November 28, 2014

UK Championship Last 64

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:16 am
A bloke in a stupid waistcoat and a fed up Rocket.

A bloke in a stupid waistcoat and a fed up Rocket.

BBC coverage of the Coral UK Championship starts on Saturday as the opening weekend sees the 64 winners in Round 1 whittled down to the Last 32.

Of course the big news from Round 1 concerns who else but Ronnie. He hobbled around on what he claims is a broken ankle wearing suede loafers in beating Daniel Wells 6-2.

However afterwards he wasn’t in the mood to mince his words and claimed his ankle was fucked and that he was fucking angry about the whole fucking thing. He said he was a fucking snooker player not a fucking runner so he needed to start fucking behaving like fucking one and pack in the fucking running until his fucking career was fucking over. He also claimed he might fucking pull out unless the fucking thing got fucking better.

Ermm, I make that £3250. Pay up.

So it remains doubtful whether Ronnie will turn up on Sunday to play Peter Lines. I’m sure he wouldn’t say all this lightly as he’s no longer the petulant soul he used to be and I hope it gets better, though anyone like me who has backed him for the title might have to start getting the prayer mats out. The bookies, ludicrously, still make him a short priced favourite to hobble his way to the title next weekend. I’d say that’s now pretty unlikely. But this is Ronnie so who knows?

It was a shame to see Ali Carter lose on his ranking event comeback, but hopefully that’s not the last we will see of him this week. He’s winning the battle that really matters and losing a silly old snooker match shouldn’t affect him too much.

Steve Davis after his defeat said that he wasn’t going to retire, he whimsically remarked that mentally he already had but somehow his body keeps turning up to play. While Bazza’s dishing out the wildcards to his mates I think Steve will still be getting his stick out. If he’s enjoying it, then why not after all he has done for the sport? 

Talking of old geezers, Jimmy turned back the clock with his win over Dave Harold and looked very sharp indeed. His reward is a date with Ding on the telly to open the event up, no doubt he’ll have a few copies of his new book next to him in the arena and possibly one strapped to his arse for the over the table shots. That boy sure can sell a book.


Some aren’t happy with the venue

As ever, the venue is causing some problems. Graeme Dott labelled the Sports Hall ‘The Kitchen or The Toilet or something’ the other day.

Well he must have a big kitchen is all I can say, must be all that dosh he’s won over the years. In our kitchen you’d be climbing on top of the fridge to cue down if you landed on the baulk cushion which is far from ideal in a match situation.

I don’t even think I’d get a 6 x 3 in the toilet either, it might just fit, but in and around the black spot would definitely involve standing in the bath and a ball jawed in a baulk pocket would probably result in the three miss rule being invoked. Again, far from ideal in a tournament which contributes to the overall ranking list at the end of the season.  

John Higgins agrees and ‘slammed’ the bosses for devaluing this once great championship to ‘much of a muchness’. He doesn’t like the format and like me harks back to the good old days when this was a real highlight of the snooker calendar. Mark Williams doesn’t like it either, in fact I’m not sure there is anyone that does. Traditionalists of the World, Unite and Take Over.

It’s been a terrible start on the punting front here, some weeks everything goes right and other weeks it all goes tits up, the latter very much applies to the opening round here so hearty congratulations to anyone who emerged from the wreckage unscathed. I’ll carry on regardless and hope that the tide turns as we move on.

Recommended Weekend Bets: TO FOLLOW. 


John Higgins v Jamie Cope
Ding Junhui v Jimmy White
Marco Fu v Lu Haotion
David Morris v Mark Selby

The Toilet
Matthew Stevens v Gerard Greene
Fraser Patrick v Ryan Day
Michael Holt v Dechawat Poomjaeng
David Gilbert v Mark Joyce


Rob Milkins v Marcus Campbell
Robbie Williams v Ricky Walden
Barry Hawkins v Nigel Bond
Aditya Mehta v Judd Trump

The Toilet
Graeme Dott v Anthony Hamilton
Igor Figueiredo v Anthony McGill
James Cahill v Andrew Higginson
Jimmy Robertson v Mark Williams


