October 19, 2013

Snookerbacker Classic Liverpool Draws 26th and 27th October

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:59 am

We’ve just completed the draws for heats 3 and 4 of this years Snookerbacker Classic in Liverpool next weekend and you can watch how they unravel below. Be warned in advance that on Sunday’s draw, Mrs SB loses the plot a bit.

If you’d rather not sit through this idiotic nonsense you can view the draws for both days by clicking here.

Saturday Draw

Sunday Draw

October 17, 2013

Indian Open Conclusion

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:03 pm

Finals Day in Delhi on Friday, it’s been quite an enjoyable tournament from a viewing perspective and I hope next year it grows into an event that hosts longer matches.

There is still a 125/1 recommended each way bet in there in the shape of Aditya Mehta. Hopefully we’ll get to the final to lock in a huge profit, but for anyone that followed the bets to the letter it’s your call whether to lay off or not. But obviously a bet on Maguire to win his semi-final is the only bet to have.  

Semi Finals

Ding Junhui 4-0 Robbie Williams

Stephen Maguire 3-4 Aditya Mehta


Ding 5-0 Mehta

You can take a look at Apollobet’s match betting by clicking here – they are also betting in running on all the Live Stream Matches. 

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October 16, 2013

Indian Open Last 16 and Quarter Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:13 pm

Here’s the schedule for a big day over in Delhi when we whittle 16 down to just the final 4.

The event is live streamed at the official World Snooker TV website and the usual betting sites.

Click over to this page for the best head to head records on the internet courtesy of the Cue Tracker database.

Bettingwise it is a potentially very decent tournament as things stand on the outrights and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the coverage which has given the likes of Michael Holt, Dark Mavis and Mike Dunn the chance to have a go in unfamiliar territory.

I still think the matches should be best of more than 7 though, but it’s a start and has a nice feel to it.


Ding Junhui 4-2 John Higgins
Anthony McGill 4-2 Joe Perry
Mike Dunn 0-4 Robbie Williams
Stuart Bingham 3-4 Pankaj Advani


Neil Robertson 4-2 Liang Wenbo
Michael White 4-3 Gary Wilson
Aditya Mehta 4-2 Mark Williams
Dark Mavis 2-4 Stephen Maguire


Quarter Finals

Neil Robertson 2-4 Ding Junhui
Anthony McGill 0-4 Robbie Williams
Michael White 3-4 Stephen Maguire
Pankaj Advani v Aditya Mehta

You can take a look at Apollobet’s match betting by clicking here – they are also betting in running on all the Live Stream Matches. 

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Indian Open Day 3

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:00 am

Here’s the schedule for Day 3 in Delhi, the event is live streamed at the official World Snooker TV website and the usual betting sites.

Click over to this page for the best head to head records on the internet courtesy of the Cue Tracker database.

While it remains the best of 7 frames I’m not going to be getting involved in the match betting side but suffice to say that I still think Neil Robertson is the man to beat, that the Indian players will do and already have done well enough to keep everyone happy and interested and that the winner of Mark Williams and Mark Selby may be Neil’s biggest threat. We’ll see.

The times below are UK Time (I’m so British)


Dechawat Poomjaeng 2-4 Liang Wenbo
Anthony McGill 4-1 Fergal O’Brien
Andrew Higginson 1-4 Robbie Williams
Zhang Anda 3-4 Michael White


Ding Junhui 4-3 Mark Joyce
Dark Mavis 4-1 Michael Holt
Tom Ford 3-4 Stephen Maguire
Hammad Miah 1-4 Aditya Mehta

Followed by

Neil Robertson 4-2 Rod Lawler
Joe Perry 4-2 Ricky Walden
Ratchayothin Yotharuck 0-4 Mike Dunn
Mark Williams 4-1 Mark Selby

NB 2.30pm

Li Yan 0-4 John Higgins
Gary Wilson v Marco Fu
Stuart Bingham v Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon
Pankaj Advani v Mark Allen

You can take a look at Apollobet’s match betting by clicking here

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October 14, 2013

Indian Open Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:04 pm

Here’s the schedule for Day Two in Delhi, the event is live streamed at the official World Snooker TV website and the usual betting sites.

Click over to this page for the best head to head records on the internet courtesy of the Cue Tracker database.

The times below are UK Time, Delhi is four and a half hours ahead.


