It’s Day Three at the Masters after a late finish last night, today sees the pre-tournament favourite Judd Trump take on the main beneficiary of the absence of Ronnie and Stephen Lee, world number 18 Barry Hawkins and tonight Shaun Murphy starts his bid to win the only UK major that has so far eluded him against Ricky Walden.
Yesterday saw wins for John Higgins and Graeme Dott, Higgins started badly against Ali Carter but eventually discovered his form and ended up a pretty comfortable 6-3 winner in the end. Ali claimed afterwards that he’d let Higgins off the hook and it would be hard to disagree, at 2-0 up and in the balls in the third it looked like it might be an early bath for Johnny boy, but Ali for some reason couldn’t keep it up.
Afterwards, Higgins seemed quietly confident to me, pressing home the point that he’s been putting in the hours again after a poor season by his standards last year. He even said that Denise had made him put a kitchen in his new snooker room to make his own cup of tea when he wanted one. I feel this is a bit over the top personally and I think he was just showing off, a small kettle and mini-fridge would surely have sufficed? But such is the life of a millionaire playboy like John he has to go the whole hog, how the other half live eh? We can only dream.
The lowpoint of the afternoon however was undoubtedly in the mid-session interval when the BBC coverage plummeted to unfathomable depths when discussing the snow. They had started brightly with a segment featuring JP and Ken in long coats, walking into the Ally Pally in statesmanlike mode to discuss the pressing matters of the day, one might have been forgiven for mistaking them for Kremlin diplomats off to discuss the latest movements on the Western front, it was all very moody until they removed their coats to reveal their BBC regulation jumpers, or in Ken’s case, his BBC purple cardigan (he’s like the new boy so they can’t give him a V-neck just yet).
Anyway, the real turd in the post was yet to arrive, as the UK continued its obsession with the half a millimetre of snow it was suffering, Hazel, Ken and Steve had the following conversation: (please read no further if you are of a nervous disposition)
Haze (looking dreamily into the lens): Well, the weather outside is frightful.
Ken (smirking): But the snukre is surre deloightful. (I think that’s what he said)
Steve (stonefaced): So since there’s no place to go.
Haze (ad-libbing): Watch the show. Watch the show. Watch the show.
General collective laughs ensue.
It did actually happen, I didn’t dream it, but I’m sure the people in the mental home will have found it funny so let’s just leave it at that.
Anyway, after this new depth was unearthed it was back to the baize last night and a match for the purists saw Graeme Dott edge out a narky Stephen Maguire in a decider.
Maguire conceded frame 8 to go 5-3 down with 51 on the table at only 32 behind, so he’ll be £250 lighter this morning. It’s not on really that sort of thing, I have never been someone that bets on the outcomes of frames and never will be, but plenty of people do and tens of thousands of pounds are exchanged on such markets routinely. Maguire conceding like that does the sport no favours, imagine if Stephen Lee had done that?
Anyway, it did serve a purpose to fire him up a bit and he played well in the next two to level it up but Dotty ground the match to a halt again in the decider and frustrated the easily riled Mags to crawl over the line at a shade after midnight. The crowd seemed to dwindle as each frame elapsed and only the most dedicated stayed until the end including my old pal Taffy the superfan. As for Graeme, he will have to up his game considerably to not get wellied in the next round in my opinion.
Now to the betting and yesterday’s now legendary Hallett Cross-Double Bet. It once again missed by 1 frame, if Ali could have taken another against Higgins which until a trademark clearance at the end by the Scot he looked like doing, we would have been quids-in, but let’s not dwell on it and just have another go today.
Another reminder that the blog partners Apollobet have put an offer on which should be noted by anyone who likes their match bets. If a match goes to a deciding frame and your single bet on the winner of the match ducks they will refund your stake in full, so anyone who lost on the Dott v Mags match last night will live to fight another day today.
For anyone that missed my full tournament preview including a look at all the first round matches you can read it here. It’s been pretty accurate so far with four wins from four but today is another day of course.
Now for today’s Hallett:
Recommended Bet: 4 x 0.5 point Hallett’s on: Trump to win 6-2 or 6-3 (both 9/2) and Murphy to win 6-2 (11/2) or 6-3 (5/1) at Apollobet.
Oh by the way, did I mention you can nominate the blog for an award? Well, you can and you can do it by clicking here and following the instructions, what’s your excuse?