Neil Robertson v Kyren Wilson
Rory McLeod v Zhang Anda
Luca Brecel v Mark Allen
Yu Delu v Stephen Maguire

The Toilet
Kurt Maflin v Peter Ebdon
Ken Doherty v Michael White
Dark Mavis v Liam Highfield
Rod Lawler v Martin Gould


Alfie Burden v Stuart Bingham
Peter Lines v Ronnie O’Sullivan (perhaps)
Joe Perry v Mike Dunn
Shaun Murphy v Robin Hull

The Toilet
Tom Ford v Joel Walker
Matt Selt v Xiao Guodong
Ben Woollaston v Tony Drago
Liang Wenbo v Jack Lisowski

Ronnie photo courtesy of Monique Limbos, view her Facebook albums from York on Facebook here.

November 24, 2014

Coral UK Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:52 pm
Ahhh the memories....

Ahhh the memories….

Tuesday sees the beginning of one of the richest events, in terms of history and prestige, that snooker has. To a nostalgic old fool like me, the re-introduction of Corals as the sponsors for the UK Championship is bound to bring the memories flooding back.

As a young Snookerbacker I attended this event many times in its heyday, namely the early to mid-1980’s. Snookerbacker the Elder lived in Preston at the time and as an annual Xmas treat he would get me tickets for the final, all four sessions, and in a run of three fabulous years I witnessed Terry Griffiths, Alex Higgins and the Nugget all lift the trophy at the Guild Hall. The first two finals being something really special in an atmosphere that is sadly confined to these years in the UK.

I’ll get the moan out of the way before moving on to who I think might be lifting the trophy this year a week on Sunday. I think the format of this competition has been ruined by Barry Hearn. In events such as these I completely disagree with the 128-man field from the start at the venue.

The Sports Hall at The Barbican is nice enough and I love York as a host city, but I feel the urge to have everyone crammed in there like lemmings rather than have a qualifying event before taking 32 to the main venue is over-riding common sense.

The matches are of course a lot shorter than the glory years, whilst that cannot be blamed solely on the current regime, they have seen fit to shorten them further by reducing the two session semi-finals to best of 11 frames. For me, this tournament isn’t a patch on what it was.

But, it is what it is, whatever that means and from Saturday onwards we welcome back the BBC to the world of snooker. No doubt they will completely erase everything that’s been happening since Selby won the World Championship in May and pretend that there are only really 3 events that matter, but what the heck. At least we get to take the piss out of the gang again. Look out for a new addition to the studio team too.

To reiterate, the format is basically cram them all in from the start and use 8 tables until there are enough hotel rooms vacated in York to move it all into the main arena for the BBC cameras which begin rolling on Saturday. The bigger names will all get to play in the arena from the start, though not necessarily on a televised table, with the lower ranked and riff raff confined to the sports hall.

Having a look at the quarters, it’s very difficult to come to anything other than the conclusion that this will be won by one of 6 or 7 usual suspects. The form of Shaun Murphy in Mulheim has seen his price drop from 25/1 to 16’s and there will still be a few who will be tempted in at that price given his incredible cueing at the weekend and his new found break-building, ‘kill it off in one visit with a maximum’ acumen.

Hard to oppose

Hard to oppose

Ronnie O’Sullivan was last seen waltzing to the Champion of Champions title and he’s by all accounts bang up for this and of course, if he turns up in earnest, the others are up against it. He’s short enough given the size of the field but looking at his draw I think he’s more or less certain to make at least the Quarter Finals and from there on he becomes a very short priced favourite indeed, possibly touching odds-on.

You have to wonder how much becoming a father will have affected Mark Selby’s practice regime. He missed Mulheim, either to change nappies or to get match sharp but he may be best watched in this rather than backed. But I said that at the World Championships too and he didn’t do too bad there. Judd Trump is in decent form and is seeded to meet Ronnie in the final again, as he did in Coventry, I would not be a bit surprised if that happened.

Neil Robertson doesn’t yet look 100% to me, but he’s so good even him on 80% is capable of winning this if things go his way. Other players who seem in decent shape coming into this are Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham, Ricky Walden, Rob Milkins and of course Mark Williams, who is looking a bit more like his old self lately, unlike his old rival John Higgins who was last seen roaming a field with a shovel looking for a bulls arse to hit.  

