Snookerbacker

March 31, 2016

Snookerbacker Classic 2016: Meet the Grand Finalists

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:56 pm

It won’t be long until we know who joins the list of Martin O’Donnell, David Gray, Ant Parsons and Brett Miller as the next Snookerbacker Classic Champion. I’ve had a chat to all the Grand Finalists ahead of Sunday and this is what they each had to say. 

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

Name: Brian Robertson

Qualified from: Liverpool Heat 1.

Previous Best SBC: Qualifying Finalist.

Current Odds: 40/1

Brian is a very solid match player who came through a tough first heat in Liverpool against the odds. He is playing in the Grand Finals for the first time having previously lost narrowly to Mitchell Mann in a qualifying final at Scotties.

‘I’m as confident as I can be going into the Grand Finals, I was so pleased to qualify and I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t really play a lot outside of Merseyside, so with the exception of Kishan Hirani I have never played any of the players there so it will be interesting for me to see what level I am at compared to them. I know I have a solid game and although I haven’t practiced as much as I would have liked I feel ready. I’ll travel to Gloucester early on Saturday and have a knock at the Academy, so hopefully I’ll be ready for Sunday’

 

Marc with prizeName: Marc Davis

Qualified from: Glasgow Heat 1.

Previous Best SBC: First time entrant.

Current Odds: 14/1

Marc is a first time finalist, a familiar face on the EPTC circuit, he took advantage of our first venture into Scotland to qualify for the Grand Finals:

‘As it’s my first time playing in the SB Classic I’m really excited about playing in the Grand Finals, I’ve just put a new tip on my cue and hopefully it will be worn in by Sunday. I’ve taken a lot of confidence from my recent match against Shaun Murphy which I probably should have won but considering I don’t practice as much as some because of my work commitments I can’t complain. I play Jamie Bodle who I know to be a good player so I’ll need to be sharp, I’m just excited to be playing so we’ll see what happens’

 

Elliot without his prize because referee Rob Spencer forgot it.

Name: Elliot Slessor

Qualified from: Derby

Previous Best SBC: Grand Finals Quarter Finalist

Current Odds: 15/2

Former professional Elliot came through the heat in Derby, a quality, attacking player, he must stand a big chance of taking the title on Sunday:

‘I’m always confident going into big tournaments and this is no exception. I am playing quite well in practice and although I have one of the more difficult first round draws I’m not too bothered about that. I’m friends with Leo so it’s a shame we have drawn each other so early but snooker is dog eat dog and I will be able to put that out of my mind when I get there. I’d also like to say a big thanks to SB and Mrs SB for putting on a great tournament that is coming on in leaps and bounds, all well deserved, I’m also looking forward to picking up my qualifying prize as the referee forgot it in Derby!’ 

 

AntPName: Ant Parsons

Qualified from: Leeds Heat 1.

Previous Best SBC: Champion 2013.

Current Odds: 6/1

Ant has been there and done that, the champion of 2013 is back for his fourth consecutive Grand Finals and knows what it takes to win: 

‘I’m playing really well and I am well prepared for Sunday, which is the highlight of the snooker season for me and the biggest amateur tournament there is bar none. The SB Classic brings out the best in me and I know that you just have to play to win, you don’t have to play brilliantly all day, it’s just about stepping up when you need to. This is the strongest Grand Finals field that there has been and I want my title back, I play James Brown first and I know how good he is so won’t be taking it lightly. I plan my entire season around this tournament and if I don’t end up as champion it won’t be through lack of preparation. I am really looking forward to Sunday’

 

 

Steve and prizeName: Stephen Croft

Qualified from: Preston.

Previous Best SBC: First time entrant.

Current Odds: 12/1 from 50/1

Stephen, or ‘Crofty’ is a former professional who returned to the game after a decade away just two weeks before qualifying from Preston. Since then he’s been putting the hours in and is the subject of a huge gamble:

‘Lots of my mates have backed me to win on Sunday and I have to say that I am quite confident. I am hitting the ball well and I’m playing a lot more now than I was when I qualified. I’ve been practising with Craig Steadman and have been taking sets off him so I know my game is in good shape. I don’t really know Jamie Clarke, my first opponent, as he was probably only starting out when I packed it all in to start a family. I’ve heard he’s a good player so I’m going to have to be sharp. I’m going all out to win the title on Sunday as preparation for Q-School’ 

 

Leo with frameName: Leo Fernandez

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 1.

