December 27, 2013

Looking Ahead: January on the Baize

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:59 pm
The Masters at Ally Pally is the highlight of the month.

The Masters at Ally Pally is the highlight of the month.

January 6th sees the start of almost non-stop snooker action right through until the end of the World Championship in May. I reckon there is only one full week in between the Championship League kicking off and the culmination of the Crucible that there isn’t any snooker going on somewhere or other in the world.

Despite this, with a mixture of the events being either invitational (Championship League/Masters) or just qualifying rounds, in most of which the players will only be playing one match, it might not be as bad as it sounds and hopefully will avoid all talk of burn-out before the main event in Sheffield kicks off.

The month starts with the annual visit to Crondon Park for the Championship League. An internet-only event which sees the players competing in what essentially are practice conditions in oak beamed surroundings and huge armchairs. It’s not a bad watch if you are in the mood but not an event that I’d recommend going heavy on from a betting point of view. You can take a look at who is competing and when by clicking here.

For newcomers to the Championship League, the format is that in each group seven players compete over two days in best of five frame matches. At the conclusion of the league section, the top four move forward to the straight knockout play-offs. The eventual winner goes forward into the Final Group, the bottom two players leave the competition and the remaining four players compete, along with three new players in the next group. The Final Group sees the seven group winners play for a place in next season’s Champion of Champions. It’s quite a lucrative competition in its own right too as players accumulate cash for every frame they win.

We’ll be returning to Crondon for two more groups on the 20th but in between the two is the main event of the month, the Masters from London which kicks off on the 12th with full coverage from the BBC and Eurosport.

As ever, it’s the top 16 players that are competing for the big prize, although that isn’t strictly true this year as the World Champion isn’t currently ranked in the top 16 but takes his place anyway by virtue of his exploits at the Crucible. It’s fair to say that Ronnie O’Sullivan will not have been on Graeme Dott’s Xmas card list this season as it’s Dotty who misses out by virtue of being number 16 in the world at the cut-off point, with Joe Perry narrowly pipping him to 15th and therefore taking the last place.

There are a few other stalwarts of the elite band that are also absent from the Masters this time, Mark Williams, Ali Carter and Matthew Stevens will all be watching at home as the likes of Rob Milkins, Dark Mavis and Ricky Walden take part. The defending champion of course is Mark Selby and it’s him that opens up the tournament on the Sunday afternoon, with arguably the best match taking place on the Wednesday afternoon between UK Champion Neil Robertson and Mark Allen.

Sunday January 12
1pm Mark Selby v Dark Mavis
7pm Stuart Bingham v John Higgins

Monday January 13
1pm Judd Trump v Marco Fu
7pm Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry

Tuesday January 14
1pm Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy
7pm Ronnie O’Sullivan v Robert Milkins

Wednesday January 15
1pm Neil Robertson v Mark Allen
7pm Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden

Some players seem to have made other arrangements this year when the Shootout is on. Can't think why.

Some players seem to have made other arrangements this year when the Shootout is on. Can’t think why.

The full draw can be viewed here.

On the 24th the top 64 players well, the ones who can be arsed going and who haven’t made prior arrangements to have their piles lanced, will be lining up in Blackpool for the Shootout; an absolutely awful event which is billed as ‘fun’ but in reality is about as much fun as hearing the news that all your known family have been killed in a freak boating accident. Some people like it of course, but then again some people think Michael McIntyre is funny. There really is no accounting for taste. I won’t be tuning in.

Finally to round the month off it’s the fantastic German Masters in Berlin. Following the qualifiers in December the draw for the last 64 (or Round 1 as World Snooker refer to it) can be found by clicking here. Regulars will know how much I rave about this event so I won’t do so again until it gets closer, but suffice to say that for me this is one of the gems in the snooker calendar.

February will also be a big month and for many the unlikely venue of Gdynia in Poland will hold the key to their chances of remaining a professional player for a further season. To see why this event is so important read Matt’s excellent player-by-player summary by clicking here, it’s fair to say that for some this represents their only chance of avoiding Q-School in May.

Talking of Q-School, the Snookerbacker Classic get’s back underway on February 1st in Leeds (event full) and then again on 8th in Liverpool and the 23rd in Gloucester. There are a few places left in those two final events ahead of the Grand Finals on March 1st in Gloucester. For more details click here.

So that’s January.

Championship League
Crondon Park

The Masters
Alexandra Palace, London

Championship League
Crondon Park

Tower Circus Arena, Blackpool

29-2nd February
German Masters
Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany


December 26, 2013

Snookerbacker Classic: Final Remaining Places For This Season

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:00 am

The final 3 qualifying events for this season’s Snookerbacker Classic are as follows.

