February 28, 2014

Welsh Open Final Stages

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:36 am

My priorities from now on are elsewhere this weekend and we’re heading off to Gloucester soon for the Snookerbacker Classic Grand Finals. In the meantime here’s the running order for the rest of the Welsh Open in Newport, starting with the best of nine frame quarter finals today.    

Friday 28th February

Joel Walker v Ding Junhui

Followed by
John Higgins v Ronnie O’Sullivan

Marco Fu v Barry Hawkins
Joe Perry v Mark Selby

Saturday 1st March

Semi Final (Best of 11)

Semi Final (Best of 11)

Sunday 2nd March

Final 1st Session (8 Frames)

Final 2nd Session (Maximum 9 Frames)

If you want to find out the head to heads for the matches the only place to do that is at Cue Tracker by clicking here

You can view Apollobet’s Outright Market here and their match betting including Correct Scores and Handicaps here.

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February 27, 2014

Welsh Open Last 16

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:40 am
The laid back Welshman scored a big win.

The laid back Welshman scored a big win.

Some great matches again today in Newport but for me it remains a shame that they are still the best of seven frames and I suppose that’s why I’m not really that excited about the tournament.

It’s good to see Mark Williams getting back to winning ways in front of his home crowd and his win over Robbo yesterday was his best result for a long time. But with the likes of Ronnie, Selby, Judd, Higgins, Ding and the holder Maguire all left in it this is going to take some winning.

In terms of the outrights, Ding, Judd and Bingham are still in there fighting so it’s all to play for. Here’s today’s line up with predicted winners and an interest bet on the first three sessions.


Ali Carter v Mark Selby
Stuart Bingham v Joe Perry

Predicted Winners: Selby, Bingham.

NB 1pm

Stephen Maguire v Joel Walker
Ricky Walden v Ronnie O’Sullivan

Predicted Winners: Maguire, O’Sullivan.

NB 2pm

Scott Donaldson v Ding Junhui
Judd Trump v John Higgins

Predicted Winners: Ding, Trump.

NB 7:00pm

Mark Williams v Marco Fu
Liang Wenbo v Barry Hawkins

Predicted Winners: Williams, Wenbo.

Recommended Bet: 1 point acca on Selby, Bingham, O’Sullivan, Maguire, Ding and Trump pays bang on 13/2 at Corals.

If you want to find out the head to heads for the matches the only place to do that is at Cue Tracker by clicking here

You can view Apollobet’s Outright Market here and their match betting including Correct Scores and Handicaps here.

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February 26, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic: Meet the Grand Finalists

With Saturday just around the corner I thought it would be a nice idea to catch up with some of the Grand Finalists ahead of what should be a great day in Gloucester. It’s very rare these days in the amateur game that you get 16 players this good in the same tournament so it’s good to hear from each of them as they assess their chances.

They are listed in the order that they qualified. If you want to read more about how they did that click the venue links next to their name. If you want to have a bet on any of them click the price link under their names.

Every match on Saturday will be live-scored ball-by-ball and this is the page you need to bookmark to keep up to date with everything as it happens.

The Draw and Prize Money are listed at the bottom of this post.


First Qualifier Ben 'Man in Black' Harrison

Ben Harrison – Qualified from: SWSA, Gloucester.

Current Odds: 7/1

Ben has been playing in the SB Classic since the first year but this is his first Grand Finals Day, he was very impressive in Gloucester back in September. I asked him how things have been for him since then.

“I feel really good SB, I reached a final in Leeds a couple of weeks ago and I am practicing more than I ever have done and feeling the benefits from it. I have recently had a baby son and this has given me a lot of purpose to my snooker as I feel I have my life sorted, I’m made up to finally be in the Grand Finals and I feel I am as well prepared as I ever have been for a big tournament like this. I’ve been practicing a lot with Adam Wicheard and I can’t wait for Saturday, it should be a great event as it always is and I hope I can do well. I am confident”   

Kishan with prize

Kishan Hirani – Qualified from: SWSA, Gloucester

Current Odds: 14/1

Welshman Kishan is another first time finalist having made it through back in September at the first time of asking, how does he feel about his chances on Saturday?