Previous Best SBC: First time entrant.

Current Odds: 13/2

Leo has already secured his professional tour spot for next season, but can he enter the pro circuit with the SB Classic title under his belt? 

I’m really looking forward to the whole experience on Sunday, I entered because so many people told me how well run it was and they were right, it’s an excellent tournament and feels like a proper competition. I think I am in the harder section of the draw but I don’t really mind as that means I will need to be sharp from the off. I’ve never played Elliot before but I know he is a very good player and I’ve been practising with Mark Davis and Jimmy Robertson recently to get my game as sharp as I can. I hope to do well on Sunday but it’s just nice to be involved’

 

 

Sam with frameName: Sam Craigie

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 1.

Previous Best SBC: Qualifying Second Round.

Current Odds: 13/2

Sam is a very talented player from the North East who impressed when qualifying from a tough heat in Gloucester, he is lots of people’s idea of the winner:

I’m looking forward to Sunday but I wouldn’t say that I am over-confident in my chances. If I play well I have got a chance but I really only played one good match to qualify and in this field that won’t be good enough. There are I think a handful in this field who can win it and I have to be in the right place from the off to be one of them. I’ve found myself getting a bit annoyed lately when not playing well which is something I never used to do so I have to work on that. But it all depends what happens on the day and if I turn up I have a chance. We’ll see’

 

 

Ryan with frameName: Ryan Causton

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 2.

Previous Best SBC: Grand Finals Last 16.

Current Odds: 14/1

Ryan ‘The Eagle’ makes his second Grand Finals after an impressive qualification from Gloucester. He’s been supporting the SB Classic since the start and has improved year on year: 

‘Since the PTC event in Poland I have been really confident about my game and I will carry that confidence into Sunday. I beat two top 20 players and that has given me such a boost and made me believe in myself more, I feel that I can win this on Sunday and it would mean the world to me if I did. I played last week in the memorial tournament for Billy O’Connor and lost in the semi-finals in a very high standard match to Hammad Miah, I hit three centuries during the day and felt great. If I can bring this form here I feel I am in with a big chance. I play a practice partner of mine Charlie Walters first, I don’t really like playing friends but that’s just snooker. I’m really looking forward to Sunday, it will be a great day’

 

James with frameName: James Brown

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 2.

Previous Best SBC: Grand Finals Last 16.

Current Odds: 40/1

James makes his second consecutive Grand Finals Day after a final victory over Reanne Evans in Gloucester. Very fast and attacking with bags of experience, he’s a handful for anyone:

‘I don’t get much time to practice these days but I’ll have a knock before Sunday to get ready, I should be ok. I played Ant Parsons in a comp a couple of weeks ago and we joked that we’d probably draw each other in this and we have, I think that’s a really tough draw for me and the Grand Finals field for this year is very very good, much better than last year. It’s a higher standard than you’d see at most amateur events if not all and I think there are about 7 players there that can win it. If I play well I am one of them but I won’t know until I start if I’m in the mood or not. But I’ll have to hit the ground running as if I don’t I know Ant will take full advantage and I’ll be heading home’ 

 

MichaelName: Michael Rhodes

Qualified from: Liverpool Heat 2.

Previous Best SBC: Qualifying Second Round. 

Current Odds: 12/1

Michael is the current English Amateur Champion and played superbly in the second Liverpool heat with some heavy scoring, he looks ahead to Sunday: 

‘I will know after a few shots on Sunday whether I have a chance or not, I am very up and down in terms of form and I was delighted with the way I played in Liverpool to qualify. If I feel confident on the day I think I have a great chance, if not I have no chance. I’ve never played Kishan before but will treat him with the utmost respect as everyone who is playing on Sunday is there because they have proved themselves worthy. It’s very much on the day with me and I’m just looking forward to competing and hopefully going home with a trophy and a very nice cheque!’

