June 27, 2013

The Month Ahead: July

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:56 am
Eurosport have switched off the Australian Open

Eurosport have switched off the Australian Open

July on the baize can be best described in one word; Quiet. The 365/52/24/7 snookerfest promised by Bazza is not a bit evident in this traditionally barren month with just two events taking place, one of which has a much depleted field. 

The Australian Goldfields Open from Bendigo enters it’s third (and final?) year with its first two champions Stuart Bingham and Barry Hawkins both involved again down under. But with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Judd Trump, Ali Carter, Mark Allen, Mark Williams and Stephen Maguire and more opting out of the tournament it does have a somewhat flat feel to it despite the participation of Wuxi Champ and World Number 1 Neil Robertson, World Number 2 Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy.

But the real hammer blow to this event which is now in its final year of a sponsorship deal is the lack of global TV coverage. Eurosport has covered it in the past but not this year, they are offering coverage of the final only and it’s not even clear if this will be live so that is a big disappointment. World Snooker TV is blocked in Europe for the duration of the event and it’s not yet clear whether the bookmaker sites will use the Australian TV coverage to screen it, I would suggest that they do as I’m sure the betting interest in it will be high.

Either way, this does have the feel of a chance wasted to resurrect the game in Australia. It’s a shame that some of the big name players couldn’t have made more of an effort to participate in this but I also feel that not holding it in a major city has probably played its part too. It will be interesting to see Bazza and co believe that this is one worth fighting for or whether it will be confined to the snooker scrapheap alongside more recent casualties such as the Grand Prix and World Series.

You can have a look at the draw for the Aussie Open by clicking here, it runs from the 8th to the 14th.

The only other tournament in July is the second of the European Tour events from Rotterdam in The Netherlands which runs from 18th-21st of the month. There are a few absentees from this but generally a strong field and full coverage on Eurosport so one could argue that it is this, held in a country that I am sure will support the event in numbers, is the main event in July and not the main ranker on the other side of the globe.

You can have a look at the draw for European Tour Event 2 from Rotterdam by clicking here, after this event the ranking list will be updated to see who qualifies automatically to the Shanghai Masters, a tournament which has shunned the move to the flatter structure.

So all in all it’s a pretty snookerless month, almost Sir Rodney-esque, but I hope to brighten that up with a bit of Snookerbacker Classic news while things are quiet on the professional front.


Australian Goldfields Open
Bendigo, Victoria, Australia 


European Tour 2 (amateur pre qualifier)


European Tour 2 (Last 128)


June 26, 2013

It’s time to Think Pink

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:44 am

pink-ribbon-day_1Today sees the start of the Pink Ribbon event at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester. This is an event which sees players of limited ability lock horns with top amateurs and professional players all in aid of the Pink Ribbon charity, a cause very close to SWSA owner Paul Mount’s heart.

Paul lost his sister Kay to breast cancer in 2002 and has worked tirelessly in promoting this charity, raising thousands of pounds in the process and greatly increasing it’s awareness among snooker folk. You can read more about the charity and Paul’s reasons for doing what he does here where you can also donate.

OK, that’s the serious bit out of the way.

Now, talking of players with limited ability, the undoubted lowlight of this event for me occurs on Thursday when the undisputed King of Careless Snooker and the Managing Director of the utterly shit experience that is Wizard ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Tours Craig Scotford takes to the baize to play the Ladies World Champion Reanne Evans.

Quite what he is thinking entering this event and spending money that would usually be directed more at the shareholders of Strongbow Cider is beyond me. We are promised that this will be live-streamed, which surely can only end in disaster. Poor Reanne will be made to suffer his frequent mumbling about how careless his snooker truly is while he shamelessly glugs from a huge can of his sponsor’s product between shots.

Let’s just hope that it all ends quickly and Reanne polishes him off and sends him back to the bar where he belongs. There is no place in snooker for people like this and the sooner he is off our screens the better.