“I play a lot at the South West Snooker Academy and it seems to bring out the best in my game. I am playing regularly and I think my overall game is pretty solid going into Saturday. I’ve been playing some of the SWSA professionals and top Welsh amateur Duane Jones so my match play has improved and is always getting better. It seems ages ago that I qualified and I have been concentrating on this event now for some time, which may give me an advantage. Gloucester is the best venue for snooker that we have in the UK for amateur events like this and I’d describe myself as quietly confident, all I’ll say is, don’t count me out”   

Adam with prize

Adam Wicheard – Qualified from: SWSA, Gloucester

Current Odds: 6/1 joint favourite

Former main tour professional Adam starts Saturday as a reluctant favourite with the bookies, he made the finals last year too but was beaten in the Quarter Finals, does he think this year he will fare better?

“These bookies rate me don’t they? I’m not sure what I’ve done to be favourite in this as I don’t think I should be, I was second favourite last year too and I lost in my first match. I’m playing today against Ben Harrison for the first time since last Wednesday and a couple of weeks before that so I don’t think I am as prepared as some of the other players will be. I am not very consistent either, I’m one way or the other, I’ve been here now for nearly two hours and I can’t even hit a 30, but another day I might be better. So I have no idea how I’m playing until I start, if I click I’ll have a decent day, if I don’t I’ll get beat. SB drew me in the early matches too despite me asking him to give me a lie in so I’m not pleased about that either. Anyway, we’ll see what happens, but favourite? In this field? You having a laugh?”

Jamie with prize

Jamie Clarke – Qualified from: SWSA, Gloucester

Current Odds: 14/1

Another Welshman involved on Saturday is Jamie Clarke, a losing Quarter Finalist last season and former protégé of none other than Ronnie O’Sullivan. How does he assess his chances in Gloucester?

“It’s funny really, last year when I went to the Finals I had been ill in bed all week the week before, this year I was ill last week but I’m better now and back playing so I hope it will go better for me. SB tells me that it’s a week later this year so that means I was sick on the same week as last year, hopefully the omens are good for me this time around. I’m starting to play very well and have mostly been playing on my own, I am very confident in my game and I want to go to Gloucester and grab the title. In a way I think the week off ill has done me good and I am feeling very positive now, I play my best at the SWSA, I don’t know why that is but I just do and I am glad the Grand Finals are there and not in Leeds where I had a day to forget last year, 5 and a half hours on the road from the crack of dawn, get beat first match by Gray, then watch Oli Lines nick my highest break by a point with a 142 so lost £300 there too, then I ordered food and it didn’t arrive so I decided to go home, traffic jams meant that took 2 hours longer, so I don’t think Saturday can be any worse than that. I’m ready and I am confident” 

Anthony Jeffers with his prize.

Anthony Jeffers – Qualified from: Scotties, Liverpool

Current Odds: 50/1

Scouser Anthony Jeffers is a first time entrant of the SB Classic and came through a long day at Scotties back in October beating the experienced John Welsh in his final match, can the Liverpudlian upset the odds?

“I’ve not been playing that much to be honest, I’m at Scotties now and I am putting in the hours for this comp as I have a focus which is something I think I need. I tend to blow hot and cold on the table but I am playing well today so that’s a good sign. I’ve not competed at this level for a while but I know most of the players there and have beaten most of them at one time or another. At 50/1 I have to have a little interest on myself as I like a bet, I checked with SB of course and he said it was OK. On my day I am capable of beating anyone and I know that I can. I hope to have a run in this and can’t wait for Saturday”    

Mitchell with prize

Mitchell Mann – Qualified from: Scotties, Liverpool

Current Odds: 6/1 joint favourite

Midlander Mitchell is a former Junior Pot Black champion and comes to this on the back of a highly impressive performance in Liverpool, he’s many people’s idea of the champion, but how does he assess his own chances?

“I am playing every day at the moment as much as I can and my results in competitions have been good, I have won 3 English Ranking Series events on the trot and beaten a lot of good players to do that so I am ready for Saturday and I’m going to give it my best shot as this is a great tournament to be involved in. SB tells me a lot of people are bigging up my chances but I think Adam is a worthy favourite, he has achieved more in his career than the rest of us, but I have to say I am going there to win. For me it’s not about taking part, it’s about winning and to be a champion you need a winning mentality and I think I have that. I have been in Liverpool today at Scotties working with my coach Neil Johnson and I am working on a couple of things he spotted, that might not be ideal just before a big tournament but I’m confident I’ll be primed for Saturday. I played Callum Lloyd, who I play in the first round on Saturday, when I qualified and I played really well against him and hit a century. I’m really looking forward to the Grand Finals and think whatever happens that Snookerbacker deserves so much credit for putting this tournament on, it’s second to none in the amateur game and I would be proud to be the next champion”  

Ant Parsons

Ant Parsons – Qualified from: Cueball, Derby.