 

 

GaryName: Gary Thomson 

Qualified from: Glasgow Heat 2. 

Previous Best SBC: First time entrant

Current Odds: 16/1

Gary, another former professional, came through the second Scottish heat and has been spending the last few weeks preparing for the Classic:

‘It’s a real buzz to be involved with this tournament at last, I have followed it since the start and decided to play this year as I’m giving snooker another go for a few months to see how it goes. I’m playing full time and this week I’ve played Michael Rhodes, Gaz Allen and Jamie Clarke at their turfs, I’ve been doing a lot of driving! I’m going to Gloucester on Friday to practice with Eden Sharav so that I am fully prepared for it. I’m not playing as well as I used to but I’ll give it a go, I had a look at the odds and couldn’t believe the price on Stevie Croft when the book opened, no wonder he’s been backed. I haven’t backed myself but I think I have a chance, I’m just looking forward to the occasion’

 

Jamie C with prizeName: Jamie Clarke

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 3

Previous Best SBC: Grand Finals Semi-Finalist.

Current Odds: 7/2 Favourite

Jamie has been entering the SB Classic from the very first year and is looking to lift the title in his fourth successive Grand Finals:

‘There are a lot of quality players in the mix on Sunday and I’m happy to have got through to compete with them. This is a great tournament and we are very lucky to have it and we are always very well looked after by Mr and Mrs SB. It kicks off a busy period for me with the World Championship and the EBSA qualifiers to come, so to win would be a great confidence boost for me and would mean so much. I’m playing every day and enjoying the game more than ever, so I’ll be giving myself every chance going into Sunday’ 

 

 

Charlie with prizeName: Charlie Walters

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 3

Previous Best SBC: Qualifying Second Round.

Current Odds: 16/1

Charlie beat defending champion Brett Miller to qualify last week in Gloucester and the Grove resident faces his practice partner Ryan Causton in the opener: 

‘As I only qualified last week I think that gives me a bit of an edge over some of the other players here. I’m really looking forward to Sunday and I play my practice partner from The Grove, Ryan Causton. We played in a tournament a couple of weeks back and I beat him 3-1 so I will take that with me to the table. I don’t really play in much but I have put the hours in for Sunday and for the last month have played more than for the entire rest of the season and my results are showing that I am putting the work in. I am confident going into Sunday and would really like to use this as a springboard to Q-School’

 

 

Kishan with prizeName: Kishan Hirani

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 4.

Previous Best SBC: Grand Finals Quarter Finalist.

Current Odds: 18/1

Kishan is back in the Grand Finals again after a couple of deciders saw him get through in Gloucester last weekend, the Cardiff based player is looking to improve on previous years on Sunday: 

‘I’ve been preparing for Sunday after last weekend by practising with Duane Jones and I feel that my game is in really good shape. I have a tough draw but there isn’t really anything else once you get to this stage is there? I was chuffed last week to win a decider against Adam Bobat, I’d somehow managed to let Phil O’Kane take three frames off me in the semi-final, I don’t know how that happened, but obviously I knew that I needed to improve a lot in the final to stand a chance and that is exactly what I did. This tournament is great preparation for what lies ahead for us amateurs at the sharp end of the season and I’d love to win it, as I need the money!’

 

Jamie B with prizeName: Jamie Bodle

Qualified from: Gloucester Heat 4.

Previous Best SBC: Grand Finals Last 16.

Current Odds: 18/1

Jamie also came through in Gloucester and will no doubt use his bags of experience on Sunday to try and carve out the results:

‘I have the English Amateur Final coming up as well as this so I have been practising more than usual lately, I try to play most days when time allows. I’ll let you know on Sunday night how confident I am! I really don’t think like that, I just get on with it and play whoever is in front of me, or hopefully behind me. I’ve seen that I play Marc Davis first who I am familiar with but to be honest it could have been any of them as they are all there on merit and there isn’t an easy draw in the hat. If I bring my A game I have a good chance, but I’m going to use the old cliche that I will take one match at a time, because that is exactly what I will do’

 

 

Tom with prizeName: Tom Barton

Qualified from: Order of Merit List.

