February 5, 2015

Kathi’s Blog: Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:45 pm

Courgette FlowerThe more observant amongst you, if there are any left who haven’t gone senile yet, will have noticed that this pile of tripe has been invaded by the Germans this week.

But fear not, this invasion is in the lovely form of Kathi, a wonderful, warm, delightful person who myself and Mrs SB met on a recent trip to Munich. She recommended a very nice understated courgette dish in lavish surroundings, what more can be said? Her downside is that she likes snooker.

But, fellow male Britons! Think of this not as an intrusion into our secret little betting world, but more someone who is prepared to give prose to our sad little male dominated corner of the interblognet from a different perspective; decorate it with fragrance, sew on materials that make nice cushions, comb kittens and dare I say add a little courgette flower to our sad little lives.

Over to Kathi…  

This is clearly a snooker blog but let us talk about ballet for a second. Today I got to witness a beautifully choreographed performance – no flaws to be seen, all steps were accurate, it was art. Most of you will know the dancers: I am talking about the snooker referees.

It was such a pleasure to watch them set up the five tables before the afternoon session. Five people almost simultaneously setting up colours and reds as precisely as they possibly can. Five people checking the set-up. Five people double-checking the set-up. Magic.

That was the perfect intro to an afternoon of quick-fire snooker: Most of the matches were over before you could have spelt “plumberginearoon” – Shaun Murphy played almost as well as he did in the Masters, Joe Perry barely let his opponent pot a ball and Ronnie won before it even got dark.

During his press conference in front of a packed press room he philosophically said: “So many things can go wrong when you play snooker.” Which is obviously true, you know. But this afternoon at least, snooker was Rocket science. The fans loved it!

Talking about Ronnie: The other thing that really made me smile today was the fans’ reaction to the new Eurosport lounge. While most people didn’t dare to hang out near Holy Ronnie and his TV gang yesterday, that picture changed substantially today. Suddenly the lounge was full of people and some of them even stayed when the cameras were on. We might not have a proper Cuezone or fancy sci-fi features yet but we’re getting there. We might even start handing out medals soon.

Oh, I promised gossip yesterday – here it is: Rumour has it tickets for Saturday are completely sold out already. 2.5k people in the arena. That’s my kind of gossip. And my kind of snooker tournament.

Kathi x

German Masters Last 16

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:14 am
It ain't as easy as it looks.

It ain’t as easy as it looks.

Tonight sees the first four Last 16 matches in Berlin with the other four being completed tomorrow afternoon before the evening session pits together all the winners.

It’s quite unique in that respect this tournament, granted the PTC’s see multiple matches played consecutively but this doesn’t happen over the best of 9 frames in any other main ranking event. Possibly the key to the quarter final matches involving the afternoon players tomorrow may be who makes the shortest work of their first match, who knows?

Initial assessment of the set up here by Eurosport for me is a positive. I much prefer a bit of chit-chat than the continuous snooker and the panel of Ronnie, Jimmy and Fouldsy are putting on a decent show. I think Jimmy in particular is giving us good insight from a player’s point of view and he’s clearly still in love with the game.

Colin Murray is on a hiding to nothing on his maiden voyage but for me he is showing a personable side and bringing out the best from the panel with his relaxed style (he also gave me a mention which is always a plus). This is a difficult job and anyone that has seen the likes of Hazel, Jill, Richi or Jason in the flesh doing their thing in the studio will know this. They have multiple things going on and people bellowing in their ears and it takes a very skilled person to make it look like just a bit of a natter.

The one thing that I do think Eurosport need to address is the make up of the commentary team. I think the combination of the excellent Dave Hendon and Joe Johnson works well, OK, Joe makes some dodgy calls but I like listening to him and he’s often very funny, possibly without knowing it. But when it comes to Phil Studd and Mike Hallett, I really do reach for the volume button (not to turn it up). Phil is definitely not in the school of ‘less is more’ and Mike fights him for airtime on a constant basis. Whether it’s the combination that’s the problem I don’t know as Mike is slightly less grating when chaired with Dave. It’s just a personal opinion of course and always a hot topic amongst the snooker faithful.

Anyway, all that aside, here’s the line up for tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Click on the match for the head to head record.

Vegan Power

Vegan Power

Thursday 7pm (UK)

Neil Robertson v Xiao Guodong
Stephen Maguire v Mark King
Judd Trump v Martin Gould
Peter Ebdon v Mark Selby

On the face of it, this looks like a night for the four favourites but very often when matches look like that a surprise or two comes along. Robertson and Guodong, disappointingly for me, is the chosen TV match as I think it’s the worst one of the four from a TV point of view. I also think it will probably end up being the most one-sided with a comfortable win for the Aussie. Main tip for the title Judd showed enough last night against Michael Holt to suggest he’s in fine fettle and he’s another that I expect to get an early night against Gouldy, who made hard work of being Ashley Carty on his comeback after a bout of illness. I’d also take Maguire to come through against Mark King who scored a nice win over Hawkins last night, Mags had a tough opener too but came through and he tends to get better as events go on these days, which is a good habit to have. The ‘shock’ I see happening is Peter Ebdon beating Mark Selby, Ebdon was in great scoring form against John Higgins and also has a decent head to head record against the World Champion. I can see that one being very close indeed, shame we won’t be able to stay up and watch it.

Recommended Bets: 3 point treble on Robertson, Maguire and Trump all -1.5 frames pays 9/4. 2 points on Ebdon at 11/5

Friday 1pm

Ryan Day v Alfie Burden
Liang Wenbo v Stuart Bingham
Mark Allen v Shaun Murphy
Joe Perry v Ronnie O’Sullivan

The final four last 16 matches and all the winners will be back at 7pm to play their quarter finals. Ryan Day added to Ding’s woes yesterday by dumping the favourite out, he’ll be confident of taking that form into his meeting with Alfie Burden and I expect him to prevail again without the need for a decider this time. Stuart Bingham professed himself very pleased with how he played against Matt Selt yesterday and I’d expect him also to kick on against Liang, who is very inconsistent. Mark Allen made very light work of Mark Williams and faces the man in form Murphy, who according to my snout in Berlin carried on where he left off in his first match. This is obviously the match of the session and I’ll stick with my man Allen to end Murphy’s winning run, although recent meetings in bigger events would point to Murphy. Ronnie seems to be in form and when that happens he wins tournaments. His World Championship match against Joe Perry was one of the matches of last season and I dare say the audience will want some of the same today, but Ronnie looks very sharp and I think he’ll probably win a little easier this time.

Recommended Bet: 2 point treble on Day, Bingham and O’Sullivan (-2.5 frames) pays almost 11/4 at Sportingbet. 


German Masters Day 2 Order of Play

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:50 am

Today sees the remaining Last 32 matches played out in Berlin and the second round get under way tonight. If you’d like to take a look at the head to heads for this morning and this afternoon, the main preview is here.  

9am (UK)

Ding Junhui v Ryan Day
Michael Georgiou v Alfie Burden
Matt Selt v Stuart Bingham

2pm (UK)

Li Hang v Liang Wenbo
Mark Allen v Mark J Williams
Michael Wasley v Shaun Murphy
Joe Perry v Jimmy Robertson
Dark Mavis v Ronnie O’Sullivan

7pm (UK)

Neil Robertson v Xiao Guodong
Stephen Maguire v Mark King
Judd Trump v Martin Gould
Peter Ebdon v Mark Selby

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