Snookerbacker

June 19, 2014

Here’s the Season: Ten to Follow – CREATE YOUR OWN ANORAK LIST!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:21 am
Time to get your balls out and give them a rub.

Time to get your balls out and give them a rub.

It’s been a period of welcome respite from the baize these last couple of weeks. OK, there are a few of them potting in China at the moment in the first APTC event, but come on, let’s face it, the season hasn’t really started yet has it?

But all that changes next week as the first proper tournament is decided over in Wuxi. Monday sees the resumption of this first real ranking event following the qualifiers in May and the draw and format for it can be found by clicking here.

The start of the season always brings with it a sense of anticipation amongst the baize anorak brigade. Wild predictions prevail and everyone has an opinion on who are the players that will dominate, flunk and make their big breakthrough over the next 11 months.

Well, this place is no exception. I’m not one to flannel around using wishy-washy language, it’s time to say it like it is. So I’m going to list my own ten to follow this season, ranging from the established big boys, through the teetering on the edge gang to the lower ranked dudes and rookies who I think are capable of making a name for themselves in an event or two.

You may agree with some, you may disagree with them all, that’s kinda the idea if you catch mee drift. None of us have a crystal ball but cor blimey if I had one I’d be polishing it furiously ahead of the action starting to try and get the advantage on those nasty old bookies.

If you are clever, bored or simply have nothing better to do in life you could post your own ten in the comments section. Just follow the format I have used below.

If you are clinically insane or have recently been imprisoned or hospitalised you could even come up with a clever scoring system and make this a little season-long contest based on how your team does.

The Anorak List perhaps?

If someone wants to do that and is prepared to keep the scores updated I suppose I’d better blag a decent prize from somewhere….it’s up to you. If I get more than 20 entries let’s do it.

The categories are based on the latest projected seeding list which is displayed here. Why not give your balls a good old rub and have a go yourself?

Was a bit shit until he won this.

Was a bit shit until he won this.

The Top 16

Mark Selby: The World Champion may have some added pressure on him now, he’s arguably now the scalp that all the players want but Selby seems to have the temperament to handle his new found elevated status. It’s easy to forget how poor his season was by his standards until winning in Sheffield and turning his whole life around. He’s got a nipper on the way, he’ll tingle every time he’s introduced and I think it will bring out the best in him. I’d take him to win at least 2 full rankers this season. Perhaps he might even break the Crucible Curse? Don’t be daft, of course he won’t.

Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘Bloody hell SB, you’re stating the bleeding obvious here, I’m not reading any further’ I hear you cry, but I shun your cries for this is my blog and I’m sticking with the lesser spotted Rocket to return to winning ways this season. A new ranking system that he might as well have written himself in the bath, a more or less categorical assertion that he’s not going to China anymore and that blasted man Peters still in his corner for me makes him as dangerous as ever. He’s bound to win a biggie, he might even be looking at the BBC Grand Slam to reassert his position at the top. Now there’s an incentive and a half.

17-32 

Xiao Guodong: I think this is a big season for Xiao. He looks to me like the only Chinese player at the moment that might achieve the kind of consistency that only Ding has managed before. Wenbo flattered to deceive and for me is now firmly stuck in this 17-32 category without the obvious potential to rise any further and emulate the long-standing Chinese number 1. Guodong has the game, does he have the temperament? Whilst I don’t necessarily think he’ll win anything I can see him being at the business end a few times this season.

Martin Gould: A disappointing season last time saw Gould suffer in the rankings but in the World Championship qualifiers and even his defeat at The Crucible to Marco Fu, The Pinner Potter showed that he’s not quite dead and buried just yet. A couple of seasons ago he was the man most people had down as the next new ranking winner, he’s got the game and I think he’s capable of putting the results of last season out of his mind. He can start by deep runs in Wuxi and Australia if he’s still in the mood he was in April.

The only way is up.

The only way is up.

33-64

Jack Lisowski: Jacko is keen to brush off the tag as ‘Judd’s mate’ and carve out the career that he seemed destined to flourish at two seasons ago. This has resulted in him getting back to his roots and leaving the trappings of fame which human magpie Judd so loves. As he puts it, Judd has won things and has earned it, he hasn’t. He’s started the season well in qualifying for Wuxi and Australia and perhaps the two seasons in the snooker wilderness have been a necessary exercise for him to get back on track and focus on what is most important to him. He’s got the game, now he has to give snooker 100% and fulfil his undoubted potential.  