Previous Best SBC: Grand Finals Last 16.

Current Odds: 28/1

Tom came close twice to qualifying automatically but in the end comfortably topped the Order of Merit List. Brett Miller did just that last year and ended up champion, so can Tom do the same? 

‘There are so many good players there on Sunday I’d say I had a ‘punters chance’. I’ve used this tournament to improve my game and my matchplay and it has certainly done that throughout the season. I’ll be putting some long hours in with my coach Joe Lazarus before Sunday and no doubt he’ll tell me what I am doing wrong until I fix it to his liking! This is a great tournament and that’s why it’s really the only one I enter, until this I just played with my mates down at the club and I didn’t know how good I was. I hope to put up a good performance and if I win my first match who knows what could happen, after all Brett did it last year. I am match sharp from last weekend so hopefully that will be to my advantage’

The Snookerbacker Classic 2016 Grand Finals Day takes place this Sunday, 3rd April, at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester. Spectators are more than welcome to come and enjoy the snooker for free. More details about the day are here.

As well as outright odds Boyles also have betting on the highest break of the day and a 147 being made here. Match betting can be found here.

We will be live streaming Table 1 from Gloucester here. Live scoring will be done on each match and that can be found here

March 29, 2016

Snookerbacker Classic Grand Finals: Full Details

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:33 am

SB A4 POSTERThe draw has now been made for the Grand Finals on Sunday and it won’t be long until we know the identity of the fifth Snookerbacker Classic Champion who will walk away with £3000 plus a date at The Crucible the following Wednesday as part of the Snooker Legends evening.

Players should note that the dress code is strictly waistcoat, collared shirt, trousers and shoes. Logos on waistcoats are permitted and players will also be supplied with a further logo to wear during Grand Finals Day.

Players drawn in the top half of the draw should arrive no later than 9.45am to the South West Snooker Academy for their opening match at 10.00am. Players in the bottom half of the draw should arrive to the venue no later than 11.30am and should be ready to play their opening match on completion of top half matches.

The draw for Round 1 is detailed below. Please note that throughout the day we will be operating a roll-on, roll-off system so players should plan their eating habits around this. In other words, if you are one of the players that have been drawn later, take advantage of the breakfast facilities at the venue and arrive earlier, if you are playing early, you should grab some grub after your first match. Mrs SB will also be providing cakes for players and referees throughout the day.

All prize money will be distributed by bank transfer no later than 48 hours after the completion of the tournament.

Spectators are very welcome and if you fancy popping to Gloucester to watch you will be made most welcome, you might even get a piece of cake.

Round 1 (Last 16) – Best of 7 Frames

10am starts

Marc Davis (Scot) v Jamie Bodle (Eng) – Referee – Ian Wagstaff

Leo Fernandez (Ire) v Elliot Slessor (Eng) – Referee: Eirian Williams (Live Streamed)

Jamie Clarke (Wal) v Stephen Croft (Eng) – Referee – Nick Harry

Charlie Walters (Eng) v Ryan Causton (Eng) – Referee – Mark Seaman

NB 11.45 starts

Gary Thomson (Scot) v Tom Barton (Eng) – Referee – Ian Wagstaff

Ant Parsons (Eng) v James Brown (Eng) – Referee – Alan Collis 

Kishan Hirani (Wal) v Michael Rhodes (Eng) – Referee – Nick Harry

Brian Robertson (Eng) v Sam Craigie (Eng) – Referee – Mark Seaman

Later rounds played on a roll-on roll-off basis.

Outright odds for the Snookerbacker Classic are available at Boylesports here and match betting for the first round is available here. There will be live scoring on every match and one live streamed table, more details on this to follow.   

March 28, 2016

SB Classic Gloucester: Final Five Complete Grand Finals Field

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:01 pm

Another great weekend of snooker in Gloucester produced the final five names to make their way into the Grand Finals Day of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic which is to be played next Sunday 3rd April, back at the South West Snooker Academy to see who becomes the fifth Snookerbacker Classic Champion.

