December 3, 2012

United Kingdom Snooker Championship Day 3

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:00 am

We should be focusing on the important matters, like JV’s thoughts on Shaun’s hair.

It’s Day Three in York and today we revert to the format for the rest of the event up to the final with two sessions each day, today seeing the conclusion of the last 32 after a day of shocks yesterday with the two most hyped players in the tournament both crashing out. 

Day 2 started with Shaun Murphy’s hair being admired by John Virgo, JV will be delighted that Shaun’s hair will be making a further appearance at the venue as he came through against Mill Hopkins. On the other table Dark Mavis, who still hasn’t succumbed to the inevitable fact that he’ll have to change his nickname sooner or later beat Cao Yupeng, who wasn’t at the races at all.

In the afternoon Judd Trump seemed to be coasting to victory but completely took his eye off the ball and allowed Mark Joyce back into it. Joyce held himself together well to pip Judd in a decider in a match that in truth, Judd should have put to bed. The defending champion and World Number 1 won’t be grabbing any more headlines this week.

On the other table Ali Carter and Steve Davis had a bit of a dogfight but in truth there was only ever really going to be one winner once Ali had established an early lead. It’s Joyce rather than the rematch with Judd next for The Captain.

In the evening session, it was Mark Allen’s turn to be turned over. His defeat to Marco Fu was unexpected and Allen did look like a player with other things on his mind, but Fu was superb and played extremely well and Allen for his part acknowledged this. He then took to Twitter to retweet the entire population of Northern Ireland and a few others too. A reaction to the frankly tedious media focus on things that happened months ago as some try their very best to get him banned for three months and have only Judd left to write about for the Masters.

In the other match Stuart Bingham’s very good form of late continued and he came through against Jack Lisowski. It’s odd that Stuart is a proven winner now yet not a lot of people are giving him a chance in this. He has the game and he has the bottle, so he could be a real dark horse this week.

While my cold is festering on and seriously jeopardizing my trip to York tomorrow I sat with mugs of tea and inadvertantly walked straight into a bit of a spat on Twitter yesterday surrounding the Mark Allen ‘story’ that’s doing the rounds again about him facing a three month ban for standing by, rather than repeating comments he made relating to certain Chinese players at the Crucible. A ban which Allen himself says he doesn’t expect to materialise having had a chat with Jason Ferguson, let’s hope not.

As someone who has snooker’s best interests at heart and who knows a fair bit about the way the media works (more than some people might know or like to give me credit for, I do have a life away from snooker too, well I used to have one anyway), I am firmly of the opinion that the angle taken with Allen to get this story was flawed.  He shouldn’t have said what he said in the first place of course and he knows that but on the other hand it doesn’t have to be raked up time and again in the desperate scramble to get a story by journalists who seem to settle for the easiest target too often.

Allen isn’t ‘outspoken’, he just states his opinion and that should be applauded and not punished, unless of course he is implicating other people in what he is saying which in this case he obviously was and he has been punished for it. But why bring it up again? Why not create new stories based on what’s actually happening in York? Why don’t snooker journalists actually do some snooker journalism now and again? Or shall we just get everyone banned, pack up and go home?

Positive headlines would make a refreshing change

There is of course a place for off-the-table chatter and building the characters of the sport and I’d like to think that this blog contributes to that. But why when it hits the papers is it almost always negative? That has to be counter-productive to any sport. The reason the hype worked in the 1980’s in the UK is because it was fresh, new, largely positive or tongue-in-cheek news and it wasn’t obvious that players were being bigged up, we just thought they were really like that and of course some of them were.

By comparison today’s efforts to make players into someone they are not are so transparently obvious to anyone with half a brain that it’s all left looking a bit desperate. Today’s audience aren’t as gullible as they used to be and can tell when something is being blown out of all proportion, which in Allen’s case it is. You only have to look at the opinions on Twitter to see that these kind of stories aren’t really ticking the boxes.

Anyway, enough of the playground stuff which is what it is in reality, a sense of proportion and perspective is sometimes needed outside of the journalistic bubble. It is after all, as the old saying goes, only a game.