The full draw for the Pink Ribbon 2013 can be found here where as well as The Wizard you will find the likes of defending champion Stuart Bingham, Ricky Walden, Dark Mavis, Michael Holt and our own Martin O’Donnell and Allan Taylor waiting to play the 32 successful amateurs who come through, one of whom won’t be Scotford.

Snooker Island is usually a good place to keep up with scores and if you would like to see how everyone is getting on their results update page can be found here.

So the best of luck to everyone involved, except Scotford of course. It’s for a great cause and hopefully the charity will again benefit from the generosity of the snooker community.


June 23, 2013

Wuxi Tipster Contest Result

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:03 pm

Neil Robertson wasn’t the only winner today in Wuxi, a nailbiting end to the Tipster Contest saw Alex scrape home by a single point with 99 points ahead of Mark Cole on 98.

Alex scoops the £50 free bet prize courtesy of blog partners Apollobet and should contact me at [email protected] for details of how to claim it.

Congratulations to him and thanks again to Apollobet for putting up the prize.

There will be lots more tipster contests throughout the season with free bets up for grabs so stay tuned. A big thanks to Nebs who did most of the calculations for this lazy blogger.

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June 22, 2013

Wuxi Classic Final: Robertson v Higgins

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:24 pm

It’s time for the final of the Wuxi Classic and after all the discussion surrounding flat structures tomorrow will surely see the phrase ‘the cream rises to the top’ used several times and more as John Higgins and Neil Robertson take to the baize to fight out their second final of the season so far.

Both made light work of their semi-final opponents and both came through 6-2 to set up a mouthwatering encounter on Sunday. Thankfully, Eurosport have deemed this more important than the Latvian Under-21 Underwater Dominoes Qualifiers so we should at least get to see it on the TV, which unfortunately this afternoon we did not.

This also comes in the wake of news that Eurosport will not be covering the Australian Open this year, except for the final apparently. This again is a blow to the sport down-under and it’s looking pretty unlikely that anyone in Europe will be able to watch it at all unless the bookmakers take the Australian TV coverage, which I seem to remember they did last year. Either way, it’s bad news for the global plans as this is the final year of the sponsorship deal too so my guess is that the future of that event is in the balance.

But this week has been pretty entertaining and comfortably the best two players have won through to the final, which hopefully will be a corker, here is a look at the head to heads….

John Higgins Neil Robertson European Tour 1 2013 Final 4-1
John Higgins Neil Robertson European Tour 4 2012 Semi-final 4-2
John Higgins Neil Robertson Players Tour Championship 10 2011 Round 4 4-3
John Higgins Neil Robertson Players Tour Championship 5 2011 Quarter-final 4-1
Neil Robertson John Higgins Premier League 2011 Semi-final 3-0
Neil Robertson John Higgins Shanghai Masters 2011 Quarter-final 5-2
John Higgins Neil Robertson UK Championship 2009 Round 2 9-8
John Higgins Neil Robertson Premier League 2009 Robin round 4-2
Neil Robertson John Higgins Grand Prix 2009 Semi-final 6-5
Neil Robertson John Higgins Welsh Open 2009 Round 2 5-4
John Higgins Neil Robertson Matchroom Championship League 2009 Robin round 4-0
Neil Robertson John Higgins Matchroom Championship League 2009 Robin round 3-1
Neil Robertson John Higgins Premier League 2007 Robin round 3-3
John Higgins Neil Robertson Malta Cup 2005 Quarter-final 5-2
Neil Robertson John Higgins Welsh Open 2005 Round 3 5-4

From this you can see that Higgins has won the last four encounters between the pair including that PTC Final a few weeks back in Sofia. But they both come into this in good form, Higgins has lost just 8 frames in the whole tournament and just 6 this week to get here and Robertson has steadily improved in each round and played some brilliant stuff today, he seems right back to his best.

As you’ll know I have backed Higgins to win this at 12/1 and I am happy to let that ride without bailing out, at least for the first part of the match but if he takes a couple of frames lead I might think again. It’s one of those situations where I will be rooting for the player that in all honesty I don’t want to win, I much prefer Robbo to John but you can’t bet with your heart or you’d be bankrupt.