Saturday saw Jamie Clarke and Charlie Walters add their names into the prize money pot with Jamie, playing his first event of the season, qualifying with a victory in the final over Zack Richardson and Charlie coming through a decider in his final against the defending champion Brett Miller.

Jamie C with prize

Jamie Clarke is back for the fourth successive year

Brett had earlier in the day topped the highest break table with a stunning 140 total clearance, to the delight of Phil O’Kane, who sat in the players lounge having just lost a decider himself only to be told of Brett’s break. Phil then spent the next day and a half trying to find every excuse in the book to still be top of the break table and get Brett’s break written off, even claiming at one point that because it was made against a player from Russia that it shouldn’t count, alas to the deaf ears of the tournament director.

Jamie is now into his fourth consecutive Grand Finals having not got further than the semi-finals on three previous attempts but he was immediately installed as the new favourite for the title when news of his qualification filtered through, such is his increasing reputation in the game.

Charlie will be competing in his first Grand Finals Day and played very well all day, clearly at home in the conditions and coming after a week of practice at the Grove, with the top names in snooker, and I do mean the top names. So he’s definitely one that isn’t phased by much at all, a great attribute to have going into Sunday.

Charlie Walters is a Grand Finals Day Debutant

Charlie Walters is a Grand Finals Day Debutant

  Sunday saw a fairly quiet start to things and for one reason or another there were a few late withdrawals, whether this was because of the clocks going forward the previous evening or the late (and frankly careless) realisation by some that it fell on Easter Sunday I don’t know, but it made for a much more sedate start to proceedings which were later to see qualifications for Kishan Hirani and Jamie Bodle as well as Tom Barton who finished ahead of Alex Taubman and reigning champion, for the next week at least, Brett Miller at the top of the Order of Merit list.

After Kishan had dispensed with Phil O’Kane in an ill-tempered affair, littered with softly spoken insults aimed at each other mostly from Phil it has to be said, he steadied himself for a deciding frame win against Adam Bobat to take his place in Grand Finals for the second time. Kishan’s win also secured Tom Barton’s place at the top of the Order of Merit even though Tom was still involved in a semi-final battle with Mike Rogers, which he was to lose eventually in a decider.

Kishan makes his second trip to Grand Finals Day

Kishan makes his second trip to Grand Finals Day

Awaiting Mike was Jamie Bodle from Derby, a Grand Finalist last year who has bags of experience and is a handful for anyone. By this time it was getting late and the pace of the day was beginning to tell on them both. But Jamie held himself together and rode out a comfortable 4-0 winner.

Mike spent most of the day off the table with his head stuck in his university work and one look at what he was working on was enough to give me a headache (he’s doing Further Maths), he really is a right old brainbox is Mike and not really your average snooker player. Topics of conversation on the other side of the room included the World Cup of Crisps, why Jesus doesn’t look anything like referee Martyn Royce eating his soup, an exhaustive list of places Jamie Lashmar had fallen asleep, the adventures of Phil O’Kane Volume 14 and of course why Brett Miller’s break should be struck off. All topics were discussed whilst trying to solve clues from Simon Dent’s Bumper Book of American Crosswords to very little success.  

Jamie however, despite the advancing hours was again able to give the best winners picture of the season under the guidance of Diana Schuler, who seemed to be able to control Jamie’s every move with the words ‘do something’, which must be German for ‘say cheese’. Jamie marches on with a smile on his face.

'Do Something'

‘Do Something’ – followed by the standard response from Jamie.

 All the results from Saturday can be viewed here and Sunday can be viewed here. The Highest Break, Order of Merit List, won by Tom Barton and all qualifying results can be found on one handy page here

Tom Barton qualifies for his second Grand Finals, this time via the Order of Merit List.

Tom Barton qualifies for his second Grand Finals, this time via the Order of Merit List.

The draw for the Grand Finals is now available here. Outright betting is available here and match betting here.

March 24, 2016

Snookerbacker Classic: Easter Weekend in Gloucester Details

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:45 am

SB A4 POSTERThis weekend sees our second of three visits to the spiritual home of the Snookerbacker Classic, the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester as two 32 player events will see a further 4 Grand Finalists confirmed as well as the Order of Merit qualifier to complete the Grand Finals Day line up.