Anthony McGill: Anthony is another who like Jack might have expected to be a little higher in the rankings than he currently is if you’d have asked him a couple of seasons ago, but he’s been consistent without really making that big push to the top 16, which of course is a major step up for any player ranked outside the top 32. Anyone who watches him play knows how good he is, he is also, like Jack, one of those players with a good head on his shoulders. His dedication will pay off, it’s just a question of when.

The Rest 

Chris Wakelin: Lower down the list lies a player doing his thing under the radar. If this horse got any darker it would need headlamps. Chris came through Q-School last season to a chorus of ‘Who?’ from most in the snooker fraternity, me included. One minute he’s delivering your dog food and fishfingers in his supermarket van, the next he’s taking on bigger names on the baize and beating them. Watch this lad, he’s got a lot of positives going for him.

Grown a bit.

Grown a bit.

Oliver Lines: I first met Oli when he apprehended me in Leeds in 2012, he tugged at my knees (he was only little, I nearly tripped over him) and asked could he enter the SB Classic the following year. He did just that and to this day still holds the record break in the tournament, which is still his match highest of 142. Oli has seemed destined for pro-status since he shat his first nappy and now he’s there I’m sure he’ll make the most of it. A tactical game that defies his years, a cool head under pressure and a dad who will keep him grounded if his bonce starts expanding makes him the player to watch over the next two seasons.

Michael Leslie: Having served his two year professional apprenticeship and fallen off the tour it took a very impressive effort for young Michael to get straight back on via Q-School and a new two year card should see him make the most of the invaluable experience he has gained. John Higgins predicted a bright future for this fella when he first arrived but warned that his first experiences would be a lot of knocks, he was right. He’s already proved that he’s down but not out and if that potential that Higgins saw is to be realised, this is the start of that upward curve in his fortunes.

Mitchell Mann: Mitchell has already taken a few knocks and near-misses in his early career, more than some might take who are years older, but he’s now achieved his lifetime ambition by winning the European Championships and earning his pro ticket. Runner-up in last season’s SB Classic, he impressed me hugely and I believe he has what it takes to get to the top. He might not do it this season but I’ll bet he upsets a few higher up the list and progresses over the course of his first two seasons as a pro. One to watch now he’s made it to the pro-ranks. 

Time to put the crystal ball away now, what do you reckon? Can you do any better?

HAVE YOU GOT THE BALLS TO ENTER ‘THE ANORAK LIST’?  

SEE MARKO’S POINTS SYSTEM TABLE IN THE COMMENTS WHICH WILL KICK IN AFTER THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN – SO GET YOUR LIST IN WITH A CHANCE TO BE THIS SEASON’S ‘KING OF THE ANORAKS’.

  • arne b

    I am impressed. First of all, an interesting list and I will post one later. But then, I just wanted to announce my willingness to keep an anorak list updated, but @MarkoPiet posted a nice points system on twitter while I was still researching.
    I guess he will be the one to update it, but @Marko: If you only wanted to create the ranking system, I would be happy to use it 🙂

    • Marko

      I’m reading this (and because of your comment registered as well).
      Bottom 68 has an easy job to overtake the players who only attend a few tournaments – that way they score well. But their (almost) only way to score points is to improve their ranking so perhaps it’d be better to have the 1p per position gained than the top 64 has. Gaining positions inside top 32 is more difficult. I agree that we should include all the tournaments so that everything counts.
      I’m still wondering whether it’s better to have 1-10, 11-20… or 1-16, 17-32…

      • arne b

        I like your idea to give them only half the points for this exact reason. I would leave it like this at least for the first of many seasons 😉

        I already wondered why you chose 1-10, 11-20… but why not? It looks funny, and it should not make much of a difference, not many event winners come from outside the top 10. Just favours 11-16 slightly, which might be good…

        You could add a third bracket for position change, giving more points (maybe 1 1/2) to players inside top 32 to reflect their difficulties. But I don’t know if it’s necessary.

