September 30, 2014

October on the Baize

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:53 pm

tumbleweedOctober is a nice time to go on holiday, well, it is if you are a snooker player as there’s not much else to do over the coming 26 days barring a jolly over to Bulgaria.

Bazza’s much heralded promise of a 24/7/12 non-stop snooker circus and the assertion that somewhere in the world at any time there would be a tournament on doesn’t appear to be coming to fruition lately really does it? The calendar this month looks as sparse as Oscar Pistorius’ dance card with us having to wait another 4 weeks until a main ranker kicks off.

Bulgaria starts in earnest, or rather in Sofia, on Friday with coverage on Eurosport. Ding Junhui has ducked out of this as he continues to choose his events carefully, so carefully in fact that he’s not even qualifying for the ones he does bother playing in. This one was also due to see the return to the baize of Ali Carter, but a temporary setback in his return to full health means we won’t see him back doing what he does best just yet.

There’s an Asian Tour event just before the excellent International Championship (minus Ding and Selby) gets under way at the end of the month in Chengdu, but these smaller events offer little in the way of interest for those around these parts so I’m not really waiting for that one with baited breath.

But the good news is that once Chengdu kicks off, the calendar starts looking lively again in what is surely the best period of the year for the baize, namely the 6 months from the start of November right through until the end of the World Championship in May. Who knows? Maybe on reflection Bazza knows that I was right all along when I was saying there was too much snooker last season? Again, breath will not be held for a thank you letter from the Great Dictator, I mean Director.

November 1st also sees the start of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic in Gloucester and a cracking opening day’s field. I am hoping that one firm at least will be pricing up the main runners and riders in the next few days for your entertainment and possibly punting interest.

So that, very briefly, is October in a nutshell.



Victoria Bulgaria Open (ET3) (pre qualifier)

Universiada Sports Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria


Victoria Bulgaria Open (ET3) (Last 128)

Universiada Sports Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria


Asian Tour 2 – Haining Open

Haining, China

26-2 Nov

International Championship

Chengdu, China

1-2 Nov

Snookerbacker Classic, Qualifiers 1&2

South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester.

September 25, 2014

Hearn Denies Wrongdoing in Qualifying Match

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:46 am
Troublemaking again

Troublemaking again

Last night, while I was quietly minding my own business I received a text message with the picture accompanying this post on it. Obviously, being an inquisitive, some might argue persistent pain in the arse type of person, I went public with it on Twitter.

Almost immediately and after several retweets from people far more interesting than I am, I started receiving details via direct messages of what exactly was going on in terms of bets on the match involving Jamie Burnett and Irish amateur player John Sutton, someone who I know personally given his involvement in the SB Classic in 2012.

Oddly, when I first made this public an avalanche, well perhaps that’s over-egging it a bit, more a meandering stream of replies and opinions came back to me presuming that Burnett was ‘at it’. I’m not sure why this was presumed by so many people following Jamie’s acquittal of any wrongdoing in a match a while ago against his mate Mags which involved half of Glasgow correctly guessing the score and also resulted in a midnight visit from Taggart to yours truly.

What transpired and became clear from the direct messages I had been getting was that this was simply not the case, the Twitter sleuths had got the wrong man and it was volume and size of bets on Burnett to win, by a long margin, which were the cause of concern at the bookies.

I received information from a very trusted source (a source said….) that the concerns were based on bets ‘on Burnett -3.5 frames, -4.5 frames and to win 6-0’ from people known to John Sutton. I was also alerted by a totally independent source working in the snooker betting industry (an insider told me…) that a ‘huge bet on 6-0’ had been refused earlier in the day. This later transpired to be a five figure sum.

The people involved will, I’m sure, be forwarding details in a more formal way and through the proper channels to the chairman, Barry Hearn, who as we know talks a tough game when it comes to fixing and fiddling, Stephen Lee would I’m sure testify to that.