Current Odds: 13/2

Teesider Ant is another returning Grand Finalist having made the Quarter Finals last year. He holds the current highest break in the event of 122 which he made on his way to victory in Derby, will he be the man to beat in Gloucester?

“I am playing really well at the moment and the confidence I have taken from being involved in professional tour competitions has given me a real boost. My televised UK match against Ding just after I qualified in Derby and where I feel I performed really well just improved my confidence overnight. I am putting a lot of hours in and I feel it is paying off. I feel I can go all the way on Saturday and I would love to end the day as the winner as I have been entering this event for the last three years and SB knows how I feel about it, I can’t understand anyone that doesn’t enter it who wants to make their way in the game or just enjoy a snooker event for what it is. But this is the best I have felt going into an amateur event ever, I am coming along with my wife Sarah and picking up Sanderson in the middle of nowhere on the way, after that I am there to enjoy a quiet drink with Mr and Mrs SB before going to work on Saturday. I feel I can go all the way this time” 


Sanderson Lam – Qualified from: Northern, Leeds.

Current Odds: 10/1

Yorkshireman Sandi is another SB Classic former finalist who lost out narrowly in the semi-finals last year in Leeds. He’s a busy lad and is playing this just before jetting off to play in the World Open in China, will he be flying across the globe as the SB Classic Champion?

“I’m playing alright, I’ve been in big tournaments and that has helped my game massively. I qualified for China and I can’t wait to go and play and it would be lovely to win this as a real confidence boost. Having been at Finals Day last year all I can say is that I love it. The whole atmosphere makes you want to play better, you are treated like a professional player and last year this tournament got me a sponsor, which has helped me concentrate on snooker full-time without the worries in the background, I know I am very fortunate to be in that position and I now get to travel all over the world to play snooker. I’ll be taking this match by match and ball by ball, I’ll take nothing for granted and I just hope that I bring my best game with me. It’s a great tournament and I would be honoured to be the next champion and fly the flag for Mr and Mrs SB. I’ll be trying my hardest to win”     


James Leadbetter – Qualified from: Northern, Leeds.

Current Odds: 12/1

James is a full-time pilot by day and night and a former tour professional. I caught up with him (I wish) on his current skiing holiday in Austria to talk about his chances.

“I’ll be honest SB I don’t know how I’m playing because I’m sat drinking beer on a mountain in the snow, but before I came here I was hitting it schweet as. I rate my chances highly if I play anything like I know I can, but we all know that’s the hard bit, bringing it out when it counts. I’m playing with no pressure which is an advantage, and I know how good I can be when it comes to tough match snooker, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge. I’ll hopefully be flying high come Saturday night (sorry) either with the trophy or bang on it in a bar somewhere”

Zack and Prize

Zack Richardson – Qualified from: SWSA, Gloucester.

Current Odds: 16/1 

Zack came through to the Grand Finals on his first attempt in Gloucester, a first time SB Classic entrant, how does he assess his chances ahead of the big day?

“I’m playing pretty well in practice and have been playing home and away with Jimmy Robertson for a while and holding my own, though he does win more on his table as he has home advantage! I haven’t been playing many comps since I qualified so I’ve been focusing on this really and I definitely fancy the job. I think I played Ben 4 or 5 years ago when we were juniors but it’s going to be all on the day and we’ll just see what happens. It’s the first time I have entered the SB Classic and I’m really pleased to have made the Grand Finals on my first try, I’m looking forward to Saturday and will be giving it my best shot”  

John Parkin with Prize

John Parkin – Qualified from: SWSA, Gloucester.

Current Odds: 16/1 (from 66/1)

John has been the subject of a huge gamble in the last few days, he was one match from turning professional not long ago and is something of a dark horse in this some think. He faces the favourite Wicheard in his opener. Can he land the gamble?

“This is like being famous SB! I’ve no idea where all this money for me is coming from but if I am honest when I first saw the prices for this my eyes nearly popped out of my head, I couldn’t believe it. But despite this I don’t know anyone who has backed me! On the table I have been putting a lot of hours in for this and I can’t wait for Saturday as I think this is a brilliant event, the betting angle just adds that extra bit of spice to it which makes it even more exciting, I can’t wait to play. I am very confident that I can do well and I am now conscious that I’ll not be very popular with some gamblers if I don’t! Wish me luck!”  

Ryan and Prize

Ryan Causton – Qualified from: Northern, Leeds.