In terms of a bet, I don’t need one and probably won’t have one but I can’t see this not being a close match to be honest so I would recommend the 4/5 about there being over 16.5 frames in the match over at Bet 365, which would mean they both have to win seven frames in the race to ten, I think that price is worth taking personally, 3 points on that. In terms of who I think will win, Higgins. 

You can take a look at blog partner Apollobet’s match prices here and you can also click on the banner below to open an account with them.

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June 21, 2013

Wuxi Classic Semi Final Saturday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:50 pm
John Higgins: Beginning to look a bit more like ermm, John Higgins.

John Higgins: Beginning to look a bit more like ermm, John Higgins.

It’s semi-final Super Snooker Saturday over in Wuxi as the final four left in this season’s curtain raiser set about finding the winner of the little pot that the champ gets to take away.

The Quarter Finals started with a fine match between Neil Robertson and Cao Yupeng which Robbo won in a decider, winning the last two frames in one visit. Yupeng for me is now fast becoming China’s number two, he is improving all the time, hasn’t suffered that huge dip in form and results that often besets Chinese players who break through in their first season on the tour and for me he has a much better all round game than say, Liang Wenbo, who most would possibly regard as Ding’s main apprentice.

Anyway, Robbo upped it a gear when asked a question like all the great players do and said afterwards “At 4-3 down I really had to dig in so I’m pleased by the way I came back and won the last two frames. Cao handled the pressure really well in his first quarter-final. Everyone is looking for the next Ding Junhui and I think if Cao can push on then he can be challenging for tournaments.”

That’s a bit like what I just said.

Neil now faces Rob Milkins who came through against the Sheriff of Pottingham. Country bumpkin Robot/Mill Hopkins/Milkman of course gave Neil a surprise beating in the first round at the Crucible in April, but despite this he surely goes into this as a big underdog, but it appears that suits him down to the ground as he said (through a Gloucester interpreter) “I’m chuffed to bits (Oim chaff’d taa baats) now to be in the semis but it will mean a lot more if I can get to the final (if oi can gaat taa the foinal). When I finish (fanash) my career, I don’t want to be the nearly man (nurrrrly maaan), I want to try to win a tournament (troi ta wan a turrrament). I’m glad I’m playing Neil rather than Cao because it takes a bit of pressure (a bat av prasurr) off me because I’m the underdog (Oim the anderdaag).”

Oooo Arrrr Ooooo Arrrrrr.

In the afternoon session, John Higgins continued to do a good impression of John Higgins and stamped his authority all over the match with the in-form Joe Perry. I still can’t believe that John started this tournament at 12/1 to be honest, he had a nice draw and had already won a very very competitive PTC so for me he was joint favourite with Robertson, let’s hope from a betting point of view that I’m right on this one.

He plays Matthew Stevens who is becoming a bit of a China specialist late in his career. I don’t remember him ever really doing much here but back in March he reached the World Open final and now he’s into the semis in his next one. He said afterwards of his opponent and his results here lately “John is one of the best players of all time and I’ll have to play very well to get past him. In the past I couldn’t win a match in China but I’ve had two good runs now this year. It’s nice to be able to show what I can do to the Chinese fans.”

So the flat structure has ended up giving us two of the last three World Champions, a player many believe to be the best to never have been World Champion and a player who has been showing some real form lately and has broken into the provisional top 16 as a result, so no real change there then. It is interesting though to look at their paths to the semi-finals, none of them on paper at least have had what you might call a difficult path and that I’m sure will give heart to all the players lower down the ranks as the season progresses that there are real opportunities afforded to them with this much fairer structure. But I’m sure some of them will carry on moaning anyway.

