Snookerbacker

October 25, 2018

International Championship

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:30 am

Plays better in front of one man and his dog these days

From 28th October snooker once again moves over to China, this time to Daqing for the annual International Championship, where China specialist Mark Selby will be looking to make it three on the spin in this particular event and bag the impressive £175,000 first prize.

Once again a huge arena awaits the players over there, if only the same could be said about the spectators, or should I say lack of them. One question that I am frequently asked is why the Chinese in general fail to turn up in numbers at venues when we are told how huge the sport is over there.

My best guess is that this is largely cultural, perhaps they like playing more than watching, or watching on TV more than live at the venue. Perhaps with China being so vast the venues are not accessible to sufficient numbers to form a respectable crowd, perhaps the ticket prices are restrictive…..perhaps it’s a bit of all of these.

But the fact is that year on year, event by event, the crowds are woefully poor. There is the odd exception which perhaps points to the fact that the cities they are holding these in are the main issue, the more affluent areas of Shanghai and Beijing always seem to attract the larger audience but some of the events in the arse end of the country are probably just too far away from the crowd or anyone with any money to draw in the punters. I do continue to wonder why they choose to hold them in vast arenas though, it adds nothing to the tournament and if anything makes it look a bit desperate as a spectacle in my opinion.

Anyway, Selby returns to try and take his third successive title here and he is becoming a player just lately who seems to be performing better on Far Eastern shores than he does at home for whatever reason. He’ll soon be facing a real fight with snooker’s newest playboi Mark Williams to hold on to his number one spot in the rankings and that one could well go right to the end of the season before we know who will finish on top this time around, but a nice drop of the £175k purse for either of them in this would probably help enormously to making that happen.

You can play around with the draw to make your selections here even entering the prediction competition if you so wish. I’ve done that and my selections are included below as I try and follow up the success from last week’s English Open with the recommended winner Stuart Bingham (40/1) and runner-up Dark Mavis (150/1) both being chalked up each way before a ball was struck.

Once again this is covered by the stalwarts at Eurosport though I’m guessing this one won’t include the studio bits, first off, Jimmy White has qualified for the main event and secondly Ronnie has decided to swerve it so I assume he has other plans, not sure the Eurosport snooker budget will stretch to first class flights to China for the regulars so it’s a scaled down coverage but coverage all the same and for that we should be very grateful as the Eurosport offering continues to go from strength to strength.    

Recommended Bets: WIN ONLY – Judd Trump (7/1) and Mark Allen (22/1) EACH WAY – Anthony McGill (160/1 – Boosted), Ali Carter (50/1) and Joe Perry (80/1 – Boosted).

Round 1 Acca – Anthony McGill, Martin Gould, Martin O’Donnell and Graeme Dott pays over 7/1.  

October 14, 2018

The English Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:07 pm

Back with the numpties at the car boot sale

This week sees the first of the four legs of the Home Nations events, with snooker being played in Crawley, where apparently there has been an event before, but I can’t remember what it was.

These are of course the events that form part of the pot at the end of the rainbow that is £1 million for anyone that can win all four of them. In fact, finding the pot at the end of said rainbow is probably a piece of piss compared to the nigh on impossible task here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to competitive action and seems to be getting a bit confused with the ranking list. The recent Shanghai Masters winner and current world number three believes that if he were to win this event he’d be the lowest ranked player ever to win a professional tournament.

The hapless Rocket is basing this ridiculous assertion on the fact that he’s not earned any money so far this season in ranking events, on account that he hasn’t been playing in them. But he’ll clearly reassert this stupifying piece of buffoonary several times as the week goes on to try and make people believe him.

Don’t. It’s fake news.

He’s also been having a go at the poor old Numpties again, reminiscing back to the good old days when he just played at venues in front of huge crowds and never had to qualify for anything and wondering why people who in his words are ‘very poor at the game’ are professional.