Current Odds: 11/1

Essex boy Ryan ‘The Eagle’ swooped in Leeds in the best final qualifying match of the tournament this season to make his first Grand Finals Day. Can he carry that form through to Gloucester?

“I’m playing a bit up and down at the moment, I’ve played not too bad in a couple of comps but I was disappointed not to do well in Poland. I’ve been practicing with fellow finalists Syd Wilson and John Parkin and we’re all coming up together. I have a tough first round draw against John Whitty who I think is one of the favourites to win the whole tournament, but if I can win that match I think I have every chance of winning the tournament. I’m pleased to be in Grand Finals Day for the first time and I’m really looking forward to Saturday, it’s always a great set-up at these tournaments” 


John Whitty – Qualified from: Scotties, Liverpool.

Current Odds: 8/1

Former tour professional and tough match player John Whitty is rated by Rod Lawler and a few other shrewd observers as the best player out there who isn’t on the main tour. Can the man who beat me in the Bootle Open semi-finals in the early 90’s (not that I’m bitter) stamp his authority on the Classic?

“I’ve started putting a few hours in again this week to prepare for Saturday, just a couple here and there but nothing too demanding! The main thing for me in this tournament is the venue, I think the best facilities bring out the best in players and that’s what you get in Gloucester. SB puts on the best tournament there is out there for amateurs and for that you need the best venue for the final and that’s what we have. It’s a level playing field and not a tournament played on potters tables so you have to be on your game to win as the best conditions suit the best players. I think I have a good chance, I’m up for the job and I know what it takes to win so let’s see what happens. I’m staying in a field in Brian’s campervan about a mile away so I hope it’s not flooded. My Uncle, who travels everywhere with me is coming to support me so I’d love to end the day as champion, we’ll have a great night if that happens”

P.S. Don’t remember that match SB, you been on the ale again?  

Syd with Prize

Syd Wilson – Qualified from: Last Chance Saloon, SWSA, Gloucester.

Current Odds: 13/2

Syd left it until the Last Chance Saloon to qualify this season having lost in 2 previous qualifying finals; a finalist in 2012 when he lost to eventual champion Martin O’Donnell, he’s back and he’s got his eye on the trophy.

“I’m happy with my game and very happy to be going into the Grand Finals as a winner. I’ve been playing with Ryan Causton and feel confident my game is where it needs to be for Saturday. It’s a strong field and I feel I have earned the right to be there. Sunday was a long day but winning makes up for that, it’s a real buzz. This is a great tournament and to be champion would be incredible, not least because my mum, like me, absolutely loves the trophy, it will look great on the mantelpiece. I’m going to leave it there and hopefully let my cue do the talking”    

Callum with Prize

Callum Lloyd – Qualified from: Order of Merit List (1st Place)

Current Odds: 50/1

Welshman Callum qualified by virtue of his consistency on the Order of Merit list which he won by a distance. The young potter is an outsider in the field, but how does he rate his chances?

“I’m delighted to be in the Grand Finals as this is the best tournament around and while I am still in there I am still in with a chance. I know I am one of the outsiders but I have played in these events to get the experience to kick on in big events. I know I have the game and I now have to go there and perform. I’ve also finally got a waistcoat sorted out! I can’t wait for Saturday and it feels great to be part of this tournament, hopefully I can upset a few more fancied players”    


Andy Marriott – Qualified from: Order of Merit List (2nd Place)

Current Odds: 50/1 

Andy sat biting his fingernails on Sunday night from afar as he qualified for the Grand Finals at the death thanks to Syd Wilson’s triumph in Gloucester. Have his nerves recovered from this traumatic evening?

(Andy, like me, is a huge Morrissey fan and therefore likes to waffle on a bit, bear with him, he’s a lovely bloke and he hasn’t had his qualifying prize yet so heaven knows he’s bound to be a bit miserable now)

On his 16th place at Grand Finals Day, Andy laments……

“My form at the moment is a bit too inconsistent for my liking. My A-game is there in patches and I know that if I can produce this on the day then I can compete with anyone in the Grand Finals and that is all you can ask. I have been cueing extremely well in patches recently, scoring very heavily and earning some very good results against good players. Then at other times it is like someone has put a Boyzone CD next to the table. Last week’s final heat was a prime example. I earned a very good 3-1 victory against Sam Betts who has what appears a fantastic natural ability and positivity about his game and then in my next match against another very good player, Brett Miller, struggled to string two balls together and was well beaten”