Bettingwise, we are on the precipice of the perfect final should Milkins and Higgins come through, Milkins was recommended at 66/1 and Higgins at that whopping 12/1 but there are two others in it and the formidable Robertson is a very big potential fly in the ointment with Stevens very much due a tournament success and more than capable of winning this. But I’ll keep faith with the two boys who are looking to bash the bookies even though, probably like everyone else I think the Robertson v Higgins final is what we’ll be watching on Sunday.

No further match bets for me, just a prediction of the score of each semi-final. Click on each match for the head to head statistics.


Robert Milkins v Neil Robertson

Predicted Score: Robertson to win 6-4 best priced 11/2 at Apollobet


John Higgins v Matthew Stevens

Predicted Score: Higgins to win 6-3 best priced 5/1 at Corals

You can take a look at blog partner Apollobet’s match prices here and Enhanced Bets here you can also click on the banner below to open an account with them.

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Thanks to World Snooker for use of the photo 

June 20, 2013

Wuxi Classic Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:38 pm
Smarter than your average Sheriff.

Smarter than your average Sheriff.

We’re racing through the rounds in Wuxi and Friday sees the Quarter Finals begin and end in what has been a pretty entertaining tournament so far. 

The first session of day four saw Neil Robertson see off Mark King 5-0 in impressive style finishing with a century, Robert Milkins also came through and ended, at least temporarily, the decent early season run of Scott Donaldson. Cao Yupeng kept Chinese hopes alive by beating Ben Woollaston 5-3 and The Sheriff of Pottingham Anthony Hamilton stopped MJW in his tracks with a solid 5-3 win over the King of the Floaters.

Now I got myself into a bit of an early morning pickle on Twitter for joking that renowned and self-confessed scruffbag Hamilton looked like a tramp who had wandered into the arena unnoticed by the Chinese officials. His dickie bow was revealed to be actually now old enough to get into the boozer and buy a packet of fags while sipping a gin and tonic and I’d venture that his waistcoat could accompany it for a pint or two if the mood took it, that’s before you even start on his shirt and shoes.

Some otherwise perfectly sane people got so angry about this apparently heinous accusation and slight on his character that at one point I had to look up the word ‘tramp’ to see if there was another meaning attached to it that I didn’t know about (did ‘tramp’ now mean child killer in urban youth slang?).

Some derided this comment and me in turn on account of him being a ‘decent fella’, ‘a mate of mine’ and ‘the nicest bloke on the tour’, which I found a little odd as I didn’t remember saying anything about his human emotional characteristics. Decent blokes can also be scruffy the last time I checked and more often than not the most decent are the ones who don’t really care what people think about how they look. Anthony strikes me as that kind of chap and I’m sure we’d get on very well. It’s like telling me to stop picking out Hitler’s faults because you like his moustache.

The fact remains he is a scruff, I’m sure he’s a lovely, warm, pleasant, charming, funny, loyal friend of a scruff but a scruff he remains until he chooses to change, hell he even admits it himself, he’s a proud scruff. But here’s the thing, I actually like scruffs, some of my best friends are scruffs, I’ve been labelled one myself in the past by people with no taste in style (yes you Carter and Daintry). In short, I usually prefer scruffs to those who stride around in designer gear all day showing off their labels and waiting to be noticed. In my experience they are usually as vacant as a locked up and disused public convenience.

Why else would I be friends with The Wizard of Glos and Snooker Bingo?

Anyway while all the banter/lack of a sense of humour was on display on Twitter, Anthony played very well today and his frequently used tag of ‘the best player never to win a ranking event’ may fall by the wayside well before his shirt throws in the towel and disintegrates. He plays Milkins next who remains a hope in the outright book having been recommended at 66/1 before the off.

In the second session there was a trademark win for John Higgins who made light work of Xiao Guodong without breaking sweat or sticking his tongue out too much, winning 5-0 without doing anything spectacular. Joe Perry’s winning run also continued as he swept past Dave Gilbert 5-2, but judging by the scoring it wasn’t quite as good as his performance yesterday against Ding, but enough nevertheless and he now faces Higgins.