        • Marko

          I just realised that the worst ranking at the beginning of the season is 96, all who have 0 points are ranked 96th. So if you climb inside the top 64 you’ll get 32 points. Is it too much? It’s the only way to score points (unless someone surprises by winning something) but it’s easier – should they have the same points as top 64 or less?

        • Both – let’s start this after the Australian Open and I reckon we just let people pick who they want but the players lower down the list get more points for winning matches, see what you both think is best, I’ll just go with what you both think is fair. If it’s after the Aus we’re likely to get more entries.

          • Marko

            Starting after Aussie sounds good to me.
            ***
            Should Masters count as big four (Worlds, UK, International Champs)? I actually don’t think it should as it’s too easy to get points.
            By the way, here’s my version 2: https://twitter.com/MarkoPiet/status/479576152735240192 – at least the points for improving ranking need to be edited. Perhaps 1-32, 33-64, 65-?

          • arne b

            Points for ranking improvement: I think, either keep them at 1 for everyone or at (1-32/33-64/65-) = (1.5/1/0.5); both might work. By doing a players ranking list, we can see if a specific group is preferred.

            Big four: I think WC is bigger (maybe 4 points?), and the Masters can also be counted as non-ranking. In the end it won’t matter too much. Perhaps even discard the big four bracket at all? UK and International are not so much bigger than the normal majors like China or Shanghai.

    • Hi there, let’s wait and see how many people post a list but happy to provide a prize and publish updated points if someone else keeps a tally! The comments system seems to have put a few people off commenting but it’s actually very good.

      • arne b

        I like the disqus system, I just don’t comment because I have never tried betting, so I can’t contribute much… (so far)

  • Monique

    Ok let’s do this …
    Top 16:
    I agree with the two you listed and would add Ding.
    Mark Selby: this will be an interesting season to monitor indeed. Mark seems to have a very solid temperament and yet, a few years back, he didn’t cope well with the pressure of being n°1. How much has he matured and how will he cope with being World Champion? It’s not just the pressure of expectations, it’s also a lot of activities to be carried out for promotion and sponsors that are not always visible to the public. And he will be a father. Mark is used to have Vikki traveling a lot with him and be there at events. That will change and it might well impact the way he copes with being on the road all year long… we’ll see.
    Ronnie: you’re probably right about him focusing on the big ones. Ronnie finds it hard to play full time, he hates flying, he’s won everything (or about) and has nothing to prove. He finds it hard to commit to snooker at times but can’t stay away for long … So what will happen this season? My guess is that he will play less than the previous season, but still will get his share of silverware and offer us some moments to remember. We better enjoy him while he’s around, it won’t last forever.
    Ding: Ding is a bit of an enigma. He’s won 5 events last season … but he lost in last 16 in the UK and got out first round both in the Masters and the WC. So basically he’s been very poor in ALL the majors. He’s a marvellous player to watch when on form but I still have my doubts about his temperament when the heat is really on and expectations are huge. Worth monitoring this season.
    17-32
    Agree about Xiao.
    33-64
    Agree about Jack and Anthony.
    I would add Kurt Maflin: Kurt had a good season in 2013/14 and he’s an excellent breakbuilder. His temperament has improved a lot under pressure. It will be interesting to see if he continues to climb the rankings. I expect him to do just that.
    The rest.
    Scott Donaldson: here’s is a solid young player with a very good head as well. He narrowly failed to break into the last 64 but I expect him to get there, if not this season, the next one. He might well do it this season though…
    Oli Lines : You said it …
    Li Hang: for all the extravagant hairdos, this is a very serious guy who works incredibly hard. His snooker is not spectacular but he’s very solid. He’s got a few good results last season and it will be interesting to see if he confirms this season and manages to get in the top 64. I think he will.

    That’s it…

    • E JONES

      I think Selby struggled being no 1 because he wanted desperately to be World Champion to rubber stamp his position as World no 1…..Selby was the only World no 1 never to be world champion at the time.

      I Think as World champion he will have a great season and really start to fulfill his promise.

      Totally agree with Scott Donaldson the best Scottish player since Maguire in my opinion.

