December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas Snooker Fans

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:12 pm

Christmas is a time of year that we all traditionally do exactly the same things that we did last year and probably the year before that and many years before that too.

Thankfully, the BBC, despite it’s fondness for repeats and cheap as chips TV at this time of year has not decided to regurgitate the turd of a festive project I feature for your ermm ‘enjoyment’ below.

I’m sure some of you will have seen it before but for newer followers of the baize it’s always good to remind ourselves that a bad idea is a bad idea forever, and boy was this a bad idea.

So before you enjoy yourself too much, watch this and think that there are people in the world a lot less fortunate than you are.

Merry Christmas Everyone, enjoy your spuds.

December 12, 2016

Hoots Man! It’s the Scottish Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:40 am

Scotland, for those that aren’t sure where it is, is a small suburb in the North of England which houses people that moan about being English, fight each other over the most trivial thing, moan a lot, sing about being Scottish and drink loads of alcohol. It’s also managed somehow to produce some fine snooker players down the years, possibly because the weather is always terrible and they have to stay indoors for 23.5 hours a day.

Snooker returns there today in the form of the Scottish Open, the third leg of the much heralded Home Nations series. The million pound bonus is now a distant memory with unlikely winners Liang Wenbo and Mark King having taken the first two trophies ensuring that wily old Bazza doesn’t have to fork this out any time soon whilst claiming it was always part of the prize money pot for the season.

The last time snooker visited Scotland was for a PTC just around the corner from John Higgins’s house in Ravenscraig. To say it was poorly attended would be grossly inaccurate and an exaggeration of the truth of the matter, it was basically watched by one man without his dog so lets hope that the move to Glasgow produces a much better crowd than that one did.

It’s back to the best of sevens for this and it’s covered as usual by Eurosport. As chance would have it, two Scottish snooker heavyweights John Higgins and Alan McManus have drawn each other in the first round, it’s funny how these things happen in the open and transparent draw system that is operated by the governing body, almost as if the snooker gods themselves have had a hand in deciding this fate.

I’m not going to get too involved in this as I’m getting into Christmas mode. I might post the odd bet on Twitter but I will leave you with the essentials if you want to get involved.

View the draw here, view the schedule here, view the live scores here and pay and watch through Eurosport Player here.

December 6, 2016

German Masters Qualifying

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:31 am

It took them a while to get round to doing the draw but today Barnsley plays host to the first day of qualifying for February’s German Masters in Berlin, one of the best tournaments on the calendar.

I might post the odd bet here and there on Twitter but I’m not going to be covering this in any depth this week, you can view the draw here, the order of play here, follow the live scores here and if you want to watch live you could do worse than sign up for Eurosport Player for a small fee here

December 4, 2016

The UK Final: The Rivalry Continues

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:57 am
We meet again

We meet again

Snooker has through the years enjoyed many great rivalries, from the very early days of Spencer and Reardon, through Alex and The Nugget, through Hendry and White then O’Sullivan who then battled with Higgins and now, with Mark Selby.

It’s astonishing even writing that first paragraph just how Ronnie has maintained his position in the sport for so long, the last three truly great rivalries have all involved him and he’s there today, looking for yet another big title against his current nemesis.

The fans of both are fiercely loyal to their man. In the age of social media where seemingly anyone can say anything to whoever they want that they wouldn’t dream of saying to their faces, the insults fly. ‘Slowby’ is frequently used by the politer fans of Ronnie to describe Selby, the less polite ones will just call him a ‘fucking boring twat’.

Meanwhile, Selby’s fans goad their enemy by simply telling them to get over the fact that Selby has Ronnie’s number and knows how to beat him, pointing to the recent history books to rile their foes.

The truth is that these two remain the best two players in the world and their match-ups are always fascinating to watch because they are so different. This is what makes the best rivalries, if you look at the ones I mentioned above, it’s easy to see why they worked so well for the sport.

I’ve gone from thinking one will win to the other and I’m still not sure if I’ll even have an interest bet on it, there are so many different scenarios that can play out and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them totally dominates from the start and runs away with it, but I hope that doesn’t happen.

Selby to me this week has looked very much like the player that won two world champiosnhips and Ronnie dodged a bullet which was even bigger than Marco’s watch last night to get here. So if someone had a second one in the barrel and it was pointing at my head, the name I’d give is Selby. I’m actually quite surprised that Ronnie is such a clear favourite with the bookies.

I hope it’s a great final, let battle commence.

December 3, 2016

UK Championship Semi Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:48 am

We are down to the one table situation in York today as the best of 11 frame semi-finals are battled out with all four left, after a tournament of shocks, being established names in the sport.


Shaun Murphy faces Mark Selby this afternoon and the head to head between these two is as you’d expect, incredibly close with Mark ahead by one match of the 35 they have contested and just three frames up out of 259.

Tonight, Ronnie O’Sullivan faces Marco Fu with Ronnie, as he does with most, holding a commanding head to head lead but Marco has beaten him on the big stage in the past so it’s still a test for The Rocket, who will hope to improve on his rather understated performance last night.

Let’s hope it’s a great day in York and a fitting conclusion to this prestigious event tomorrow.


December 2, 2016

UK Championship: Quarter Finals Friday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:08 am

qfA cracking day of snooker lies ahead today in York as eight become four with all four quarter finals played today, two of which involve clashes between multiple world champions, with the other two offering two players in particular a golden chance of a great payday this weekend.

