October 27, 2017

International Championship – Back to Daqing

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:10 am

It’s been quite a week off the baize so it will be a welcome relief for all concerned to actually get back on it as the players head to Daqing in the North East of China to compete in the International Championship. This is a tournament which stands out a little by virtue of the fact it embraces the longer match format more than any other event outside the UK.

Mark Selby defends his title this week, he won in a canter last year, absolutely demolishing the home favourite Ding Junhui in the final by ten frames to one, a defeat that really rubbed in his dominance over Ding following his previous World Championship final victory over him, one that he was to repeat again in the semi-finals in Sheffield a few months later. Ding definitely owes The Jester one.

Obviously the big news this week has been about Bingham’s ban, this being the first big event that he will miss. But as ever Ronnie O’Sullivan has also been in the news, he’s very upset about trophies at the moment, his war of words with the top brass when it comes to what he perceives as broken promises has been spilling out all over social media. He’s nearly always said that he plays for the trophies rather than the money and his insistence that he wants what is rightfully his even led to a bizarre and possibly over-reactive statement from the WPBSA addressing his concerns directly. He’s still not happy though and his toy trophies remain scattered outside the pram.

As well as this he’s also knocked in a 147 against Liang Wenbo over there this week in a no-doubt financially lucrative show match, to the delight of the noisy Chinese crowd. We should also make a mention of the new UK Seniors Champion Jimmy White, who captured this title with a final win over Ken Doherty. A big congratulations to Jimmy and to the organiser Jason Francis, who again proves that he knows what it takes to put on a show.

They have played one round of this tournament already in Preston, though there are a few matches that have been held over, including Selby’s and Ding’s. All the big names are here so it promises to be a decent week of snooker, it will be interesting to see if Ronnie can keep up his recent form and take back to back titles. The one thing that has been missing from his game for a few years now is consistency, but at the moment to me he appears to have got some focus back but whether he might reserve his energy to try and nab the million quid off Bazza at the expense of tournaments like this remains to be seen. It is possible that he might lock horns with Selby in the final if things fall the right way and what a climax to the event that would be.

It’s going to be covered by Eurosport throughout, though until the Chinese see sense and change their clocks to UK time we’re going to struggle to see quite a lot of it on these shores. 

In terms of betting, it’s my idea of the winner with a few value and huge price each punts, a chancey first round acca and some tricky trebles to kick things off. With these best of elevens it’s time to really have a good look at the matches and see what we can find.      

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Recommended Bets:

OUTRIGHTS Win Only: Ronnie O’Sullivan at 5/1.

Each Way: Shaun Murphy 25/1, Ali Carter 66/1, Ghou Yolonge (AKA Zhou Yuelong) 125/1, Gary Wilson 300/1, Hossein Vafaei 300/1.

Novelty Bet: Selby v O’Sullivan final at 10/1

MATCH BETTING: Favourites Acca – Ali Carter, Luca Brecel, Tom Ford, Shaun Murphy, Hossein Vafaei and Martin Gould pays 5/1.

First Round Trebles: Sam Craigie, Peter Ebdon, Jack Lisowski, Eden Sharav, John Astley – Acca pays 366/1.  

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