February 15, 2015

Welsh Open Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:35 pm
Wales: Where men are men and the women do the ironing.

Wales: Where men are men and the women do the ironing.

Monday sees the start of the Welsh Open and a new home for the event in Cardiff. Unfortunately, the move has not been accompanied by reverting the format of the event back to one more befitting this once prestigious fixture in the calender. In fact, for me it’s now little more than a slightly more interesting PTC.  

The tournament, formerly known as ‘The Regal Welsh’ after a brand of Embassy fags (and still referred to as such by the holder, Ronnie O’Sullivan) has a rich history. It started off as a ‘taffs only’ event to find out who would have bragging rights in the valleys in 1980, but reverted to a full ‘open’ tournament in 1992 when Stephen Hendry became the first champion. Indeed, the only Welshman to have lifted the title since this shift is Mark Williams and it’s become synonymous over recent years as an event which sees the Welsh boys under-performing, much to the collective woe of the ‘fiercely’ Welsh and patriotic locals.

Since Bazza came to the helm, he’s fiddled with this so much that now we are down to opening rounds stuffed full of players and best of 7’s in a roll-on roll-off format. Sounds like a PTC to me.

It’s a shame because Wales was and is still a real hotbed for snooker. Possibly because the Welsh generally have a slightly worrying obsession with male bonding, but also because Wales is a place that only gets about 3 hours of sunlight a day, where sheep are fair game and where most inhabitants live in disused mine-shafts and quarries, so there’s not that much else to do there apart from snooker, a bit of rugby, the sheep and some close-harmony singing.

Anyway, my usual tactic on PTC’s is to just have a speculative gamble at the outrights. At least here from the Quarter Finals the matches get a bit longer so it’s just a case of your selections scrambling through the mesh that awaits them for the first few rounds.

It’s covered on BBC Wales and Eurosport and Ronnie certainly put on a show in Newport last year, in the only memorable match of the event, which was also the longest one. Indeed, a lot of the players, Ronnie included, thought Newport was one of the best venues on the circuit and were sorry to see it moved. How will Cardiff go down? We’ll have to wait and see….

You can view the draw for this here and below you can see the conveyer-belt schedule. Sad for an event with a decent history such as this, not one of Bazza’s finest hours this one.

Recommended Outright Bets: 2 points on Judd Trump at 10/1. 2 points on Ding Junhui at 18/1. 1 point each way on Ali Carter at 100/1. 1 point each way on Ricky Walden at 50/1.


Mark Williams v Lu Haotian
Mark Allen v Alexander Ursenbacher
Shaun Murphy v Steven Hallworth
Dominic Dale v Michael Wasley
Michael Holt v Ashley Carty
Alfie Burden v Andrew Norman
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Allan Taylor
Jamie Jones v Chris Norbury
Jack Lisowski v Li Hang
Cao Yupeng v Craig Steadman
Ben Woollaston v Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon

NB 12pm
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Vinnie Calabrese
Matthew Stevens v Oliver Lines
Marco Fu v Ian Glover
Ken Doherty v Zhou Yuelong
Rory McLeod v Andrew Pagett
Jimmy White v Barry Pinches
Dark Mavis v Lyu Chenwei
Xiao Guodong v Joe Swail
Mark Joyce v Joel Walker
Matt Selt v Ian Burns
Mark King v Eden Sharav

NB 2.30pm
Judd Trump v James Wattana
Neil Robertson v James Cahill
Joe Perry v Lee Page
Ali Carter v Fraser Patrick
Yu Delu W/O John Sutton
Gary Wilson v Zhang Anda
David Gilbert v John Astley
Anthony McGill v David Grace
Jamie Cope v Elliot Slessor
David Morris v Joe O’Connor

Ronnie O’Sullivan/Vinnie Calabrese v Rory McLeod/Andrew Pagett
Ken Doherty/Zhou Yuelong v Matthew Stevens/Oliver Lines
Michael Holt/Ashley Carty v Alfie Burden/Andrew Norman
Dechawat Poomjaeng/Allan Taylor v Marco Fu/Ian Glover
Shaun Murphy/Steven Hallworth v Jamie Jones/Chris Norbury
Jimmy White/Barry Pinches v Mark Williams/Lu Haotian
Dominic Dale/Michael Wasley v Jack Lisowski/Li Hang
Mark Allen/Alexander Ursenbacher v Cao Yupeng/Craig Steadman

NB 8pm

Mark Joyce/Joel Walker v Judd Trump/James Wattana
Ben Woollaston/Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon v Dark Mavis/Lyu Chenwei
Xiao Guodong/Joe Swail v Matt Selt/Ian Burns
Mark King/Eden Sharav v Ali Carter/Fraser Patrick
Joe Perry/Lee Page v Yu De Lu
Gary Wilson/Zhang Anda v David Gilbert/John Astley
Anthony McGill/David Grace v Jamie Cope/Elliot Slessor
David Morris/Joe O’Connor v Neil Robertson/James Cahill

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