Saturday 1st February: Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds. (16 players, 1 qualifier, £50 entry) EVENT FULL

DATE CHANGE Sunday 16th February: Scotties Snooker, Liverpool. (16 players, 1 qualifier, £50 entry) 4 PLACES LEFT

Sunday 23rd February (Last Chance Saloon): SWSA, Gloucester. (Maximum of 64 players, 1 qualifier, £40 entry – Best of 5 frame matches) PLACES FILLED SO FAR = 37  

Please note that these three events are the last three of the season and will therefore decide who qualifies as the top two players from the SB Order of Merit List.



Select Event and Click Pay Now

December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:34 pm

This is just a short thank you message to you all for continuing to log on and contribute to this utter tripe. It’s been almost four years since I started it all off and I know a few of you have been on here from the very beginning, some have discovered this seedy little corner of the internet later and others have come, had a look and sensibly left never to be seen again.

Your company is still very much appreciated, whether you come on here to look at the betting side of things, want the occasional catch up on snooker news, you are involved in the Snookerbacker Classic or you are just hopelessly lost in cyberspace and looking for a picture of a German girl with hardly any clothes on; the number of you who continue to log on still baffles me to this day.

It’s now time for Mrs SB, the hounds and I to have a short break. In the meantime my Christmas message to you is to celebrate it however you wish, if at all. Remember it’s about spending time with those you least dislike in life and that the religious bit is just a load of old cobblers, but remains a good excuse to put some carols on, have a sing-song, get pissed and stuff yourself stupid.

If any of you are feeling generous, please pick one of the charities on this page to make a donation to.

Have a great one and I will leave you for now with what I reckon is the best addition to the Xmas song catalogue for a good few years.   

December 18, 2013

To Backer, Love Bazza: My Christmas Wishes Answered…

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:26 am

Yesterday I decided to write a list to the Santa of Snooker, Barry Hearn, to tell him what I’d like from him in 2014. I’m very pleased to say that he flung himself down the chimney last night, made off with all the mince pies and left me some answers to my various requests. In amongst his answers was something of a scoop as it’s the first time I think he’s ever divulged his longer term plans for the World Championship, well if he has, I’ve missed it.  

I started by asking Bazza to ban the wildcards:

I then asked him to keep snooker in York and I also asked him to address the concerns of amateur players who are all robbing old ladies in the street to afford to play in the PTC’s (this was actually question 4 but because Baz is getting on a bit I’ll forgive him), he replied:

He then addressed question number 3 and elaborated on it a little later. In this Christmas wish I asked him to leave the World Championship alone and keep the reward at the end of the season for the top 16 players, who would qualify to play at the Crucible rather than having to qualify, this is what he came back with whilst also addressing my concern that the calendar remains a little too congested for my liking:

Hard work? What’s that then? Anyway, he elaborated when asked by Cue Action Blog if the longer plan for the World Championship was indeed to seed the top 16 through to the venue, he confirmed that this was what he meant:

This to me makes perfect sense and gives the players the incentive to finish the season ahead of Sheffield in the elite 16, I’m really pleased that this seems to have been confirmed, straight from the horses mouth as they say.

I then asked for more involvement from ITV4 and live draws online for all tournaments:

I think he meant ‘love’ but never mind. I then asked how long it would be until the hooky matches that everyone knows about are tackled, unsurprisingly, a diplomatic and standard answer to my wish was what followed rather than specifics:

He then shared a little ‘in-joke’ with me about my own tournament, he’s such a card…

He then dodged my questions about Jason Ferguson’s dry-cleaning arrangements and instead decided to heap praise on the guy who does all the work by saying:

Then the grumpy old sod wished me a Happy Xmas:

So there you have it, you have to admire Bazza for being a good sport and answering some of the questions more fully than I’d expected, especially the World Championship one. I’d count that as a fairly decent haul from my wish list and thanks to him for getting back to me so soon. I’ll assume the tour card is in the post.

Merry Christmas Bazza


December 17, 2013

Dear Bazza…….

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:49 pm
I thought I'd call on Bazza's Christmas Spirit.

I thought I’d call on Bazza’s Christmas Spirit.

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ sings Andy Williams, ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’ sings Roy Wood, with a little hint of irony, ‘All I want for Christmas it you’ screeches Mariah Carrey as windows shatter around the world and we all start the annual tradition of eating and drinking too much.

Yes faithful readers, it’s nearly time for me to put down my quill for a week or two and spend a bit of time not thinking about snooker for a change and getting what I believe people refer to as ‘a life’, I’ll let you know my findings on the other side but my guess is that it’s probably over-rated.

But before I lock my writing bureau and pack away the parchment I think this is an opportune moment to take stock of the sport as another year under the good ship Bazza sails away into the distance.

Snooker has changed seismically since I first started this blog nearly four years ago, Bazza was just being sworn in and we’d never even heard of PTC’s, Q-School or money lists, let alone professional tournaments in Australia, Holland and India as well as one ill-judged jaunt to Brazil which was to begin and end in a circus tent.

