Another day of qualifiers as I desperately try and find some time to devote to a half-decent Masters preview (that would make a change I hear you cry). At this rate by the time it’s done it will be over, but such is the way the snooker calendar seems to condense before the major events in the UK these days I’ll have to try and fit it in somewhere, I might try drugs to keep me awake perhaps.
I won’t go into the ins and outs of events in this qualifying tournament as it’s easier to do that as part of the waffle about the matches below, suffice to say that at time of writing day two didn’t go as well on the betting front as day one did, but given that day one saw the best single day profit for a few months that’s hardly surprising.
The only news other than this today on the snooker gossip front is the continued exclusion from the season’s events of Stephen Lee, who has now been bumped out of the Welsh Open too, apparently without a word from the governing body and he isn’t very happy about the whole thing. Whilst I can see both sides of this and have my own opinions on what may have gone on, I do think the governing body need to put this one to bed now, it’s gone on far too long.
All Apollobet’s match prices for today can be found by clicking here.
Xiao Guodong v Kurt Maflin
Jamie Jones v Liu Chuang
Yu De Lu v Anthony McGill
Jimmy Robertson v Robbie Williams
Anthony Hamilton v Paul Davison
Matthew Selt v Barry Pinches
Xiao Guodong and Kurt Maflin have actually met 6 times before with the Chinese player having prevailed in a deciding frame the last 3 times, including a 10-9 in the World Qualifiers two seasons ago, in fact of their 6 meetings, 4 have gone to deciders, Guodong leads 4-2 in the head to heads. So look no further than handicaps on that one in a match between two very good players both playing well lately. Jamie Jones is desperate for a win and faces Hendry’s lad Liu who beat him 6-2 recently in a qualifier. Jamie seems to have lost his way lately and just seems to have let the euphoria of the Crucible affect him far too much, he’s obviously a guy that thinks a lot about things but sometimes that’s not the right way to approach snooker, he has to be opposed at the moment. The price on Ants McGill is not one to be sniffed at against Yu Delu, McGill is at last proving to everyone what a fine player he is (he won the ‘One to Watch’ Willie last time as my two or three loyal readers may remember) and I think he’ll win that one with a bit in hand against a player who whilst getting frames from higher ranked players recently is struggling to win matches, McGill is on a roll and while he is, keep him onside is my advice, he’s a cracking player. Jimmy Robertson faces Robbie Williams and that one could go either way, Williams did what he had to do to beat the other Jimmy in the previous round but should face a stiffer task here against a player who is very capable but quite inconsistent, but on balance Robertson would be my pick, no bet. Strangely, Paul Davison has never played Anthony Hamilton as a professional in all the years they have been there, it’s a real clash of the grinders this one but despite the fact that Davison tends to get on a roll in qualifiers, he doesn’t beat players like Hamilton that often, on balance it has to be the Sheriff, but again it’s no bet. Matt Selt leads Barry Pinches 3-2 in their head to head and Baz was very pleased with his game in Round 1 with a whitewash of Fraser Patrick. Selt needs a win, he’s not posting them at the moment and Pinches is the sort of player that can frustrate, I’ll have to side with Barry here.
Selections: Guodong, Chuang, McGill, Robertson, Hamilton, Pinches.
Recommended Bet: 4 points on McGill at 5/6 generally. 2.5 points win on Chuang at Evens with Paddy Power. 2 point treble (all +2.5 frames) on Maflin, Chuang and Pinches at just on 11/10 with Apollobet.
