August 28, 2015

Kathi’s Blog: Friday in Fürth

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:55 pm
MOD and seat

A flea’s eye view of the action.

You know what Germans are like, always nicking the best sun loungers, well now even this place is being taken over by them. Thankfully, it’s in the shape of the lovely and seemingly always happy Kathi, who is in Fürth and wanted to share her experience of the event with us all.

Take it away Miss H….

Snooker in the Living Room

Welcome to the cosiest event on tour, the Paul Hunter Classic. If you’re lucky enough to bring your bae to Fürth, you might find yourself saying something along the lines of “Look, darling, there’s snooker in the living room!” In the very fancy living room, actually. The warm light in the lobby, the people who are having drinks while checking the scores, the really cool people in the tournament office and the ten beautiful snooker tables – all that creates an atmosphere that simply makes you feel at home.

At home and at the right place for some fantastic live snooker: You can’t get much closer to the action than here. Most of the tables are super-close to each other and super-duper-close to the audience. Which means that when you are watching a match, you are watching it next to the players. And next to the players on the other tables. You can just sit anywhere and follow four matches at the same time. It’s chaotic and it’s awesome. Mostly awesome.

To make sure everything stays cosy despite the chaos they have put nice living-room-y plants everywhere. And I don’t mean combinations in the matches, I mean actual green plants. If the BBC guys were here, they might start a new campaign: #plantswatchingsnooker. Before #peoplearewatchingsnooker, it’s mandatory for everyone to admire the beauty of their ‘living room for a weekend’ from upstairs. The lovely panorama of all those tables and matches turns promising snooker players into less promising poets: “I like standing here.”, says Ron.

The pros usually standing at the tables also seem to enjoy the Paul Hunter Classic: During your average PHC day you might easily sit next to players like Shaun Murphy, Michael Georgiou, Peter Lines or – if you’re very, very lucky – Mark Selby. It’s lovely to watch people realise they’re sitting next to one of their idols.

Sometimes they even forget there are matches going on. One of the most notable frames I’ve watched today was the last one in the MOD-TT match. There was some unusual stuff going on. Unusually great stuff for a Friday morning: MOD played the most beautiful break ever. It wasn’t a century in the end but it should count as one. So fluent, so cool, so sophisticated. That wasn’t a living room moment, that was a ballroom one.

Yesterday’s slapstick moment was in Adam Duffy’s match. He kept carelessly dropping his chalk while his opponent kept his chalk in the weirdest beltbag I have ever seen. The chalk didn’t drop but the level of fashion did. Fashion-wise there’s no Dark Mavis Lady in Fürth but there is The Lady With The Alan McManus Glitter T-Shirt. It’s, well, glittery. But when there’s a family reunion in the snooker living room, people are bound to show up wearing awkward clothes.

There’s also always that one child that misbehaves. Rumour has it Mark Williams literally climbed over the barrier to get a seat for the Burnett-Woollaston match. It was worth the effort as this turned out to be a cracking match. Ben casually made a century and Jamie casually made sure there was going to be a decider. Which Jamie also won. Which didn’t stop Ben from taking pictures with fans after the match. It’s so nice and cosy here in Fürth.

Talking about Fürth, let me reveal a huge mind-blowing secret: The “th” in Fürth is not really a “th”. It’s pronounced just like your average “t”. Wow. But I’m going to leave the nerdy fun-fact-library now and go back to the living room. Because there’s snooker in the living room. A lot of snooker.


Follow Kathi on Twitter here

Unusual Betting Patterns: Are the Thai’s at it again?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:14 pm

WheelBarrowI make no apology for the title of this blog post as once again the WPBSA has seen fit to issue the following statement today after the conclusion of the match between Martin O’Donnell and Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon, which Martin won 4-2.

The WPBSA was today alerted to unusual betting patterns regarding the match between Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon and Martin O’Donnell at the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany.

The WPBSA monitors betting on ALL professional snooker and has the most sophisticated methods available today. Working with partners worldwide and by liaising with the Gambling Commission, the WPBSA will review the available facts surrounding betting on this match. A decision will then be taken on whether any further action is necessary.

Whilst there is nothing unusual about the result between two evenly matched players it is once again a match involving a player from Thailand that has attracted a lot more interest from punters than any of the others. I was alerted this morning before the match began to substantial changes happening in the match betting market and it appears this is linked to the amount of money placed on O’Donnell to win, or rather, Thanawat to lose.

This is particularly unsavoury given that this is a tournament which marks one of our missing greats, but it’s not the first time Thanawat has been implicated in this kind of thing. Who can forget the cheeky double a couple of seasons back when both Thanny and the now ermm ‘retired’ Passakorn Suwannawat carried off a magical correct score double which everyone knew about before either match got underway? Result? Unpunished by the governing body.

It’s time to start getting tough with this as I know of at least 2 further matches where scorelines have been known to the social media world before a ball has been struck and it doesn’t take a genius to spot the common link. Whilst the underlying rumours are that these players are being placed in a position which makes it very difficult for them to refuse to comply, it’s not in the interests of the sport to allow this to go on and simply turn a blind eye.

Time to act, Nigel.

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