October 30, 2015

Snookerbacker Classic 2016 – Scotland on Sunday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:37 am

The Snookerbacker Classic travels north of the border for the first time this weekend as the Lucky Break Club in Clydebank plays host to the second heat of this year’s tournament.

You can keep up with all the results as they happen here and the tournament will be run by my pal Stevie Baillie (another SB). I look forward to welcoming the winner to Gloucester for the Grand Finals in April next year, let battle commence.

October 29, 2015

International Championship Semi Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:31 pm

Semis and FinalIt’s the business end over in Daqing with contrasting line ups in each of the best of seventeen frame, one day semi finals. We start with the two unlikely lads doing battle in the shape of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Dave Gilbert, before Saturday sees Mark Selby taking on John Higgins in yet another world final repeat.

It’s great to have these long matches and I think this tournament has definitely captured the snooker community’s interest. It’s just a shame that those in charge are determined to dumb down the sport further to best of sevens next season.

If it meant not taking the EPTC back to the UK and staging events with longer formats further afield I’d be all for it, they are just better events, there is no getting away from it.

The big news of course concerns Ronnie O’Sullivan, who I’m sure you know by now has fulfilled his promise of not playing in the Champion of Champions or the UK Championship, despite being the holder of both of them. It remains to be seen if and when we’ll see him back in competitive action. Perhaps we just have to get used to this being the post-Ronnie era, there is no point in us all going on about him if his heart is clearly elsewhere.

The other big news concerns the betting for this tournament. Thepchaiya, or Theppy as I now affectionately know him, is now one win away from landing the recommended 100/1 each way outright bet having already landed the 18/1 Quarter winning recommendation.

Add to that that main pick Selby (3 points at 8/1) is still very much in the mix and it’s been more or less a dream tournament on the betting front. We even managed to flag up a 5/1 plus acca on the quarter finals for good luck so now it’s time to consider closing the satchel and hope for a final between Selby and Un-Nooh, which I actually think will happen.

I’ll put a bet up for anyone that hasn’t got a sweat on anyway, I’d fancy Un-Nooh to win around 9-6 tomorrow and Selby to win a 9-8 thriller on Saturday before going on to lift the trophy.

Recommended Bet: 3 point double pays best odds over 2/1 at Paddy Power on Un-Nooh to win and Higgins and Selby to play over 14.5 frames.

Open an account and bet below at Marathon Bet by clicking the banner.  



October 28, 2015

International Championship Quarter Final

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:43 pm

Thursday sees the Quarter Finals of the International Championship before we move to the Best of 17 frame semi-finals on Friday and Saturday, another reason to love this championship.

Int qfs

While the draw still plays host to a host of big names and most people will be drawn to the saliva-inducing prospect of Robbo and Selby going at it hammer and tongs (ooerr missus), my interest lies elsewhere as a bit of a mini-story will develop if the top match goes against the seedings.

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was recommended at 18/1 to win the top quarter and at 100/1 each way for the championship, to widespread ridicule from a few renowned shrewdies of varying degrees of tipping ability who should know better on Twitter. I’ll expect grovelling apologies aplenty should good old Theppy do the business tomorrow. If he does, he’ll also have a winnable semi-final, but at this stage it’s still an if, but should he win tomorrow you might want to unfollow a self-obsessed, gloating and incredibly annoying blogger for at least the next month on there.

For what it’s worth from the four matches I’d plump for Theppy, out of pure stubbornness, Marco Fu in a tight one, Selby to oust Robbo who I maintain is not yet near his best while Selby to me is starting to look pretty good again, also John Higgins, who made short work of Shaun Murphy and appears to have fully rediscovered his snooker mojo from somewhere, after some, including that annoying blogger had all but confined him to the snooker scrapheap about a year or so ago.

In terms of an interest bet, perhaps the handicaps/match lengths are again the best to look.