It’s been a rollercoaster for players, officials, fans and bloggers alike and everyone has their opinion about where we’re at. Not that Bazza gives a stuffing ball what we all think, but we’ll carry on giving our opinions anyway.

Rather than go over old ground in retrospective mode I thought it would be quite fun to write our Baz a personal Christmas list, Santa he ain’t, but there’s nothing wrong with wishing for miracles at this time of year, so here goes…..warning, this is highly opinionated just like him.

Dear Bazza (and Jason),

Here are my Christmas wishes for snooker in 2014, I hope you can make some of them come true…..

1. Ban the Wildcards: Now then Bazza, you keep saying you are gonna sort this but I am still waiting and my patience is wearing thin. These Chinese amateur players have loads of opportunities now so it’s time you stopped them from hijacking professional events. OK, you might argue that the ones that are 10 years old and under should get a chance to have a crack at a lower pro for experience but I say NO, they should be at bloody school. So I will only ask one more time, ban the wildcards.

2. Don’t leave York: Now I know that the bloke who finds you venues doesn’t like going too far from his house and that’s why he’s dumped Barnsley, Coventry and Doncaster on you, but the one gem in that part of the UK is York and I hear you might want to ship snooker out of there. Well, I reckon that’s a daft thing to do, it’s a quality city, it’s a quality venue and just because a few of the players have to sit on the hoardings when they are playing shots off the cushions on a couple of tables shouldn’t make you up sticks and move. How about swapping the UK and Masters venues instead? You know it makes sense guv’nor. Oh and tell that bloke there are other bits of the UK he might want to go to aswell, like maybe all the rest of it.

3. Keep the World Championship as it is: Don’t get me wrong Bazza, I like the flat structure, especially because it’s quite easy to clean up at the bookies on the early matches so keep it up. But let’s not tinker with the World, there’s a good boy, let’s keep that incentive in place to finish the season in the top 16. Keep your money list, maybe don’t even pay the top 16 anything if they lose first round at the Crucible, but please, it ain’t broken so don’t try and fix it.

4. Stop trying to run the amateur game too: Those boys and girls are skint Bazza, they’re potless with all these PTC entries and most of them aren’t getting much out of it either apart from hungry. I wouldn’t blame some of them trying to gatecrash your Christmas dinner when you’re tucking into your goose with Steve, Jason and that bloke who chucks the darts as they haven’t got a pot to piss in. If you want someone to sort out the amateur game for you, you just give me a call and we’ll talk Christmas turkey.

My mate Steve

My mate Steve

5. Ease the congestion on the calendar a bit more: OK, this season isn’t as bad as it was last season and you’re making a bit of progress here but I suspect the next few months are going to get the old burn-out merchants out again in force to make the World Championship even worse than the last two have been. Some of these tournaments all look the same these days and there are still a few too many of them I reckon. Nobody likes a burnt-out potter, imagine if your cook burnt your Brussel Sprouts? You’d have him chucked in your pond quick as a flash for the carp to have something to munch on.

6. Get ITV4 more involved in snooker: This has been one of your best moves, their coverage is great and if the BBC continue to talk to us all like we’ve just stepped out of the Institute for the Retarded and Terminally Bewildered give them the boot and let’s get the big events on there too. Just make sure you take Hendry and my pal Steve with you to complete the dream team.

7. Make draws more transparent: Let’s have them all done live online, no more making sure we definitely get a few Chinese players to the Crucible to keep Ding company, no more ‘how is he playing him again?’ questions, let’s get the whole thing out in the open as currently the way some of the draws are done are about as transparent as Un-Nooh’s shot selection.

8. Treat betting irregularities the same across the board: OK, so you’ve dealt with Ste Lee, he’s not gonna be enjoying his roast spuds as much as usual this year that’s for sure, but what about these Thai boys Baz? Come on, you’d have to have christmas pud in your eyes not to see some of the stunts they’ve been pulling? Yet not so much as a suspension, it’s hardly consistent with what you did to Stevie is it?

9. Give the winner of the Snookerbacker Classic a main tour place: Come on Bazza, this one’s a no-brainer. You’re even giving cards to Libyans who can’t hit a bulls arse with a shovel these days. Surely it’s time to bite the bullet and admit that I’ve got this one spot on and get that place booked into the tour. It’s not even too late to offer it up this season, let’s face it, by the end of it a few of them will be selling the Big Issue anyway as you’ve cleaned them out you old rascal ya.

10. Keep up the good work: Despite my moans and groans Bazza, I still think you’re doing a good job, poor old Jase does all the donkey work of course while you just count the bunce, but he doesn’t seem to mind and I’d love to know how he keeps that shirt, suit and tie combo so impeccably dry-cleaned when he’s never off duty? I suspect foul play, but if I’m wrong I apologise, don’t tell me you’ve let him buy a few identical threads on expenses? You’re slipping Bazza….

And that’s that for another year, if you could ask Bazza to grant your snooker wishes for 2014, what would you ask him for?   

