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.  

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