November 11, 2016

The COC Semis

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:47 am
It's been a while

It’s been a while

Now the groups are all done it’s time for the final four to battle it out in two best of eleven frame semi finals in Coventry before tomorrow sees the two session final decide who will be this season’s COC of snooker.

The groups were all entertaining enough and I do have some time for this format, at least it’s a bit different and obviously the coverage afforded this event by the excellent ITV team adds very much to it. So much so in fact that Neal Foulds has said that this event should be ‘up there’ with snooker’s most prestigious events like the Masters, the UK and the World Championship. Personally I’d have this on the second rung of the ladder as I think there are at least two tournaments in China that merit inclusion in a Grand Slam type bracket more than this one, but we’ll agree to differ on that.

Talking of agreeing to differ, Twitter is getting a bit more tetchy these days. All I have to do is simply say something mildly non ‘on message’ about John Higgins and all hell breaks loose. It’s almost like to some I have accused them of rogering a goat the way people can react. Maybe that’s the post-Donald world we now live in, where people can do something wrong one minute and the next it’s all forgotten about like it never happened, much like Donny himself who now seems to love, respect and admire those who he has been spouting his venomous bile towards these last few months. He was only joking.

One Trump who won’t be triumphant this week is Judd, the ‘Ace in the Pack’ himself being trumped by Higgins who progresses again to face Ding Junhui this afternoon in the first semi-final. It’s quite a remarkable run that Higgins is putting together, it makes you wonder why he’s been so poor at The Crucible these past few years, never looking like adding to his tally of four world titles, perhaps this season he might re-emerge as a contender again as he clearly still has everything it takes to be at the top of the tree. Ding in the meantime came through a pretty mediocre affair with Ali Carter before dispensing with Stuart Bingham who frankly looked like he just wanted to go to bed by the end.

In the other semi-final tonight we find Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Allen. Ronnie struggled through his group on Monday, he looked at times a little disinterested but was never really asked a serious question all day and by the end looked a bit bored by it all, his post match interview showed signs that his inner chimp was escaping from the box. He also had a go at Marks and Spencers about his new shoes, so much so that the following day the retail giant announced it was closing loads of shops and concentrating on food rather than clothing, such is the power The Rocket yields.

Allen is in great form and must fancy his chances of upsetting the crowd tonight. I suspect the Ronnie that we’ll see later won’t be the one we saw on Monday, I’d imagine he’ll be relishing the possible match up with Higgins in the final for a real old school battle of the greats. They haven’t really locked horns on the big stage now since 2011 when Higgins beat him on the way to what could prove his last world title win, for the fans I think it would be a real treat to see them battle it out in a big final again, it’s almost a decade since they met in a major final so it’s very much overdue.

So it’s unsurprisingly from me a nod to nostalgia and I’ll go for a Higgins versus O’Sullivan final, if you click on the match fixtures below you’ll find the head to head stats on Cue Tracker. The Even money available on Higgins to win this afternoon looks like a decent bet to me.

Semi Finals

1pm – Ding Junhui v John Higgins

7pm – Mark Allen v Ronnie O’Sullivan

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