December 12, 2013

World Open Qualifying Round – Starts Friday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:21 pm
Mark Allen is back to defend his title, unfortunately Freddie Mercury is currently dead.

Mark Allen is back to defend his title, unfortunately Freddie Mercury is currently dead.

Tomorrow sees the 64 qualifying matches for this season’s Haikou World Open get under way in Barnsley, a tournament that has been won the last two years in succession by Mark Allen.

The winners of each of these matches are guaranteed £3000 as opposed to the £1500 they were guaranteed last season under the old system, where some would have had to win three matches to get to the last 64.

Apparently, their digs over in China are paid too, though not the flights or how they choose to live while over there so that makes these matches well worth winning for the savvy or thrifty potter. But even that isn’t enough to tempt World Champ Ronnie to enter his second China event of the season, having fulfilled his contractual obligations for now at least by going over there once.

Talking of Ronald, the second part of Matt’s excellent interview with him is now on his website and you can read it by clicking here, he’s seriously turning into the World’s second best snooker blogger that lad, Hendon should be worried.

Seriously though it’s a great read and shows how close Matt has become to Ronnie. It’s filled with snippets that he’d only save for the true snooker fan and friend and it’s well worth a read. A triumph for bloggers over 99% of snooker journalism.

Meanwhile, in Barnsley……..

Some of the players have been a bit vocal about the conditions over in the swimming pool/leisure centre that has been chosen by the Yorkshire-based man that chooses event locations (allegedly). He might have been told to just make sure it’s cheap and big but that’s none of our business. Anyway, someone I know (unnamed sauce) and a friend of one of the players said he thought the set up was very good and that most players agree that the tables are running well but there are some including Rob Milkins and Ali Carter who remain unhappy with the conditions.

Rob, who lost 5-0 to Joel Walker pointed out previously commented on issues with the lighting (‘the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’) which are now being addressed by World Snooker following the German qualifiers and a AGM today that was attended by 8, yes that’s 8 players, one of whom reported that this was raised in the correct way to get it sorted out rather than on Twitter.

Ali, who won 5-3, just said that the table and conditions were both awful, to a mixed reception online and a typically forthright one from someone who usually states his opinion in a particularly unique and often worrying yet lovely way when it comes to snooker.

It’s fair to say that not everyone was sympathetic. 

Now then, I know Ali fairly well and I have to say that he is a classic case of someone who is completely misunderstood by some people on social media, he’s actually a very nice bloke. He’s also had a very tough year this year and he gave a great interview the other night to Andy ‘The Hair’ Goldstein about it all that you can listen to by clicking here (and by going to section 23.00-23.30 and scrolling to 4.00). A serious message for all men out there and a reminder that snooker is, when all is said and done, just a game.

Anyway, the betting this week is going really well on the matches. Two decent accas landed and just a couple of odds and sods on the outsiders, making this a winning week to round off the year.

You can find all Apollobet’s match prices for the World Open by clicking here

Friday 13th of December


Mark Allen v Chris Wakelin
Mike Dunn v Paul Davison
Jamie Burnett v Ryan Clark
Mark Williams v Chris Norbury
Ken Doherty v Allan Taylor
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Barry Pinches
Alfie Burden v Ross Muir
John Higgins v Sydney Wilson
Jimmy Robertson v Alex Davies
Michael White v Shane Castle
Dave Harold v Sanderson Lam


Aditya Mehta v Jak Jones
Matthew Stevens v Khaled Belaid Abumdas
Yu De Lu v Josh Boileau
Stephen Maguire v Rhys Clark
Peter Lines v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Fergal O’Brien v Craig Steadman
Andrew Higginson v Ashley Carty
Ryan Day v Luca Brecel
Jamie Cope v Michael Wasley
Tian Pengfei v Ian Burns
Shaun Murphy v Tony Drago


Ricky Walden v John Astley
Judd Trump v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Graeme Dott v James Cahill
Jimmy White v Dylan Mitchell
Cao Yupeng v Daniel Wells
Mark King v David Grace
Xiao Guodong v Andrew Pagett
Peter Ebdon v David Morris
Ali Carter v Stuart Carrington
Kurt Maflin v Robin Hull

Recommended Friday Bets: 2 point acca on Day, Mehta, Higginson, Yupeng and Guodong pays over 4/1 at Ladbrokes. 2 points on Michael Wasley at 6/5 with Stan James 2 points on Peter Ebdon at Evens with Corals and a 1 point double pays almost 10/3 at Stan James. 