It’s another really strong field and the draw for Saturday can be found here, with the draw for Sunday here where you can also keep up with the scores as they come in.

It’s also the final weekend of the Order of Merit list which is currently headed by Tom Barton who is 6 frames clear of Alex Taubman and Kishan Hirani. Other players involved at the weekend who will be looking closely at this list are Declan Bristow, Matt Glasby, Zack Richardson, current champion Brett Miller and Phil O’Kane.

INFORMATION FOR PLAYERS: In terms of match times, those players drawn to play in matches 1-8 in Round One will commence at 9.30am with those drawn to play in matches 9-16 commencing as tables come free, they should arrive at the venue no later than 11.00am. Please note that if the two qualifiers from Saturday are also entered on Sunday they will be replaced by two reserve players. The usual terms and conditions apply and they can be viewed here. The dress code is polo or collared shirt, trousers and shoes.

Full details of this seasons Snookerbacker Classic can be found here and you can find all results so far, the highest break table and the ongoing Order of Merit list here.

The referees for the two events will be Nick ‘Chardo’ Harry and Martyn ‘Rolls’ Royce. 

March 21, 2016

The Players Championship Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:46 pm
Heaven knows he's miserable now.

Heaven knows he’s miserable now.

Tomorrow sees the start of the Players Championship Finals being held for the first time in Manchester, the home city of Morrissey and a place where it rains every single day of the year, explaining why a lot of its inhabitants have a rather weary way about them, unlike the happy go lucky Smiths front man of course.

But the good news is that even in Manchester it can’t rain inside and 32 players line up to see who ends up being the King of the PTC’s for the final year.  Mark Selby has withdrawn of course and the lucky recipient of his place, in spite of popular demand, is none other than Marmite Matt Selt.

As this is exactly the same format as the World Grand Prix (as well as the same sponsor and therefore probably the same colour carpet and set), it’s not an event that I can get too excited about.

We have China next week which is a little more appealing followed by Snooker Christmas in the form of the best part of a month in Sheffield with lovely long multi-session matches from dawn until dusk. Heaven.

Apparently Stephen Hendry will be joining the already excellent team over at ITV4 for the week, making them for me now the clear frontrunners in terms of snooker coverage these days. It’s just a shame that they have landed another similar best of seven job, to the casual viewer this will look exactly the same as the last tournament only a week or so ago, something Bazza said would never happen in terms of tournament identities.

You can see the schedule of matches here, you can find the ITV4 coverage schedule here. The full draw can be viewed here.

I’ll probably tune in now and again to see how it’s going but as a betting heat, my teenage style sulk and one-man protest at these short matches will continue. No bet.

YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE TO THE ITV HUB FOR FREE AND WATCH ITV4 COVERAGE ONLINE HERE (UK ONLY).

March 18, 2016

Mark Selby withdraws from Manchester and China

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:08 pm

News filtering through today that World Number 1 Mark Selby has pulled out of next week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship in Manchester as well as the China Open later this month for personal reasons.

Sometimes things are more important than a game of snooker and while I think Mark will not have taken this decision lightly, it’s obviously the right one for him so we all wish him well. After all, he’s pretty much one of the hardest working professionals out there and can’t be faulted for his commitment to the sport.

Let’s just hope that whatever it is he is facing off the baize is a distant memory this time next month when we hope to see him in fine fettle at The Crucible.   

March 17, 2016

The Calm Before The Storm

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:32 am
It's not long now....

It’s not long now….

It’s nearly a week since the World Grand Prix finished and still another five days before any more snooker, but those who like a bit of a lull in proceedings before moving onto the next tournament, myself included, had better enjoy the break as from next Tuesday, snooker goes full throttle until the World Champion is crowned on May 2nd in Sheffield.

We start with the Finals of the Players Championship, or as most still refer to them, the PTC’s. This sees the 32 qualifiers battle it out over the best of seven format, up to the semi-final stages in Manchester in front of the ITV4 cameras. Sound familiar? Well, yes it is basically the World Grand Prix again, just in a different venue. The draw can be viewed here.