“Realistically and slightly depressingly, I’m an outsider, not only in life but in this tournament and I have reached the finals by way of getting to quarters and semi finals of some of the qualifying heats. I entered the final Liverpool heat at the last minute due to my performance in Leeds where Ryan Causton did a total demolition job on me in the semis. Then John Whitty gave me a lesson in matchplay in the semis in Liverpool and then all of a sudden I found myself, to my everlasting despair, near the top of the order of merit going into the final heat last week. I was lost. Unusually and luckily for me Syd Wilson won this heat and somehow I qualified – I was well and truly glued to Snookerbacker’s live twitter feed all evening as the final progressed. Another pointless wasted evening”

“I have been told to be ‘Delighted’ to be in the finals although in truth, the truth I will always convey, it was harsh on Mike Rogers who, having played him before, is a cracking player and unsurprisingly to me at least pushed Syd the distance”

“My first round opponent is Ant Parsons who beat me 4-2 in the Derby heat, knocking in a 122 in the process. I watched his match with Dominic Dale from the Welsh Open on YouTube this week before the draw was made and am shocked he didn’t qualify out of Q-School last year as he looks so composed and comfortable in front of the cameras and a live audience. I can’t wait to play him and I know I need to be at my best to compete, which is how it should be”



Jamie Clarke v James Leadbetter (10am. Referee: Nick Harry)
John Parkin v Adam Wicheard (10am. Referee: Clive Brown)
Andy Marriott v Ant Parsons (10am. Referee: Rob Spencer)
Ryan Causton v John Whitty (10am. Referee: Martyn Royce)
Anthony Jeffers v Sanderson Lam (NB 12 noon. Referee: Nick Harry)
Mitchell Mann v Callum Lloyd (NB 12 noon. Referee: Clive Brown)
Zack Richardson v Ben Harrison (NB 12 noon. Referee: Rob Spencer)
Sydney Wilson v Kishan Hirani (NB 12 noon. Referee: Martyn Royce)

Match Betting available here

Quarter Finals

Start Not Before 1.30pm

Semi Finals

Start Not before 3.30pm


Starts Not Before 5.30pm


2014 Champion: Q-School Entry plus £500 (or £1000 cash alternative), SB Classic Trophy and a Crucible Date with Stephen Hendry.  

Runner Up: Q-School Entry plus £200 (or £750 cash alternative)

Losing Semi-Finalists: Q-School entry (or £500 cash alternative) 

Losing Quarter-Finalists: £200

Losing Last 16: £100

Highest Break: £300

Maximum Break: £1000 (with £300 the highest break prize included) 

Welsh Open: Last 32 Day in Newport

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:53 am
Closing in on a century of centuries.

Closing in on a century of centuries.

It’s a big day in Newport today as all the remaining 32 players are in action to whittle the field down to 16 for tomorrow. The big names are continuing by and large to prove that whether they start in the Last 128 or the Last 32 they’ll still be the ones there at the business end of things.

There is of course still the possibility of a shock winner but with every round this is looking less and less likely. There are a few cracking ties today including the one I’m most interested in between Ali Carter and Mark Allen, last time they played it ended quite tetchy as Mark accused Ali of purposely putting him off by moving in his seat. There’s nothing like a bit of needle to spice things up.

That said, they are scheduled to play at the same time as Robbo and MJW so I’m guessing with this ridiculous home player bias they have in Wales it won’t be televised, which is quite frustrating. It’s about time that they just showed the best match and not the one that has the Welsh player in it.

Neil Robertson’s surge towards 100 hundreds continues at a pace and surely now it’s only a question of when, rather than if, he will achieve this incredible feat. Ronnie is making his way through the field and obviously while he’s still there he is the one they will all be looking at over their shoulder.

All 4 outright selections are still there in the shape of Judd, Ding, Dotty and Bingham. Incredibly, Ding has lost just 2 main ranking event matches all season and looks to again be in sparkling form, the 9/1 pre-tournament odds may look very big come Sunday but I still have a feeling Judd is the man to be on this week.

The recommended acca went in again yesterday and the tricky treble produced two out of three but in this case Meat Loaf is wrong. Anyway, we’re still nicely ahead on the betting front so all’s good.

Here’s today with predicted winners and a recommended acca:


James Wattana v Joel Walker
Scott Donaldson v Andrew Higginson
Dominic Dale v Mark Selby
Shaun Murphy v Liang Wenbo

Predicted Winners: Walker, Higginson, Selby, Wenbo.