Barry Hawkins 1-4 Anthony McGill
Rod Lawler w/o Ali Carter
Dominic Dale 0-4 Gary Wilson
Michael White w/o Anthony Hamilton

Followed by

Mark Williams w/o Yu De Lu
Paul Davison 1-4 Stephen Maguire
Andrew Higginson 4-2 Jamie Burnett
Robbie Williams w/o Kyren Wilson

Followed by

Joel Walker 0-4 John Higgins
Marco Fu w/o Tony Drago
Jeff Cundy 3-4 Li Yan
Alex Davies 1-4 Fergal O’Brien

NB 2.30pm

Marcus Campbell 1-4 Pankaj Advani
Nigel Bond 1-4 Mark Allen
Tom Ford 4-3 Jamie Jones
Ratchayothin Yotharuck 4-3 James Wattana

Followed by

Dharminder Lilly 0-4 Mark Selby
Stuart Bingham 4-1 Liu Chuang
Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon 4-1 Lu Haotian
Mike Dunn 4-2 Ken Doherty

You can take a look at Apollobet’s match betting by clicking here

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New Prize Announcement: SB Classic Champion gets Crucible Date with Hendry

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:14 pm
The Classic Champ will play with the Legend in April.

The Classic Champ will play with the Legend in April at the Crucible.

I like to think that as well as the cash and Q-School prizes what stands the Snookerbacker Classic out from other events in the amateur game is the exposure the finalists and in particular the winner gets from it.

Well, this season there is an even bigger added incentive to carry off the trophy and the main prize as I am delighted to announce that the winner will be invited to the home of snooker, the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, on the eve of the great championship to be introduced as champion and play a frame of snooker partnering none other than the undisputed King of the Crucible Stephen Hendry. 

As well as this (and arguably even better…), the winner and his or her guest will join myself and Mrs SB as VIP guests of Snooker Legends, whose creator Jason Francis has joined the SBC Family of Sponsors and kindly offered this amazing experience as a prize to the new champion.

Jason says ‘I am delighted to be getting involved with the Snookerbacker Classic, it’s a great event and I wanted to give it all the support I could. Offering this prize to the champion will give them an experience not many snooker players have had and most can only dream of, namely to play at the biggest venue of them all with all eyes on them, it’s the type of experience that money can’t buy and I can’t wait to see how the SB Classic winner performs when paired up with Stephen against other legends of the sport, it will be quite a night’.

Personally I am delighted as it will also mean that the winner will get to showcase their talent and celebrate being the new champion in style, it will give them more exposure and hopefully get their confidence sky high as they embark on the rest of their career.

Now in its 5th year the Snooker Legends return to the Crucible on Thursday 10th April and this night offers the winner of the SB Classic the experience of what it’s like to play at the venue they all want to get to in a one table situation. It will also mean that I can take Mrs SB and the champ and their guest for an Indian meal afterwards at a little place I know.

To book tickets to this or any other of the Snooker Legends events you should call the Box Office on 0114 249 6000 or book online at


October 13, 2013

Indian Open Day 1

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:54 pm

Here’s the schedule for Day One in Delhi, the good news is that the whole event is live streamed at the official World Snooker TV website and the usual betting sites.

I am going to leave the match betting alone for now, but you can read my outright preview for the tournament by clicking here. If I was going to plump for a small interest treble I’d probably take a chance on Ryan Day, Michael Holt and Aditya Mehta. Look out for possible upsets from Elliot Slessor and David Morris.

Click over to this page for the best head to head records on the internet courtesy of the Cue Tracker database.

The times below are UK Time, Delhi is four and a half hours ahead.


Rod Lawler 4-1 Kamal Chawla
Jeff Cundy 4-0 Sandeep Gulati
Anthony McGill 4-3 Shivam Arora

Followed by

Robbie Williams 4-1 Manan Chandra
Paul Davison 4-1 Faisal Khan
Dharminder Lilly w/o Liam Highfield

Followed by

Neil Robertson 4-1 Noppon Saengkham
Joe Perry w/o David Gilbert
Ryan Day 2-4 Dechawat Poomjaeng
Mark Joyce 4-0 Sean O’Sullivan

NB 2.30pm

Aditya Mehta 4-3 Peter Ebdon
Gerard Greene 0-4 Ricky Walden
Jamie Cope 1-4 Michael Holt
Zhang Anda 4-1 Alan McManus

Followed by

Ding Junhui 4-3 Barry Pinches
Dark Mavis 4-2v Elliot Slessor
Liang Wenbo 4-2 David Morris
Chen Zhe 3-4 Hammad Miah

You can take a look at Apollobet’s outright and highest break markets by clicking here and the match betting by clicking here

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Indian Open Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:07 am

India_MapThe Indian Open kicks off on Monday over in Delhi and the main talking point so far at this new event has been the number of withdrawals following the qualifying stages.   