Recommended Bet: 2 point treble pays over 5/1 at Hills on Fu v Gilbert (over 8.5 frames), Robertson v Selby (over 9.5 frames) and John Higgins (-1.5 frames)

Open an account and bet below at Marathon Bet by clicking the banner.  




October 27, 2015

International Championship Last 16

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:33 pm

IntRound 4Another day, another round to complete as the breakneck speed of the International Championship continues with Wednesday seeing the Last 16 round played to a conclusion in Daqing.

There is a healthy mix of top seeded players, local interest and a few lower down the ranks to continue to keep us interested. But Ding Junhui’s run ended earlier when he was thwarted in a decider, not for the first time, by Ryan Day.

Graeme Dott won the repeat of the 2006 World Championship final against Peter Ebdon to set up a repeat of another final, this time against 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson. There is another World Final re-run in this round too as Shaun Murphy takes on John Higgins. I’m sure there is a stat in there somewhere.

In terms of betting it was a great day in Round 3 for the match betting. Both the over 3/1 and the over 11/2 accumulators landed making a profit on the day of a huge 18 points. Despite the punts on Fergal and Ebdon in the outrights biting the dust we still have enough interest in that to keep us going, including some big prices about Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in both the quarter betting and the outrights.

In terms of this round, I’d advise the following.

Recommended Bet: 2 point acca at Hills pays over 4/1 on all these matches to have more than 8.5 frames: Murphy/Higgins, Perry/Woollaston, Allen/Pengfei, Gilbert/Day and Selby/White.  

Open an account and bet below at Marathon Bet by clicking the banner.  



October 26, 2015

International Championship Round Three

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:43 pm

International Round 3All sixteen third round matches will be completed on Tuesday over in Daqing using the eight tables available at the venue. They’re certainly not wasting any time in whittling this one down to its Final on Sunday.

There have been a few high-seeded casualties already in the first two rounds with probably the most notable being the holder Ricky Walden and the World Champion Stuart Bingham.

There are a few people who are inferring over on social media that Ballrun is struggling with the pressure of being world champion, but despite a performance against Yu Delu which he himself described as poor, it’s still very early to judge as for me, after Shanghai, where he made the semi-finals incidentally, this is really only the second major tournament of the season. The season is just about to get going as the nights draw in at the home of snooker and we approach the festive season so give the poor fella a chance.

One thing that I find a bit of a negative in this tournament is that we don’t get to see more of the matches. For the casual snooker viewer who tunes in now and again for Eurosport events, they’d be forgiven for thinking that the tour only consisted of a few players, Robbo, Trump, Selby, Ding, Bingham, Higgins, Murphy and a few others who pop up on telly every now and again to play them. I do think a bit more thought should go into the televised matches personally and not just sticking with the same old faces over and over again.

But if the lunacy of taking them all kicking and screaming to venues in huge numbers is to remain, that’s the way it will be. I never have and never will understand why we have to have this system. By all means play the flat draws in qualifiers, by all means hold the odd match over, particularly when it makes commercial sense, but please just start the tournament proper from the last 32, it will all feel less of a rush and we can get to see more players playing for the big prize money, not a mismatch where the winner picks up a few hundred quid and the loser gets sod all, as happens with the PTC’s.

But at least these matches are long enough to make it worthwhile for the predominantly western-based tour to make the exhausting journey for, even if they do lose their first match. I’m just not convinced by this whole rushed feel for a tournament carrying so much prize money, it could be so much more, China’s World Championship even.

Anyway, in terms of the betting, Martin Gould let down the first round acca but main picks Selby and Murphy are still in the hunt, as are long odds each way pokes Fergal O’Brien and Peter Ebdon, who as we speak is munching on a celebratory organic carrot and raising a glass of turnip juice at the news from the World Health Organisation that red and processed meat causes cancer. Vegans 1 Carnivores 0.

