Snookerbacker

August 20, 2014

Paul Hunter Classic Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:21 am
Back in Action in Germany

Back in Action in Germany

The European tour continues this week as the Stadthalle Fürth, Fürth in Germany plays host to many people’s favourite on this tour, the Paul Hunter Classic, named after one of snooker’s brightest and sadly departed stars.

It was won last season by Ronnie O’Sullivan and happily he’s back to defend his title. Despite his detractors and critics it remains for most a more interesting tournament when Ronnie is involved, he’s not been seen since the World Championship but appears on the face of it keen to get back to competitive action now that the tour is organised to his exact specifications.

Indeed the only really notable exception in this is Ding Junhui, who seems to be becoming the new Ronnie the way he’s picking and choosing lately. But other than that we have all the big guns, World Champion and World Number 1 Selby, Wuxi winner Robbo and early season winner in Australia Judd are all in the mix.

It’s a fitting tribute to Paul that this is becoming something of a main event. OK, the prize money is still low compared to the main rankers but to all intents and purposes that is how it feels and it would be nice if the prize money on offer one day reflected the esteem in which it’s held by the players and fans, but the good news is that it’s getting there.

The tournament also sees the beginning of a slightly busier period in the calendar, a fortnight after this ends we’re off to Shanghai for the Masters there and in between is the 6-reds, which Dark Mavis will probably win again.

In terms of this event, the dream semi-final line up would be Ronnie or Judd against Selby with Robbo arguably in the ‘easier’ half of the draw. This in effect makes Robertson an automatic outright pick given his relatively smoother path to Finals Day. Ronnie starts the event as favourite and if you are a firm believer in horses for courses he more or less cantered to victory here last season, beating unlikely finalist Gerard Greene and breaking the trophy afterwards. Selby however is already back to winning ways and will want to cement his current status to the max, possibly by putting Ronnie to bed again in the semi-finals. Indeed snooker is now increasingly getting the feel of a big 4 or 5 who seem to be pulling away from the chasing pack a bit, my guess is that Ronnie, Mark, Neil, Judd and Ding will be sharing quite a few titles amongst them this season while the others look on.

All that said, it’s always worth hunting around for big each way prices and this is especially true where the bookies are paying out on the semi-finalists, which most of them now appear to be doing. My each-way long shot for this one is the in-form Alan McManus at 200/1 with Betfred to compliment a couple of the more obvious picks in the outrights of O’Sullivan at a best priced 4/1 and Robertson who is available at 7/1. I’m not doing points anymore but they are three I’m backing in this and I’d be surprised if one of the big names isn’t holding the trophy aloft on Sunday.

You can view the draw for the Paul Hunter Classic including the amateur rounds here and you can take a look at the Eurosport schedule by clicking here.

I’ll bash some match bets up as and when the tournament begins.

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