What he appears to be blotting out is that as well as the holy trinity of the Class of ’92, who are still owning three of the top four spots on the tour in which he is of course included, there are also a few thousand others who were in that class who now put ‘ex-professional snooker player’ on their social media profiles, leaving out the bit that they were only professional because they paid to do it when the floodgates were opened for anyone with a cue and a bulging wallet to do so. Mark my words, he played a lot more numpties in his early days than he does now, The Norbreck in Blackpool was like a mecca for numpties back in the day.

Again, fake news.

What isn’t fake news is the suspension of Jamie Jones that happened this week which I wrote about here and also a rather bizarre outburst from Mark King in the qualifiers in Barnsley during his match with Gerard Greene. Poor old Kingy got so frustrated at his lack of form that he huffed and puffed, banged and clanged and even told the referee to piss off. I think despite his protestations and sincere apologies at the end of the match he might be at least £250 lighter in the coming weeks.

Anyway, oh yes, this comp. You can predict your own outcome of it here and watch it on Eurosport all week. It’s best of sevens until the latter stages with 128 players in from the start, or as Ronnie likes to call it ‘car boot snooker’.

Here’s my outright selections for Crawley (where is Crawley by the way?). I have a feeling O’Sullivan will win it, but his price is way too short so some value each way pokes are the order of the day.

To Win Outright: Barry Hawkins (25/1) and Mark Allen (45/1 – Boosted)

Each Way: Stuart Bingham (40/1) Ryan Day (66/1) Yan Bingtao (66/1) Dark Mavis (150/1) and Gary Wilson (250/1) 

October 11, 2018

Jamie Jones Suspended

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:27 am

Some surprising snooker news emerged this morning as Welshman Jamie Jones is the latest player to be suspended from the sport pending further investigation by the WPBSA. The suspension is in place with immediate effect meaning that he will miss his planned match up with Zhao Xintong tomorrow in Barnsley, which at least saves on the petrol I suppose.

“Following the investigation into alleged breaches of the WPBSA Rules by David John, a decision has been taken today that Jamie Jones has a case to answer.”

“The allegation is that Jamie Jones was party to, or facilitated the manipulation of, the outcome of David John’s match with Graeme Dott that was played at the International Championship Qualifiers in Preston on 29th September 2016.”

The WPBSA also stress that there are no matches that Jamie played which form any part of the investigation, which seems to indicate that this is focusing solely on the fact that he may have known in advance about Mr John’s plans and perhaps even may have had a hand in them.

Remember David John was suspended back in May alongside Chinese players Cao Yupeng and Yu De Lu.

The fact that, like the three players above, Jamie has been suspended immediately would suggest that the investigation is not focusing on betting alone.

Remember, we have seen a few players investigated for betting who have been allowed to continue playing while the investigation is being carried out, namely Stuart Bingham, who was later served with a ban and Alfie Burden and Joe Perry who both were given suspended suspensions and fined.

It’s part of the current crackdown on breaches of betting rules and regulations that is being undertaken by the WPBSA sniffer dogs. My understanding is that there are several other investigations ongoing so it’s really not a good time for snooker in this regard. Anyone who claims to be unaware of the rules nowadays would I’m sure be given short shrift by the firing squad before they pulled the trigger.

It would sound to me like Jamie may be facing a longer ban if there is any evidence that he was involved, but we’ll have to wait and see. His hearing is to be held on November 8th.

Meanwhile the Zhao Xintong fan club are celebrating as he was due to play him in the English Open next week aswell. Every cloud…..

October 1, 2018

European Masters

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:03 am

No sooner has one ranking event finished than another one gets underway, this time the tour moves to Belgium for the European Masters in Lommel.

Mark Selby hotfoots it here following his China Championship triumph but runner-up over there John Higgins has joined World Champion Mark Williams in deciding to withdraw. It’s also an event that Ronnie O’Sullivan has chosen not to enter.

Judd Trump defends the title he won last season and you can take a look at who has entered and how they fit into the draw here, it’s being covered extensively on Eurosport.      

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