Recommended Bets: 2 point acca pays just over 3/1 on Michael White, John Higgins, Ben Woollaston and Joe Perry. 2 point acca pays over 11/2 at Hills on all these matches being over 8.5 frames: Allen v Wilson, Pengfei v Wenbo, Lines v Gilbert, Hawkins v Robertson and Dott v Ebdon.  

Open an account and bet below at Marathon Bet by clicking the banner.  


October 22, 2015

International Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:35 pm
Judd Who? Never heard of 'im guv'nor.

Judd Who? Never heard of ‘im guv’nor. Some last minute edits were required for the poster following wild events in Barnsley.

It’s a new city and venue which greets this year’s qualifiers for the financially lucrative International Championship in China, this time the players will be waiting for their cues and their gear to turn up late in Daqing.  

There were of course four matches held over to the venue from the first round, namely the ones involving the holder Ricky Walden, who as luck would have it drew a popular Chinese player in Tian Pengfei, the two ‘local’ lads Ding and Liang to ensure that someone actually turns up to watch and the World Champion Stuart Bingham, whose new found lofty status in the game means he can just play wherever and whenever he likes.

One player that won’t be getting his stick out this week however is Judd Trump, who was thumped 6-0 in the qualifying round by Michael Wild. His manager immediately took to Twitter to proclaim that arguably snooker’s second biggest draw wouldn’t be appearing at the venue, something which we’d all already twigged but which he wanted to ensure we were all aware of in terms of the earth-shattering gravity of the situation. I mean, they’d even put him on the poster for crying out loud.

Presumably this meant that Team Trump were left a bit sour that his match wasn’t carried over to China too. Well, a similar protest worked for Ding as when he got beat 6-0 by Oliver Brown last season World Snooker did the biggest U-Turn since Nigel Farage resigned as leader of UKIP and started carrying his matches over for all the Chinese events, so why not let Judd have a go at throwing his toys out of the pram too? Or perhaps a better strategy would just be to win the World Championship instead like Ballrun did?

As ever, the Chinese are insisting that the wildcard round still plays a part in the tournament and the four unlucky recipients this time are Noppon Saengkham, Daniel Wells, Ken Doherty and Aditya Mehta. Hopefully they will all come through unscathed against players that shouldn’t be there.

While I’ve been a bit busy with other things we missed a right old ding-dong on Twitter between Stephen Hendry and Chairman Bazza. Handbags at dusk flew as the red wine induced Wonderbairn proclaimed that nobody gave a shit about any of the events except the ones he commentates on for the BBC. Bazza retorted by calling him a yesterdays man and accusing him of turning his back on snooker and selling his soul for Chinese Pool, one of the few things that Bazza himself hasn’t sold his for yet.

Anyway, to us rubberneckers on the sidewalk it was all very entertaining and hopefully the start of an online catfight and a series of nasty and increasingly degenerative arguments between the pair of them to tide us over between events. More of it I say. It’s more interesting than Smurf and co banging on about slow play and shotclocks, that’s for damn sure as organic avocados.

Whether you agree with Stephen or not, I’m sure the players competing for the £657,000 prize money and top prize of £125,000 will be giving this one their all. It’s also pleasing that they have stuck with the longer frame match format at the new venue, this always makes it a lot more appealing from a betting perspective. So let’s take a look at the draw and see what we can find.

You can check what session everyone is playing in here. This tournament would be perfect if they’d only revert to UK time, but I suppose you can’t have everything.   

Joke Round

Noppon Saengkham v Wildcard who shouldn’t be in it

Daniel Wells v Wildcard who shouldn’t be in it

Ken Doherty v Wildcard who shouldn’t be in it

Aditya Mehta v Wildcard who shouldn’t be in it

Last 128 – Held over matches

Ricky Walden v Tian Pengfei

Liang Wenbo v Alex Taubman

Ding Junhui v Sam Craigie

Stuart Bingham v Steven Hallworth

Obviously on paper the only potential ‘upset’ amongst the held over matches would be the defending champion Walden against the very dangerous Pengfei. Ricky at time of writing is still involved in the semi-finals of Asian PTC so he’s clearly got over his poor no doubt nappy-induced early season form and is now ready to start challenging again. He’s scored three comfortable victories over Tian the last three times they have met so everything points to a successful start to his title defence. I’d really like to see my mate Alex Taubman give Wenbo a run for his money but a win for Taubs would be a major upset as would a Ding defeat to the decent Sam Craigie. With Ballrun Bingham a good thing against Steven Hallworth I’m not sure that any of those hoping to topple the higher seeds in this round will do so.