But in the meantime, I decided to alert him to the activity in a more informal manner, his response, once it clicked what match I was on about was typically forthright. ‘Total Rubbish!’ he screamed back from behind his desk at Bazza Towers. When pressed further by someone else he barked:

and he then, having misguidedly got into a conversation with Andrew Pagget (never a good idea) claimed that I was attention seeking and had no real idea, both of which are fair points and one of which is certainly true. I’m not sure what his reference to bras was all about but I have lost my shirt on a few bets in the past and I’m all for equality:

So Barry, at least as things were left last night is having none of it, just as he wasn’t in the matches between Steve Davis and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Passakorn Suwannawat and Mo Khairy and Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon and Ross Muir, all of which I tweeted an uncannily accurate prediction on before a ball was struck, based on the same evidence as last night. Beginners luck perhaps.

A couple of current and former snooker players also waded in with their opinions, these seemed to be based on what they believed the score would have been regardless of the betting patterns, which of course is a fair point, though does not really take into account the level of interest on this match compared to the others as well as the (I stress unsubstantiated) claims that the big money backing the score was coming from people known to one of the players.

Of course, all this does not necessarily mean that the player had any knowledge of these bets, maybe his mates just think he’s shit or knew he hadn’t been playing well, remember Joe Jogia’s defence that he was hobbling around after falling over pissed so all his mates backed the other fella? That kind of thing.

I like John and I hope this is a storm in a teacup and that Bazza’s refusal to listen to me is a wise move, let’s be honest, I refuse to listen to myself sometimes the way I bang on about stuff. But his approach is one I find quite baffling to be honest, if he genuinely has evidence that the majority of the bets were on 6-1 and 6-2 and that all John’s mates got taken, bra’s and all, to the cleaners, then that’s fine and we can all move on and I’ll be looking for more reliable sources in the future. But if, and it is a big if, he is getting a little confused as to what -3.5 frames (Burnett to win AT LEAST 6-2) and -4.5 frames (Burnett to win AT LEAST 6-1) means then he (or more likely those supplying him with the information) may need to do more homework on how betting works. But surely they can’t be that wet behind the ears? Either way, what industry people are telling me is not the same as what Bazza is being told.

All I can say is that it’s now four times this has happened and results/scores were known to the Twitter community before either player got their stick out. That surely is worthy of looking into in greater depth than a head in the sand 140 character (well, 65 if you want to be picky) point blank and frankly quite rude rebuttal. Isn’t it?

Anyone fancy a Guinness? My round.

September 20, 2014

International Championship Qualifiers Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:50 am
Ding won a vase last year.

Ding won a vase last year.

It’s a long way from Chengdu, but Barnsley it is that hosts the first round of the International Championship from Monday. This is a tournament which I enjoy and is the best one China hosts, by virtue of the fact that the matches are a little bit longer with all these ones being the best of eleven frames, making them a much more enticing betting proposition. The prize money on offer also ranks this right up there with the majors.

There are 64 matches in all to be played out with all the major players involved, apart of course from Ali Carter whose recovery is now thankfully complete. He’ll be getting back into the cockpit for the Bulgarian PTC and we can’t wait to welcome him back to the snooker world after his incredibly brave fight against his health problems.

Below I have listed the matches as they are played. There will be coverage on the usual betting sites as well as the World Snooker TV live channel.

There are plenty of betting opportunities available so we’ll see if we can continue the good run from the Shanghai Masters. The fact that these are best of 11 means for me, this is one of the best betting few days of the season.

If you want to view head to heads, where there is one, just click on the match and take a look, courtesy of Cue Tracker. Note that a lot of these matches are first time meetings.

(S) denotes live streamed matches.

Monday 22nd of September 


Peter Lines v Mitchell Mann
Aditya Mehta v James Wattana (S)
Michael White v Sean O’Sullivan (S)
Dominic Dale v Vinnie Calabrese
Jack Lisowski v Ian Burns
Cao Yupeng v Craig Steadman

Predicted Winners: Mann, Mehta, White, Dale, Lisowski, Steadman.


