February 15, 2016

The Welsh Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:28 am
She sits lonely atop a hill lamenting the demise of longer matches.

She sits lonely atop a hill, clutching her daisies and lamenting the demise of longer matches.

Today in Cardiff sees the tournament formerly known as the Welsh Open get under way with no fewer than 64 best of 7 matches played out on a roll-on roll-off basis. Sounds like a PTC to me.

This tournament, alongside the UK Championship has lost a lot of its prestige since the changes to the format were introduced. Shorter matches, players packed like sardines into the venue in conveyor belt schedules are a huge turn off for me. This format is fine for PTC events, they have never been anything else, but I am yet to find a snooker fan that prefers this format to the old one.

The thing is I don’t really see why it is necessary. What is the problem with having a qualifying event bolted on to one of the others to whittle down the field and give us a decent TV spectacle? In all we’ll get to see, if we’re lucky, just five of these matches on the TV/Live Stream, making betting on it total guesswork, even more so than usual.

This of course will next season form part of the Home Nations series of events, when we’ll also have English, Scottish and Irish Opens played over the same format as this, with the remote prospect of a £1 million bonus if someone wins all of them. The format is more or less guaranteed to ensure that this won’t happen, so it’s unlikely that Bazza will have to pawn the family heirlooms and hire out his pond to dish it out.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, who still thinks this is sponsored by Regal fags, has graced us with his presence and faces Barry Pinches this afternoon, it’s likely that apart from a knock around in the Championship League Finals this will be the last time we’ll see him in competitive action until Sheffield. He’ll spend the rest of his time trying to get some bloke from Sheffield called Matt banged up after he (allegedly) ripped him off to the tune of £125k.  

A full list of the ridiculous schedule for today is contained here and the draw for the Welsh Open can be viewed here. I’ll probably dip in and out of it this week but my feelings are probably pretty clear on this one, which is a real shame as this used to be an event I really enjoyed, despite John Evans’ commentary.

I’ll have a punt on the outrights but it’s no more than that. You can almost smell my enthusiasm for this one can’t you? 

Recommended Outright Bets: 2 points on John Higgins at 16/1, 1 point each way on Martin Gould at 40/1, 0.5 point each way on Luca Brecel at 80/1.

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