October 13, 2016

English Open Day Four

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:11 am
Ronald: Made to Wait

Ronald: Made to Wait

I have to say I am really enjoying this tournament, despite my usual gripes about the best of sevens I think the coverage offered up by Eurosport has been first class and the matches being covered, particularly yesterday, are offering up a real feast for snooker fans like me who only really switch on to the sport when it’s not sunny anymore.

Play today doesn’t start until 12 noon UK time, so there’s more of a chance for me to pen my totally opinionated thoughts on things a little more. Firstly, the coverage, there is no doubt now that Eurosport have seriously upped their game in this regard. The addition of the studio element gives it all a more polished feel and you wonder why it’s taken so long for them to do this, it’s now barely distinguishable from the excellent ITV format which works so well.

The new thin version of Jimmy White is looking more comfortable in his role as analyst as each tournament goes along and he has the added dimension of being able to tell us snippits about players that we’d not hear anywhere else. How else would we have known that Stephen Maguire has had something of an epiphany over the summer months and has finally decided to give snooker a go? Jimmy told us that snooker’s ‘lad’s lad’ seems to have grown up a bit and has shipped his table away from a club into an office set-up so he feels like he’s going to work, predicting great things for him as the season unfolds, OK after he said this Mags lost so I’d not be taking any of Jimmy’s tips but great insight nonetheless.

The commentary team remain a mixed bag of course, Neal Foulds is as good as ever and seems to have found the knack of forcing Phil ‘More is Less’ Studd to stop for breath, which is quite some feat. Dave Hendon continues to humour Mike Hallett, who yesterday decided it was OK to make fun of one of the children in the audience, no doubt to the head in hands horror of all who heard it. Mike does have a habit of going a bit Catchphrase at times and saying what he sees before engaging Mr Brain, but it does sometimes make for good, if sometimes cringeworthy listening. I haven’t managed to catch any of Ali Carter’s commentary yet but he seems to be getting good feedback from those who have, so that’s another plus.

The PTC format of these events in my opinion takes away a bit of the prestige that the TV coverage builds up. Yesterday being a case in point where an excited crowd including kids on a school night waiting to see Ronnie’s match at 7pm didn’t see him until nearer 10pm. Meanwhile the second streamed table lay empty for 3 hours while the crowd waited for their hero. It really didn’t make any sense to me and this would be a far better event if they took 32 rather than 128 to the main venue.

It’s no doubt that Ronnie is still snooker’s biggest draw by a country mile and his match last night against the latest young Chinese sensation was quite a spectacle, a bit like teacher versus pupil. Despite the efforts of the marketing team at World Snooker to carve out personalities for some of the others while fining them if they so much as fart in a public area, he’s still the one they still all want to see in large numbers. On a general point and at the risk of going down the ‘there are no characters in the game anymore’ route, it was far much more fun blogging about snooker before Bazza’s strict disciplinarian regime took hold. He keeps telling us we are in the entertainment business, but for entertainment we need heroes and more importantly villains, but with players constantly treading on verbal eggshells, that just won’t happen until he eases up a bit on the fines.

Right, I think that’s all I had to say about all that. Today sees two rounds being completed so by later tonight, hopefully not too much later tonight, we’ll know the final 8. Interestingly when Ronnie was told there were possibly two matches for him to play today he said with a trademark smirk’well that suits me fine’, he’s still available at 11/4 to win this, I suggest that you avail yourselves of that this fine autumnal morning.

Recommended Bet: Acca pays over 11/4 at Marathon Bet on Barry Hawkins, Mark Allen, Ali Carter and Judd Trump. Singles worth a punt I’d say are Kristinut Wotshisname to beat Ricky Walden at 4/1, Xiao Guodong to beat Neil Robertson at 58/19, Fergal O’Brien to beat Liang Wenbo at 20/9, Joe Swail to beat Tom Ford at 5/2.

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