The lesser-spotted Ding is another, like Robbo, who to me doesn’t look quite at his best yet but he’s a player that raises his game for events like this so the 10/1 might start looking very generous as the tournament goes on.

In terms of a very big outsider, the only name that stands out at a daft each-way price (300/1) to me is Alan McManus, but in reality you can’t see him making the final so I’ll pass on the each way bet on him for a change.

Recommended Outright Bets: 5 points on Ronnie O’Sullivan at 3/1. 2 points each way on Judd Trump at 9/1. 1 point on Alan McManus to win Quarter 1 at 33/1. 1 point each way on Marco Fu at 40/1. 1 point on Mark Williams to win Quarter 4 at 12/1.

Recommended First Round Acca: 4 points on Peter Ebdon, Anthony McGill, Dominic Dale, Fergal O’Brien, Rod Lawler and Ali Carter pays just on 7/2 with Boyles.

Daily match bets will be added ermm, daily. The best of luck with your bets.  


Main Arena
Peter Ebdon v Ross Muir
Robert Milkins v Michael Leslie
Graeme Dott v Alexander Ursenbacher
Barry Hawkins v Ashley Carty

Sports Hall
Kurt Maflin v Chris Norbury
Marcus Campbell v Scott Donaldson
Anthony Hamilton v Craig Steadman
Nigel Bond v Stuart Carrington

Main Arena
Alan McManus v Joel Walker
Stuart Bingham v Thanawat Tirapongbaiboon
Judd Trump w/o Rouzi Maimalti
Michael Holt v Zak Surety

Sports Hall
Tom Ford v Barry Pinches
Alfie Burden v Chris Wakelin
Aditya Mehta v Alex Davies
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Andrew Norman

Recommended Tuesday Match Bet: 3 x 2 point doubles and a 2 point treble on Donaldson (8/13), Carrington (8/13) and Wakelin (Evens).


Main Arena
John Higgins v Lee Walker
Matthew Stevens v Allan Taylor
Xiao Goudong v Ian Glover
Martin Gould v Lee Page

Sports Hall
Anthony McGill v Michael Georgiou
Jamie Cope v John Astley
Gerard Greene v Vinnie Calabrese
Ben Woollaston v Michael Wasley

Main Arena
Dominic Dale v Tony Drago
Ding Junhui v John Sutton
Jimmy White v Dave Harold
Mark King v James Cahill

Sports Hall
Matt Selt v Hammad Miah
Andrew Higginson v Tian Pengfei
Mike Dunn v Andrew Pagett
Joe Perry w/o Liu Chuang

Main Arena
Ricky Walden v Steve Davis
Fergal O’Brien v Igor Figueiredo
Ryan Day v Lyu Chenwei
Mark Selby v Oliver Brown

Sports Hall
Robbie Williams v Sam Baird
Jamie Burnett v Fraser Patrick
Rod Lawler v Alex Borg
David Morris v Li Hang

Recommended Wednesday Match Bets: 2 points on Astley (+2.5 frames) at Evens. 3 points on Glover (+3.5 frames) at Evens. 3 x 1 point doubles and a 1 point treble Patrick (7/4), Calabrese (11/8) and Wasley (5/4).   


Main Arena
Ken Doherty v Mitchell Mann
Dark Mavis v Jak Jones
Marco Fu v Ahmed Saif
Mark Williams v Steven Hallworth

Sports Hall
Jamie Jones v Liam Highfield
Luca Brecel v Noppon Saengkham
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Robin Hull
Jimmy Robertson v Zhou Yeulong

Main Arena
Ali Carter v Zhang Anda
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Daniel Wells
Mark Allen v Eden Sharav
Liang Wenbo v David Grace

Sports Hall
Rory McLeod v Ian Burns
Peter Lines v Joe Swail
Jack Lisowski v Chris Melling
Cao Yupeng v Lyu Haotion

Main Arena
Neil Robertson v Joe O’Connor
Michael White v Cao Xin Long
Shaun Murphy v James Wattana
Stephen Maguire v Lu Ning

Sports Hall
Kyren Wilson v Gary Wilson
Yu Delu v Oli Lines
David Gilbert v Elliot Slessor
Mark Joyce v Ratchayothin Yotharuck

Recommended Bet: Fu and Murphy both to win 6-0 – 1 point double at 39/1 with Hills. 2 point treble pays 5/1 at Corals on Chris Melling (+2.5 frames), Ian Burns and Oli Lines. 


