Woollaston pays 11/8 with Corals.   

December 18, 2012

World Open Qualifiers Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:20 pm

It’s the second day of qualifiers for the World Open as the 16 winners from Day One take on the 16 players that are a notch higher up in the rankings ladder. 

As I write, the betting day has gone rather well, the morning could have been better but the 100% strike rate on the handicaps in the afternoon which is still going on at present more than makes up for this, with the evening yet to come.

I won’t be doing the usual preamble this week (to sighs of relief from those of you who only come to have a look at the bets). It’s a busy week for everyone but let’s hope we can bring some Xmas cheer on the betting front.

You can find all Apollobet’s match prices for the event through this link.


17) Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Michael Leslie
18) Anthony McGill v Scott Donaldson (STREAMED)
19) Barry Pinches v Liam Highfield
20) Andy Hicks v Robbie Williams
21) Liu Chuang v Tian Pengfei (STREAMED)
22) Adam Duffy v Chen Zhe

Michael Leslie broke his professional duck against Michael Wasley in Round 1 and the young Scot may take some heart from that and kick on, but realistically he faces a player that is beating players ranked higher than him on a regular basis and for me it would be a shock if Un-Nooh didn’t win this one in a canter. Scott Donaldson played decent match snooker to defeat Aditya Mehta despite at one point being just one ball away from defeat, he faces Ants McGill (The Willies ‘One to Watch’ last year, remember?) who comes here after a maiden final appearance in Ravenscraig. Now, there are players that I might have concerns about on that front with the euphoria he must feel, but not McGill, he’s a very very good player with a level head and I’d be amazed if any fatigue carried over, he’d be my bet of the morning. Barry Pinches beat Liam Highfield in their only previous encounter in a China Open qualifier, Barry is an up and down kind of player these days, but then again he always has been really but I would just favour him to come through that one. Andy Hicks faces Robbie Williams for the second time this season, Williams won their first encounter 6-4 back in August and had a decent win in Round 1, not one to bet on for me that. Regular readers of the blog will know that I steer well clear of all-Chinese encounters in qualifiers, particularly live streamed ones with live betting, tomorrow is no exception as Pengfei takes on Liu Chuang, back it to be close if you are desperate for a bet, a decider maybe, or a crucial ball off it in-running. The match between Adam Duffy and Chen Zhe is a coin toss for me so I suppose the fact that the Chinese player is odds against may make him the value bet, but for me there are more attractive propositions out there.

Selections: Un-Nooh, McGill, Pinches, Hicks, Chuang, Zhe.

Recommended Bet: 2 point double on Un-Nooh (-1.5) and McGill (-1.5) pays just on 11/8 at Apollobet.


23) Rod Lawler v Duane Jones
24) Alan McManus v Martin O’Donnell
25) Mark Joyce v Justin Astley
26) Jimmy White v Dechawat Poomjaeng
27) Alfie Burden v Sean O’Sullivan

Rod Lawler has had a great season so far and he faces amateur Duane Jones first up in this. Jones produced what some may consider a surprise yesterday by beating Li Yan but anyone that has seen him play will know how good he is, Rod has won their only previous meeting 4-2 in a PTC and despite the fact that his amazing early season form appares to be levelling off a bit I’d still take him to beat the Welshman. The MO’D is back in action against Angles McManus in what promises to be a tactical affair, McManus is a little inconsistent these days but still very capable, recent results for both suggest that this one will be closer than the bookies are pricing it and with Martin growing in confidence I’d be prepared to stick with him. Justin Astley continues to impress and faces Mark Joyce who was last seen yawning his head off in Scotland against Ken Doherty at the weekend,  presumably he has slept since so fatigue won’t be a problem but I reckon Astley will give him a game here and his price again for me offers a bit of value. Dechawat Poomjaeng has shown enough recent form to suggest that he will have a real chance against Jimmy White whose game looked shot to pieces in Scotland, the Thai has qualified for the German Masters recently with comfortable wins over Yu Delu and Fergal O’Brien so Jimmy will need to up his game considerably here. Finally, Alfie Burden takes on Sean O’Sullivan who came from 4-1 down yesterday to pinch the match against Paul Davison, Sean will be buoyed by this but Alfie is a very dangerous player at this stage of things and along with Lawler, he is the other favourite who I think will oblige this afternoon.