Today’s action sees Robbo take to the stage and the exits so far of Ding, Judd and Allen will have done nothing to dent the Aussie’s confidence that he can win this week. There’s the all Welsh clash between Stevens and Dale on Table Two and the evening sees the all bald clash between MJW and King which I think could be a cracker. Belgian Bullet Luca Brecel also takes to the stage to face Ricky Walden, it will be interesting to see how the youngster copes with his second visit to the big arena following his debut at the Crucible in April.

Despite the shocks so far, wins for Robbo and Walden will see us come out of the first round in front which I’d guess not a lot of punters will, a win for King on top would see us emerge from the carnage with a tidy profit even taking the outright losses on board.


Neil Robertson v Tom Ford
Matthew Stevens v Dominic Dale


Mark Williams v Mark King
Ricky Walden v Luca Brecel

Recommended Outright Bet: 1 point on Ali Carter at 20/1 with Bet 365.

(Thanks as ever to Monique for the main image, her Facebook gallery can be found here

  • deco800

    Well said SB. The negative press stories have even spread to the extent that when I clicked onto BBC Sport website today the one that stands out is ‘Can Judd Trump save snooker?’ (from what?). That’s alongside a timeline of stories such as Davis’ name being used to entice people to read a story about match fixing. Surely it can’t be hard to come up with something a bit more positive.. a feature on Joyce overcoming his attack to beat world number 1 or maybe on some of the Belgians who are across to see Brecel? I’m not journalist but I’m sure it’s not that difficult to put a positive spin on things once in a while

    • snookerbacker

      I noticed that Judd headline too Deco, utterly ridiculous but to be expected given the BBC’s current agenda to get rid of snooker. It’s like there is some kind of mad panic to fill the void left by O’Sullivan, when it’s a fresh start that should be the next chapter.

  • Anonymous

    I noticed the author of this article sent you some tweets yesterday talking up the Mark Allen story:

    Well we are 5 months on and the only thing Joe Gold has done is withdraw his appeal at the 11th hour. Is Joe writing a tell-all book to help tide him over until his ban expires or was this story (maybe) talked up a bit?

  • Deco800

    Dont know how many people caught the highlights programme on BBC last night but the fact that in his interview Judd basically slagged off the lack of people in York didn’t look good. He also said about the massive gap left by Ronnie as of to imply he felt himself the game wouldn’t recover in this country. All depressing.

    @anon the BBC guy in question is a tin pot journalist. He fairly conclusively demonstrated his stupidity on the day he exchanged a few tweets with me telling me how Jogia wasn’t guilty based on the fact he know him well and he wouldn’t do that sort of thing. Think he’s more like a football journalist with a passing interest in the game but zero pedigree

  • Tom

    Snookerbacker! Been reading the blog since moving to Australia! Doing a great job, and there are probably many readers that never leave a comment, but they should as for me is the best insight into snooker betting and previews anywhere! Thanks to your tips I made a very tidy profit on UK qualifiers. So far this week it’s been hard work. I lumped on Judd and Allen on outrights, really thought they were good things, and did Wembo like you said Saturday. Thought that was a bit of a carve up, Hawkins 4-3 down with a 97% pot success rate. Never seen him play so well. Anyway, I also thought one of the bets of round 1 was over 9.5 frames I’m dott v Gould, which helped limit the damage, the other over 9.5 frame match for round 1 was stevens v dale. Stevens I think will win, but has done nothing this season, and that alone I think will male it close. Dale has played some very solid snooker in patches this year and with the welsh rivalry, which always puts am edge on things, I think the 6/5 on over 9.5 frames is a GREAT bet. That’s my tip for the blog anyway, I’m drunk and typing on my iPhone, and staying up to watch the action this end! But anyone reading, this IS the bet!…. Stevens to win 6-5 btw! Good luck!

    • snookerbacker

      Cheers Tom – welcome to the blog, lots of visits from Aus so you’re not alone mate. Good luck with your bets and don’t drink too much! I also agree with your other comment.

  • Anonymous

    @Deco800: thanks Deco. It annoys me that the BBC use the C team to cover snooker events (sorry Hazel but its true). With the decline of print media the BBC website is disproportionately influential in the UK, so it annoys me even more that they allow any staffer with a passing interest in snooker to write features.

  • prasopes

    I think Dom should move away from Berlin. Seems its not good for his health and his haircut starts resembling certain Mr. Adolph H.

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