  • Matt

    For once I’ll have a go, apologies in advance to the following jinxed players:

    1-16: I would expect the majority of events to be shared out between the usual four, probably Robertson and Selby more than the others on the basis that they’ll enter most.
    17-32: Going to agree with Xiao, who I would expect to break into the top 16 at some stage, plus I’m going to go a bit left-field and go for Ryan Day, who has looked more like his old self since the turn of the year and could do likewise
    33-64: Nobody screams out to be as being a dead cert here, so going to conservatively go with Kurt Maflin and Dave Gilbert, who at this moment in time I would say are the best two players in this bracket.
    The Rest: Kyren Wilson, Joel Walker and Scott Donaldson are pretty much automatic picks for me. The last would be more open, but I’ll go for Li Hang, seemed to have some rotten draws last year and is a handy player who should have enough experience now to make an impact.

  • Marko

    Here’s the points system. It may still at some point be changed somehow if necessary.

    • Marko

      Arne and I discussed about the system. We decided to make two changes:
      – 1p per every 147 made
      – rankings: top 32 (beginning of the season) will get 2p per position gained but 33-64 will get 1.5p and 65- will get 1p.
      We might still at some point change the system if necessary.

    • alex_147

      Well done Marko, the system looks good, but why no points for the finals?

      • Marko

        A good question. But would it be too complicated? And would it be too easy for the best players to score points? Worth discussing but perhaps better not to change anything at the moment.

        After a few tournaments we can see how it works, I’ve created some stats that are updated automatically. They should tell us if there’s something wrong with the system.

        • alex_147

          I mean, if players get points for winning the tournament as well as reaching the semifinal of the tournament, then it is only logical they get points for reaching the final which is in the middle, isn’t it? 🙂

          • Marko

            I see what you mean. Need to discuss with Arne first. At least for the Worlds having points for a runner-up would make sense, for other tournaments we would need to have 0.25 points. And having more criteria would make the entire system a bit more complicated. But let’s see.

  • Rana Mittra

    I’m a bit disappointed. When I saw the phrase ‘The Anorak List’ I was expecting a list of players who were secretly anoraks. Maybe another time?

    Anyway, my list:

    Top 16 – Robertson and Ronnie. Robbo because he seems to just be reaching his peak and I think he’s one of only three players who can take Ronnie. Ronnie for the reasons you mention. Excluding Selby because I don’t know how having his first child will affect him. I doubt he’ll find as much time to put in the hours of practice as he did before.
    Top 32 – Xiao Guodong and I’m going totally left field and going with Alan McManus. I think a lot of the other players in the bracket are either going to go further down or stay where they are. I think Angles will move up to that 17-20 mark.
    Top 64 – Lisowski and Mehta. There’s a lot of potential here but I don’t think the other contenders here have the consistency (like of Jamie Jones, Yu Delu and Cao Yupeng)
    The rest – Kyren Wilson, Scott Donaldson and Joel Walker. One player who might not have the top players quaking in their boots but will steadily improve during the season is Alex Ursenbacher for me.

  • Marko

    Mine:
    Robin Hull
    Liam Highfield
    Jamie Jones
    Scott Donaldson
    Xiao Guodong
    Alan McManus
    Ronnie O’Sullivan
    Sam Baird
    Cao Yupeng
    Mark Selby

  • valerieinto

    You get you’ve essentially started a fantasy league, right? Only without trades (fair – no trading in snooker), prices for different-level guys to be on your team (though requiring a certain number of guys at each range of level is close to that), money (!!!) and myriad individual stats for points (like centuries, 147s and whitewashes – I don’t think points would need to be weighted for them). I’m a North American female and therefore know nothing about math (KIDDING! Though I still know nothing about math), but you’ve made an excellent start to what could become a monolith of anorakness. P.S. I’m waiting ’til the Aussies to pick my team.

  • Top 16
    Stuart Bingham
    Shaun Murphy

    17-32
    Xiao Guodong
    Michael White

    33-64
    Kurt Maflin
    Jamie Cope
    Luca Brecel

    65+
    Lu Haotian
    Scott Donaldson
    Tian Pengfei

  • Blind Professionals

    Ok I’m game

    1-16
    Neil Robertson
    Ding junhui
    17-32
    Mj Williams
    Doggy dott
    33-64
    Adi Mehta
    Mike dunnybrush
    64+
    Gary Wilson
    Kyren Wilson
    David Morris
    Chris melling