Selections: Lawler, O’Donnell, Astley, Poomjaeng, Burden.

Recommended Bet: 1 point treble on O’Donnell, Astley and Poomjaeng all +2.5 frames pays just on 11/4 with Apollobet. 1 point on Astley at 11/4 generally and 1 point on Poomjaeng at 11/8 with Apollobet.    


28) Mike Dunn v Sam Baird
29) Cao Yupeng v Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon
30) Luca Brecel v Zhang Anda
31) James Wattana v Ian Burns
32) Peter Lines v Simon Bedford

Mike Dunn and Sam Baird fought out a classic World Championship qualifier in 2011 which Dunn took in a decider after some fine snooker to get there was played by Sam. Like I said yesterday, those who believe in patterns of form over the season will now start backing Baird, this is precisely the moment he came good last season and with what we know about Dunn’s practise regime and state of mind when it comes to snooker recently you have to side with the Gloucester man again here. Cao Yupeng faces the bang-in-form Thanawat and the Chinese player has hit a mini-slump of late having lost his last four matches to a frame score of 19-4, TT seems to be coming to life lately and he may be worth keeping faith with here, he’s won 10 of his last 12 matches so is clearly doing something right. Next up is Luca, who faces another Chinese player Zhang Anda, it may feel like coming back down to earth with a bump for the UK Quarter Finalist but he is a player that you have to side with in these early qualifiers, he’s quickly establishing the fact that he’s too good to be there, he also beat Zhang 4-0 on their only previous meeting. Ian Burns benefitted from a bye last night and his strong recent form has to be noted as he faces James Wattana, I marginally fancy Burns to come through that but there are better betting propositions this evening. Peter Lines is one of those players that tends to really struggle against higher ranked players but grinds results out amongst those around him, he faces Simon Bedford and although I think this one might be close, I expect Lines to edge it.

Selections: Baird, Thanawat, Brecel, Burns, Lines.

Recommended Bets: 3 points on Baird at 5/6 with Stan James. 3 points on Brecel (-1.5) at 8/13 with Apollobet. 1 point on Thanawat at 5/4 with Blue Square. 

December 17, 2012

World Open Qualifiers Day One

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:30 pm

Christmas should not get in the way of Business.

Does he know it’s Christmastime at all??? Well apparently not, as Barry ‘Ebeneezer’ Hearn is even making the players and officials work for their living over what must surely be a time when they’d rather be sitting wrapping presents and drinking mulled wine than slogging it out in yet another qualifying event on the baize, but there we have it, the congested calendar continues this week with the qualifiers for the World Open starting on Tuesday.

This was of course the event made famous last year by Tiddles, the dead Chinese cat much loved by the eventual winner Mark Allen who it’s fair to say wasn’t too taken with Hainan Island where this event will return in February, much to the defending champion’s delight I’m sure.

The path that all qualifiers must take can be seen here on the World Snooker PDF, a thing of great beauty which is under increasing threat as the governing body staff continue to attend IT training courses to broaden their skills base.

Amongst those in action on day 1 of 4 is SB Classic Champ Martin O’Donnell who again faces Norwegian Cockney Kurt Maflin following the pair’s meeting in PTC Finals Day which the MO’D won on the black in a decider. Other familiar names that will be looking to progress this week include India’s pairing Aditya Mehta and Pankaj Advani, the usual early starting Thai trio of Passakorn, Thanawat and Dechawat and the Chinese foursome of Tian Pengfei, Chen Zhe, Li Yan and Zhang Anda who will be hoping to make it all the way to one of their home events.

The evening session sees the return of Tony Drago, who was last seen slapping himself violently around the head in the last qualifying event. Let’s hope he’s recovered from his self-inflicted injuries in time to face Sam Baird.

