April 29, 2013

World Championship Day 10

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:42 am
Likes: Shoes, Vegas and Hanging out. Dislikes: Education, Old Stuff.

Likes: Shoes, Vegas and Hanging out. Dislikes: Education, Old Stuff.

What a cracking day we have in store today on Day 10 of the World Championship. There are only two sessions but each of them see two matches playing to a finish including tonight’s epic between O’Sullivan and Carter and by the end of today the full quarter final line-up will be known.

For those who thought that Sunday’s brief post was a result of me at last ‘seeing the light’ and attending church for the day, I have some disappointing news. I still don’t believe in the big man upstairs for the same reason as I don’t believe in the tooth fairy (those minor details called proof and science) and the lack of post was simply a result of the much discussed ‘burn out’ factor which seems to be affecting a lot of the snooker fraternity of late.

Yes, the weekend trip to the Crucible was enough to see off this particular blogger for a day and I felt in esteemed company as we have seen John Higgins, Mark Selby, Marco Fu and Neil Robertson all blame the heavy schedule this season for their under-par showing at the great championship. Selby in particular showing what all his efforts this season have done for his chances of being a world champion with a frankly turgid display against the much fresher looking Barry Hawkins.

The players next season will be in a position to pick and choose events and I am sure that the big players will do just that, which means two things. Firstly, there are bound to be new faces appearing on our screens more regularly in events like the Wuxi Classic and the Australian Open but secondly that it does mean some tournaments will be somewhat devalued, even for the winners. Winning an event in bongo-bongo land in front of one man and his dead cat with none of the top 16 competing won’t exactly launch a career however much the boys at Eurosport dress it up and for me this does risk snooker becoming spread too thinly and the calendar being 60% dirge and 40% proper tournaments.

However, it will at least I suppose lead to championships that are more established regaining some of the status they have perhaps lost since the beginning of the reign of King Bazza, so it’s very much a double edged sword. But I will say what I said when he first started banging on about 51 weeks of snooker a year again, it’s a mistake, saturation kills all sports eventually (I await with baited breath the death of football) and I think a healthy dose of as many as 10-12 big tournaments for decent prize money beats 30-odd little crappy ones every time, but it seems this is the way it’s heading. It will also mean that as a blogger, selectivity will be the order of the day here too.

My burn out seems to have recovered now though, I am a husband, a blogger, a tournament director and I spend far too much time on Twitter, oh yes and I also have a job, but it’s taken me a day to get over a late night which involved a great deal of snooker chat with some old friends and a chance to once again watch some action at the home of snooker.

I am beginning to get the feeling of a turn in the tide when it comes to moving this great championship out of Sheffield by the way, I don’t think it will happen in the foreseeable future, which is great news for all snooker fans who care about the traditions and history of the sport.

Which brings me to the subject of Judd, oh Judd. Judd Judd Judd……

At the end of the BBC coverage yesterday he seemed to take umbridge with a feature on the late great Joe Davis by his namesake Steve, questioning as only he can what a feature about things that happened and I quote ‘3 million years ago’ offers to kids wanting to get into the sport. The feature was actually quite fascinating with lots of old footage and if I could have sat a little cherub down and given them a little history lesson I am certain they would have been asking questions about it all night. For those that want to know more about the godfather of snooker, this is a must watch maybe even show it to a kid and see what they think?

Florence, no Judd she's not the one with the machine.

Florence, no Judd she’s not the one with the machine.

I hope that Judd was just hoping to provoke a reaction and continue to cultivate this ill-advised strategy of being snooker’s new bad boy. He’s about as bad as Florence Nightingale, who he’ll probably have to look up in one of those book things and is quickly coming across in the media at least as vacant, greedy, vulgar and as one-dimensional as a postcard. I think he needs to take his off-table career back into his own hands as he is a wonderful player but at this rate he could end up being a very unpopular world champion, perhaps even this week.

On the table he has been right back to form and if he’d just learn to do his talking there it would be quite an achievement. His verbal contributions seem manufactured and designed to shock, they don’t reflect the lad I have seen at close quarters one bit who at the risk of compromising ‘the brand’ seems thoroughly pleasant and quite humble.

This is in contrast to the likes of Ronnie or Mark Allen who, when they say things that grab the headlines are just being themselves, Judd seems too eager to create controversy and that won’t work for long. I even thought at one point that the tweet directed at the great JD was from a new spoof account that has materialised, but it appears he is turning into something of a parody of himself.

Anyway, I think today we might really see the championship take off. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Ronnie and Ali and despite the BBC claiming that O’Sullivan was a little off-colour yesterday I actually think he’s getting better with every session he plays, his long game is still way off the standard of the likes of Judd and Ding but in the balls he remains the best of them all. Ali has also been extremely solid and tonight promises to be even better, he is disappointed not to be at least level but today is another day.

The match between Mark King and Ding Junhui turned around much as expected yesterday and the fancy prices that appeared after King took a 6-2 lead on Ding to win both the match and the tournament were snapped up by anyone with the first idea about snooker. I’m not saying that King can’t produce an unlikely win from behind, indeed he is usually more dangerous when nobody expects him to win but the first session deficit was overturned by his brilliant opponent in fairly predictable style yesterday.

Mavis and Ballrun are also having a right old tussle and start this afternoon’s session level in a match which to many seems more or less nailed on to go the distance. Also tonight Ricky Walden attempts to make the Quarter Finals for the first time as he re-enters the arena with a 10-6 advantage over Rob Milkins, Ricky will be keen to put away any thoughts of Clinchers Disease and finish that before the mid-session interval, if he does, the stage could be set for a grandstand finish on Table 1 for all to see.

In terms of betting, the four recommended bets on the second round so far have all landed and the final four resting on today are all in with a live chance, if there is another century in Ronnie’s match, Mavis and Bingham both win at least another frame each, Ding wins without conceding a further 3 frames and Walden wins in anything but a decider it will be a clean sweep of recommended bets. If any of you followed them to the letter I am sure you, like me, will be glued to the TV from 1pm.

If you like betting in-running and are looking to lay off today, blog partners Apollobet new in-running service is well worth a look, click on their website here and click the live betting section.

Fingers crossed and ankle clips fitted.


Stuart Bingham 13-10 Dark Mavis
Mark King 9-13 Ding Junhui


Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-7 Ali Carter
Robert Milkins 6-10 Ricky Walden

(All matches play to a finish)

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Thanks as ever to Monique for the images, you can view her Facebook album from day seven here.

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