The match between Matthew Stevens and Peter Lines won’t be heading for the DVD stockists anytime soon, a very scrappy affair ended with a win for Matthew who is sneaking under the radar after finishing last season in China as runner-up in the World Open, to say he is overdue a tournament win is something of an understatement for a player of his talent.

Finally, arguably the performance of the day came from Ireland’s David Morris, relegated from the tour two seasons ago and coming through Q-School just a few weeks back he now finds himself as the unlikely flagbearer for the new flatter structure having knocked out Ali Carter against the odds in a decider. ‘Davey’ finds himself at least £11,500 the richer from his exploits and this should at least give him some degree of security in the short term and will hopefully inspire others in the lower ranks. A great win for him at any point in his career but in a main ranking event with such pressure on it’s quite an achievement and arguably a missed chance for the Captain to make an early season impression.

Bettingwise another winning day on the match betting courtesy of Hamilton hitting the highest break against MJW (a swashbuckling 61), but Scott Donaldson couldn’t get the necessary frames against Milkins to make it another 100% strike rate. In the outrights we lost Ali and MJW and are now left with Higgins (12/1) and Milkins (66/1) who remain in opposite halves of the draw.


Robert Milkins v Anthony Hamilton

Cao Yupeng v Neil Robertson


Joe Perry v John Higgins

Matthew Stevens v David Morris

Morris - dancing through the field

Morris – dancing through the field

The Milkins/Hamilton encounter is a really tough call, the head to heads tell us little apart from the fact that they are evenly matched and it’s difficult to know how Milkins is playing having not really seen much of him. Hamilton however was solid enough against MJW and the one thing you always have in your favour with him is his scoring around the black. He’ll get chances in this and despite having Robert in the outrights I would marginally favour Hamilton to come through that one.

Only the bravest or most foolhardy of souls would back against World Number 1 Robertson tomorrow and while I rate Cao Yupeng as probably the second best of the Chinese crop I can’t really see him touching Neil given the Aussie’s form coming into this, but you never know he might be a player that rises to the expectation in his homeland like Ding used to, he scored consistently in his win over Woollaston but he may need to up that a notch to stay close to Robbo.

Joe Perry has been guilty in the past of fluffing chances on the big stage and despite winning the (let’s face it pretty mediocre) APTC last week he’s now firmly back on it again against Higgins. John will look at his draw and probably know that if he wins this he’ll get to the final, he’s not at his best but he might not have to be to get through so I will side with him.

Of more interest to me is the other match in this session and I have to say on the evidence at hand I fancy Morris to cause another upset. OK, his scoring against Ali wasn’t great but he handled the pressure admirably and Matthew wasn’t that great himself. Morris has had two tons this week including the joint highest break of 138 and in my view you can’t price the match up the way it has been given how the two are playing, so on the basis that he won’t crumble which I don’t think he will you have to back Morris at the odds on offer.

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Hamilton at 13/10 and 2 points on Morris at 5/2 with a 1 point double on the two. Both best price at Apollobet.  

You can take a look at blog partner Apollobet’s match prices here and Enhanced Bets here you can also click on the banner below to open an account with them.

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June 19, 2013

Wuxi Classic Last 16

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:41 pm
Perry - Flying

Perry – Flying

The Wuxi Classic is down the last 16 players and it is this round which is concluded on Thursday as we get to the stage where the 3am UK sessions are no more.

Today was probably most notable for the exit of Ding Junhui at the hands of the bang-in-form Joe Perry. Ding’s poor form in his homeland continues but it’s his opponent Perry that interests me having won an APTC last week just like Stuart Bingham did last year before embarking on probably his most successful season.

Perhaps Joe has seen what Ballrun achieved and looked at Dark Mavis too and is starting to believe that he can do just the same, nothing breeds success like success they say and he’s definitely looking a sharper player already than the Gentleman of the past.

Mark Williams had another highly entertaining match, this time with Jack Lisowski who pushed him all the way but again MJ was up to the task, he is slowly beginning to look like the MJW of old and he’s another that will have taken stock from last season and maybe thought that it was high time he started getting back into the winners enclosure.