Ding Junhui v Wang ZePeng (S)
Graeme Dott v Lee Page
Robbie Williams v Ahmed Saif
Mark Williams v Scott Donaldson (S)
Luca Brecel v Chris Melling

Predicted Winners: Ding, Dott, Williams, Williams, Melling.


Mark Joyce v Lu Ning
Ken Doherty v Joel Walker (S)
Kurt Maflin v Elliot Slessor
Neil Robertson v Alex Borg (S)
Matthew Selt v Alex Pagulayan

Predicted Winners: Joyce, Walker, Maflin, Robertson, Selt.

Tuesday 23rd of September 


Ryan Day v Lu Haotian (S)
Martin Gould v Cao XinLong
Nigel Bond v Joe O’Connor
Barry Hawkins v Ratchayothin Yotharuck (S)
Jamie Cope v Oliver Brown
Kyren Wilson v Ross Muir

Predicted Winners: Day, Gould, Bond, Hawkins, Cope, Wilson.


Stuart Bingham v Michael Wasley (S)
Jimmy White v Alex Davies
Michael Holt v Sam Baird (S)
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Steven Hallworth
Mark King v Zak Surety

Predicted Winners: Bingham, White, Holt, Poomjaeng, King.


Dark Mavis v Lee Walker (S)
John Higgins v Stuart Carrington (S)
Gary Wilson v Li Hang
Jamie Jones v Zhang Anda
Alan McManus v Michael Georgiou

Predicted Winners: Mavis, Higgins, Wilson, Jones, McManus.

Wednesday 24th of September 


Anthony McGill v Ashley Carty
Ben Woollaston v Sydney Wilson
Tom Ford v Joe Swail
Andrew Higginson v Chris Wakelin
Liang Wenbo v Zhou Yuelong (S)
Ricky Walden v Lu Chenwei (S)

Predicted Winners: McGill, Woollaston, Swail, Wakelin, Wenbo, Walden.


David Morris v John Astley
Joe Perry v Chris Norbury (S)
Mike Dunn v Matthew Day
Rory McLeod v Andrew Pagett
Judd Trump v Ian Glover (S)

Predicted Winners: Morris, Perry, Dunn, McLeod, Trump.


Peter Ebdon v David Grace
Matthew Stevens v Michael Leslie (S)
Jamie Burnett v John Sutton
Jimmy Robertson v Hammad Miah
Mark Selby v Oliver Lines (S)

Predicted Winners: Ebdon, Stevens, Burnett, Robertson, Selby.

Thursday 25th of September 


Mark Allen v Nico Elton (S)
Yu Delu v Brandon Sargeant 
Marcus Campbell v Barry Pinches
Robert Milkins v Daniel Wells (S)
Xiao Guodong v Alexander Ursenbacher
Gerard Greene v Eden Sharav

Predicted Winners: Allen, Delu, Pinches, Milkins, Guodong, Sharav.


Shaun Murphy v Allan Taylor (S)
Alfie Burden v Noppon Saengkham
Stephen Maguire v Liu Chuang (S)
Anthony Hamilton v Liam Highfield
Dave Gilbert v Mark Owens

Predicted Winners: Murphy, Saengkham, Maguire, Hamilton, Gilbert.


Ronnie O’Sullivan v James Cahill (S)
Marco Fu v Shane Castle (S)
Fergal O’Brien v Fraser Patrick
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Andrew Norman
Rod Lawler v Tian Pengfei

Predicted Winners: O’Sullivan, Fu, O’Brien, Un-Nooh, Lawler.


Betting on this set of matches is very much about what type of gambler you are. Do you prefer to risk high stakes at lower odds or lower stakes at medium to high odds when looking at accumulators? which is surely the way to go with so many matches over this distance. Or, do you want the value and the singles and doubles on odds against shots? Well, there is something for everyone here so the recommended bets will deal with each of these types of punt. Starting with your main acca on my idea of the safest propositions amongst the 64.

