October 1, 2017

The European Masters

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:11 pm

He’s no longer on the second floor

It’s been 23 years since ranking event snooker took place in Belgium but that long wait is finally over as the tour takes in Lommel this week for the European Masters, sponsored by *insert random bookie name* with a winners prize on offer of £75,000.

There’s a peculiar custom at least here in the UK about the lack of famous Belgians. I’m not sure where it comes from but ironically when someone here is asked what is the most famous thing you know about Belgium, one popular response is that there is nobody famous that comes from Belgium.

Some smartarse will probably tell you that Audrey Hepburn was Belgian, snooker buffs will point to the diminuitive referee Olivier Marteel, who amusingly, to me at least, is known in China as ‘The Belgian Truffle’, but there is definitely a new candidate emerging in the shape of The Belgian Bullet, Luca Brecel. He sits perched at the top of the one year ranking list and appears to be going from strength to strength on the baize, he’s also now looking very good for a place in The Masters and with a following wind, a seeded spot at The Crucible being up to 12th in snooker’s overall pecking order.

Whether he can yet claim to be Belgium’s finest export since Hepburn is of course open to debate but the olive loving potter with the lovely smile will be coming into this week full of confidence in front of an expectant home crowd, eager to impress again and build on his tremendous start to the season.

One player who has yet to find anything like his form is World Champion Mark Selby, who despite being stacks ahead of the rest on the main ranking list is currently languishing in 51st on the one-year list. He was of course hindered early on in the season after he dropped his wallet on his foot and nearly lost a toe, but he’s not got going at all since then, losing most recently to Lee Walker in China, but it’s surely only a matter of time until he starts brinkmanshipping himself back up the one year list, he’s due to meet Luca in the quarter finals this week.

As the nights begin to draw in it now starts to feel a bit more like weather for snooker. It’s pretty much full throttle in terms of tournaments from here until December with the gaping gap now having been plugged by the welcome return of The Shanghai Masters to the calendar.

Unfortunately this is another best of seven comp, which all but rules out match betting for me. I will however continue to play on the outrights in the forlorn hope that a big outsider might bring home the vegetarian bacon. One from each quarter it is again for me.

Recommended Outrights: Mark Allen 20/1, Ryan Day 28/1, Luca Brecel 33/1, Yan Bingtao 80/1. 

You can view the match schedule here and the draw can be found here.

The Eurosport TV schedule can be found here.

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