John Higgins is another, like Perry he has already won an early event and became the first player to really beat an in-form Ronnie O’Sullivan in a while in the process. Today he made a joint best break 138 in beating Poomjaeng very easily, ominous signs for the others.

Another established player Ali Carter used his experience to outfox young Lu Haotian 5-0 and other experienced hands such as Matthew Stevens, Mark King, Peter Lines, Dave Gilbert and Robert Milkins all won through as did Neil Robertson who played very well after the interval to beat Martin Gould who had threatened to make a game of it before then. Returner Davy Morris from Ireland is also into the Last 16 fresh from Q-School success.

Scott Donaldson’s early season results suggest he’s been working hard over the last few months and he is now becoming firmly on the radar and Ben Woollaston’s promise shows no sign of waning and he’s fast becoming a regular fixture in the closing stages of tournaments.

China is represented by Cao Yupeng who came through with an impressive victory over Barry Hawkins and by Xiao Guodong who came through an all-Chinese clash with Li Hang 5-4, he now faces Higgins.

Bettingwise, I am pleased to report another profitable day. The 8/1 treble that was recommended on Day 3 came in and this should now secure a decent profit for the week given the success of Day 2. In terms of the outrights, we still have four men standing in Milkins (66/1), Williams (40/1), Higgins (12/1) and Carter (20/1) so there is still a reasonable chance of a profit in that market too.

But for now it’s time to turn the attention to the Last 16. I have to say I am not that inspired by the prices on these, I may have another look tomorrow early on but at the moment bettingwise I’m not really seeing a lot of value. It’s frustrating as I would probably be on a lot of +2.5 frame outsiders in this round like King, Hamilton, Donaldson, Gilbert and Lines but not all the bookies have all these matches handicapped in such a way.

Maybe one will price up the +2.5 acca on those five for a bit of interest.

7.30am (click on the matches for head to heads where there is one)

Robert Milkins v Scott Donaldson
Mark Williams v Anthony Hamilton
Mark King v Neil Robertson
Ben Woollaston v Cao Yupeng

Predictions: Milkins, Williams, Robertson, Yupeng.

12.30pm (click on the matches for head to heads where there is one)

David Gilbert v Joe Perry
John Higgins v Xiao Guodong
Ali Carter v David Morris
Peter Lines v Matthew Stevens

Predictions: Perry, Higgins, Carter, Lines.

Recommended Bets: 2 point double on Donaldson (+2.5) and Lines (+2.5) pays just on 11/8 at Skybet. 2 points on Hamilton to make the highest break v MJW at 13/10 with Apollobet.  

You can take a look at blog partner Apollobet’s match prices here and Enhanced Bets here you can also click on the banner below to open an account with them.

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Lee Hearing Set for September

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:37 am
September Showdown

September Showdown

The currently suspended Stephen Lee has been told that he will face a hearing on the 9th of September into allegations of match fixing.

This follows what some would deem to be an overly lengthy process which dates back to October of last year, since when Lee has basically lost all his earning rights in the sport without formally being convicted of anything.

It appears however that Stephen has played his part in this delay by changing his legal team a total of three times in the intervening period. It’s not clear why he has felt the need to do this but he did comment the other day on Facebook that ‘We are moving forward, I’m going to get the street fighter lawyer on board back is against the wall!!!!!’ he then hinted at breaking his silence and doing an exclusive story with the newspapers exposing how badly he has been treated by the governing body.

The suspension itself dates back to this match, the investigation into which was subsequently dropped. The case now concentrates fully on alleged breaches of members rules relating to match-fixing in matches dating back to the Malta Cup in 2008, two matches at the UK Championship 2008, one match at the China Open 2009 and one match at the World Championship 2009.

If found guilty by the independent body Sports Resolutions UK, Lee will doubtless face a lengthy ban from the sport which you would assume will have a suspended element to it to take into account the 11 months he would already have served. However with what some may and undoubtedly do see as inconsistencies in punishment lengths in the past it remains to be seen whether this will be of Hann or Higgins proportions.