Recommended Bets:

4 points acca on Ding Junhui, Graeme Dott, Robbie Williams, Matt Selt, Neil Robertson, Barry Hawkins, Dark Mavis, Anthony McGill, Judd Trump, Joe Perry, Xiao Guodong, Mark Allen, Robert Milkins, Yu Delu, Shaun Murphy and Dave Gilbert pays over 8/1 with Boyles.

2 points acca on Michael White, Aditya Mehta, Mark Williams, Jamie Cope, Nigel Bond, Ryan Day, Kyren Wilson, Michael Holt, Alan McManus and Mike Dunn pays over 22/1 at Hills. Add Anthony McGill and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh for a 1 point acca which pays over 37/1 at the same firm.

2 point singles on each of the following: Mitchell Mann (7/4), Joel Walker (11/10), Chris Wakelin (15/8), Joe Swail (6/4). 4 points on Barry Pinches (5/4). 

September 15, 2014

Cancellations and Postponements – Is the Snooker Calendar in Crisis?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:04 am
Perhaps I'm overreacting.

Perhaps I’m overreacting.

OK, OK, the headline is sensationalist but it’s a quiet week. In fact, another relatively quiet period on the snooker front awaits us. The (perfectly understandable) postponement of the Indian Open last week means that the qualifiers that were due to start on Thursday in Barnsley have now been put back to later in the season and furthermore that over the course of the next calendar month there are only 7 days of competitive snooker action, 4 of which are qualifiers. 

This is in stark contrast to last season, when almost wall-to-wall snooker was played out from July onwards and it seemed not a week went by where someone or other wasn’t lifting a trophy somewhere or other on the planet. So why the change? Is it planned or enforced?

We’ve already had what I’d term a ‘false start’ to the season with the events in Wuxi and Australia, they were scheduled back-to-back very early on and were followed by a couple of smaller, but enjoyable, PTC events in Europe. An Asian PTC in China was cancelled due to some issues between World Snooker and the event organisers and the future of the World Open is also in the balance with World Snooker recently confirming that it will be shipped out of China. Is the Chinese love-affair beginning to dwindle a little? You have to wonder.

Now, following Stuart Bingham’s success in Shanghai, we must wait until the end of October until the next main ranking event, the International Championship in China, which is immediately followed (oddly, the day after as it happens) by the Champion of Champions in Coventry. Expect a few tired looking potters there, particularly the main protagonists from Chengdu.

Contrast this to what things will feel like from the middle of February onwards. We’ll have already seen the Masters and the UK over here, as well as the German Masters and the Welsh Open in my favourite period of the calendar either side of Christmas, but from then on it’s more or less non-stop up to and including the World Championship.

This relatively short period will see the Indian Open, the World Grand Prix, the PTC Grand Finals, the China Open and the World Championship played almost back to back. Burnout anyone?

So could and should the calendar be dispersed more evenly? Personally, I’d make the Players Championship (the PTC’s to the rest of us) an earlier event on the calendar in it’s entirety, kicking them off early and playing them all out before Christmas, with the Grand Finals played shortly afterwards – that would see to this early season stop-start stuttering, spluttering intro and would give the EPTC more of a mini-tour feel.

One question this also raises is what is the fate of the Championship League (and the armchairs and legendary breakfasts) at Crondon Park? Originally set-up as a filler both for the calendar and the bookies satchels, it’s currently wedged into the schedule with unconfirmed dates and this tells me that perhaps it might not happen, or at least it might change format radically, perhaps to a more condensed week or fortnight long event. Indeed, how low will they need to go down the ranking list to fill it if it does retain the same format?

So is the season currently too bottom heavy? What can be done to give it a more even feel? Or, is this the best way to organise the calendar to give it more of a ‘seasonal’ feel, with extended periods of downtime at the start leading to a grand finale in Sheffield? More importantly……………


……….I did warn you it was a quiet week.

September 12, 2014

Shanghai Masters Finals Weekend

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:13 pm

As so often happens, it all worked out in the wash. Despite the shocks of the week we still have four big names contesting the semi-finals and the likelihood of a great final whoever comes through.