SB Classic Leeds: The Lowdown

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:20 am

While the UK Championship is going on next weekend we also head to Yorkshire for our annual trip to the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds to find the 6th and 7th Grand Finalists of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic.

You can view the draw keep up with the progress of the Saturday qualifier as results come in by clicking here and the Sunday one by clicking here matches will commence at 10.15 am sharp on both days with the usual rules applying to late arrivals.

The dress code, as with all qualifiers is polo or collared shirt, with trousers and shoes. All matches are the best of 7 frames and will be played on a roll-on, roll-off basis.

Should the winner on Saturday also be entered on Sunday the first reserve for Sunday is Jamie Barrett.

Referees will be Rob Spencer and Alex Crum 

Big thanks to Apollobet who are putting up a £1 a point prize for the best break of the weekend.

November 23, 2014

Ruhr Open Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:21 am

It’s Finals Day in Mulheim as the last sixteen battle it out to be crowned Ruhr Open Champ. 

In terms of the betting we still have each way pokes left on Mark Williams (40/1) and Rod Lawler (175/1) both of whom just need to make the semi-finals to land the place part. The main fancy to win it, Shaun Murphy (10/1) is also still in there so it’s an exciting day in store and fingers crossed one of those three (preferably Rod) can land the title.

Here is the running order today.


Stuart Carrington v Rod Lawler
Robert Milkins v Andrew Higginson
Neil Robertson v Liang Wenbo
Stuart Bingham v Stephen Maguire
Judd Trump v Marco Fu
Fergal O’Brien v Chris Wakelin
Mark Williams v Mark King
Joe Swail v Shaun Murphy


Quarter Finals


Semi Finals




November 20, 2014

Ruhr Open Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:07 am
Look at the size of those jugs!

Look at the size of those jugs!

It’s a busy few weeks on the baize coming up with the UK Championship in York next week following the Ruhr Open in Mulheim, Germany this weekend.

The amateurs are already underway battling for the 20-odd places available to join the professionals who start on Friday in the usual PTC format.

The Germans, like the one pictured, of course love their snooker and unlike the Chinese even turn up to watch it, which is a bonus.

They always run a tight ship over there and the tournaments they hold, however big or small, always have a great feel to them. I’m not one for bolstering dated national stereotypes but the German comps are, as might be expected, very well organised from start to finish.

This one will again also benefit from Eurosport coverage although we won’t get to see either Ronnie or World Champion Mark Selby who have decided not to enter, presumably getting themselves geared up for the big one in York, which it’s been announced today will be returning to the sponsorship arms of Corals.

But there are enough faces in there to ensure a crowd with the likes of Robbo, Judd, Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy and Rod Lawler all there to entertain the natives. Apart from Rod of course who is just there. 

We’ve not done too badly on the outrights lately and in the last PTC Shaun Murphy obliged having been flagged up as the main bet at 16/1 and I am nothing if not loyal. It’s always nice to have a small book on the outrights in these as there is usually a spot of value to be had here and there. I usually take one from each quarter and look for a bit of each-way value along the way and it’s served us well in the past so here goes another punt.

Recommended Bets: (Remember to check place terms on Each Way bets, for 1234 go to Skybet, Boyles or Apollobet – all each way below are 1234)

2 points win on Shaun Murphy at 10/1. 1 point each way on Mark Williams and Michael White at 40/1. 1 point each way on Ryan Day at 50/1. 1 point each way on Peter Ebdon at 150/1. 1 point each way on Rod Lawler at 175/1.

MATCH BETTING: 3 point acca pays just over 4/1 at Corals on Ben Wollaston, Gary Wilson, Ryan Day, Chris Melling, Joe Perry and Mark Williams. 1 point on Peter Lines at 9/4 and 1 point on Joel Walker at 3/1 with a 1 point double on the two.