NB 1pm

Ricky Walden v Anthony Hamilton
Matthew Stevens v Joe Perry
Mark Allen v Ali Carter
Neil Robertson v Mark Williams

Predicted Winners: Walden, Perry, Carter, Robertson.

NB 2:00pm

Stuart Bingham v Michael Holt
Xiao Guodong v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Graeme Dott v Marco Fu
Judd Trump v Anthony McGill

Predicted Winners: Bingham, O’Sullivan, Dott, Trump.

NB 7:00pm

Jack Lisowski v Barry Hawkins
Mark King v John Higgins
Stephen Maguire v Andrew Pagett
Ben Woollaston v Ding Junhui

Predicted Winners: Lisowski, Higgins, Maguire, Ding.

Recommended Bet: 2 point acca pays over 4/1 at Apollobet on: Higginson, Walden, Robertson, Maguire and Higgins.

If you want to find out the head to heads for the matches the only place to do that is at Cue Tracker by clicking here

You can view Apollobet’s Outright Market here and their match betting including Correct Scores and Handicaps here.

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February 25, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Prices Now Available

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:45 pm

Blog partners Apollobet have priced up the Snookerbacker Classic Grand Finals on Saturday in Gloucester and they have Adam Wicheard as the 5/1 favourite to take the title. They have also priced up the first round matches.

You can view the outright prices here

You can view the match prices here.

It’s also 11/1 on someone hitting a 147 on Finals Day, there’s a £1000 prize for that of course.

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Welsh Open: Tuesday in Newport

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:37 am
Ronald is in action tonight in Wales.

Ronald is in action tonight in Wales.

With one thing and another I’ve not been able to concentrate fully on the Welsh Open for the last couple of days but from what I can see it appears that the form book is being kept to by and large with very few what you might term ‘surprise’ results materialising over the first few days.

All the outright picks, Ding, Trump, Bingham and Dott are still involved and having landed the only recommended match bet the other day it looks like it could be a decent betting event, despite my initial reservations that it is in fact nothing more than a Welsh PTC until they scrap this best of seven, all at the venue nonsense. I still have a feeling that Judd might be the man to be on this week as it feels like the kind of tournament he could win.

I’ll continue to just watch this from afar but will plump for a few predicted winners again below and a small interest bet.

Regular followers of the blog will probably realise that this week my priorities lie elsewhere as I prepare for Saturday in Gloucester and culmination of a few months work at the SB Classic Grand Finals. I hope a few of you can make the trip there and come and watch, it won’t cost you a penny to get in and it should be a cracking day. Here’s the draw for anyone that missed it yesterday.

Here’s today’s line up.


Jamie Cope v Ding Junhui
Graeme Dott v Jamie Jones
Fergal O’Brien v Liang Wenbo
Anthony Hamilton v Li Hang

Predicted Winners: Ding, Dott, O’Brien, Hamilton.

NB 1pm

Ben Woollaston v Alfie Burden
Mike Dunn v Ali Carter
Tian Pengfei v Mark Williams
Anthony McGill v Ryan Day

Predicted Winners: Burden, Carter, Pengfei, McGill.

NB 2:00pm

Neil Robertson v Rory McLeod
Shaun Murphy v Craig Steadman
Martin Gould v Jack Lisowski
Cao Yupeng v Barry Hawkins

Predicted Winners: Robertson, Murphy, Lisowski, Hawkins.

NB 7:00pm

Stuart Bingham v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Mark King v Alan McManus
Ricky Walden v Matt Selt
Barry Pinches v Ronnie O’Sullivan

Predicted Winners: Bingham, King, Walden, O’Sullivan.

Recommended Tuesday Bet: 2 points pays nearly 5/2 at William Hills on Ding, Dott, Carter, Murphy and Bingham. 1 point treble pays almost bang on 10/1 at Apollobet on O’Brien, McGill and Lisowski. 

If you want to find out the head to heads for the matches the only place to do that is at Cue Tracker by clicking here

You can view Apollobet’s Outright Market here and their match betting including Correct Scores and Handicaps here.

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SB Classic: Wilson Prevails in Last Chance Saloon

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:30 am
Syd takes his place in the Grand Finals.

Syd takes his place in the Grand Finals.

Sunday saw our latest ever finish to an SB Classic day as Sydney Wilson defeated Mike Rogers 3-2 to claim his place in the Grand Finals just before midnight.