Predictions: Walden, Liang, Ding, Bingham.

Last 64 – Quarter 1

Walden/Pengfei v Cao Yupeng

Andrew Higginson v Wenbo/Taubman

Kyren Wilson v Jamie Cope

Joe Swail v Mark Allen

Mark Williams v Ian Burns

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Ross Muir

Martin Gould v Zhou Yuelong

Sanderson Lam v Michael Wild

A fairly open quarter this with some of the early season form players involved such as Shanghai Champion Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. There is a real chance for someone to make a name for themselves here and this quarter on the face of it looks extremely open. Mark Allen will be some people’s pick and he is beginning to play more like himself after a couple of unexpected early exits earlier on in the season. As well as the names mentioned above there are others such as Andrew Higginson, Martin Gould and Jamie Cope who will hope that some of their past form comes to the fore in a winnable section of the draw. Sanderson Lam from Leeds will have his sights set on a run and faces Judd’s conqueror Wild first up for a place in the Last 32. All in all it’s a bit of a lottery this quarter so I’m going to plump for a player that we know is in form who could defy the huge odds about him.

Predictions: Walden, Higginson, Wilson, Allen, Williams, Un-Nooh, Gould, Lam.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Recommended Bet: 1 point on Un-Nooh to win the Quarter at 18/1. 0.5 points each-way on Un-Nooh to win the International Championship at 100/1.  

Quarter 2

Barry Hawkins v Chris Wakelin

Jimmy Robertson v Darryl Hill

Ali Carter v Jack Lisowski

Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu

Saengkham/WC v Oliver Lines

David Gilbert v Xiao Guodong

Ryan Day v Mark Joyce

Craig Steadman v Ding/Craigie

Again there are some decent ties here straight off and the ones involving Ali Carter and Jack Lisowski and Matthew Stevens and Marco Fu immediately draw the eye. The draw could have been worse for Ding, who again at time of writing is still involved in the APTC after a quiet start to the season. But he’s been on the receiving end of Ryan Day on the big stage before and his other potential second round opponent Mark Joyce is the sort of player that you’d imagine could frustrate Ding, that’s if he gets past Craig Steadman first off. Jimmy Robertson is another who is flying in the APTC and the confidence this will give him may pay dividends here. With Guodong, Hawkins, Gilbert and Oliver Lines all in there too this doesn’t get any easier. In terms of first hand knowledge I know that Ali Carter is going into this in a good frame of mind and when he’s on his game he’s obviously a class act, I’ll plump for him in this quarter and hope that Ding doesn’t have one of his better weeks. I’d also keep an eye on Chris Wakelin who plays Hawkins as he’s one that could cause an upset at a decent price.

Predictions: Wakelin, Robertson, Carter, Fu, Saengkham, Guodong, Day, Ding.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Ali Carter.

Recommended Bet: 1 point each way on Ali Carter to win the International Championship at 40/1.    

My main pick for the title.

My main pick for the title.