Saturday 14th of December


Pankaj Advani v Mitchell Travis
Ben Woollaston v Li Yan
Ding Junhui v Christopher Keogan
Anthony Hamilton v Andrew Norman
Gerard Greene v Zhang Anda
Marcus Campbell v Noppon Saengkham
Liang Wenbo v Chen Zhe
Jack Lisowski v Scott Donaldson
Liu Chuang v Adam Wicheard
Dark Mavis v Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon
Marco Fu v Martin O’Donnell


Robert Milkins v Joe Swail
Rod Lawler v Elliot Slessor
Alan McManus v Jeff Cundy
Martin Gould v Sam Baird
Dominic Dale v Cao Xin Long
James Wattana v Michael Leslie
Steve Davis v Hammad Miah
Stuart Bingham v Robbie Williams
Barry Hawkins v Vinnie Calabrese
Matthew Selt v Liam Highfield
Mark Joyce v Fraser Patrick


Mark Selby v Lyu Haotian
David Gilbert v Gary Wilson
Joe Perry v Li Hang
Anthony McGill v Adam Duffy
Nigel Bond v Lee Page
Michael Holt v Alex Borg
Tom Ford v Joel Walker
Rory McLeod v Kyren Wilson
Jamie Jones v Jamie O’Neill
Neil Robertson v Alexander Ursenbacher

Another winning acca posted yesterday so to finish off a very nice week of punting and all round decent year of snooker betting on here we’ll go with:

Recommended Bets: 3 point acca on Dark Mavis, Pankaj Advani, Barry Hawkins, Anthony McGill and Micheal Holt pays 11/4 at Bet 365.

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December 10, 2013

German Masters Qualifying Round

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:57 pm
Better than Barnsley: Ali coming down the stairs for the final session of last season's German Open in Berlin.

Better than Barnsley: Ali coming down the stairs for the final session of last season’s German Masters in Berlin.

World Snooker again visits the Costa Del Barnsley this week for the final two events of a packed 2013 before the players, officials and more importantly the bloggers can all have a well-earned rest over the Xmas period. 

I call this round of 128 players a qualifying round as in effect that’s what it feels like. OK, you might argue that this is simply Round 1 of the German Masters but having been to Berlin to watch Ali Carter lift the title last January, I can vouch for the fact that there is a vast difference between Barnsley and Berlin, not just the fact that Berlin for me is one of the greatest cities in the world but also the fact that the venue itself is absolutely incredible to be at. If you visit one snooker tournament per season outside of the World Championship, this is the one you should aim for in Germany. It’s nothing short of incredible and this is a view also shared by the players.

Barnsley on the other hand is a place I had to go to once, let’s just say it didn’t have the same effect on me and leave it at that……ahem (Shithole) ahem.

But for now we have to settle for a leisure centre in South Yorkshire. MJW and co are busy talking about badminton partners while Dave Gilbert and Matt Selt are digging out the speedos to go for a swim in the pool next door. It sounds like a jolly boys outing to me but there won’t be a player that has been to play in Berlin before that won’t want to go again, I guarantee that.

The winners of each of the 64 matches below will be guaranteed prize money of 1500 Euros with that more or less doubling with every further match won over in Berlin up to an 80,000 Euros winners prize.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has entered this one, though not the one later this week and the ultimate destination Berlin is perhaps a poignant place for him as it was here that you might argue we witnessed his big comeback to the pinnacle of the sport when he won it two seasons ago defeating Stephen Maguire in the final, making this his first big tournament success for some time and giving him the momentum to carry that winning feeling forward so effectively to the next two World Championships.

Ronnie of course is used to grabbing headlines wherever he goes but Matt over at Pro Snooker Blog has managed to grab him to ask him some questions more tailored to the snooker-only audience rather than Joe ‘Sunreader Thicko’ Public in an excellent interview, Part One of which can be viewed here.

Anyway, listed below are the matches and the times they are playing in Barnsley over the next two days, after that the World Open qualifying round takes up Friday and Saturday then that’s it for 2013 on the baize.

Apollobet have match betting on all the German Masters qualifiers here

You can visit Cue Tracker Head to Head facility here to see how the players have got on against each other in the past by entering their two names.

Wednesday 11th of December


Dechawat Poomjaeng v Zak Surety (147 for Poomjaeng)
Martin Gould v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Jamie Burnett v Ryan Clark
Aditya Mehta v Li Yan
Robert Milkins v Joel Walker
Stuart Bingham v Hammad Miah
Peter Lines v Martin O’Donnell
Anthony Hamilton v Ross Muir
Michael White v James Cahill
Ryan Day v Tony Drago
Barry Hawkins v Chen Zhe


Ding Junhui v Kyren Wilson
Mike Dunn v Christopher Keogan
Rory McLeod v David Morris
Mark Williams v Fraser Patrick
Dominic Dale v Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon
Gerard Greene v Shane Castle
John Higgins v Joe Swail
Anthony McGill v Chris Norbury
Tom Ford v Adam Wicheard
Kurt Maflin v Robbie Williams
Jimmy Robertson v Andrew Norman


Mark Allen v Craig Steadman
Liu Chuang v Ant Parsons
Tian Pengfei v Michael Wasley
Andrew Higginson v Sam Baird
Marcus Campbell v John Astley
Rod Lawler v Mitchell Travis
Jamie Jones v Paul S Davison
Marco Fu v Adam Duffy
Dark Mavis v Barry Pinches
Judd Trump v Sanderson Lam


Wednesday Recommended Acca: 3 points at just on 9/4 (Ladbrokes) on Aditya Mehta, Anthony McGill, Dark Mavis and Marco Fu. 2 x 1 point singles and a 1 point double on Shane Castle at 2/1 with Bet Victor and Paul Davison at 7/4 with Bet 365. Double pays almost 7/1 at Bet Victor.