Ali Carter is the highest seeded player to not make the trip having also decided against going to Chengdu later this month for the lucrative International Championship. Given the turbulent few months The Captain has had healthwise you can understand his reluctance to throw himself back in the bear pit too soon and I’m sure when he’s ready he’ll come back firing on all cylinders.

The other withdrawals are Dave Gilbert, Tony Drago, Anthony Hamilton, Kyren Wilson, Yu De Lu and yesterday, Liam Highfield.

Drago pulled out a a few weeks ago so we have known about that one for a while now, Kyren is currently nursing a painful shoulder injury and reluctantly pulled out after visiting the quack, Dave Gilbert is apparently attending the funeral of a close friend (but is still being fined for his non-appearance according to Matt Selt, which if true is a touching gesture from the governing body) and I’m unsure whether Hamilton’s withdrawal also has something to do with his health, he seems to be suffering with a recurring back problem of late. I don’t have a clue why Yu De Lu has pulled out, possibly a visa issue, but yesterday Liam Highfield revealed he decided not to make the trip after hearing news of Cyclone Phailin which is currently reaping havoc across the Eastern Coast of India.

Now then, I in no way mean to trivialise the devastation and distress to thousands of people that this cyclone has caused, so far there are five reported deaths and I hope this doesn’t rise in an area used to dealing with extreme weather conditions, but our Liam hasn’t really done his research on this one and something tells me it’s not the first time he has failed to hand in his homework. Potters aren’t generally known for being over-furnished in the brains department and it appears the long history of misguided actions based on evidence about as flimsy as Jimmy Savile’s defence team’s case papers continues unabated.

India is a very big place, big enough to be subject to different time zones, but it would appear Liam seems to think it’s the size of the Isle of Man. I remember as a child I had an uncle who moved to Winsford, I asked my mum if he was awake when I was asleep as to me this mystical place seemed light years away, I have since discovered that it’s about an hour away down the motorway, but I was only 5 at the time so I feel I have a half decent excuse. If 23 year old Liam had looked at a map and understood the scale of the country I think he might have made the trip, the cyclone is about as likely to hit Delhi as Gary Glitter is of getting a job as a primary school teacher. All in all, Liam has been left looking a bit of a bell here, poor lad.

But for those who have turned up, a wonderful country awaits. Of course most of them will stay in the hotel playing cards but for those who decide to venture more than 10 yards away from the comfort of their 5 star luxury there are sights here that you won’t see anywhere else on Earth. OK, there is extreme poverty, mudhuts on the streets, elephants and monkeys mixing with the locals, crazy crazy traffic like you’ve never seen, pickpockets, noise and pollution, but there is also an intensity about India that can be addictive, more addictive than hotel poker even, imagine that!! It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, decides to go walkabout.

In terms of the tournament itself, I have to say the decision to make it nothing more than a glorified PTC is very disappointing. The best of 7 frames with umpteen tables, no TV coverage and a best of 9 final hardly whets the appetite from a viewing or betting perspective and I would love to know the reasoning behind the decision-making on this one. Surely a smaller field with decent length matches would have been a better way to introduce a new event, but what do I know?

A bit of value in the laid-back floater.

A bit of value in the laid-back floater.

The draw can be viewed on ‘My First PDF’ at World Snooker by clicking here and I’m just going to bash up who I think might represent a bit of value.

In terms of a winner and on current form for me it’s a toss up between Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui, Robbo will have to beat Noppon Saengkham and Rod Lawler or a wildcard to reach a very winnable last 16 match. Ding is in the same section as John Higgins so just on that fact alone I’m going to plump for tournament favourite Robbo as the main pick.

The next section is arguably the weakest one so I will take a chance on Joe Perry to have a decent week, with best of 7’s anything can happen but he has the advantage of already being into the last 32 following Gilbert’s withdrawal and he’s had a decent start to the season so could make it deep in this one.

Another strong starter to the season who also has a first round bye is Marco Fu and he’s the man I’m going to follow in the third section, a consistent performer who can beat anyone on his day, I just have a feeling Marco will do well in this.

Finally in the bottom section I am going to plump for MJW who will almost certainly play Mark Selby in the Last 32, given that MJ has a bye and Selby will only need to take care of someone called Dharminder Lilly to get there. Selby isn’t yet in form and MJW has already won an event this season and is a famously unflummuxed traveller, I think at the odds if he beats Selby he’s in with a cracking chance of making the final.

So they are my main four picks but it might also be worth having small each way bets on the two Indian players, just in case….