Jamie Jones is the latest in a long line of players to claim he’s skint, whilst it is easy to make light of these matters it is now becoming increasingly evident that this is a real issue in snooker and one that should really be being addressed head on.

Jamie is a middling professional who had a great run in Sheffield a few years back but hasn’t really kicked on as expected, with that comes huge financial pressures which only a run like this can ease, just ask Mark King.

Is it time that professional players were guaranteed a base wage? Even if they lose in the first round of everything? That’s a question that there is some disagreement on and while the tour is so big in terms of player numbers it’s very unlikely to happen. Another argument perhaps to trim it a little and have a supporting tour in the background which rewards hard graft?

But this week Jamie is rising to the challenge and if he can win tonight against Marco Fu his financial worries will be eased for a bit at least. Marco himself is busy with other things and selling huge wristclocks to anyone that wants one so he’s stuck his finger in a pie outside of snooker to try and get by, he was of course one of the players who lost out financially from the demise of the old management stable at 110 Sport, apparently he lost a lot of dosh as a result and was one of the worst affected.

But all this talk of money is a far cry from the heavy wallets of this afternoon’s clash between moneybags John Higgins and World Champion Mark Selby, which should be a cracker. They’ve had some great battles down the years, notably at The Crucible with Selby ahead in matches and just one frame ahead in the 183 frames they have played with each other. I get the feeling that this match will set the scene for the big one this evening between MJW and Ronnie, who for me are the two best players to watch in the game when they are at their best.

Shaun Murphy takes on Belgian Bullet Luca Brecel in this afternoon’s other tie, Luca seems to come alive in York and rumour has it can be found in the queue every morning at the iconic local tea establishment ‘Betty’s’ to fuel up for the day ahead. Whatever Betty is putting in his tea seems to be working judging by his win over Mags last night, he might have a lovely smile but inside there is a ruthless competitor who surely at some point will be getting his hands on some silverware, I think he has a great chance against Murphy today if he can keep his form going, he doesn’t seem to get phased by the big occasions at all.

It should be a cracking day and I’m hoping to be able to get to somewhere in the vicinity of the arse dent in the living room sofa for the start of it all at 1pm. I’d advise you to do likewise.

Recommended Bets: SINGLES AND A DOUBLE – More than one century in Higgins v Selby at 6/5 and O’Sullivan v Williams at 6/5.    

December 1, 2016

Ronnie Shakes it Up

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:07 am
He's been at it again

He can’t help himself

Yesterday saw another fairly straightforward win for Ronnie O’Sullivan in York as he progressed into the quarter finals alongside Shaun Murphy, Mark Selby and Marco Fu, but once again the headlines and talking points were as much about his off-table antics as his performance on it.

Already this week he’s likened snooker to a big car boot sale much to the annoyance of his boss, rubbished some of his fellow professionals calling some of them ‘numpties’ who are not good enough to be real snooker players and claimed that the sport has become a cheap TV filler and nothing more. As an aside and more bizarrely he also claimed to be a ‘secret closet’, but I think that’s best left parked for now.

Before he played yesterday he appeared to backtrack on these observations somewhat (apart from the closet bit) on his blog before throwing another grenade after his win over Stevens.

This time his focus was on the way top players are treated and the need to not so much trim the tour numbers but saw it in half and have just 64 playing, with half of them being promoted and relegated each season from and to a supporting amateur tour. This of course isn’t a new idea and something that I myself have suggested in part in the past, even getting as far as tabling a bid to the authorities with a plan for the amateur game on it.

He claimed that the image of the sport is failing to attract sponsors of a high calibre like the likes of Formula 1 and Tennis do, a view that I know is shared by a lot of snooker fans and fellow players. Initially this was part of Bazza’s plan, to get those big blue chip companies interested in the sport and grow it globally, but despite the growth and the numbers who watch snooker, it’s still heavily tilted in favour of the gambling industry when it comes to sponsorship, something that clearly irks The Rocket.

He also told us that he’d got a tournament arranged for 8 players over 2 days for a stackload of cash only to be told by World Snooker that it couldn’t happen as it didn’t cater for 128, I’m not sure what this tournament initiative is all about but he didn’t seem too happy about it being given the elbow. You can see exactly what he said if you have access to BBC IPlayer, just fast forward to 02.59.00 if you are interested. If you can’t access IPlayer but would like to listen to what he had to say, you can do that here.

Anyway, on the table Ronnie is now odds on 19/20 favourite with this tournament’s sponsor Betway who for me are at least one of those sponsors who actually make an effort to draw some interest into the event and the sport in general, very much like World Championship sponsors Betfred. 

There aren’t many sponsors who would have taken the time to set up a new snooker based game and invite two of the world’s top players along to play it. They also have an interactive snooker quiz game with prizes on offer as well as a series of decent articles about the tour on a blog. I don’t think anyone can accuse them of not doing their bit, it’s just a shame that all the sponsors don’t give that level of commitment to the fans.

The move to the two table set up clearly benefited the more experienced players yesterday with a combined score of 24-5 in their favour, but today’s matches with the possible exception of one of them, if that pattern continues, look set to be a lot closer with a lot more even match ups, so given the goings on of yesterday I think a revised handicap bet is probably in order.

Recommended Bet: Treble pays over 5/1 on MJW (-2.5), Maguire (-1.5) and Jones (+2.5) 

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