January 4, 2015

January on the Baize

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:51 pm
The Main Event in January

The Main Event in January

January is traditionally a time when people get really depressed, suicide rates soar as some realise that they can’t afford to eat after spoiling their already spoilt kids further over the festive season, plunging them into the bog of eternal debt.

It’s also traditionally the time that sees the snooker season really get going, people start thinking about Sheffield, me included, and rankings see players jostling for position for the big one in April. We also have the mouth-watering Masters to feast on and keep us all toasty warm on the harsh winter nights.

This year is no exception, and although the month is dominated by rather lame, uninteresting events, the Masters never fails to serve up a treat and this year should be no different.

The draw for Round 1 was known a while back and is:

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ricky Walden
Stuart Bingham v Marco Fu
Barry Hawkins v Ali Carter
Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins
Ding Junhui v Joe Perry
Mark Allen v John Higgins
Judd Trump v Stephen Maguire
Mark Selby v Shaun Murphy  

So, plenty to get our collective teeth into there. It’s sponsored again, rather disappointingly, by Dafabet, who continue to bankroll the main events whilst not really giving them anything in terms of added value. But I suppose you have to get what you are given and it remains to be seen if World Snooker can pull a more interesting sponsor out of the proverbial bag for the Crucible this year.

I know the press room regulars will be hoping so, as gone are the days of free booze and gimmicks courtesy of the excellent Betfred, the ‘Great Shot’ and ‘Ton-Up’ Banners in particular being the marmite of the snooker fan world. But we didn’t know how lucky we were as now it’s more a case of trying to crack the code to the padlocked soft drink fridge and feeding off scraps. Those poor neglected hacks.

In the meantime, we have Crondon Park and The Championship League. This series of events were originally designed to plug a gap in the calendar and are unique in the fact that they are played entirely behind closed doors in casual surroundings and also entirely for the benefit of the bookie’s satchels. It feels more like a practice session but there is a decent amount of dosh on offer and a place in the COC awaits the eventual winner. There are also quite pleasant looking armchairs and apparently the Crondon Belly-Buster Breakfast is a sight to behold.

If this annual bookies benevolent fund floats your boat and you fancy losing all your hard earned on it you can browse the website here by navigating from the Events tab (it’s worth looking if only to see Shaun Murphy’s profile picture in the players section, he seems to think he’s won it already). It’s covered by the bookie streams but betting on it is suicide and definitely won’t pay for the kid’s Christmas, I’d go for the sleeping pills option, it’s far less painful in the long run. 

There are three of these in January and an Asian PTC, the dates are detailed below.


Championship League  

The Dafabet Masters
Alexandra Palace, London 

Championship League 

Asian Tour 3  – Xuzhou Open
Xuzhou Olympic Center, Xuzhou, China  

Championship League


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