March 5, 2017

The Players Championship – The Return of Proper Snooker

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:43 pm

Come, come, come…. Nuclear Bomb

The wait is over. At last we have said goodbye for another season to the best of seven and shorter format matches as we approach the business end of another busy period on the baize, starting on Monday from Llandudno in Wales (which for some reason the Welsh refer to as ‘Clan-did-no’, totally ignoring how it is spelt), with the Players Championship.

Anyway, Clandidno is the kind of town that Morrissey wrote about in ‘Everyday is like Sunday‘, the seaside town that they forgot to close down kinda place. But it has its charm and being a bit of a miserable sod sometimes I quite like towns like that. I’ve chosen to live just around the corner from one actually and it’s the kind of place I went to on holidays with the family as a nipper. Think ‘Kiss me Quick’ hats and candy floss, that kinda vibe is where the Didno is at.

As I write the latest PTC style event in Gibraltar is coming to an end and because this tournament is seeded in terms of the 1 year list (1 v 16, 2 v 15 etc.) we don’t yet know the full match line up, although we do know who the final 16 are. This of course is not ideal when you only have today to write a preview, seeing as a prerequisite of writing a preview about betting on matches would be to actually know what those matches are. Not really ideal is it, either for the blogger or the bookie.

I’ve been a bit disappointed with the calendar of late, I make no secret of the fact that I think there are far too many tournaments these days with shorter formats and since the back end of the Welsh Open snooker has been a big switch off for a bluff old traditionalist like me. I’m sure I’ve missed some great matches, but I’m equally glad that I’ve not really bothered with any of it as it means I can now look forward with added enthusiasm and fresh eyes to this, to The China Open and then to the World Championship, including of course the qualifiers which are sometimes as riveting as the main event itself.

So why am I so keen on this event? Well, it’s kind of a bit like The Masters for ITV, the only difference is that these first rounds are best of nine rather than elevens and they are played on two tables rather than one but other than that we are seeing the 16 players who have performed best over the course of the season battle it out for a decent purse, even the first round losers get £10k just for turning up, which to me does feel a bit protectionist but you could argue that every player has had an equal chance to get here so I’m largely in favour of it.

Like I said, it’s difficult to write a preview when you don’t know the matches, when we do I’ll pop them in the space below and update as the tournament goes on. I very much enjoy the ITV coverage when they have a decent event and I’m sure they will do this one justice, it’s just a shame that the draw isn’t known for a decent betting preview, but I’ll pen my thoughts before the session starts tomorrow evening with Ronnie O’Sullivan and his good pal Liang Wenbo locking horns again (one of the few match ups we do know).


First round Draw:

Mark Selby (1) v Ryan Day (16) – Tuesday 1pm

Marco Fu (8) v Anthony McGill (9) – Tuesday 1pm

Ding Junhui (5) v John Higgins (12) – Wednesday 1pm

Stuart Bingham (4) v Anthony Hamilton (13) – Monday 7pm

Barry Hawkins (3) v Neil Robertson (14) – Tuesday 7pm

Ali Carter (6) v Shaun Murphy (11) – Wednesday 1pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan (7) v Liang Wenbo (10) – Monday 7pm

Judd Trump (2) v Mark King (15) – Tuesday 7pm

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