    Let’s see how the go
    Trent

  • Ok, this is my list:
    1-16
    Neil Robertson
    Ronnie O’Sullivan
    17-32
    Xiao Guodong
    Robert Milkins or Ryan Day
    33-64 OMG I agree with SB!
    Jack Lisowski
    Anthony McGill
    64+
    Joel Walker
    Scott Donaldson
    Kyren Wilson
    Stuart Carrington
    Csilla

    • arne b

      Can you decide between Rob Day and Ryan Milkins? Would help a lot 🙂

      • You mean between Rob Milkins and Ryan Day 😀 I say…uhhh…others say Day so I say Milkins 😉

        • arne b

          Thanks 🙂 Good reason for a choice!

  • Michael Annison

    Here we go:
    Top 16:
    Shaun Murphy (Had to really didn’t I)
    Neil Robertson
    17-32:
    Ryan Day
    Xiao Guodong
    33-64:
    Kurt Maflin
    Jamie Cope
    The Rest:
    Oliver Lines
    Joel Walker
    David Morris
    Alexander Ursenbacher (Your well known cousin SB)

  • ANON

    1-16
    Ding & Robbo (surely one of these is due a World title)

    17-32
    Ebbo & Michael White

    (the 17-32 bracket isn’t half clogged with the ‘pale, male & stale’ great and the good of the 1990s – 9 out of these 16 have been on the tour for 19+ years!)

    Any bonus for saying Liang will drop like a stone…

    33-64
    Andrew Higginson
    Luca Bray-sell

    64+

    Stuart Carrington
    Zhou Yuelong
    Scott Donaldson
    Chris Melling
    Would like to have put Alex Pag, but sorry to say he looked out of his depth in that streamed qualifier against Maguire).

    Have to say that reading through the list, all the ‘excitement’ is in the top 16 or outside the top 64.

    • arne b

      ANON is the perfect name…

  • E JONES

    and the winning entry is

    Top 16:
    Mark Selby
    Neil Robertson

    17-32:
    Graeme Dott
    Xiao Guodong

    33-64:
    David Gilbert
    Yu Delu

    The Rest:
    Scott Donaldson
    Oliver Lines
    Kyren Wilson
    David Morris

  • CueTracker_Ron

    Never one to be left out, here are my ten:
    Top 16:
    – Mark Allen
    – Stephen Maguire

    Top 32:
    – Michael White
    – Martin Gould

    Top 64:
    – Anthony McGill
    – Aditya Mehta
    – Luca Brecel

    The rest:
    – Oliver Lines
    – Alexander Ursenbacher
    – Scott Donaldson

  • Rachel

    I don’t usually go in for things like this as it normally spells doom for the ones I pick, but here goes.

    Top 16 – The top seven or eight in the world should cover most of the events, but Robertson has consistency and Bingham is good for a win every now and again. Lot of indecision…
    Stuart Bingham
    Neil Robertson

    17-32 – This was difficult as the majority of players I favour are out of the top 32, so went really for two who have moments of brilliance and have some recent good form. Essentially one old fave and a new one!
    Dominic Dale (nobody else will probably pick him, but had a good run at the Worlds and I think could improve and crack top 16 if he improves consistency)
    Martin Gould (this was very hotly debated as I also considered Michael White, Xiao Guodong and Ryan Day)

    33-64 – Lots of choice! Woollaston has a lot of potential and I’d hope Lisowski can recover the form that saw him at the Crucible in 2013.
    Ben Woollaston
    Jack Lisowski

    Rest
    Oliver Lines (really impressed me)
    Michael Wasley (I think impressed and surprised a lot of people in Sheffield)
    Scott Donaldson (a lot of people have gone for him too!)
    Vinnie Calabrese (hopefully he’ll move up the rankings over the next few seasons; his advance to the second round of the UK was impressive, but did not capitalise on it over the remainder of the season).

  • ♫ Eija

    Paint It Black –
    The anorak list

    Neil Robertson
    Ronnie O’Sullivan (Someone is fond of the names starting with Ro-)

    Xiao Guodong
    Alan McManus

    Jack Lisowski
    Marcus Campbell
    Luca Brecel

    Then the most interesting part. Sky is the limit:

    Robin Hull
    Liam Highfield
    Scott Donaldson

    Dott
    and Milkins have been strong. Alexander Ursenbacher has been mentioned
    often. Like Anon said, the biggest excitement may be in the top 16 or
    outside the top 64. James Cahill and Michael Wasley did a good job.
    Since this is my first guess ever, it feels almost bad to prediction.
    There are some players who I’d like to see winning. Good luck to all players and fortune tellers.