There was a real buzz around the South West Snooker Academy as the early session players started arriving, these included the eventual winner who arrived around 9.15am, so his day was only marginally shorter than mine and Mrs SB’s as we’d arrived only an hour earlier at the venue to find Andrew Norman already busy making sure everything was right for us.

The added twist on this final qualifying day was the culmination of the Order of Merit and at the start of the day there were five players realistically in contention for this in the shape of Syd, Callum Lloyd, Andy Marriott, Joe Steele and Adam Bobat and with each of them drawn to play in the opening round the scope was there for things to change markedly throughout the day.

As it turned out, a first round exit from Steele and a second round exit from Bobat made this a three horse race between Wilson, Lloyd and Marriott, indeed at one point early in the day the three of them were level on 41 points, all looking anxiously at the board to see any changes, knowing that only the first two on the list who were not qualifying by winning an event progressed to the Grand Finals.

Marriott it was that was the first to fall to Brett Miller and in doing so guaranteed Syd and Callum their final places. But Syd defiantly maintained that he wanted to be in the Grand Finals as a winner, indeed the hopes and fate of the defeated Morrissey fan Marriott now rested in Syd and Callum’s hands.

While all this was going on the entertainment was being provided by a number of larger than life characters, Simon Dent reminisced about the glory days of snooker while flicking through old copies of Snooker Scene in the SWSA shop, Billy Brown and Ricky Norris played darts while Billy’s partner in crime Sarah tried in vain to hit the board instead of the wall. Matthew Day and Charlie Walters were being geezers in the corner while Kobi Mates and Peter Devlin were just being well, Kobi Mates and Peter Devlin really.

Syd in the meantime had brought his mum Linda along to watch, she claimed to not have watched him play live for around 6 years as she was worried it made him nervous, she didn’t watch him on Sunday either and instead decided to chat away to us when Syd was at work. They both decided that the trophy for this year’s winner goes so well in their house that Syd will have to get his hands on it, so he clearly has an incentive to win the tournament outright.

A real blast from the past was making his presence felt in the shape of Joe Lazarus, an old school cockney hard man who I first came across, though was far too scared to speak to in 1991 at an Isle of Wight tournament. He’s not changed a bit though seems to have mellowed with age (he only eats three packets of nails for breakfast now rather than six) and was genuinely amazed at the number of people who recognised him. The name itself I’m sure is familiar to players from the UK snooker scene from the past 3 decades and he caught up with Syd, who he used to coach for the first time in years. Geezer with a capital G.

Callum Lloyd stormed to the top of the Order of Merit

Callum Lloyd stormed to the top of the Order of Merit

As the day wore on Callum Lloyd was beaten but left knowing he was back on Saturday, though he did let slip that between visits he’d have to get himself a waistcoat. Phil O’Kane, who had lost earlier in the day stuck around and supplied us with seemingly endless and very amusing tales of his frequent mishaps. It seems bad luck and misfortune seem to follow poor old Phil around but at least he can laugh about it.

On the table, Syd had qualified for the Final just after 5pm but for one reason or another the other half of the draw was progressing at a snail’s pace. The match between David Maslov and Wayne Townsend in the Last 16 finished after Syd was already in the final and semi-finalist Mike Rogers faced a very long wait too for his next match. It was now crystal clear that it was going to be a very long day.

Mike used the time away from the table during the day to do some University work, he’s studying a Maths degree in Bath and he and his girlfriend happily sat in the corner discussing things that would not usually be discussed at a snooker tournament. Mike later said it helped him a lot away from the table though the course has hindered his practice time quite significantly this past year, more than he thought it would.

Syd in the meantime held court with his mum while myself, Mrs SB, Phil, Hassan Vaizie, Aaron and Rob Cook listened intently to his musings, at one point we played a game called ‘who had the biggest deviant friend in school’ which threw up some interesting results, other topics of conversation included adult nappies, after dark hotel room antics at EPTC’s and Phil’s seemingly endless catastrophic catalogue of carelessness, it’s no wonder Mike Rogers sat in the other corner really…

When they eventually caught up Mike was to come through a 5 frame battle with former Crucible Last 32 player Bradley Jones to set up a final with Syd.

In effect, although Syd was determined to win, this was a match that was far more important to Mike and to the absent Andy Marriott, who was depending on Syd to promote him into second on the Order of Merit and guarantee him at least £100 prize money. This he duly did in a tense affair which he won 3-2, the Order of Merit which started in September affectively being decided on the final frame of the final qualifying event.

