August 24, 2017

The Paul Hunter Classic

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:24 pm

It’s the time of year again when snooker players across the world gather in Fürth, Germany to celebrate the life of one of snooker’s brightest stars who sadly left us far too early for the Great Billiard Hall in the Sky. The Paul Hunter Classic is a regular feature on the calendar and now a well-established event, perhaps some might like it to be a little higher profile but it’s always a treat for the German fans who as ever, turn up in their droves armed with sausages and brimming with facial hair.

Sadly, despite all the hullabaloo and cork-popping which greeted Eurosport’s ten year deal with snooker, they haven’t seen fit to put this one on the telly, instead, those of us who pay the subscription to the Eurosport Player get to choose between action from three tables online, tables which I am sure will also be covered live by the usual bookie sites too.

The amateurs have been battling away since Wednesday for the right to make the main starting line-up with the professionals who come in on Friday for the traditional PTC style format.

The draw is probably best followed here though the World Snooker website remains far from ideal and very clunky to use, with some things almost impossible to find on there. To summarise, one half of the draw plays down to 8 players on Friday and the other half on Saturday before the final 16 get together to fight out the final knockout stages on Sunday. All matches are the best of seven frames although on current form matches involving Fergal O’Brien will feel more like the best of 77.

A few of the players of course will be racing here from China where Luca Brecel broke his ranking event duck with a famous victory over Shaun Murphy in the final of The China Championship. The beaming olive-loving Belgian gives mainland Europe their first ever ranking event winner and few in the game will begrudge him his moment of glory. Take that Brexit.

It’s great that more and more countries are embracing the sport and it would be nice if Germany followed suit with a ranch of their own young talent. As things stand, Luca is one of only a handful of younger players who might be able to fend off the lurking Chinese contingent who surely are now only a few years from filling a lot of the top spots on the tour. Once some of the old guard start getting careless there are now a number of young Chinese players who to me look the strongest mentally that they have produced. The mental side of the game is something for whatever reason I have always thought has been the downfall of others that have been heralded as the next Ding Junhui, but I think that’s now being addressed and is helped in no small part by the community of players building around Victoria’s in Sheffield.

Anyway, that’s enough of me rambling on. Let’s take a look at the outrights and see what we can find. If the mood takes me when it comes to match betting I’ll probably bash these up on Twitter in the mornings. If anyone followed them during the recent Preston qualifiers I hope you did as well as I did, that was a very decent week and almost made me like best of sevens, almost…

The tried and not very trusted method I tend to adopt in these big fields and PTC style formats is to pick out a player in each quarter and look for any other mad scraps of value that might be out there so here goes nothing. The top quarter in particular could throw up a semi-finalist at a big price so I’ll lump a few each way punts in from that section.

Paul Hunter Classic Outrights: Win Bets: Stuart Bingham 12/1, Kyren Wilson 14/1. Each Way Bets: Dominic Dale 80/1, Gary Wilson 100/1, Chris Wakelin 250/1, Alexander Ursenbacher 300/1.

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