Apollobet have match prices for tomorrow here.


Michael Wasley v Michael Leslie
Aditya Mehta v Scott Donaldson – STREAMED
Liam Highfield v Daniel Wells
Robbie Williams v David Grace
Tian Pengfei v Passakorn Suwannawat – STREAMED
Chen Zhe v Gareth Allen (a)

Michael Wasley has settled into the professional ranks a little better than his opponent Leslie who has lost his last 17 matches and only has a win against an amateur player to his name since turning pro, Wasley goes into that one as the favourite and only a total reversal of recent fortunes will see anything other than a win for the Gloucester man there. Scott Donaldson has to go back 5 months to his last victory over a professional and the improving Aditya Mehta is again a rightful hot favourite for that one. After a miserable run of results Daniel Wells is beginning to look a little more at home, he faces Liam Highfield who wins more often than the Welshman but at odds against I’d be prepared to side with Wells in that one. David Grace usually does the opposite of what I expect him to do and his match against Robbie Williams, another that has taken well to the pro-game is one to avoid from a betting point of view as it’s really all about who performs on the day. Passakorn Suwannawat is on a run the same as Leslie, 16 straight defeats and he faces Tian Pengfei, who though notoriously unreliable should add to his misery, Pengfei wins more than he loses at this level and the match should be quite one-sided, but like I say he is notoriously unreliable for whatever reason. Chen Zhe has been beating the likes of Mehta, Dave Harold and Dave Gilbert of late and faces Gaz Allen who qualifies for this again by virtue of his Q-School performance last season, it’s a big ask for Gaz and he is capable, but something tells me this will be a decent morning for the Chinese players.

Selections: Wasley, Mehta, Wells, Grace, Pengfei, Zhe.

Recommended Morning Bet: 4×1 point singles and a 1 point acca on Wasley, Mehta, Pengfei and Zhe. The acca pays 4.69 at Apollobet


Li Yan v Duane Jones (a)
Kurt Maflin v Martin O’Donnell – STREAMED
Craig Steadman v Justin Astley (a) – STREAMED
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Mohamed Khairy
Paul Davison v Sean O’Sullivan

The first thing to say about this session is that Mohamed Khairy probably won’t show up, so I will ignore that match. Welshman Duane Jones is another amateur like Allen who lines up by virtue of his Q-School frame success rate and he faces Li Yan, Yan starts a hot favourite for that but he’s on a losing run and lost to amateur Gary Wilson at the weekend, Jones is a decent player and might be worth a punt at attractive odds. Maflin and The MO’D play again after their tussle in Scotland and despite the fact that the MO’D won the last encounter, Apollobet make Maflin clear favourite. Martin will be the first to admit that Maflin is the heavier scorer of the two but if he doesn’t get it all his own way he can make heavy weather of it, if this goes tactical I’d fancy Martin to do the job as he’s growing in confidence now his season is beginning to take off. Justin Astley will have his mind set firmly on the next PTC in Munich where he remains in the hunt for a main tour spot next season, he faces Craig Steadman in a match that for me is another one that could go either way, there may be a few deciders this afternoon I reckon. Finally, Paul Davison faces Sean O’Sullivan. Sean is another that has been slow to get going in this his maiden season on the tour but a confidence boosting win over Jack Lisowski in Scotland should help him a little, for me however Davison is one of the worst draws at this stage, his experience more often than not sees him through the early round and he’ll probably do it again here.

Selections: Jones, O’Donnell, Steadman, (Poomjaeng), Davison.

Recommended Afternoon Bet: 4x1point singles and a 1 point acca (all plus 2.5 frames) Jones, O’Donnell, Astley and O’Sullivan. The acca pays 5.07 with Apollobet.