Thursday 12th of December


Ali Carter v Elliot Slessor
Xiao Guodong v Robin Hull
Alfie Burden v Cao Xin Long
Matthew Selt v Li Hang
James Wattana v Luca Brecel
Joe Perry v Scott Donaldson
David Gilbert v Zhang Anda
Ben Woollaston v Liam Highfield
Graeme Dott v Andrew Pagett
Liang Wenbo v Allan Taylor
Stephen Maguire v Stuart Carrington


Jimmy White v Vinnie Calabrese
Mark Selby v Pankaj Advani
Cao Yupeng v Chris Wakelin
Mark Joyce v Sydney Wilson
Jamie Cope v Noppon Saengkham
Dave Harold v Alexander Ursenbache
Mark King v Alex Borg
Matthew Stevens v Alex Davies
Fergal O’Brien v Lee Page
Ken Doherty v David Grace
Shaun Murphy v Michael Leslie


Steve Davis v Dylan Mitchell
Neil Robertson v Ian Burns
Ricky Walden v Gary Wilson
Nigel Bond v Daniel Wells
Yu De Lu v Jamie O’Neill
Michael Holt v Lyu Haotian
Peter Ebdon v Duane Jones
Alan McManus v Jak Jones
Jack Lisowski v Khaled Belaid Abumdas
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Wednesday’s recommended acca landed so here goes one for Thursday.

Recommended Bet: 2 point acca pays almost 9/4 at Ladbrokes on Guodong, Dott, O’Brien, King and McManus. 3 x 0.5 doubles and a 0.5 treble on Calabrese (Evens), Saengkham (13/10) and Wells (6/4) all best priced at Apollobet.

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December 9, 2013

SB Classic Gloucester Review: Richardson and Parkin Progress

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:52 pm
ZacK Richardson - Sunday's First Qualifier.

Zack Richardson – Sunday’s First Qualifier.

Sunday saw the annual Christmas themed Snookerbacker Classic qualifying heat and this year it was Gloucester that was (un)fortunate enough to have the festivities bestowed upon them in the form of Christmas jumpers, mince pies, tinsel, decorations and all round gayness as well as presents for every player from SB’s Festive Sack.

We’d arrived at the SWSA the previous evening and as Mrs SB watched Strictly whilst glugging fizz I was greeted at the venue by none other than that famous snooker stalker Craig Scotford aka The Wizard of Glos; a twat and Managing Director of the most careless tour company in the planet’s history. We had our usual knock around on the Star Tables, him having once again booked it much later than I’d told him to and eventually avenging his 5-2 drubbing that I gave him last time with a 5-4 deciding black victory after I smashed the pack for him for two frames to let him make a game of it. I’m still miles better than him but hardly play these days, next time I’ll murder him as I’m going to practice.

Anyway, myself and Mrs SB arrived on Sunday in Christmassy mood having put on our festive jumpers. Mrs SB sporting a number we had found just days before on the vintage rail of a local charity shop. She had decided that it had been hand stitched lovingly by an old lady who had taken years to do it in the hope that one day someone full of the joys of Christmas (e.g Mrs SB) would wear it, by the time I asked if she was sure it wasn’t done in an hour in a sweatshop in the Far East for slave wages she had already convinced herself that she was the manifestation of this old dear’s dying Christmas wish, I wasn’t about to ruin her day, it was far too early for that and I needed her smile to once again light up the room.

Once the players had taken in what awaited them at the Tournament Desk/Grotto it was time to get started. Hannah Jones and family were again in attendance despite previous warnings and we’d brought along a present for her little sister Ellie; a teddy bear which she (well OK, I) named SB, short of course for Snooker Bear and in no way meant as a self-indulgent reference to this website. She seemed to like the name anyway and took an instant liking to the stuffed piece of fabric.

The first round by now was underway and the highlight or perhaps lowlight of the first set of matches came as September finalist Matthew Day broke down on 97 on a maximum, he came in and was clearly gutted describing it as a great chance, his mood didn’t improve when I sympathized with the words ‘Oh well, it’s only a grand’ as he said he hadn’t realised that this was the prize on offer for this feat…..why do only fools and horses work?

Callum Lloyd who started the day in second place on the Order of Merit list only managed to win 3 frames to add to his tally and was beaten by Paul Parkin, one of two brothers playing in this event, his brother John putting paid to another big contender on the Order of Merit list Joe Steele 4-0 in the first round. There were other notable victories for Anthony Harris over Zak Surety and Syd Wilson who won a decider against Chris Keogan.