I’ll just sit back now and hope that Mark Allen can kick on and land the 16/1 recommended bet but in truth you’d have to fancy a Selby and Ding showdown, we’ll see. Bingham does have a decent head to head record against Ding and they seem to like a decider for any correct score punters as you’ll see when you click the match. None of these four are scared of winning so it’s all set up for a decent weekend. 

There’s a few days of qualifiers from Thursday next week and I’ll probably cover those, well the second lot at least. Firstly there are qualifiers for the now postponed to a packed March Indian Open (short Best of 7 matches) and secondly for the lucrative International Championship (longer Best of 11 matches). EDIT – The Indian qualifiers have already been moved to later in the season. 



Mark Allen v Mark Selby


Ding Junhui v Stuart Bingham


Mark Allen v Stuart Bingham

September 11, 2014

Shanghai Masters Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:35 pm

As the sixteen players that were left this morning have been whittled down to eight, it’s now time for the Quarter Finals of this season’s Shanghai Masters.

The matches are listed below and if you click on them the head to head stats will magically appear, courtesy of Cue Tracker. Mark Allen (1 point each way at 16/1) is still in the hunt in the outrights recommended in the pre-tournament preview and I will admit to having had a dabble on Angles McManus at 33/1 yesterday so still chances there. 

7.30 am UK Time

Michael White v Mark Allen
Fergal O’Brien v Mark Selby

12.30 pm

Ding Junhui v Graeme Dott
Stuart Bingham v Alan McManus

Recommended Bet: 2 point double on Dott and McManus both plus 1.5 frames pays 11/4 at Ladbrokes.

September 10, 2014

Shanghai Surprise? The Last 16

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:16 pm
Great Tournament. Shit Film.

A surprisingly shite film, that’s for sure.

There have been surprises aplenty over in Shanghai so far this week, if you accept the premise that anything these days in snooker can be described in such terms. 

First off, we saw Liang Wenbo beaten by a Chinese schoolboy, a result that I did actually half expect given what I know about the pair of them. The wildchild had some decent form and Liang tends to sometimes not be at his best against this type of opponent (bookies outsiders from China) for one reason or another. Sharing the wealth and all that…

Anyway moving on, Matt Selt also fell foul of this ridiculous round which I’m sure delighted him no end, maybe he’ll tell us his thoughts on the fucking wildcard fucking round in the next X-Rated fucking Pinch of fucking Selt.

Then we saw the resurgent Scot Alan McManus sending Ronnie home, again a result that I’d argue can’t really be reported in ‘shock’ terms given Angles recent form and the rustiness of the Rocket.

But Ronnie showed his face, doubtless earned a packet from an exhibition the day before where he wore a silver waistcoat and smoked bifters and he probably won’t be seen back in China until this time next year for another big fat pay cheque. Job done. Plane home. Bish bash and a bosh on top.

My main fancy for the title Judd Trump also came a cropper against the Spaceman, Dom Dale. Coventry-born Welshman Dom had never beaten him before and his form from the 6 Reds held up. Judd being left to wander the lucrative shops of the area with Jack Lisowski buying overpriced marked-up tat until his flight home.

John Higgins being beaten by real Welshman Ryan Day surely can’t be deemed a Shanghai surprise these days. Day is capable of beating anyone of course when he’s in the mood and poor old John can’t hit a bulls arse with a shovel at times the older he gets, poor sod. In fact our Higgy was so grumpy afterwards he didn’t even speak to the assembled Chinese hacks about losing at the scheduled mandatory 10 hour press conference, what’s his problem exactly? Fine is in the post no doubt.

Stop that plane Judd!! Here comes Robbo with Django in tow in a blinged-up London cab!

Mags - not happy about the table.

Mags – not happy about the table, and quite possibly the Chinese portrait.

Another Welshie, young Michael White gave the Aussie a taste of his own medicine by winning a decider in their match. Whatever next? The way this is going there won’t be any big names left in this and all on the eve of Bazza and Co. trying to renegotiate the contract to pull them in line with all the other comps which all end up with big names at the end of them. What are the chances of that happening? Snooker eh?