Recommended Bets: 3 points on Neil Robertson at 7/1 with Betfred. 1 point on Joe Perry at 28/1 with 888 Sport (25’s generally at bookies you can get a bet on with). 1 point on Marco Fu at 25/1 with Apollobet. 2 points on Mark Williams at 28/1 with Bet 365. O.5 points each way on Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta both at 125/1 with Sportingbet.

You can take a look at Apollobet’s outright and highest break markets by clicking here and the match betting by clicking here

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October 11, 2013

Eric Whitehead: Every Picture Tells A Story – ‘Right Pic, Wrong Day’

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:33 pm

It’s time for the second installment of the new feature from legendary snooker snapper Eric Whitehead. Last month he told us the story behind an iconic shot of Paul Hunter, this month to coincide with the launch of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s new book, he has decided to tell us the story behind another famous pic. 

Ronnie O'Sullivan plays snooker under a towel

It was unusual. It was Sunday, 11th December 2005, and I was driving into York. I don’t usually get to snooker events until Monday. I can’t remember why I had been arriving in York at 4pm that Sunday evening. I checked into my B&B, unloaded all my stuff and pondered about what to do for the rest of the evening. I decided that I may as well go to the Barbican and set up my gear ready for the next day. At about 6pm I arrived in the press room, it didn’t take me long to set things up and looking at the schedule I noticed that Ronnie was playing, so I decided to take some stock images of him for my library. He was playing Mark King and it was a two table set.

The next unusual thing which happened was that I was sat by the right-hand side of the table. I would normally position myself by the left-hand side of the table as it made better pictures, because as most of the players are right-handed their arm would not be obscuring their face.

The match started and I rattled off a few shots expecting to be finished after about four frames, when it happened! I didn’t take much notice at first as it was not something that I expected to happen in a snooker match. At first I thought that Ronnie was just wiping his face with his towel. It didn’t really make a picture, I had loads of that sort: expression pictures. Yet it only took a few seconds before I realised what Ronnie was doing and I quickly reached out for my other lens to get the picture.

It was adrenalin pumping, I knew an incident like this would only happen for a few seconds. I felt around my chair for the lens, holding the camera with the other, my eyes fixed upon Ronnie wishing him not to take the towel off his head. Finding the lens I snapped it onto the camera body, aimed, focused and shot. It seems that simple, but it I can assure you that it wasn’t!

The main problem in getting this shot was not that I had to find the lens or even get it on the body, but that I had to move slowly, very slowly. Yet I wanted to move quickly, very quickly! I was fighting to get the shot and any second I expected to lose the picture. My concern – as I fumbled for the lens – was that Mark was setting up his shot. He was on the ball and I was eye level with him directly in his line of sight. He was oblivious to what was happening behind him. Unaware of the player who I could see over his shoulder that resembled someone from the Ku Klux Klan! Any sudden, sharp, movements from me would distract Mark as he aimed for the black into the corner pocket. I couldn’t risk that. So for seconds I sat motionless, screaming inside for him to quickly hit the ball, it seemed like minutes and I was holding my breath, I must have looked a comical figure leaning over at 45 degrees stroking the carpeted floor with my hand.

I missed about half a dozen shots which was exasperating. Yet Ronnie kept the towel on his head. I couldn’t believe it. What was happening? Mark played his shot got up from the table and in a split second I grabbed the lens snapped it onto the camera and aimed.

Then the worst happened! Mark moved position and stood in front of Ronnie, blocking my shot. He leaned onto the table and totally obscured Ronnie. What? I had to move my chair. Re-position. I couldn’t do that while Mark was looking at me! Again I had to wait until Mark had taken his shot. I was hoping desperately that Ronnie would keep the towel on his head and I knew Mark would next play the black. He pocketed the red. I moved the chair. I was ready.

As Mark stood up I grabbed a couple of shots of Ronnie, before he got down to the next shot. It was perfect. In the foreground was Mark playing the black, with Ronnie sat behind covered by a towel! I focused on Ronnie. Click! Then two or three more shots as Mark lined up the shot. That was it! The pic was in the ‘bag’ and I breathed a long sigh of relief. What had seemed like hours was in fact just a couple of minutes. I looked at my watch, this was a great picture but unfortunately I knew it would be too late for that day’s editions who except for the main news stories or features planned would have ‘gone to bed’ by now. I didn’t hold out much hope for the following editions either, because the picture would be old by then and the papers would be full of football. Unless something ‘newsy’ happened in this match it was a dead picture, although a great one.