Liang Wenbo v Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon
Nigel Bond v Tony Drago
Jack Lisowski v Ian Burns
Ben Woollaston v Dechawat Poomjaeng
Rory McLeod v Sean O’Sullivan
Liang Wenbo and Thanawat are one a piece in their head to heads and their last meeting was just 6 days ago in Munich when TT pinched a decider to win 4-3. Given that, some may be tempted by the decent odds on offer for the Thai player against the unpredictable Liang, but leave it alone is my advice. I was correct yesterday in saying that I should have backed Drago given his form of the previous day and he’s back again to face Nigel Bond. The two met in December in a PTC and Bond won 4-2, the first time he had beaten Drago in five meetings, given Tony’s form at the moment you would have to fancy him to win again and again I am tempted to back him, but again I probably won’t. Ian Burns marches on and now faces Jack Lisowski, Burns scored an impressive win over the in-form Rod Lawler yesterday and is a player now firmly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the qualifiers. Jack lost 4-1 to Rod last week in Munich so a strict line through Rodders makes Burns a strong favourite here, which he isn’t, but snooker as we know doesn’t work like that, I do however think that it’s worth having another go on him at odds against while you can still get it at this stage. Ben Woollaston played some great stuff in Munich last weekend and looked to be really developing as a player, his break-building is noticeably improving and he seemed to be knocking in centuries for fun, that confidence should see him through here against Poomjaeng who he has beaten comfortably twice and usually finds a player too good for him by about this round. Sean O’Sullivan’s recent impressive run continued with a fine victory over Alfie Burden and he is rewarded with a trip to The Dentist in the shape of Rory McLeod. Rory has not been his usual consistent self of late so who is to say that The Storm can’t keep the run going, again at a half decent price.
Selections: Wenbo, Drago, Burns, Woollaston, O’Sullivan.
Recommended Bet: 5 points win on Woollaston at 8/15 with Pinnacle (if you can get on).
Morning and Afternoon Acca: 2 point acca on McGill, Woollaston and Drago (+2.5) and Burns (+2.5) pays 4.66 at Apollobet
David Gilbert v Tian Pengfei
Gerard Greene v Mark Joyce
Michael White v Chen Zhe
Dave Harold v Andy Hicks
Steve Davis v Mike Dunn
Dave Gilbert has beaten Tian Pengfei in their two previous meetings which were in fact almost 6 years to the day apart, the latest in the UK qualifiers in November when the Cuban from Tamworth ran out a comfortable 6-3 winner. Gilbert qualified for World Open with two comfortable wins, one over the tough Mark King and he’s a player that tends to get runs going more than most and remains in my view one of the best players outside the top 32, however so does his opponent Pengfei, who appears to be bang in form this week, but given that Gilbert is beginning to wake up his season, I’ll stick with him in this. Mark Joyce continued his impressive recent run last night and now faces Gerard Greene who regulars will know I continue to back against, tonight is no exception and I have to side with the Walsall man again here. Michael White is another that is marching up the rankings at a pace and he whitewashed his opponent tonight Chen Zhe in a PTC last April, given his consistency in the qualifiers it would be foolish to oppose him here. It’s then time to bring on the veterans, the last two matches Harold v Hicks and Dunn v The Nugget wouldn’t look out of place at the Seniors the way they age people these days, in truth, it’s only the Nugget that can be categorised as such given that he was born before the first world war. Anyway, it’s five years since Big Dave and Bald Andy met, Dave has a 2-1 lead on the head to heads but that means very little given the time lapses, it includes a meeting in the 1994 New Skoda Grand Prix. It should be a rare old battle and gun to head it would have to be Harold, but not one for the punters that one. Finally, Dunny seems to have broken his losing cycle once and for all now and knocked out Liam Highfield last night to set up a date with Davis, they have only met once before and that produced a win for Mike in qualifiers for this very event in 2010 by a 5-3 scoreline, those who believe in history repeating itself will be on that score, again this is a very tricky call, the Nugget has been pretty consistent this season whereas Mike has struggled a lot to put anything like a run together, indeed you have to go back to a PTC in December 2011 since he had back to back wins, all this points to a win for Davis, but patterns are of course there to be broken.
Selections: Gilbert, Joyce, White, Harold, Davis.
Recommended Bet: 2 point treble on Gilbert, Joyce and White pays 4.26 at Apollobet.