Quarter 3

Mark Selby v Mike Dunn

Sean O’Sullivan v Anthony McGill

Lee Walker v Wells/WC

Dechawat Poomjaeng v Michael White

Graeme Dott v Jamie Burnett

Doherty/WC v Peter Ebdon

Fergal O’Brien v Tom Ford

Martin O’Donnell v Neil Robertson

Two of the big guns are in this section in Mark Selby and Neil Robertson and on paper it is set up for a Quarter Final clash between the two. But again, there are plenty of players in there who will be determined to stop them. Mike Dunn, Anthony McGill, Michael White, Graeme Dott and Fergal O’Brien have all shown enough recently to merit consideration. While the possible clash between former world champions Kendo and Ebbo could produce someone who fancies going deep and who has all the experience over the longer distance to do so. I’ll say now that I don’t fancy Robertson to win this week on his current form, to me he’s not yet firing and I don’t think his outright price as favourite is any value whatsoever, I’d much rather be taking the price on Selby or one of the others who are huge in the outright market than the Aussie, now watch him piss it.

Predictions: Selby, McGill, Walker, White, Dott, Ebdon, O’Brien, Robertson.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Mark Selby.

Recommended Bets: 3 points on Mark Selby to win the International Championship at 8/1. 0.5 points each way on Peter Ebdon at 150/1 and Fergal O’Brien at 250/1. 0.5 point on those two to win this quarter at 35/1 and 50/1 respectively. 

Quarter 4

Shaun Murphy v Luca Brecel

Kurt Maflin v Jamie Jones

Michael Holt v Rod Lawler

Zhao Xintong v John Higgins

Joe Perry v Mehta/WC

Dominic Dale v Matthew Selt

Ben Woollaston v Robbie Williams

Yu De Lu v Bingham/Hallworth

It doesn’t get any easier and the final quarter features the likes of Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Joe Perry and World Champion Bingham and a lot of further players who are more than capable of causing an upset and ‘doing a Kyren’ this week. One feature I read today said that Murphy is struggling lately, I’m not sure where that’s all come from unless I’ve missed something and for me, as ever, he has a big chance to land the title given his draw. In fact I would go as far as to say that I’d be quite surprised if he didn’t make at least the Quarter Finals and from then on we know how dangerous he can be. It would be no surprise to see Higgins beaten first round by the new boy wonder Xintong and something tells me that he’s one to back with your shrapnel in all Chinese events as he seems the type that will eventually land some big odds. But looking at the draw, I think Murphy has to be backed along with Selby in the outrights. Again I’d say he is far better in the value stakes than the bookies favourite Robertson.

Predictions: Murphy, Jones, Holt, Xintong, Perry, Selt, Woollaston, Bingham.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Shaun Murphy.

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Shaun Murphy to win the International Championship at 12/1. 0.5 point each way on Zhao Xintong at 250/1 and 0.5 on Xintong to win the quarter at 66/1.

MATCH BETTING ACCA: 3 point acca on Bingham & Wenbo (Last 128), Mark Williams, Graeme Dott, Martin Gould and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh pays best price over 4/1 at Marathonbet. Open an account and bet below by clicking the banner.  


October 19, 2015

SB Classic: Rock Solid Robertson into Grand Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:42 am

Sunday saw the start of another season of Snookerbacker Classic qualifying events and this time for the first year we kicked off in Liverpool at George Scotts on a day which was very much dominated by local players.

 All four semi-finalists hail from the local area and it was current Mersey Masters Champion Brian Robertson who came through an entertaining final against Clayton Humphries, who had come through in fine style with three 4-0 whitewashes, including in the semi-finals over previous SBC Quarter Finalist Anthony Jeffers who himself had earlier in the day come back from 3-1 down to knock out the defending champion Brett Miller.

Brian is the first player into this season's Grand Finals in Gloucester.

Brian is the first player into this season’s Grand Finals in Gloucester.

 Brian has been close to the Grand Finals before, two years ago he lost in a final qualifier to Mitchell Mann, so it’s no surprise to see him go one further this season and make it to Gloucester. This means that he is now guaranteed a minimum payout of £250 and is now just 4 wins away from the £3000 first prize and a chance to play at The Crucible as part of a Snooker Legends night.