Tony Drago v Sam Baird
Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon v Joel Walker – STREAMED
Zhang Anda v Michael Wild (a)
Ian Burns v Jamie O’Neill
Pankaj Advani v Simon Bedford – STREAMED

Sam Baird has gone off the boil a bit of late after a fine period last season which started at round about this time of the year. He faces Drago who I can never call, but if you believe that players tend to play best at certain times of the year habitually, this is the time to start backing Sam as it was this event last year that triggered a decent run of form. Thanawat is posting some very good results recently and he is a strong favourite to beat Joel Walker, I think he probably will but Walker is a player I have my eye on for next season, he very rarely gets hammered even by top players and is one that I think might just have a run in something when you least expect it. Michael Wild will be buoyed by his successful PTC campaign that has seen him land a professional card for next season, but he plays here as an amateur against Zhang Anda, Anda beat Wild 4-0 in their only meeting to date but Wild has that confidence behind him now, I’d marginally favour the Chinese player there. Ian Burns is a very solid player at this level with a game to match, his results of late have seen him shoot up the rankings and grab the attention, a rock solid cue-action and level headed shot selection make him very tough to beat in these early rounds, he’d be the bet of the night for me here. Finally, the Pune Piston Pankaj Advani faces the only player to have beaten the World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in a professional tournament this season Simon Bedford, Pankaj seems to be enjoying the tour and his results speak for themselves, there is not a lot to suggest that he won’t progress in this one.

Selections: Baird, Thanawat, Anda, Burns, Advani.

Recommended Evening Bet: 2 point treble on Thanawat, Burns and Advani pays almost 2/1 at Apollobet.

Your Daily Bet: 2 point acca on Chen Zhe, Wasley, Davison, Thanawat and Burns pays over 5/1 at Apollobet

Gloucester SB Classic 17th February: Change of Format

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:47 pm

Gloucester is now an open event on 17th February

As the Snookerbacker Classic rolls on to Leeds in January it’s now clear that there are a lot more players that want a place in the final event in Gloucester than the current format can handle.

All the events up to now have had numbers ‘capped’ to either 16 or 32 players, but the demand for the ‘Last Chance Saloon’ event on Sunday 17th February at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester is such that I thought it would be a good idea to make this one open, meaning that there is now NO CAP ON NUMBERS.

So basically if you want to enter, you can.

Anyone that has a place reserved in the event must have their entrance fee paid by midnight on Sunday 10th February at the very latest.

I will not accept any entries after this time or on the day itself.

If you do not have a place reserved, you can now reserve one and pay your fee by the deadline date 10th February to be included in the draw.

As this is now an open event, the fee has been reduced to £40 and any players that have already forwarded their fee will be refunded the £10 on the day (or in advance if preferred). 

You can make your payment for Gloucester via Paypal (you don’t need a Paypal Account) by clicking the top link on the right hand side of the blog ‘PAY NOW’.

Alternatively you can contact me to arrange to pay the fee.


The Winner will receive a place in the Snookerbacker Classic Finals Day and Unique Winner’s Artwork.

Runner-Up will receive £60

Losing Semi-Finalists will receive £40

All matches on the day will be the Best of 5 frames rather than the usual best of 7.  

The confirmed draw, format and prizes will be published once final numbers are known.

December 16, 2012

Snookerbacker Classic Leeds II Review: Parsons Goes One Better

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:53 pm

Ant Parsons with his Winners Prize

What is the old saying? If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again? Well, yesterday in Leeds was proof of the wisdom of such prose as Ant Parsons, the man who missed out on the first qualifying place to the Snookerbacker Classic Finals Day by just one frame in September came back and went one better by winning the fourth qualifying event back at the Northern Snooker Centre. 

Myself and Mrs SB travelled to Leeds very early yesterday morning on a mission to make this one feel a little festive, this being the time of year that people traditionally sing silly traditional songs with words they don’t really understand, eat too much, drink too much, generally act carelessly and end up having a load of arguments which they need to spend the next 12 months making up for, before doing it all over again. Yes, this was the Christmas edition of the SB Classic 2013.