At least some order was restored in the last set of matches with wins for World Champion Selby, Mark Allen and Six-Reds King Maguire (pictured), who afterwards moaned about the table, doubtless after a few cuebangs, at least some things are as they should be in this crazy madcap world. Mags sets up a clash with Angles next as even China goes Tartan mad ahead of next week’s big independence vote north of the border (they are both voting Yes).

But wait!!! A final Shanghai surprise to top off the day!! Just when you thought it was safe to venture back into the arena a dapper looking Marco Fu managed to lose against the wildcard who dumped out Selt. What the devil is going on? The way this is panning out Fergal will be winning it and they’ll be snapping Bazza’s hand off to adopt the new format, just like he wants.

Anyway, despite the outright pick on Judd we are still well in front betting-wise courtesy of the ‘surprise results’. Here’s the line up for Thursday as we move into the Last 16 with a few bets underneath. I’ve had a small interest each way on Angles at 33’s, he’s playing well enough.



Michael White v Ryan Day
Mark Allen v Mark Williams
Dominic Dale v Stuart Bingham
Graeme Dott v Shaun Murphy


Ding Junhui v Martin Gould
Stephen Maguire v Alan McManus
Michael Holt v Mark Selby
Wildcard v Fergal O’Brien

Predicted Winners: Day, Allen, Dale, Murphy, Ding, McManus, Selby, Wildcard.

Recommended Bets: 2 point treble on Day, Allen and Wildcard pays over 4/1 at Corals. 2 points on Dale at 6/4 and 2 points on McManus at 13/8. 1 point acca on all five pays over 28/1 generally.


September 5, 2014

Shanghai Masters Preview: Trump Can Continue Winning Form

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:07 pm

ShanghaiI suppose it’s not a case of ‘the season starts here’ given we’ve had action from all over the globe already but somehow the Shanghai Masters does for me at least, signify the point of the year when the real stuff really begins, maybe it’s because of the change of the seasons here in good old Blighty. 

From here on in and as the mornings grow crisper and the nights get that bit longer it feels like a good time to settle down and watch a bit of snooker. Call me a bluff old traditionalist if you will, but snooker is a sport tailor made for TV on colder days and nights, like the sporting equivalent of a comfort blanket or a pair of well worn loafers.

That said, the Chinese schedules of course always revolve around the daylight hours back in Europe and the UK and the fact all their formats revolve around 4 tables means we don’t really get to see the whole picture unravelling like we might in say the Masters or the World Championship. But Shanghai is usually a pretty decent event nonetheless and the 32 players who are there as of right alongside the 8 who have no right to be playing should put on a decent week’s entertainment.

Ding Junhui is the defending champion and number one seed while the field also includes Ronnie O’Sullivan, a rare participant in China these days, World Champion Mark Selby who missed the six reds with a dicky tummy, early season winners Neil Robertson, Judd Trump and Mark Allen and all the action will be brought to you by Eurosport from early on Monday morning.

So now let’s have a look at the tournament on a quarter by quarter basis and see if we can find a decent bet or two shall we?


Ding Junhui v Jack Lisowski 
Joe Perry v Martin Gould 
Graeme Dott v Liang Wenbo/Yan Bingtao 
Shaun Murphy v Joe Swail 

Ding has done two things so far this season, he has won the first Asian PTC event and he has flown over to lose 5-0 to Oliver Brown in the qualifiers for the Wuxi Classic, so this represents his first foray into the main ranking events, rumour has it he is not entering any of the EPTC events at all so he’s very much embracing the freedom the new money list brings. He’s got a tough opener against Jack Lisowski and the only thing that is certain is that it shouldn’t take long. Joe Perry has started the season well and faces another player on the up in Martin Gould, all in all it’s a tough opening couple of rounds for Ding particularly if he’s rusty so I’m steering clear of him in this event, probably unwisely. The wildcard who faces Wenbo could well cause a surprise and has some very decent form making him a danger on home soil so don’t discount him turning over a couple of big names. It’s a welcome return to the main events for The Outlaw Joe Swail who has beaten Shaun Murphy on their last three meetings so he will not go into this with any fear. However, his lack of main ranking event recent experience may just count against him.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Joe Perry 


