April 24, 2013

Judd on his Chances, his Fitness and The Poomster

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:43 pm

Our New Hero in Extended Interview: Poomy Speaks!!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:13 pm

World Championship Day 5

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:12 am

Just Like That: The Star of the Show (and Poomy getting in his way)

It’s Day 5 at the Crucible and those seeds just keep on toppling. Day 4 saw a new Crucible cult hero born as Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng proved that sometimes a smile can speak a thousand words as well as pot a few crucial balls as he put paid to another year of hope for Stephen Maguire.

With due respect to everyone else on show yesterday Dechawat or Jack as he likes to be called was the star of the show. He may not have played the best snooker of the day but sometimes that simply doesn’t matter.

His manner around the table is something I compared yesterday to Charlie Chaplin and Mr Bean, giving rise to further comparisons as the day went on with the likes of Norman Wisdom, Lee Evans (who is basically Norman Wisdom’s act copied and updated slightly but not much) and Stan Laurel (one person cruelly suggesting that Mags could be Ollie)  being thrown into the mix as possible influences to snooker’s new undisputed King of Slapstick Comedy.

But it would seem judging by the amount of times our new hero uses a certain phrase in this post match interview, he’s more of a Tommy Cooper man. Well, at least it’s not Frank Spencer eh?

As for Maguire, he has again not really performed to his best at the Crucible after a promising season. It’s getting to the point now where he is looking increasingly like being included in the ‘best player never to be World Champion’ debate alongside stalwarts Jimmy White and Matthew Stevens. While snooker’s new Mr Poombastic won the hearts of the Crucible crowd and the watching millions at home, Maguire struggled to hide his anger at his opponent’s rather odd mannerisms and antics which included clapping his own shots, chuckling to himself, bouncing up and down and talking to himself at length around the table.

Mags said afterwards “I don’t think he’s the full shilling. I’ve never seen him before but there’s definitely something missing. He seems like a really nice boy and very genuine. The crowd seemed to take to him and got behind him at the end and he seemed to be enjoying it. I was afraid to look at him in the end. Crazy things were happening out there. I just had to switch off.”

“All I can say is that he’s a nice lad. It just wasn’t meant to be for me. Take nothing away from him, he made some great breaks all through the match and luck favours the man who plays well and he played better than me. It’s disappointing for me but I could tell the way the match was going. I had a bad feeling about it.”

Very sporting words from Mags and possibly rather different than the ones that were going around his head during the match when he looked for all the world to be about to murder his wonderfully oblivious opponent who seemed to think that he liked to share his visual gags. Even at one point risking life and limb by impersonating snooker’s Mr Angry and pretending to lash out when snookered. Maguire forcing a smile to cover his dark thoughts.

Earlier in the day Matthew Stevens was also out of sorts in his match against Marco Fu and looked like he needed another couple of hours in bed as he went 3-0 down, a deficit that he wasn’t able to recover against a consistent Marco who starts the afternoon session with a 6-3 lead.

Judd (right)

Judd (right)

On the other table Ding Junhui marked his territory with a great display against Angles McManus, a 7-2 lead including breaks of 131 and 129 making this morning surely a thankless task for poor old Angles. Ding played with an armband on as a mark of respect to the victims and ongoing rescue efforts going on in Chengdu and himself and Marco insisted on not coming out to their walk-on music for the same reason.

Matthew and Angles were in fact the only two players to do so yesterday as the governing body promptly realised that it should probably be extended to all the players, some might say a careless Rihanna and a Mark Morrison too late, but there we have it.

While The Poomster was doing his routine in the afternoon and enjoying every minute of it, Judd Trump was entertaining the crowds as only the King of Bling can as he raced to a 6-3 lead over Dominic Dale and staked his claim for the Bobby George Cash 4 Gold Cue with a dazzling 142 break. The moral being that if there is something shiny to be won, he’s bang up for it. I don’t know about the Ace in the Pack, as I think The Magpie is more fitting personally. But as a word of caution to Judders, please remember the old phrase ‘all that glitters…….’ and don’t be disappointed when the spray paint comes off in your sweaty palms come the end of the championship. If you don’t like it you could always give it to a pal….

Last night saw a rather mediocre early display by Mark Selby who takes a 6-3 lead into tonight against Judd’s mate Matt Selt, Selt winning the final two frames of the session after at one point looking like he could be only the second player in Crucible history to suffer a whitewash.

But the best performance of the day without a doubt came from Ali Carter. He came into the concluding session with Ben Woollaston 5-4 up and won the first 5 frames of the session to win 10-4, looking extremely solid in the process. He now faces Ronnie in Round 2 in a repeat of last year’s final. He has lost 13 out of 13 times to The Rocket but one could argue, to coin an old classic from Blackadder, that what he has done 13 times before is exactly the last thing you would expect him to do this time as he moves on to Saturday.

He will probably not get a better chance to beat Ronnie and for me that match will decide the finalist from the top half, hence the hedged outright bets at the start of the championship in this section. I truly believe that if Ali can win, he is capable of lifting the trophy and with him still available at 22/1 to do so, now is the time to back him if you agree.

He played his cards very close to his chest afterwards and refused to be drawn into speculation about his next mouth-watering tie and you can see what he did or rather didn’t have to say, here.

Zip it Dotty.

Zip it Dotty.

Because there was so much going on in the arena, there isn’t really anything much to report off it today except for the babblings of Graeme Dott who is still going on about Peter Ebdon as if stuck in some kind of spiral of despair. Graeme may find himself flying the Scottish flag single-handedly from around midday today in a week best forgotten for those north of the border, the once dominant nation of the baize.

To help him along, Dott has called for a shot clock to be brought in get rid of the snails and on that subject I shall say just this.

Shut up Graeme.

Anyway, the recommended bet from yesterday is looking promising at the moment to get back a chunk of the first round acca losses so fingers crossed on that as today sees the final two first round matches get underway before we move into the second round which starts tomorrow. Robbo takes centre stage against Rob Milkins who claims that betting and booze are firmly a thing of the past in this article, which is bad news for his pal The Wizard of Glos as apart from watching 1980’s TV there’s not much else they can do together now. Meanwhile Neil claims to be ‘confident and recharged’ and ready to win his second world title, he is definitely a huge contender from here on and I’d be surprised if he lost to Milkins.

Stuart Bingham is also in action tonight as he starts out against Sam Baird and it will be interesting to see if Sam can emulate the debuts of Poomy and Michael White who now face each other in the next round of course. Ballrun however is the face of the middle-aged revolution today and is a very tough nut to crack these days.  


Judd Trump 10-5 Dominic Dale* 
Ding Junhui 10-5 Alan McManus* 


Matthew Stevens 3-6 Marco Fu* 
Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins


Stuart Bingham v Sam Baird
Mark Selby 6-3 Matthew Selt*

*Denotes Match Conclusion

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Thanks as ever to Monique for the original main image, you can view her Facebook album from day four here.

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