September 19, 2013

Shanghai Masters Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:04 pm
Mark's the name. Brinkmanship is the game.

Mark’s the name. Brinkmanship is the game.

We have reached the Quarter Final stages in Shanghai after an action packed Thursday which saw giant-killer Kyren Wilson take yet another big scalp in fine style, defeating Marco Fu 5-3 with the highest break of the tournament, a 133.

Another headline maker in the first session was Dark Mavis who continued both his run of form and his increasing ownership of John Higgins with a commanding 5-1 victory, he’s now beaten Higgins on 6 of their last 7 meetings including a UK and World Championship encounter so if he goes on at this rate poor old John will be yet another stuffed head on the Mavis mantlepiece collection. The Dark One marches on. 

The first of a few real thrillers came as Michael Holt edged out Martin Gould in a tense and tight decider, you could almost smell both player’s determination to win oozing from the screen, a far cry from the headline maker of this week (not Ronnie the other one) and this match demonstrated to me that the vast majority of players out there today live and breathe snooker and will do whatever it takes to win. Holty might be a lot of things but he wears his heart on his sleeve that’s for sure and that always makes for great viewing.

In the other morning match, Peter Lines looked like extending his good recent run but was eventually pegged back by Xiao Guodong who took the last 4 frames to win 5-3.

The second session saw another three tight matches, Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy fought out a very decent match with Ding in the end edging it, largely due to his tactical superiority at crucial stages, but also down to the fact that he makes so few mistakes in his shot selection. To the delight of the crowd he is still in the hunt and now meets Neil Robertson in the tie of the round after Robbo came through a real tussle against the tough as teeth Mark King, who can count himself unfortunate to come up against a player who can handle him in that kind of form, not many can.

The story of this session however was the comeback king Mark Selby’s black ball match win over Rob Milkins. Milkins was 4-2 up and led in all the final three frames but the Master of Brinkmanship Selby again proved that he should never be written off with a trademark dig your heels in fightback which must have left poor old Rob wondering what he had to do to win. Selby surely is the best in the business at this type of things since, at the risk of sounding like Dennis, the great Cliff ‘Flies First Class’ Thorburn.

The final eight is completed by World Championship Runner-Up Barry Hawkins who pinned Ryan Day to the ropes in the first mini-session by leading 4-0 before a mini-revival by Day, Barry landing the killer punch in the seventh frame to triumph 5-2.

Bettingwise, both the big recommended singles landed with the frame betting on the Holt win and the maximum bet on Ding, which was a little too close for comfort. Mavis also obliged of course and overall it was another winning day on the matches, despite my continued reluctance to rate Barry Hawkins as highly as I should, I will learn eventually I promise.

However, the outright book did take a hit and it’s now down to Ding (14/1) to get anything from that, Milkins at 66/1 losing is an obvious blow from such a commanding position, so now it’s solely down to the home favourite to land an outright bet, but what a toughie he has now.

Let’s have a look at what’s in store on Friday.


Dark Mavis v Xiao Guodong
Kyren Wilson v Michael Holt

Mavis is understandably now a strong favourite to take another step towards his first ranking title, which if he keeps this kind of run going is surely a real possibility for him this season. He faces Guodong who has done well so far and who will be determined to become the new Chinese hero with a tournament win at home. Looking at his scoring against Peter Lines it wasn’t that great, perhaps because of the nature of how a match against Lines can pan out but in terms of scoring power Mavis has the edge this week, he looks assured, confident and in command, something that only winning consistently can bring. I see no reason why Xiao will not be added to the growing list of those who have been well and truly ‘Mavised’ in the past month or so. Kyren Wilson is now right back in the spotlight and both him and Holt will see this as a great opportunity to really make a name for themselves, the bookies have now realised that Kyren is a cool, calm and collected customer and he’s already proved it this week under the glare of the TV conditions. I can’t pick a winner there, you’d think with the experience he has Holt would hold a slight advantage but I’m not so sure, it could be a cracker that and again I think the frame bet is the one to be on.

Predicted Winners: Mavis and Wilson.

Recommended Bet: 4 points on over 7.5 frames in Holt v Wilson at 4/5 with Paddy Power. 

Probably the bet of the day.

Probably the bet of the day.


Mark Selby v Barry Hawkins
Ding Junhui v Neil Robertson

Mark Selby renews his recent rivalry with Barry Hawkins, the man who has knocked him out of the last two World Championships. Selby is obviously digging in and I’d say he is now by far the toughest player on the circuit to beat when things get tight. Barry will have to try and combat the Jester’s various tactical gambits and tactics to compete, but he has of course done this before so there’s no reason why he can’t again. He’s scoring OK and Selby probably won’t run away with it as he seldom does, that again makes the frame bet an interesting proposition for me. Then the tie of the round as Robbo takes on Ding, I have said I have a feeling about Ding this week and if that mystical twitch I seem to have developed when he’s playing isn’t just a medical condition he’s going to have to beat the best player in the world at the moment (apart from Ronnie) to prove me right. I’m a big admirer of both players and I just hope they both bring their A game, if they do they are inseperable, Ding’s shot selection for me remains as good as anyone who has ever played the game and Robbo’s all round game is of the highest quality in every area. My pocket and that twitch says Ding, but in truth I actually think the 4/5 that Stan James have put up on Robbo is a cracking price, get on if you feel the same.

Predicted Winners: Selby and Robertson.

Recommended Bets: 3 points on over 7.5 frames in the Selby v Hawkins match at 5/6 with Paddy Power. 3 points double on both recommended frame bets pays over 9/4 at the same firm. Add Robertson to beat Ding for a 2 point treble that pays over 9/2 at the same firm. 1 point acca pays 15/2 at Stan James on Wilson, Mavis, Selby and Robertson.   

By the way, if anyone is having any trouble getting their bets on to their desired stake with Apollobet, please email me at [email protected] with your username 

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Ronnie Explains his Tweets

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:19 pm
Ronnie: Likes to mix it up a bit.

Ronnie: Likes to mix it up a bit.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has today clarified what he meant by his series of tweets the other day in an official statement to World Snooker, in it he explains that he was referring to rumours from ‘many years ago’.

Ronnie O’Sullivan Statement

I would like to clarify the comments that I made on Twitter 17th September as they were an instant reaction to an issue which I feel strongly about, namely the integrity of my sport.

The news about Stephen Lee’s match-fixing case was eye-opening to all players on the circuit, and sends out a clear message to any would-be cheats.

I fully support this decision and commend the WPBSA for taking positive action in this case.

My reference to players throwing matches was out of context in that I was referring back to rumours from many years ago when there were only a few tournaments on the circuit.

The snooker circuit calendar is now full of tournaments all year round and has undoubtedly been cleaned up since World Snooker was taken over by Barry Hearn, and I do not want my comments to leave a damaging mark on the game.

These days, players are aware that procedures are in place for monitoring and identifying unusual betting patterns, and combined with the Stephen Lee decision, these act as a significant deterrent to potential cheats.

If I were aware of match-fixing, I understand that it would be up to me to report any fears to the Association.

I have no intention of undermining the integrity of the sport that I love and enjoy participating in so much and firmly believe that my tweets were taken out of context.

Now let’s play snooker!

Well, the last sentence makes perfect sense at least……

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