The most alarming thing for me about this is that it wasn’t played this week instead, as the two finalists in Manchester will presumably (if they have qualified) have to hire a tardis to get to Beijing for The China Open, which starts the following day. The draw for that is here. Mark Selby for instance did face the prospect of being in the final on Sunday night in Manchester and playing on Monday afternoon in Beijing. However, with the introduction of ‘floating slots‘, the gang at World Snooker have managed to somehow fit the timetable around those at the business end in Manchester, I could sit here and study the floating slot set up if I wanted to, but I’ll leave it to you to decipher if it will work or not, what could go wrong?

What follows is the best period in snooker of the season. Not just the big one at The Crucible, but also the qualifiers. For anyone who isn’t used to getting involved with the World Championship until the Crucible line-up is confirmed, all I can say is that you are missing out hugely. The qualifiers are at times as tense as the big event itself and the final qualifying round in particular is fantastic.

OK, we may only have two tables streamed but the scoreboard F5 key will be taking a hiding from those with a vested or even passing interest in the outcomes. The schedule is brutal, those who qualify will have very little time to rest before making their way down the road, but for the snooker fan, the qualifiers are an integral part of the whole event. They start just 3 days after China ends, in which time the draw will need to be made following the final ranking revision of the season.

In terms of how things look at the moment for Crucible places, below is how the draw would pan out if it were done today, but there is plenty of scope for all but defending (cursed) champion Bingham and world number one Selby’s slots to change so it’s really, as Clive would say, only of academic interest at this stage.

Can someone from outside the current top 16 steal a place in Manchester and/or China? Will Ding play his way in or face the prospect of three best of 19’s at Ponds Forge? So many questions are still to be answered, but as ever Matt has summarised some of the possible permutations here.

PROVISIONAL TOP HALF

Stuart Bingham (1) / Qualifier

Liang Wenbo (16) / Qualifier

Mark Allen (9) / Qualifier

Joe Perry (8) / Qualifier

Ronnie O’Sullivan (5) / Qualifier

Martin Gould (12) / Qualifier

Mark Williams (13) / Qualifier

Shaun Murphy (4) / Qualifier

PROVISIONAL BOTTOM HALF

Neil Robertson (3) / Qualifier

Marco Fu (14) / Qualifier

Barry Hawkins (11) / Qualifier

Judd Trump (6) / Qualifier

John Higgins (7) / Qualifier

Ricky Walden (10) / Qualifier

Michael White (15) / Qualifier

Mark Selby (2) / Qualifier

If any bookmakers out there fancy working in partnership with me for the World Championship, just email me at [email protected] for full details, the blog takes off when these are on and has several thousand hits daily, so it’s an ideal platform for any firm that wants to play along for the championship.

In terms of the amateur scene, we have the final qualifiers of the Snookerbacker Classic in Gloucester on Easter weekend and the Grand Finals back there the following weekend, so it’s a big period in the amateur game too. Add to this the play-offs at Ponds Forge for two further professional tour places and all this adds up to a bonanza period for all involved in the sport.

So have a rest for a couple more days, then dust off the anorak, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

March 12, 2016

World Grand Prix Finals Weekend

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:12 am

We’re up to the long matches and I’m sure we’ll see an entertaining finish to the tournament with Ding Junhui now playing himself back into the Crucible seeding slots. It’s also nice to see the World Champion regaining his confidence ahead of the big one in five week’s time.

GP    

March 11, 2016

World Grand Prix – Quarter Final Friday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:20 am

It’s Quarter Finals time in Llandudno with it all to play for and some of the p-layers looking to bolster their automatic Crucible qualification chances by scooping the £100,000 first prize. As it’s still best of seven, for no good reason that I can think of, until tomorrow I’m still sulking, but that will change if Captain Carter can get through to the weekend, a win for him will see him land the plane firmly in top 16 territory from way down the list. Yes, shameless favouritism is the name of the game for me. Match times are here.  

QFS

March 10, 2016

World Grand Prix Round 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:45 am

As you know I am sitting this one out in my own futile one man protest about these best of sevens taking over the sport, but here’s a list of the second round matches and you can see what time they are being played today by clicking here.

R2

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