One thing is certain, that Lee’s potential earnings on the professional circuit are going to suffer a further blow, though he would if acquitted be back in time for the lucrative International Championship in China and the remainder of the big money events of the season.

The case continues and continues…..

June 18, 2013

Wuxi Classic Day 3

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:05 pm
Li Hang

Hanging Offence? – One of the 3 or 4 worst hairstyles ever to grace the modern game.

Day Three in Wuxi sees the whole of the third round completed as the remaining 32 players (and no wildcards) whittle that number down to 16.

The second day saw two notable exits in Mark Allen and Judd Trump, notice I didn’t use the word ‘surprise’ there. Marky had almost indicated on Twitter that he wasn’t arsed whether he won or lost as his fragile relationship with the Chinese element of the tour continued with a loss to Peter Lines, who to be fair played very well indeed.

Afterwards, Allen was roundly abused on Twitter as only he can be for his performance by someone pretending to have his best interests at heart but that had probably lost money on him so decided to have a go at his new wife, who seems perfectly nice to me. It’s funny how some players just seem to attract a lot more venom online than others, like flies are drawn to a dog shit, Allen being one of them (a target I mean not a dog shit). I suppose it’s the old Marmite effect.

A fellow Marmiter Judd on the other hand lost to Li Hang who is surely already firmly under the radar of the Willie judges for the Worst Hair of the Season award even at this early stage. His frankly ridiculous thatch brought to mind an old phrase used often by JP when the balls are spread all over the table, in short, it was ‘like an explosion in a paint factreee’.

The least said about it the better but I can only assume that the differing shades sat atop of this misguided Chinese player’s head had snooker’s very own version of Judith Chalmers daydreaming of sandy sunsets in Vegas/Magaluf/Random Cliche Lad Holiday Destination with his glistening friend’s ripped torso’s in the background for all to admire. Either way Judd didn’t look very sharp at all and was another who just seemed to want out of there.

Big names that did come through were John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Barry Hawkins, Ali Carter, Matthew Stevens and MJW, who had a fine encounter with the improving Liam Highfield which went to a decider, both looked fairly sharp. There were whitewashes for Robert Milkins and Jimmy Robertson who put out Graeme Dott, one can assume that Graeme had one of his bad days there but take nothing away from cheeky chappy Jimmy who can produce the goods when he clicks.

As well as Hang and his hair, China also saw wins for Xiao Guodong over Peter Ebdon and for Liang Wenbo in a decider over Jamie Jones, meaning they have 6 players left in it now plus Hong Kong’s Marco Fu so the crowd should at least stay interested for another day or two. Other names winning through on Tuesday were the improving Scott Donaldson, Jack Lisowski, Ben Woollaston, Gerard Greene, Andrew Higginson and David Morris.

On the betting front it was a great day with a 20 point odd profit delivered courtesy of two winning recommended accumulators, I hope some of you got on. The outright book is still looking good but it’s still early days of course and tomorrow is another day.

Again I will flag up predicted winners and recommended bets below, once we get to a smaller field I’ll start waffling a bit about the matches and form being shown etc…there’s something to look forward to.

Last 32 – click on the match for head to heads  


Liang Wenbo v Matthew Stevens
Peter Lines v Andrew Higginson
Jimmy White v Robert Milkins
Anthony Hamilton v Stuart Bingham
Joel Walker v Ben Woollaston
Cao Yupeng v Barry Hawkins

Predicted Winners: Stevens, Higginson, Milkins, Bingham, Woollaston, Hawkins.


John Higgins v Dechawat Poomjaeng
Martin Gould v Neil Robertson
Mark Williams v Jack Lisowski
Marco Fu v Mark King
David Morris v Gerard Greene

Predicted Winners: Higgins, Gould, Williams, Fu, Morris.