The full draw can be found here and the Order of Play is listed below.



Mark Allen v Hammad Miah
Mark Joyce v
Anthony Hamilton v Zak Surety
James Cahill v Stuart Carrington
Robbie Williams v
Gary Wilson v Lee Page
Elliot Slessor v
Rod Lawler v
Robert Milkins v Cao Xin Long
Ben Woollaston v Ross Muir
Jack Lisowski v Peter Lines

Approx 10am

Jamie Jones v Alexander Ursenbache
Aditya Mehta v
Dominic Dale v
Andrew Higginson v
Anthony McGill v Zhang Anda
Neil Robertson v Noppon Saengkham

Approx 10.30am

Barry Hawkins v Craig Steadman
Andrew Pagett v David Grace
Jak Jones v Lu Haotian
Liang Wenbo v Alfie Burden

Approx 11.30am

Oliver Lines v
Ryan Day v Michael Leslie
Jimmy Robertson v
Stephen Maguire v Mitchell Mann

Approx 12.00pm

Luca Brecel v
Kurt Maflin v Cao Yupeng
Stuart Bingham v Joel Walker
Graeme Dott v Ken Doherty

Approx 1pm

Liam Highfield v Alex Davies
Chris Melling v Ahmed Saif
Peter Ebdon v

Followed by later matches



Judd Trump v Rory McLeod
Sam Baird v Yu Delu
Kyren Wilson v
Matt Selt v Alex Borg
Fraser Patrick v
Scott Donaldson v Li Hang
John Higgins v Vinnie Calabrese
Marco Fu v Barry Pinches
Michael Wasley v
Joe Perry v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Allan Taylor v

Approx 10am

Fergal O’Brien v
Chris Wakelin v
Matthew Stevens v David Morris
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v John Astley
Michael White v Rouzi Maimaiti
Dark Mavis v Ian Burns

Approx 10.30am

Nigel Bond v
Gerard Greene v
Jimmy White v Zhou Yuelong
Ian Glover v

Approx 11.30am

Mark Williams v Tom Ford
Tony Drago v Michael Georgiou
Mark King v Chris Norbury
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Steven Hallworth

Approx 12.00pm

Jamie Cope v
Joe Swail v
Mike Dunn v
Tian Pengfei v

Approx 1pm

Dave Gilbert v Lyu Chenwei
Michael Holt v
Shaun Murphy v Lu Ning

Followed by later matches.

November 19, 2014

SB Classic Leeds – Draw at 6pm

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:53 pm

The draw for the final two Snookerbacker Classic qualifying heats of 2014 in Leeds on 29th and 30th of November will be made at 6pm this evening.

You will be able to view Saturday’s draw on this page.

You will be able to view Sunday’s draw on this page.

You can view the Highest Break and Order of Merit tables on this page. Remember the top two players from the Order of Merit who do not win through in a qualifying event will also qualify for the Grand Finals in April.


November 17, 2014

SB Classic Preston: James Brown Bags Grand Final Spot

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:05 pm
Our first visit to the Elite but not our last

Our first visit to the Elite but not our last

Sunday saw the latest instalment of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic and for the first time we visited The Elite Club in Preston for a 16 player heat which was won by a new name to the event, Midlander James Brown.

Die-hard snooker fans may recognise the name of this club from a book a few years ago by Stuart Pettman; ‘As sometimes seen on TV’ which was an excellent account of life in and around this place and the circuit in general (I reviewed it at the time here). Stuart has now moved on and in his place Chris Norbury has joined Shokat Ali in taking the club forward and I have to say they are doing a great job.

It’s not your usual club, the immediate attraction from a snooker perspective is the 360 degree viewing platform from the bar area which is also furnished with lovely comfy sofas. It’s a cracking club with a chilled vibe and the players all seemed delighted to be there.

  James won’t mind me saying that he really should have been sent packing in the first round and I’m sure from that he took great confidence. His opponent Craig Millward, a local lad, missed an inexplicable frame ball pink to win a decider and James, who was on the verge of conceding the match prior to the miss, somehow ended up winning. Some days, those snooker gods are just on your side….