By now the day was in full swing and Reanne Evans’ daughter Lauren (aka Lollipop) also had her teddy from the Festive Sack. She decided to call it Bo/Beau/Boo/….whatever kid. I teased her it’s real name was ‘Bobs’ in a frankly desperate attempt to get her to rearrange the letters and change a few when she got tired and change the name to but she wasn’t having any of it. Lauren was to keep us entertained all day as Reanne progressed to the latter stages, at one point turning into the Tournament Director and in fairness, putting this particular novice to shame with her level of detailed analysis.

It was a really busy day at the Academy and the atmosphere at the venue was as relaxed as I can remember it ever being, everyone seemed in good spirits and a game of ‘Guess what the present is’ was a particular highlight as Zack Richardson and his girlfriend, Phil ‘I don’t like raisins’ O’Kane, Billy Brown and Ricky Norris struggled collectively to come up with the name of an iconic piece of confectionery, in the end prompted by a frustrated tournament director to finally arrive at the conclusion (it’s got a walnut on it, it’s whipped and it’s covered in brown stuff…….it’s not, I repeat NOT a Chocolate Cone Thing).


John Parkin - only dropped two frames all day against very good players.

John Parkin – only dropped two frames all day against very good players.

Despite a fairly long match in Round 1 involving Gary Miller and Jordan Church which didn’t finish until late afternoon and during the course of which I heard a disturbing fact about Bing Crosby which 30 or so years ago might have ruined my Christmas, we were more or less on schedule by 6pm, well, at least the top half was. At this point however I must thank Jordan for leaving a pint and a pie ordered for me behind the bar, he’s a cracking lad and next time he enters he’ll draw Craig Scotford first round, it’s nailed on, seriously get on it, I take bribes for easy draws.

Reanne and Syd had battled out a great match with Reanne coming through 4-3 having surrendered a 3-0 lead. Syd had done enough to go well clear on the Order of Merit with 39 frames and a lead of 8 over Callum Lloyd and 14 over Joe Steele. Syd has entered all three remaining events so even if he fails to qualify as a winner he is surely a strong favourite to take his place at Grand Finals Day with the top two on the list progressing. Syd let slip that he really wants one of the qualifying prizes and I confirmed that both qualifiers on the list will receive one, he seemed happy enough with that. He remains on Mrs SB’s favourite list.

Reanne in the meantime battled hard but came a cropper against Gary Miller who qualified for the final to play John Parkin, who I will confess was someone I didn’t know at the start of the day but a look into his record shows that he’s very handy indeed and he’d dropped just two frames on the way to the qualifying final, which he’d waited for with his brother Paul along with Billy Brown, ‘Raisins’ O’Kane and Ricky Norris in the players lounge with great patience and also having a good laugh along the way.

Meanwhile, the final of the top half of the draw was coming to a conclusion. Zack Richardson and Adam Bobat fought out a close match. Referee Clive Brown had commented on how well Adam had been playing all day but a delighted Zack pipped him in the final and was the first player to progress to Grand Finals Day with a 4-2 win. Adam is clearly improving and is poised at 4th on the Order of Merit List with a chance to climb, it will be interesting to see how the list pans out with only three events remaining.

Zack, a first time SB Classic entrant was really pleased with his day’s work and is thoroughly looking forward to March 1st, he is another that will enter a wide-open field with very high hopes of going deep.

John Parkin’s patience paid off as he completed a whitewash of Gary Miller in the final of the bottom half. His brother Paul was very bullish about John’s chances on Grand Finals Day and on his showing yesterday he can go into March 1st full of confidence. He scored consistently heavy all day and just adds to the mix of a truly quality line-up with arguably the best amateurs in the country going hard at it for £6000 worth of prizes.

Myself and Mrs SB came back to Scousepool this morning and we talked and talked about what a nice day it was yesterday, maybe it was the Christmas spirit which flowed through the venue via her jumper or maybe it was just the really nice mix of people that were around yesterday? Either way, it was what the SB Classic is all about, first and foremost a top drawer snooker event and secondly a chance for people to come and watch and have a nice day.

Thirdly, a chance to ‘brand’ ‘teddy bears’ to youngsters. Oh yes.

Final mention must go to Rob Freeman, a regular reader and contributor to this tripe, who came along to take part in Ref School with Rolls Royce and ended up providing me with a blueprint for a Tournament Director Table Planner which I reckon a lot of TD’s will find very very useful/essential. He’s going to forward on the package to me when he’s met my totally unreasonable and prima-donna-ish demands to his satisfaction. Watch this space, the guy is a genius.

Talking of geniuses (genia?) you can view all the results from Gloucester here and view the Order of Merit List and Highest Break List here.