A few moments later Ronnie took the towel off his head and stepped up to the table and the picture was gone. I waited a little longer just to see if something else would happen, but it didn’t. A part of me wanted to stay for the whole match. Another part of me wanted to rush up the press room and send out the picture to the papers. In the end I went to the press room and I sent the picture to all the papers that I could reasonably expect would be interested in it, packed my gear and went back to my accommodation.

The next day I scanned through all the papers, but needless to say, the picture had not made any of them. Had the shot happened on another day then I expect it would definitely have made it. It was a case of great shot, wrong time. It sometimes happens but I was happy with the picture. If you buy Ronnie’s new book ‘Running’ which is out now then you will see it. Apart from the snooker magazines, this is the first time this picture has been published that I am aware of.

You can take a look at some of Eric’s iconic work at his new website Snooker Images by clicking here and you can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

‘Running’ can be purchased in hardback from here

October 10, 2013

Lee Protests His Innocence

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:15 am
Someone is telling porkies

Someone is telling porkies

Stephen Lee took to the airwaves last night to tell Andy Goldstein that he was completely innocent of the charges that have landed him with a 12 year ban from snooker, saying World Snooker has played ‘dirty tricks’ on him and claiming that he was not given a fair hearing.

It is a predictable response from him, if there is one thing you can say about him it is that he has been totally consistent since the beginning in proclaiming his innocence, he’s maintained a dignified silence while his 11 month suspension was going on and has not been tempted to elaborate on his claims to be a scapegoat, implying by definition that he has took the hit for others in the sport.

In the interview with Talksport which can be listened to here Lee continually goes back to several key themes. Firstly, he says he has evidence of a legitimate money trail for all payments into his (wife’s) bank account, refuting the charge that these were funds accumulated through gambling. Secondly, he says that he was not given a chance to properly defend himself and that if the ‘facts’ were known, people would not be so quick to judge him. Thirdly, he names people who have lept to his defence, the two he decided to focus on being Jimmy White and Matthew Stevens, before mentioning ‘a few of the lads in Thailand’ which probably wasn’t his greatest idea ever.

Interestingly, early on in the interview Lee claims that he was not under any financial pressure during the key period. This is quite interesting as not only is this the only shred of pity which the tribunal offered him in their final judgement as a mitigating factor but it also flies in the face of a string of unpaid county court judgements against him totalling somewhere in the region of £70,000.

He also talks at length about the Premier League match with John Higgins which triggered his suspension, though disappointingly Andy does not present the betting figures of that match to him which I covered extensively on this blog here. Whilst the investigation into that match was dropped, largely I believe for convenience rather than any judgement of innocence on Lee’s part, it’s still clear from what has been said by some of the players, publicly by Mark King in particular, that they believe had he not been ‘at it again’ in the Premier League he may well have not been suspended in the first place and might still be playing, his past misdemeanours all but forgotten.

When Lee is presented with player quotes from King ‘I’ve no sympathy for him’, Judd Trump ‘Deserves a life ban’ and Ken Doherty ‘There is no way back for him’ he again reiterates that if they knew the facts of the case they would not be saying this. Even more bizarrely Lee claims that he has ‘never been approached to fix a match’, at this point a pig can be clearly heard flying across the studio.

Bazza: No sympathy.

Bazza: No sympathy.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn has little sympathy for Lee and has told the Daily Hate Mail today that:

‘He’s desperate because he’s finished and the fact that he’s got some muppet trying to sell his story just says it all. When he reached No 5 in the world I was so proud of him, I liked Stephen, he was a nice bloke. But now we have to hold him up as an example of someone who has thrown away a successful career because he took the wrong road. If he was still at that top-5 level now he’d be making about £500,000 a year. As it is, he’s lost everything’.

Good old Bazza getting a plug in too about prize money. Never misses a trick that fella.

So Lee maintains his innocence as he heads for what presumably will be his final throw of the dice. What will he do if that’s it? Does he start landing others in it? The temptation to do so will be there and doubtless there will be hacks who’ll happily dish the dirt, I dare say that there will possibly be a few twitchy players around if he decides to go down that path. But this of course would blow what is left of his own credibility to smithereens and make his vehement protestations of innocence laughable so he’d be a very brave or foolish man to do this.

I have tried to maintain balance in all my blogging about this issue, there are things I have been told that would break confidences so that’s not going to happen. But suffice to say that the description of Lee as a lovely man is one that is shared by most people who have met him. The only people who do not seem to share this opinion of him in my experience are people whose relationships with him have been on a business level rather than a personal one.

We’ll wait and see what happens on appeal, but the weight of evidence against him as detailed here and summarised brilliantly in this month’s Snooker Scene will take some chipping away at.

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