  • Snooker Superfan

    Okey kokey then 🙂
    Top 16 –
    Ronnie O’Sullivan
    Neil Robertson
    Top 32 –
    Xiao Goudong
    Micheal White
    Top 64 –
    Jack Lisowski (hopefully!)
    Yu Delu
    Luca Brecel
    And The Rest –
    Kyren Wilson

    Howzat!

  • Snooker Superfan

    Lu Haotian and Robin Hull were also supposed to be in my ‘And The Rest’

  • thom

    Like!

    TOP
    ———————–
    Selby
    Trump

    SUBTOP
    ———————–
    Holt
    Dale

    GETTING THERE
    ———————–
    Jamie Jones
    L. Brecel

    PLEBS
    ———————–
    Morris
    Swail
    Donaldson
    O. Lines

  • roland

    May as well give it a go:

    Top 16
    Mark Selby
    Ding Junhui

    17-32
    Ryan Day
    Martin Gould

    33-64
    Jack Lisowski
    Luca Brecel

    the rest
    Kyren Wilson
    Scott Donaldson
    Lyu Haotian
    Alex Ursenbacher

  • alex_147

    Nice one SB and Marko!
    Here is my list:
    Top16: Marco Fu and Mark Allen
    Top32: Xiao Guodong and Martin Gould
    Top64: Jack Lisowski and Luca Brecel
    The rest: Alex Ursenbacher, Scott Donaldson, Joel Walker, Oliver Lines

  • Chris Calderbank

    My List :-
    Top 16 – Neil Robertson & Ricky Walden
    Top 32 – Ryan Day & Martin Gould
    Top 64 – Andrew Higginson & Anthony McGill
    Rest – Scott Donaldson,Tian Pengfei,Li Hang & Robin Hull.

  • noci

    OI. I tell U:

    Ding ‘n’ Ronnie

    Liang Wenbo ‘n’ M. White

    Lawler ‘n’ Mehta

    Robin Hull, Chris Wakelin, Wasley ‘n’ Olly Lines.

    Well there ya go.

  • Clive Stringer

    My entries are:
    Robbo
    Hawkins
    Gould
    Guodong
    Maflin
    Woollaston
    K. Wilson
    Hull
    Morris
    Wakelin
    Cheers!

  • Rob Freeman

    1-16: Neil Robertson, Joe Perry
    17-32: Ryan Day, Xiao Guodong
    33-64 Ben Woollaston, Mike Dunn
    The rest: Gary Wilson, David Morris, Michael Georgiou, Oliver Lines

  • Ben Mawdesley

    1-16 Judd Trump – Ronnie O’Sullivan
    17-32 Michael White – Liang Wenbo
    33-64 Jack Lisowski- Andrew Higginson
    65- Kyren Wilson – Lyu Haotian -Li Hang -Scott Donaldson

  • valerieinto

    Alrighty then.

    1-16 Judd Trump, Barry Hawkins
    17-32 Martin Gould, Michael White
    33-64 Jack Lisowski, Jamie Jones
    The rest: Barry Pinches, Michael Georgiou, Scott Donaldson, Robin Hull

    A bit of wishful thinking going on there…

  • Jmal1

    1-16 Neil Robertson – Ding Junhui
    17-32 Liang Wenbo – Robert Milkins
    33-64 Jack Lisowski – David Gilbert
    the rest Kyren Wilson, Scott Donaldson, Robun Hull, Li Hang

  • Wellboy

    Murphy, Junhui
    McManus, Dale
    Jamie Jones, Robbie Williams
    Pengfei, Donaldson, Highfield, Baird.
    Cheers, good luck.

  • Marko

    It seems there’s no African wild card (African championship apparently cancelled). Could you choose another player just in case they won’t nominate one.

  • DoctorDish

    Robertson, Trump
    Robot Milkins, Holt
    Gilbert, Woollaston
    J Walker, Melling, Georgia, Hull

    Cheers. Good luck all.

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