There are only 3 more events this season, the details of them are here and at time of writing there are only 3 places left in Leeds and just 7 left in Liverpool.

If you are feeling generous after reading this or feel like badgering someone to get you a Christmas present you really want, you could also click here.

December 7, 2013

Snookerbacker Classic Gloucester on Sunday: THE LOWDOWN

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:00 am


Keep up with the scores as they come in at this page.

To keep up to date with the ongoing Order of Merit visit this page.

The Dress Code is Polo or Collared Shirt, Trousers and Shoes.

First Round – All matches Best of 7 frames


Zack Richardson v Stuart Langford

Tom Davie v Phil O’Kane

Andy Marriott v Matt Howard

Geoff Williams v Hannah Jones

Terry Challenger v Adam Bobat

Billy Brown v Matthew Day

Ricky Norris v Hassan Vaizie

Callum Lloyd v Paul Parkin

The above section plays down to one qualifier


Zak Surety v Anthony Harris

Kobi Mates v Mike Rogers

Peter Devlin v Ben Jones

Joe Steele v John Parkin

Rob Jones v Reanne Evans

Chris Keogan v Syd Wilson

Gary Miller v Jordan Church

Aaron Cook v Harvey Chandler

The above section plays down to one qualifier


Please be aware that frame docking for late shows is in operation in accordance with the terms and conditions of the tournament. There are no exceptions to this.

December 6, 2013

UK Championship Final Stages

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:06 am
Who will be champ?

Who will be champ?

We approach the final stages of the UK Championship in York with four of the world’s top players battling it out over two session matches to see the tournament out. 

Last night saw Mark Selby do what only Mark Selby can really do, coming back from the brink of defeat to turn around a 3-5 deficit to Barry Hawkins, Selby is truly snooker’s comeback king and although he admitted to not being at his best he’s still such a tough player to fend off.

He plays last night’s other winner Ricky Walden on Saturday over the best of seventeen frames, World Championship semi-finalist Walden again proving that he’s becoming something of a big event player by beating an out-of-sorts Mark Allen to take his place in tomorrow’s semi-final.

Earlier in the day Ronnie O’Sullivan was outwitted by the fearless Stuart Bingham. Bingham is obviously a player that has great belief in his own ability and didn’t look phased whatsoever by Ronnie from the off. Whilst everyone else, including me, was busy eulogising about Ronnie’s performance against Rob Milkins, Ballrun came from a different angle and partially blamed Milkins to some extent for the result. He’d spotted how many chances Ronnie had given him early on which he’d failed to capitalise on and resolved that he wouldn’t make that mistake and the plan worked to a tee.

From an entertainment angle I think a lot of impartial watchers will be sorry to see Ronnie beaten, but we still have the prospect of a great final as Neil Robertson faces Stuart next having seen off Stephen Maguire in workmanlike rather than spectacular fashion on the other table. All four players will now believe they can win this.

So what have you made of the tournament? I’ve mostly enjoyed it so far despite the obvious problems that the first couple of rounds caused, although it has to be said the standard of play overall, with a couple of notable exceptions hasn’t been all that fantastic. Dave Hendon made a good point yesterday in saying that an obvious way to free up an extra day to ease the early congestion and moans would be to play the two semi-finals on the same day in the two table set-up, clever-clogs Dave always has a solution, this seems perfectly sensible to me.

I hope this weekend isn’t the end for snooker in York. The sport should be aspiring to venues in major cities not moving away from them as it makes such a difference to the feel of events. I’d be gutted personally if this was sent to Coventry as is being rumoured and would urge World Snooker to think again. Surely just spending a little more on a quality venue in a big city is worth the investment? I haven’t been this year but having attended the last two years I’d say York is easily the nicest city the tour visits in the UK.

If it is to be the UK’s final year in York then the idea put forward earlier in the week by Tweeter Louise Ganley is well worth a look, why not swap the Masters and UK venues? I suggested this to Bazza, he didn’t answer which could mean he’s giving it some thought or he just thought it was a stupid suggestion. Alexandra Palace is vast enough to hold as many tables as they need and probably a nice practice area too, while The Barbican can be made intimate enough to house the world’s top players in a Masters format, both surely attracting very good crowds. I wouldn’t really care if they switched the dates either.

Anyway, bettingwise we are left with main selection Selby (4 points at 9/1) to lock in a profit, but it’s impossible to call at this stage and I’m not going to. If you click on the matches below you will get the head to head stats, those who follow trends will be placing their bets on a Bingham v Selby final.

Semi Finals – Best of 17 frames


Stuart Bingham v Neil Robertson

Robertson wins 9-8, from 8-3 ahead after an amazing fightback by Bingham.


Mark Selby v Ricky Walden

Selby hits a fantastic 147 and wins 9-5

Final – Best of 19 frames


Neil Robertson v Mark Selby

(laid off 2 points on Robertson at 2-5 behind at 7/2)

You can view Apollobet’s outright prices here and match betting here.

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