April 19, 2013

World Championship Day 1: The Rocket Returns

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:44 am
Will he strike gold again?

Will he strike gold again?

It’s time. 

This is what it’s all about, forget the moans about the PTC’s, the gripes about the changes to the ranking system, the grumbles about big bounces and lightweight balls, for Saturday morning sees the watching snooker world focused on one place and for 95% of us, let’s be honest, on one man. Mr Ronald Antonio O’Sullivan is back to defend the title he won last year and it is on this Saturday morning that we will probably find out if he’s up for the challenge or not.

There will be those that will want to see a return to form from Ronnie, like a returning hero back to show everyone who’s boss. There will also be those who would like nothing better than to see him fail miserably and be sent home with his tail between his hairy legs. But I’ll bet that whatever your feelings are towards him, you will be watching.

The players and pundits have been voicing their opinions all week, Peter Ebdon says he’s flying and won’t get beat by anyone unless they are playing out of their skin, John Parrott says he’ll be too rusty to win and Shaun Murphy says he will be prepared to the last ‘millisecond’.

I have attempted to give a balanced view in the main betting preview here, in short and without wishing to state the bleeding obvious, I think if he’s at his best he will win it, if not, he won’t and Robbo will.

Who shouted fence-sitter? Right, get off my blog.

Mrs Snookerbacker has also seen fit to grace everyone with her rather odd thoughts on the tournament here and my Far East Correspondent has given his view on some of the quirkier bets out there here.

But despite what the media might have us all believe it’s not just about Ronnie, for a start he has to overcome his first round opponent Marcus Campbell who can approach the match knowing he is in a no-lose situation, this makes him potentially very dangerous.

Day One also features what I think could be one of the matches of the first round as Michael Holt takes on Ricky Walden, a recommended bet on Holt in the preview being the way to go on that one at the prices I reckon. In the afternoon two more potentially even matches get underway, Shaun Murphy opens his Crucible account with a first round against a man who has never beaten him, reigning Sky Shootout and Power Snooker Champion Martin Gould. The BBC will I’m sure also focus heavily on the debut of Jack Lisowski, no stranger to snooker regulars but someone that could potentially swell his following in the mainstream audience with his swashbuckling style of play.

In the evening Ronnie and Marcus conclude their match after the 9 frames in the morning session and on Table 2 the all Welsh clash gets going between the King of the Floaters MJW and young potting machine Michael White. It will be very interesting to see how Jack and Michael take to the Crucible as they are very much spearheading the new breed of players who aim to take the game forward in the future.

Whatever happens, day one is always one of my favourite days of the championship and has in the past produced some of its most memorable moments. I am bound to start thinking about Tony Knowles beating Steve Davis in 1982 at some point and get all nostalgic.

Will Lightning strike the Crucible on Day One?

Will Lightning strike the Crucible on Day One?

As for me, last year I had the privilege of getting access to the Crucible while it was still being set up, of touching the tables in an almost empty arena and of being as close to the action as anyone could hope to be in the press area, including for the entire Judd v Ali match which will remain one of my abiding Crucible memories. This year, I am approaching the championship from a different angle, largely as a fan watching it on the TV and soaking it in like a giant piss-taking sponge. I may make my way to Sheffield for a day or two to catch up with friends I have made since starting this blog but primarily, I will be blogging as a fan and hopefully keeping you all sufficiently entertained so as you will keep coming back. Hopefully we can win a bit of cash on top from those nasty old bookies.

If you are as passionate about these incredible 17 days as I am, then make a shrine and send me and Mrs SB a picture of it, here’s how with some early examples. Also, make use of the comments section for a natter or get yourselves on Twitter for a couple of weeks and join the thriving snooker community on there. There are loads of ways to get involved in this great championship so lets make this one so memorable that all talk of moving it to China is banished once and for all.

So now it’s time to say Hazel, Jason, Steve, JP, Kendo, Hendo, Dennis, JV, Griff, The Great WT and the shockingly under-utilised Fouldsy – it’s over to you, but remember…..I’m watching.

Oh, there is one last thing, a bit of housekeeping. If you are commenting on the blog for the first time please remember to include an email address in the box provided, this will not be visible to anyone but me and I don’t use it for anything, you will only have to do this once then the blog will remember you, it’s clever like that. It just saves me having to authorise all comments. Oh and try and keep it civilised, this isn’t the Betfair forum and anyone that just comes on to give it the verbals will be spammed without explanation or apology.

If you are a once a year visitor, then welcome back. If you are new to the blog then errmm, what took you so long? If you are betting throughout the event for the only time of the year on snooker then here are some handy hints for the next 17 days.

OK, now that’s all cleared up, let’s get to it…….

Day One Recommended Bet: 2 point double on O’Sullivan (-3.5 frames) and Lisowski (+2.5 frames) pays over 11/8 at Apollobet


Ronnie O’Sullivan 7-2 Marcus Campbell (concludes tonight)
Ricky Walden 8-1 Michael Holt (concludes tomorrow)


Shaun Murphy 5-4 Martin Gould (concludes tomorrow)
Barry Hawkins 6-3 Jack Lisowski (concludes tomorrow)


Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marcus Campbell*  
Mark Williams 4-5 Michael White (concludes tomorrow)

*Denotes final session of the match

Click the banner below to open an account at blog partners Apollobet, your first bet up to a maximum of £20 will be matched with a free introductory bet to the same value. They are fast becoming the number one bookie for snooker so it would be a wise move at the start of this championship to get on there.

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