Both finalists and tournament director and wife were ready for bed, though Mike faced a drive back at an hour I’m sure he’d rather was a lot earlier. He’s a cracking player considering all his other commitments and had he entered maybe another heat he may well have been in the Grand Finals as he ended up 3rd on the Order of Merit just 7 frames behind Andy Marriott, having made the final of the first qualifying event as well and been beaten by Kishan Hirani.

But the day belonged to Syd, who bounced back after his disappointing defeat to Mark Allen in the Welsh Open just days before to claim victory, as ever he was full of nothing but praise for both his opponent and the event itself, this being one of the reasons he remains a favourite of the tournament director’s wife.

The Last Chance Saloon turned out last season’s eventual champion David Gray and Syd will be hoping to follow in his footsteps as he moves forward to Saturday’s Grand Finals. The day itself is a real test of stamina and the winner definitely knows they have been hard at it.

Before signing off I must make special mention to referees Nick Harry and Mark Seaman, who worked like Trojans all day, barely coming up for air. Nick stayed until the very end and still looked fit as a flea at midnight when all around were flagging, earning him the nickname ‘Superref’ from Mrs SB. He’ll be back for the Finals on Saturday, my guess is, bright and early.

You can view all the scores from Sunday here and the final standing of the Order of Merit here

You can view the draw for Grand Finals Day here

February 24, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Grand Finals Draw and a few more details

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:34 pm

The draw for the Grand Finals of the Snookerbacker Classic 2014 on Saturday 1st March at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester was broadcast live tonight on Twitter and this is how it panned out:


10am starts – all players must report to the venue at 9.45am on Saturday  

Jamie Clarke v James Leadbetter
John Parkin v Adam Wicheard
Andy Marriott v Ant Parsons
Ryan Causton v John Whitty

Not Before 12 noon starts – all players must report to the venue at 11.45am on Saturday  

Anthony Jeffers v Sanderson Lam
Mitchell Mann v Callum Lloyd
Zack Richardson v Ben Harrison
Sydney Wilson v Kishan Hirani

A much better look at who can beat who and all stuff like that including pictures of all the Grand Finalists can be found here

All matches will be refereed and prices will be available at the bookmakers on the tournament which will be live scored ball-by-ball all day on Saturday at the link you may or may not have just clicked .




A reminder of the Prizes

2014 Champion: Q-School Entry plus £500 (or £1000 cash alternative), SB Classic Trophy (just wait until you see it is all I will say…) and a Crucible Date with Stephen Hendry and stuff you’ll know about when you win it.  

Runner Up: Q-School Entry plus £200 (or £750 cash alternative)

Losing Semi-Finalists: Q-School entry (or £500 cash alternative) 

Losing Quarter-Finalists: £200

Losing Last 16: £100

Highest Break: £300 – (Currently 122 by Ant Parsons)

Maximum Break: £1000 (with £300 the highest break prize included)



February 23, 2014

Welsh Open Day Five

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:38 pm

We’re busy in Gloucester at the moment but here is the match schedule for Newport on Monday. No bets for now but normal service should be resumed for Tuesday. 


Stephen Maguire v Sam Baird
Dominic Dale v Dechawat Poomjaeng
Tom Ford v James Wattana
Joel Walker v Mark Davis

NB 1:30pm

Jimmy Robertson v Andrew Higginson
Matthew Stevens v Ian Burns
Scott Donaldson v Dave Gilbert
Mark Allen v Noppon Saengkham

NB 2:00pm

Kurt Maflin/Alex Davies v Marco Fu/Chris Norbury
Geraed Greene v Andrew Pagett
Dave Harold v Mark Selby
Liu Chuang v Joe Perry

NB 7:00pm

Judd Trump/Kyren Wilson v Jamie Burnett/Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Xiao Guodong/Hammad Miah v Michael White/Chris Wakelin
Ken Doherty v John Higgins
Peter Lines v Michael Holt

If you want to find out the head to heads for the matches the only place to do that is at Cue Tracker by clicking here

You can view Apollobet’s Outright Market here and their match betting including Correct Scores and Handicaps here.

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SB Classic ‘Last Chance Saloon’ – Keep up to Date

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:03 am

Today sees the final qualifying heat for this season’s Snookerbacker Classic played at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

It’s a big field and it all kicks off at 9.45 this morning and by the end of the day we’ll have three more players to make up the sixteen man field next Saturday for the Grand Finals, with both the winner and the top two players on the final Order of Merit standings going through.

You can keep up to date with the scores here and the Order of Merit here


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