Judd Trump v Dominic Dale 
Stuart Bingham v Li Hang/Chen Zifan 
Stephen Maguire v Jimmy Robertson 
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Alan McManus

Dominic Dale has never beaten Judd Trump in 5 meetings and with The Ace in the Pack looking very strong already this season I don’t think that 100% record will change. Judd has the look of someone who doesn’t want to miss the boat behind his contemporaries to me and I fancy him to have a good run in this. Stuart Bingham is always a danger of course but it’s been a while now (relatively) since he’s been seen at the sharp end and he may need to play himself into the season a bit. Maguire seems in good form in the 6 reds and comes here straight from that, his chances always have to be respected but it’s the bottom match in this quarter which will attract the most interest. It’s a decade since Ronnie faced Angles and McManus comes into this in very decent form and is a player I think will progress back up the rankings this season. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he caused an early upset. Ronnie didn’t look that sharp in the Paul Hunter Classic to me.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Judd Trump 


Neil Robertson v Michael White/Niu Zhuang 
John Higgins v Ryan Day/ Xu Si 
Mark Allen v Andrew Higginson 
Barry Hawkins v Mark Williams/Zhang Yong

Lots of why’s and ifs and buts in this section which is basically ruined by the wildcard round, knock out the wildcards and you have four decent matches. It’s time to get rid of them once and for all. Robbo is already a winner over in China this season having captured the Wuxi Classic and goes to every event nowadays as the main contender. John Higgins seems to be recapturing a bit of form after a terrible season last time but for me I still think his winning days are behind him. Mark Allen is in fine fettle and for me is the man to be on in this section, his early season form seems to be rock solid and he like Judd is possibly looking at the likes of Ding, Robbo and Selby and wondering why he’s not getting more of a slice of the winners pie. We all know he’s good enough, now feels like the season he has to prove it in the main rankers.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Mark Allen 


Marco Fu v Matthew Selt/Zhao Xintong 
Robert Milkins v Fergal O’Brien 
Ricky Walden v Michael Holt/Yuan SiJun 
Mark Selby v Ken Doherty/Huang Jiahao

Marco Fu was one of the players of last season, incredibly consistent and extremely impressive, if he carries that through to this season he continues to be overpriced at the bookies. Matt Selt has been picking up tips from a certain Mr Hendry over the summer and it seems to be paying off, I think he’s set for a good season if he can keep his current positive outlook but he’s got a tricky draw. Fergal O’Brien is the type of player that Rob Milkins must have nightmares about. Our Rob can get a bit angry with himself now and again and The Ferginator can sniff that kind of action from a continent away, any hint of frustration and he’ll take advantage and send the Milkman packing. You have to wonder how Mark Selby will be feeling following his manflu/shits episode, but he usually looks like he’s slept in a coffin anyway when he’s playing over there so he’ll probably be just fine, assuming he is I think you’d have to make him the favourite to come through this bottom section despite the dangerous presence of Walden and Holt.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Mark Selby

Predicted Tournament Winner: Judd Trump to beat Mark Allen in the final.

Recommended Bets:

2 points on Trump to win the tournament at 14/1 with Sportingbet.

1 point each way on Allen at 16/1 with Betfred.

1 point on Perry to win Quarter 1 at 15/2 with Betfred

2 points on Bingtao to beat Wenbo at 3/1 with Corals

1 point on McManus to beat O’Sullivan at 11/2 with Bet 365

1 point on Swail to beat Murphy at 13/5 with Boylesports. 

September 2, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic: 2014 Events now Pay and Play

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:40 pm

Just an update following the first deadline passing on Sunday that there are now three Snookerbacker Classic qualifying dates available in November for those who pay the entry fee first.