As well as mince pies and Mrs SB’s secret weapon ‘dusted cinnamon stars’ perched atop of the now legendary antique silver cake stand, players were also greeted with my own very special bulging sack. Oh yes. For on arrival, all the festive baizers received their players packs with an added bonus of an individually wrapped Xmas present from my very own bag of goodies. Tinsel and crackers adorned the tournament desk and both myself and Mrs SB donned our Xmas jumpers to add to the festivities, Mrs SB adding the finishing touch by accessorising with a small christmas hat.

But as ever, this was mere decoration to the serious business that was about to take place out on the tables. Once again we were ably assisted by the referee who is now synonymous with the Classic, Matthew Lowson and our Leeds stalwart the irrepressible Alex Crumb who was very proud of a new gadget he had picked up which tested the size of the balls to ensure fair play all round. He had it and was on a mission to use it.

The day started badly for the eventual winner Parsons who, travelling down from the North East encountered traffic problems and was docked the first frame of his match against youngster Russell Morgan, who had won through a junior competition held at the Northern the previous weekend to take his place in the tournament as the ‘Penguin Protege’, a consequence of a very kind sponsor and snooker fan named Damien (on Twitter @Cue_Rater), who lives over in Germany but is originally from Ireland and has an obsession with penguins. He simply wanted to give a youngster a chance in the event by paying their fee for them. Understandably Parsons was slow into his stride and although his young opponent showed plenty of promise he ended up coming through 4-2 in a closely fought match, much to his relief given his rather stressful start to the day.

There were two centuries in the opening round, one by Liam Monk who lost in a decider to Brett Miller and another by the unfortunate Alex Taubman who eventually lost a high-quality encounter with Sam Thistlewhite on the final black. In the other matches there were wins for Shaun Murphy Scholar Sean Hopkin, Alex Davies, Damian Wilks and William Lemons with Stuart Wood dishing out the only whitewash of the day to Snooker Island’s Roland Cox.

As the snooker was going on we chatted away with those who had come along to watch including Snoopie Louise, who came dressed as a pink Santa Claus and some of the players waiting for their next matches. Special mention in particular must go to Will Lemons, Joe Roberts and Damian Wilks, three great lads with a cracking sense of humour and banter flying from wall to wall. Wilks in particular deserves congratulating for eating more free baked goods on offer from Mrs SB than any player has had the pleasure of eating in one day. All the boy Wilks’ smash and grabs were always however preceded with the politest request to Mrs SB if he could have another one, she famously can’t say no to good manners and he had clearly done his research into this element of my fair wife’s only weakness in character.

Alex was busy measuring balls all day.

Back on the table and after lunchtime Parsons was beginning to get into his stride and beat Will Lemons 4-1, the mince pies were clearly taking their toll on Wilks who also succumbed (or should that be crumbed?) in this round with a 4-3 defeat to Thistlewhite and Brett Miller impressed and again survived a century against him to overturn Alex Davies 4-1. Sean Hopkin played out a decider to edge out Stuart Wood on the final pink to make his way into the semi-finals.

Off the table, referee Matthew Lowson was busy entertaining all who would listen with his encyclopedic knowledge when it comes to facts and events as only a referee can. Quite where he gets some of them from is a mystery but an unlikely tale about Conservative politician Michael Portillo crying about Michael Heseltine had many a side in stitches at one point, the man truly is a one-off.

But it was getting to the serious business in the arena and Parsons improving form was evident as he closed out a potentially tricky semi-final against Thistlewhite, he won this 4-2 and a rest period was to follow as Hopkin and Miller fought out a closely contested encounter on the main table which went to the final black, Sean showing maturity beyond his years to again take the match and set up a final against the North East man.

Hopkin looked to be picking up where he left off as he took the opener, but it then became increasingly clear that the tougher path to the final he took was beginning to take it’s toll. Parsons took control of the match once hitting the front with a 95 to lead 2-1 and from then on there always really only looked like one winner despite the best efforts of the Nottingham youngster who should take a lot from the day, his improvement is there for all to see and his temperament will win him frames and matches that he shouldn’t win, he plays with a smile on his face and that’s something I hope he keeps as it’s another asset.