There was a strong performance again from Liverpool’s Josh Mulholland who made the semi finals and as a result is now in 2nd place on the Order of Merit as well as being top of the highest break board. You can view both by clicking here

The 2014 champion Ant Parsons went into the day as favourite but such is the standard this year that nobody is certain to make Grand Finals Day, we’ll see him and the man who defeated him, eventual runner up Jason Tart in Leeds in a couple of weeks time for the next set of qualifiers. Jason is in a great position to put himself in the mix in the Order of Merit having entered both the Leeds events.

I don’t know James but he told me afterwards that it was last season’s runner-up Mitchell Mann that told him about the event and that’s why he entered. He was meant to be setting sail for India for the World Amateur Championships but decided against it. Judging by watching him he’s going to be a handful for anyone come finals day.  

I’ll resist the inevitable puns on his name but he said afterwards ‘I feel good, I knew that I would now’ and when asked what he intends to spend the prize money on he simply indicated that his papa needed a brand new bag.

I’ll get mee coat.

Finally, a huge thanks as ever to the family of sponsors, to the refs Roycey and Rob Spencer, to the three Scottish boys who made a mammoth trip and lightened up the day even further with their patter and to Shokat and Chris who made us both feel really welcome in their excellent club. 

All Sunday’s results are here.

Feeling Good: James is into the Grand Finals


November 14, 2014

SB Classic Preston: The Lowdown

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:45 am

This Sunday we travel to the Elite Snooker Centre in Preston for the next qualifying leg of the Snookerbacker Classic which will decide the fifth player through to Grand Finals Day.

You can keep up with the progress of this qualifier as results come in by clicking here and the matches will commence at 10.00am sharp with the usual rules applying for late arrivals.

The dress code, as with all qualifiers is polo or collared shirt, with trousers and shoes. All matches are the best of 7 frames.

This heat sees the return of the defending champion Ant Parsons as well Liverpudlians Anthony Jeffers, who was a Grand Finalist last season and Josh Mulholland who currently tops the highest break board with 128.

The referees this Sunday are Rob Spencer and Martyn Royce.

First Round – 10am

Stevie Baillie v Brandon Crook

Majid Khan v Ant Parsons

Stephen Groves v Joe Steele

Thomas McSorley v Jason Tart

David McSorley v Josh Mulholland

Neville Whalley v Simon Blackwell

Craig Millward v James Brown

Anthony Jeffers v Michael Bamber

All matches that follow will be roll-on roll-off


November 11, 2014

Are Dafabet the Answer?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:31 pm
Dafabet to the Rescue (again)

Dafabet to the Rescue (again)

Today’s announcement that Dafabet are again to sponsor a major snooker event in the UK, this time signing for a further 3 years of Masters support, is bound to meet with a mixed reception across the snooker community.

Obviously, the blurb from the press release sees Barry Hearn and the Managing Director of the company having a verbal mutual love-in and giving it all the corporate waffle, Jason Ferguson has also delivered his expected tweet of delight that one of the biggest events has got backing until 2017, but the fans have been distinctly quiet in their sharing of this joyous news.

It’s long been debated, not least on here slightly ironically, of the perils of an over-reliance on the gambling industry to support the sport almost single-handedly in the UK. This is very different from the Chinese events which attract banks and the like rather than those nasty old bookies. Even a major car manufacturer was involved in a recent European event, so why is it proving so difficult to attract this level of sponsor to snooker’s blue riband events in the UK?

One could argue that in times of financial hardship the bookies are bound to do well, people have a habit of turning to vices in their hour of need and if you haven’t got two pennies to rub together for most of the time, the allure of a punt on sport for some is too hard to resist, even if the kids are going to school starving to death with holes in their unwashed gear.

So, it follows that they will have the cash to splash and it’s obviously good to get involved in your core industry, namely sport, so for them it’s a fairly straightforward and probably quite cost-effective marketing transaction. But should snooker be trying harder and setting its sights a little higher than this?

Dafabet for me were a comedown in terms of the World Championship sponsors from Betfred and even Betfair, they are hardly a household name in the UK and I don’t actually know anyone who bets with them, but for me that’s not the point.