Joe Perry v Ding Junhui
Xiao Guodong v Li Hang
Scott Donaldson v Jimmy Robertson
Dave Gilbert v Alan McManus
Ali Carter v Lu Haotian

Predicted Winners: Ding, Guodong, Donaldson, Gilbert, Carter.

Recommended Bets: 2 point Acca on Milkins, Hawkins, Higgins and Carter pays over 2/1 best price at Apollobet. Add Higginson and Stevens for a 1 point Acca which pays almost 7/1 best price at Apollobet. 1 point treble on Perry (+1.5), Gilbert and Donaldson pays nearly 8/1 at Apollobet

You can take a look at blog partner Apollobet’s match prices here and Enhanced Bets here you can also click on the banner below to open an account with them.

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June 17, 2013

Wuxi Classic Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:47 pm
Jimmy turned back the clock this morning.

Jimmy turned back the clock this morning.

It’s another 3am start over in Wuxi City for the second day of second round matches in the Wuxi Classic and Day 1 already has seen the holder Ricky Walden beaten convincingly by a resurgent Jimmy White who played as well as I have seen him play for many a year.

Unfortunately the news wasn’t so bright for Reanne Evans who was beaten by the wildcard she was up against who now gets a crack at Neil Robertson who I hope sends him packing. Adam Duffy was another unfortunate victim of this dated concept and Vinnie Calabrese and Jimmy Robertson scraped through in deciders against their wildcard opponents.

Most of the other matches went with the form book and notable was the continuing impressive run being put together by Dechawat Poomjaeng. The Crucible funnyman this time knocked out Spaceman Dom Dale 5-1 and this run of his doesn’t look like ending any time soon. There are no reports of him applauding himself on the way out of the arena, perhaps he saves that for the cameras.

The longest match of the day predictably involved old hands Angles McManus and Ken Doherty, Alan coming out a 5-3 winner. Ding Junhui came through against Jamie Burnett and there were wins also for Anthony Hamilton, Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham, Dave Gilbert, Joel Walker and Cao Yupeng who overcame Michael White.

The highly regarded Lu Haotian also came through his opener against Craig Steadman and revealed afterwards that he feels better playing in these events as a professional rather than a wildcard and that he’s settling in nicely in the UK.

Walden losing scuppered what I thought was a pretty solid recommended acca which was a bit of a blow on the betting front given that I reckon you have to go back to 2005 since Jimmy beat any player in the top 16 in a main ranking event.

My full betting preview for this tournament is here and includes links to all head to heads for the Tuesday matches. Recommended bets are listed below.


Tian Pengfei v Jack Lisowski
Zhu Yinghui v Neil Robertson
John Astley v Robert Milkins
Scott Donaldson v Gareth Green
Chen Zhe v Ben Woollaston
Gerard Greene v Michael Wasley

Predicted Winners: Lisowski, Robertson, Milkins, Donaldson, Zhe, Wasley.


Li Hang v Judd Trump
Mark Allen v Peter Lines
Fergal O’Brien v Barry Hawkins
Peter Ebdon v Xiao Guodong
Steve Davis v Andrew Higginson
David Morris v Gary Wilson

Predicted Winners: Trump, Allen, Hawkins, Guodong, Higginson, Wilson.


Mark Williams v Liam Highfield
John Higgins v Vinnie Calabrese
Jimmy Robertson v Graeme Dott
Ali Carter v Alfie Burden
Liang Wenbo v Jamie Jones
Lu Ning v Matthew Stevens

Predicted Winners: MJW, Higgins, Dott, Carter, Wenbo, Stevens.

Recommended Bets: 3 point Acca on Milkins, Higginson, Hawkins and Wenbo pays almost 7/2 at Apollobet, add Scott Donaldson for a 2 point acca paying almost 11/2 at the same firm. 2 x 2 point singles and a 1 point double on Chen Zhe (7/4) and Xiao Guodong (Evens) at Bet 365. 

You can take a look at blog partner Apollobet’s match prices here and Enhanced Bets here you can also click on the banner below to open an account with them.

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