November 10, 2017

COC – It’s Semi Time

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:35 am

Just finished his tea wi two

It’s been a decent week of snooker so far in Coventry for the Champion of Champions and we now move to the business end of the tournament with two evening session semi-finals over the next two days before the 19 frame finale on Sunday.

The main surprise you’d say is that none other than The Sheriff of Pottingham has made it into the last four. He dispensed with a way under par Ding Junhui before brushing aside Ryan Day and now he takes his place this evening alongside the odds-on tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan.

On Tuesday, Shaun Murphy produced some heavy scoring to see off Michael White having dispensed with Mark King earlier in the day and he faces the young man that a lot of the snooker world are beginning to get excited about, Wednesday’s winner Luca Brecel.

The Belgian Olive Loving Bullet produced a blistering display to whitewash Judd Trump in his first match in double quick time, including two centuries. He then knuckled down to see off Mark Selby, who despite feeling a little tired still played his usual tenacious game but still fell short, in part because of a tremendous clearance in the last frame from Luca when it looked for all the world like going 5-5.

On Thursday it was the turn of O’Sullivan to impress, dropping just one frame in beating Neil Robertson before whitewashing John Higgins for the first time this millennium. Ronnie wasn’t at his absolute best but was extremely solid and clearly played Higgins at his own game, Higgins for whatever reason was pretty careless even to the point that he seemed to have forgotten how to break off. In fact it was probably the most un-Higgins like Higgins performance from him for a good couple of years.

Ronald was very chipper afterwards and declared how much he likes this ‘numpty free zone’ event and I agree with him, not on the numpty bit, but on the event as a whole. It’s now firmly established in my top five of the season, both in terms of the format and the coverage. It’s nice to mix up these formats a bit, something that a lot of the tournaments don’t do and when you do things a little bit different while staying true to the spirit of the sport I think it can still work very well.

Very decent crowds all week in the smaller more compact Coventry venue also add to the cosy feel as do the regular sojourns to the guys and girl at the Johnstones Decorating Centre, where life is lived in a bubble of banter, a trough of free tea and a wholesome ‘happy to help’ environment. It’s a place where the sun always shines.

In other news, World Snooker announced this week that the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield will return to play host to the World Championship qualifiers after a few years over at Ponds Forge. It’s been welcomed by the players though the more astute observers have highlighted that the set up this time will require more tables than previous years when it’s been held there so we’ll wait and see how that pans out.

Anyway, it’s Hamilton v Ronnie today and Murphy v Luca tomorrow. I’d be backing a Ronnie/Luca final and you know what? I wouldn’t put it past Brecel going home with the spoils (9/2 best price). Amazingly, the Belgian is still 66/1 in places for The Masters, you have been told.

I’m off for a six inch roller. See you later.

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