So it’s Ant that joins his conqueror in heat one Oliver Lines, as well as Gloucester qualifiers Kyren Wilson, Adam Wicheard, Andrew Norman and Jamie Clarke on Finals Day. Only two more places are up for grabs with the next stop being Dublin on 26th January before the Last Chance Saloon event in Gloucester on 17th February ahead of the Grand Finals back in Leeds on Friday 22nd February. It promises to be another great finale to the tournament.

Feedback for the event was again very positive with one notable exception.  But one of the players earlier in the day who had just been beaten said simply ‘I wish all tournaments were run like this one, I’d play in a lot more then’. Which is nice.

So the day belonged to Ant Parsons, a hard working player who took his disappointment from the first event to regroup and deliver second time around. He makes a welcome addition to what will be a cracking Finals Day.

You can see all the results from yesterday here.

The highest break of the event which carries a £300 prize is still held by Welshman and Finalist Jamie Clarke with 141.

Scottish PTC Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:45 am

Crowds have been poor.

It’s time for Finals Day in Ravenscraig, that huge bustling Scottish metropolis which continues to draw crowds in from all corners of the globe for the latest PTC event which now reaches the last 16 stage.

As I was a little pre-occupied yesterday with the latest heat of the Snookerbacker Classic, won by Ant Parsons, I didn’t catch any of yesterday’s action but the general concensus seems to be that the ‘crowds’ at this event are extremely disappointing, perhaps signalling the final nail in the coffin for professional snooker being staged in Scotland, but let’s face it, it’s hardly been given a fighting chance with such a venue being chosen, only big city venues will attract adequate crowds and I’m afraid this falls far short on that, but it was probably cheap.

It’s a shame because coverage on Eurosport has been constant and it does the sport no favours to see an invisible man and his dog sitting in the oversized seating area watching, it would have been interesting to see if the event might have been better supported in Glasgow or Edinburgh, but we haven’t had that opportunity and the event will be remembered largely for the lack of bums of seats. I’m sure staging it so close to Christmas hasn’t helped either.

Anyway, the good news is that Snookerbacker Classic Champion Martin O’Donnell is having his best ever run in a PTC and he now faces Kurt Maflin, who made another 147 on Friday in the last 16. It was also great to see Allan Taylor winning two matches yesterday to confirm his professional status next season by courtesy of the Order of Merit, the other amateurs that will be joining him are Joe Swail, Andrew Pagett, Andrew Norman, Kyren Wilson, Gary Wilson and John Astley. The final place looks likely to go to Chris Norbury, barring a decent run by the only remaining amateur left in Munich Justin Astley.

In terms of the 25 players advancing to the Grand Finals of the PTC in Galway, this is ever changing and the list is being regularly updated here.

Here’s the line up for today and in terms of the outrights, Andrew Higginson (50/1) and Mark Joyce (150/1) are still in the running, but for me today is all about shouting for the MO’D.

In terms of the matches this morning and throughout the day, blog partners Apollobet are as relaible as ever and comprehensive match prices can be found here, so settle down in front of the TV and bet away to your heart’s content.

There will be a full review of yesterday’s SB Classic up on the blog later today. 

156) Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 4-3 Barry Hawkins
157) Nigel Bond 1-4 Anthony McGill
158) Jimmy Robertson 1-4 Andrew Higginson
159) Kurt Maflin 3-4 Martin O’Donnell
160) Steve Davis 1-4 Ding Junhui
161) Ian Burns 4-2 Liang Wenbo
162) Mark Joyce 4-3 Gary Wilson
163) Ken Doherty 4-2 Ryan Day


Quarter Finals
164) Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 3-4 Anthony McGill
165) Andrew Higginson 4-2 Martin O’Donnell
166) Ding Junhui 4-1 Ian Burns
167) Mark Joyce 1-4 Ken Doherty


Semi Finals
168) Anthony McGill v Andrew Higginson
169) Ding Junhui v Ken Doherty



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