The events in Gloucester and Liverpool are all full but the following events are open NOW for entry:

Elite Snooker in Preston (16th November) – 3 places remaining

Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds (29th November) – 7 places remaining

Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds (30th November) – 6 places remaining

To enter any of the available qualifiers choose from the drop down menu below and pay the fee:

Select Venue and Add

September 1, 2014

Slow Play: Is it time to stamp out the snails?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:48 am
Snail on the Road

Some prefer to take their time

Today sees the start of the World Six Red Championship over in Thailand, a faster, more streamlined version of our traditional sport which is actually fairly entertaining to watch compared to other bastardized forms that have reared their ugly heads over the years, namely Power ‘Cue the Revolution’ Snooker (remember that?) and the ghastly Blackpool Shootout.  

As ever, for those of us with nothing better to talk about, watching a ‘new’ version of the sport usually has us prattling on about bringing some of the concepts and ideas from these other formats into the main arena. Thankfully, that’s not happened despite even some leading players calling for shotclocks at the Crucible, which for me would be akin to inviting members of the Islamic State to play a round of golf with some Americans to talk things through. Both would ultimately end in carnage.

One player that took to Twitter last week to bemoan the time my mate Rod Lawler was taking to play was Andrew Pagett, who is never short of a word or ten when it comes to such things. He called it ‘disgusting’ that Rod had taken an average of 41 seconds a shot in dispensing with his pal Mark Williams in Germany, ‘pathetic’ he cried in pointing out that a best of 7 match shouldn’t take 4 hours. He didn’t get personal with Rod, but it was clear from his tweets that our Padgey wanted action on this matter.

There have always been slow players in snooker, but I suppose the question is when does the speed at which a player plays become gamesmanship? There are players that were and are naturally slow, Cliff Thorburn was one but he remained usually very entertaining to watch and there was never a hint of any bad blood arising from his way around the table.

Eddie Charlton was another, his coma-inducing snooker meant that when he was on the telly, even as a baize obsessed youngster, I’d eagerly seek out a wall to stare at rather than watch. Many believed that he did this deliberately and I wouldn’t argue with that given his incredibly competitive nature, I’m sure he rose to heights in the sport that he’d otherwise not have done simply through boring opponents to death.

Then there’s another Aussie, Robby Foldvari. The snooker equivalent of a three toed sloth. He holds every record there is when it comes to snail-like snooker and was so turgidly slow that he often left slime trails around the table. Let’s hope we never see his like again, opponents would be bored into submission frequently by this geezer and it wasn’t pretty let me tell ya.

In more modern times there are those who prefer to take their time more than others, Rod is one but he’s also posting some great results with it. Others include Rory McLeod, who Ricky Walden famously labelled ‘The Dentist’ after a particularly gruelling Crucible slogfest, Peter Ebdon has also frequently been accused of using slow play to get results, this split screen You Tube video is a must watch if you haven’t seen it before. Even the World Champion hasn’t escaped criticism from fellow players and fans alike, Ronnie labelling him ‘The Torturer’ and fans referring to him as Mark Slowby. How mean is that?

So is it time to act and stamp out the snails from the sport and start penalising them in some way?

No, of course it isn’t.

OK, we’d all usually prefer to watch the likes of Ronnie and Judd bashing them in from all angles and getting on with it in free-flowing style, but some of the sport’s greatest moments happen when there is a contrast of styles and for me, long may that continue. So if Rod wants to take several hours sizing up a tricky green, let him, if Rory wants to reach for the lower incisor whilst pondering a straight blue to middle bag, I say that’s up to him, if Ebbo wants to munch down a field of carrots in between shots, then go right ahead I say.

Just don’t dig Eddie Charlton up unless you’ve got a wall handy and under no circumstances let Mr Foldvari consider a comeback, there are some things that are beyond taste and decency and these cross that line in spades.

In the meantime enjoy the 6-Reds, it’s not that bad for a once a year comp and it’s live all week on Eurosport, with lots of betting opportunities.

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