November 5, 2018

Champion of Champions

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:28 am

Exhibit A

It’s the time of year again when World Snooker choose to completely ignore the hashtag #COC and pretend it doesn’t exist. Yes, it’s off to Coventry again for this season’s Champion of Champions, or as it should really be called Champion of Some Champions and others that are there because they are highest in the rankings and they have run out of champions.

So let’s get this out of the way, the main talking point about this tournament will be the table they are using. It can best be described as an oversized pool table when it comes to looks, it’s kind of what a snooker table would look like if you let a 3 year old design it with some crayons to keep them quiet on a rainy afternoon.

But that said, I’m actually a fan of changing things around a bit now and again. I used to look forward to the Benson and Hedges Masters at Wembley when they used that light wood table. I know that sounds a bit sad but it made me happy as a nipper.

I can’t say that I’m a fan of the standard Star Tables when it comes to aesthetics, they look a bit tacky to me and my first thought about this table was that it resembled what a Star Table and a Pool Table’s bastard offspring would look like if they had a drunken shag after a heavy night out. But we’ll give it a chance I suppose and I hope it all works out for the best.

I actually really like this tournament, not only because it is a small select field but because we also get to watch the excellent ITV team in action (as well as the Johnstone Decorating Centre adverts). I’m particularly pleased that this year Dave Hendon is going to be along for the ride for the first section of the coverage, he continues to be head and shoulders above his regular Eurosport colleagues when it comes to commentary and pitches it at a level which Phil Studd could only dream about, combining his encyclopedic almost anorakian knowledge of the game with anecdotes aplenty.

As ever, they play this in mini-sections. Essentially it’s a 16 man knockout but the COC chiefs prefer to call them all groups. We play two best of seven ‘semi-finals’ in the afternoon followed by a best of eleven group ‘final’ in the evening. The four group winners then progress to the best of eleven frame semi-finals on Saturday and the two winners from those play a best of nineteen frame final on Sunday.

Last year saw Shaun Murphy topple Ronnie O’Sullivan (who for reasons only known to him calls this The Champions Cup) in an exciting final and as holder, Murphy kicks off the event this time against recent European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson, with Ding Junhui and Shootout King Michael Georgiou completing the Group 1 line up.

You can see how the draw pans out here and check out the official Champion of Champions website here.

We’re on a bit of a roll on the outright betting with recent winners Bingham (40/1) and Allen (22/1), so this is a chance for the treble. If you are a fan of horses for courses, there are some very big prices around about the holder Murphy, who has had a week off, has a winnable group and must at some point come back to form. There are likely to be a couple of weary souls in Robertson and Allen who are racing back from China as I write, and as ever it’s O’Sullivan that starts favourite in a format that we always think is tailor made for him, but he’s lost two finals on the spin here and has a potentially very tough group so I reckon there is some value in taking him on.

Recommended Bets: Barry Hawkins to win the COC @ 20/1 (Boosted at Ladbrokes). Stuart Bingham to win the COC at 33/1 (Skybet). 21 or more centuries in the event at 7/4 with Ladbrokes. 

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