For those unfamiliar with Brian, he’s an extremely solid match player and makes very few errors. He is also very good at winning and has a number of regional titles to his name. Rumour has it that a few of his friends have taken some of the big odds about him in the outright book and that Boyles are standing to lose a 5 figure sum should he end up as overall champion.

The next qualifying heat will be in Glasgow on November 1st and all the details of this year’s tournament can be found here.

All Sunday’s results are here and the SBC Score Centre, including the ongoing Order of Merit and Highest Break table, both headed by Clayton Humphries after Event 1 can be found here.   

October 13, 2015

Snookerbacker Classic Liverpool – Details for Players and Spectators

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:08 am

SB A4 POSTERSunday sees the start of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic and the first place we’ll be starting the search for the new champion is in Liverpool, at George Scotts Snooker Club, or Scotties as it’s known to the locals.

There is plenty of home interest there including former Grand Finalist Anthony Jeffers, as well as Josh Mulholland who impressed last season and narrowly missed out on a place in the Grand Finals as did Brian Robertson the previous year. Clayton Humphries is also in the mix and he is a player with a lot of ability who has so far not got going in the Classic, perhaps this will be the year he makes his mark.

The Welsh are also represented by two very strong players in the much improved Alex Taubman and the dangerous Rhys Williams, who played very well at this venue last season in arguably one of the matches of the tournament against Mulholland. 

Another former Grand Finalist and fellow Morrissey obsessed potter Andy Marriott is also in the field which includes familiar names like Jack Bradford, John Eames and Billy Brown and a few new faces, including one former professional Andrew Photiou, who is playing in the Classic for the first time. 

Add to this the small matter of the defending SB Classic champion Brett Miller beginning the defense of his title against Jeffers in Round 1, and we have a really high quality starting field for Qualifier Number 1. The winner progresses to the Grand Finals on April 2nd, can Brett return to the big stage at the first time of asking?

The full draw can be viewed here where you can also keep track of the results as they happen and all first round matches will commence at 10.15 am on the dot. Players should be aware of the terms and conditions regarding late arrivals.

The dress code is polo or collared shirt, trousers and shoes.

All players should arrive at the venue in plenty of time for their opening match and be prepared for a roll-on, roll-off day. In other words, have a decent breakfast if you are planning on going deep. The winner is guaranteed at least £250 and will be just 4 matches away from the £3000 first prize, which also includes a frame at The Crucible as part of the Snooker Legends Tour a few days after the Grand Finals. 

Full details of the Snookerbacker Classic can be viewed here, including those all important terms and conditions.

All matches are the best of seven frames.

The referees for the day will be Rob Spencer and Peter Bennett who will be roaming for the first two rounds before donning their white gloves to referee the semi-finals and final.

Anyone who would like to come and enjoy the snooker is more than welcome at this excellent club.

October 8, 2015

Ruhr Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:02 am


Unfortunately I’m a little bit pre-occupied at the moment so the Ruhr Open coverage will have to take the hit I’m afraid. Hopefully I’ll get to watch a bit of it over the weekend and perhaps I’ll bash up a few bets during the course of it.

I’m aware that I’ve not been posting as much of late but that will change when the main tournaments start again. Expect full coverage of the Champion of Champions, the UK Championship, The Masters and the World Championship, with others as time allows.

You can keep up to date with the Ruhr Open, which is live on Eurosport here and the draw is here. In terms of outright bets, I’ll plump for the 4 players below.

Recommended Bets: All at Boyles who are the only bookie paying 1/4 odds each way on semi-finalists. 1 point each way on Ali Carter @ 33/1, Mark Williams @ 33/1, Graeme Dott @ 66/1 and Joe Perry @ 33/1.  


October 7, 2015

Snookerbacker Classic Liverpool 18th October – DRAW NOW AVAILABLE

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:04 pm

The draw for the opening heat of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic in Liverpool is now available to view here. The reigning champion Brett Miller starts the defence of his title with a tough opening match against 2013 Quarter Finalist Anthony Jeffers.

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