It’s time to find this years Masters champion and the final pits two of the biggest names in the sport together as the defending champion Neil Robertson takes on the UK champion and world number one Mark Selby.
Yesterday saw Robbo in commanding form in seeing off Shaun Murphy who played inexplicably badly at times, so much so that he had a very animated John Parrott in a right old lather in the BBC bubble, with even Ken stopping giggling a couple of times to stick the knife in to poor old Smurf, like a smiling assassin.
JP ruthlessly followed on from Stephen Hendry’s comments that since commentating he had noticed how rare it is for Shaun to win frames in one visit in relation to his fellow top professionals. As if to prove that everything that Stephen utters is true, the hapless Murphy continued to bang in 30’s and 40’s only to breakdown to cries ‘How careless was that?’ from both Hendo and the increasingly animated Bubble Boys. Shaun in truth let Robbo off the hook more times than a trout caught by a reluctant vegan angler with a heavy conscience.
After each frame the BBC cut to an increasingly red-faced and irate JP, who seemed intent on putting the boot in to poor old Shaun who was already having a thoroughly miserable afternoon as it was. Phrases such as ‘utterly, utterly careless’ and ‘the most careless frame of snooker I have ever seen’ and ‘I wouldn’t have fucking backed him if I’d known he was going to be that fucking careless’ (ok, I might have made the last one up) rolled off his venomous tongue as Ken began to look a little scared and even Hazel ‘The Rock’ Irvine temporarily shifted her seat a further inch away from the frothing-mouthed scouser.
Anyway, Robbo produced another fine display and he surely goes into today’s best of 19 frame final the more confident and fresher of the two.
Last night saw a trademark scrap between Selby and Graeme Dott. John Virgo opened his commentary with the weary observation that ‘this is going to be one for the purists’ and so it proved, to the continued frustration of JV who at one point seemed to fall asleep, only to be awoken giving off a loud grunting kind of sound when he drooled on his fellow commentator, a now much calmer JP who had evidently remembered to take his medication.
BBC2 picked last night to have uninterrupted coverage all night and they couldn’t have picked a better match to get youngsters reaching for the X-Box. Hendry was by now in the bubble and looking like he’d rather be anywhere else on the planet as the time ticked on, Steve Davis (who voted for the blog in the Shorty Awards yesterday by the way) by now had made an appearance and being used to this kind of thing looked as fresh as a daisy, counterbalancing Stephen’s ‘hurry the fuck up’ look perfectly.
Hendry’s prediction at the end that Dott would win 6-4 in one visit stank of wishful thinking as the vampire Selby, by now looking like he needed a blood transfusion refused to lie down and came back to win and send Graeme who looked little better, packing.
Ironically, after the match Mark said he’d been having trouble sleeping this week and kept waking up in the middle of the night, prompting a caring member of the BBC production team to put the match he’d just played on a DVD for him to take away to help him out.
To be fair to Selby, he is such a battler and I think this final might be a bit closer than some may predict based on yesterday’s performances. Selby finds a way to win and came back from 4-0 down to Neil in the UK Quarter Final just six weeks ago. Neil will be desperate for revenge but Mark will be just as keen to keep the player who is surely his main threat going forward this season to his number one spot at bay.
Here is the head to head:
|Player 1||Player 2||Tournament||Date||Round||Result|
|Mark Selby||Neil Robertson||UK Championship 2012||06.12.2012||Quarter-final||6-4|
|Neil Robertson||Mark Selby||Premier League 2012||06.09.2012||Robin round||5-1|
|Mark Selby||Neil Robertson||Premier League 2010||30.09.2010||Robin round||4-2|
|Mark Selby||Neil Robertson||Welsh Open 2006||27.02.2006||Round 1||5-3|
I have the main outright pick on Selby at 7/1 and I think if he’d have been playing anyone else I’d be very confident in him, but this is a match to sit and hopefully enjoy. I can see it going the distance and if it does, you might as well toss a coin.
Robbo is best price 8/11 at Apollobet and Selby is best price 6/5 with some mainstream online firms and a little longer with the ones that require DNA samples before they pay you your winnings.
UPDATE AT 4.40 PM ON TWITTER: Recommended Bet:
Makes sense now to cover the Selby outright bet so anyone that followed this. Recommend 2 points on Robbo at 3/1 at Paddy Power now.
UPDATE AT 9.31 ON TWITTER: Recommended Bet:
1 point: Robbo is 7’s now. Another saver on that I reckon.
A final reminder that the blog partners Apollobet will refund your match bets if a match goes to a deciding frame and your single bet on the winner of the match loses. So if you fancy the final following the pattern of half the matches so far in the tournament that’s something to bear in mind if you are backing Robbo or Selby this afternoon.
Oh by the way, you can still nominate the blog for an award – Steve Davis did yesterday!!
Just tweet the following: I nominate @snookerbacker1 for a Shorty Award in #blogger because (then give a reason)
THANKS AGAIN TO MONIQUE LIMBOS FOR THE MAIN PHOTO