The point is that Bazza made a very clear and unambiguous point when he took over the sport of differentiating events from one another and clearly that isn’t happening yet. You won’t hear him admit this any time soon but to the snooker fan on the street there seems to be a collective failure at all levels to achieve this goal through sponsorship. If he could turn back the clock, would he have been as dismissive of Betfred’s offer to continue sponsorship as it’s rumoured he was?

If he came out and said ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ he’d obviously lose all the support he has left anyway, as that would be like saying ‘look we can’t find anyone else so we’ll have to make do with this lot again’. But I do wonder, whether behind all the bravado, champagne and back slapping, if this is actually what is going on.

November 10, 2014

SB Classic: Whizzkid Wilson Nabs Grand Finals Place

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:18 am
Syd with Prize

Syd: Fail to Prepare. Prepare to Fail.

Sunday was the turn of George Scott’s Snooker Centre in Liverpool to host the next qualifying heat of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic and this saw two time Grand Finalist Syd Wilson beating local lad Josh Mulholland to again book his place at the business end of the tournament.

It just goes to show that there is nothing quite so peculiar as snooker when it comes to preparing yourself mentally and physically for the road ahead. Syd could be found at 2.35 am the previous evening with a glass of red wine in hand (not his first of the evening) chatting away in SB Mansions with not a care in the world, largely unaware that in just under 8 hours time he’d be at the venue breaking off in his first match.

Syd brushed away the early cobwebs despite feeling ‘bloody awful’ to beat Jack Bradford in a round that saw no deciding frame matches, the closest being between Anthony Jeffers, a Grand Finalist from last season and Blackpool’s Jason Tart, Jeffers coming out a 4-2 winner.

By contrast the next round saw three of the four quarter-finals go to the wire with eventual winner Wilson edging out Jeffers in a hard-fought battle and newbie Rhys Williams of Wales coming through against local lad Finn Gallagher. With Brian Robertson also falling at this stage to the dangerous Brett Miller it was left to Josh Mulholland to fly the home flag for Liverpool as he edged out Alex Taubman in a decider.

The semi-final between Syd and Brett was surprisingly one-sided, Syd playing at almost breakneck speed to win 4-1 in just over an hour, he was still not feeling 100% but somehow was finding his potting boots despite his rather unusual preparation routine the previous evening. 

The other semi-final was undoubtedly the match of the day with Josh Mulholland and Rhys Williams producing a quality display, a real punch by punch affair. From 2-1 down and 61-0 behind, Williams somehow manufactured a 73 clearance to level at 2-2 before Mulholland produced a flawless 128 clearance to restore his lead. This makes Josh top of the tree in terms of the highest break of the tournament and the £500 prize from John Parrott Cuesports with the ninth century from just 3 events. He went on to clinch the next leaving Williams wondering what he had done wrong.

The final seemed to be a match too far for Josh and Syd again bullied his way around the table in determined and very attacking fashion. He never really looked like losing and eventually prevailed 4-2 to nab the Grand Finals spot.

Syd then returned to SB Mansions where Mrs SB was to spoil him with a casserole and some homemade bread after his celebratory bath, that’s one lucky boy right there.

We then spent a bit of time trying to come up with a nickname for this ferocious potter, I liked Cyclone Syd, Syd is quite taken with ‘The Wolf’, but we didn’t come up with a final decision and perhaps this is one that needs to go to Twitter.

A massive thanks to our team of sponsors and to the venue for making this another enjoyable heat, also to the referees Graham Stanley and Peter Bennett, one of whom once threatened to kill Alex Higgins to his face. It’s off to Preston next Sunday and then Leeds at the end of the month. 

All the scores for the Liverpool leg can be found here

The latest Order of Merit List can be found here and we now see that Brett Miller tops the list of those who have not qualified with 25 points, having done well in all events so far and only been beaten by winners. Brett is marginally ahead of Sean O’Sullivan on 23 points with the likes of Ryan Causton, Josh Mulholland, Matthew Day and Zak Richardson heading the chasing pack. Remember the top 2 from this list will also be lining up on Grand Finals Day.


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