May 14, 2019

Q-School 2019 Details

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:30 am

It’s back to school for the potters.

The World Championship may be over but for amateur snooker players, the biggest event of the season is nearly upon us as we head to Wigan for this season’s Q School. The four semi-finalists from each of the 3 multi-player events will earn a place on the World Snooker Tour for 2019/20 and 2020/21, with a further 4 players also receiving tour cards, presumably from the Order of Merit list that runs over the three events.

It’s the usual mix of players, from those fresh from dropping off the main tour last season, to those who’ve been ploughing the amateur and senior tours in preparation, to the rookies to the no-hopers, it really is a real mish-mash of standards here and always makes for a very competitive couple of weeks.

This year a few bookmakers have priced up qualification from Event 1 which starts on Saturday, whilst Ladbrokes/Corals have also come up with a wider ‘to qualify at any point’ market.

There are some very familiar names there looking to bounce straight back on to the tour including the likes of Allan Taylor, Peter Lines, Sean O’Sullivan, Robin Hull, Ross Muir, Rory McLeod and Sandi Lam alongside a few Chinese players who are looking to re-enrol like Xu Si and Zhang Yong and European players Alexander Ursenbacher and Lukas Kleckers.

There are also familiar names to snooker fans who are also throwing their cue back into the ring after a spell away from the main tour like Jamie Cope, Barry Pinches and Andrew Pagget. We also have Reanne Evens, Rebecca Kenna and Ng On Yee in there flying the flag for the Women’s Tour as well as a smattering of players that hardened snooker fans might remember from back in the day who also fancy their chances of one last stab at the main tour.

I’ve had a few bets here and there but have avoided the favourites and looked at the capable players further down the list who are more than capable on their day of defying big odds, in Event 1 I’ve had a stab at Ben Hancorn at 80/1 and Wu Yize (who I have heard good things about) at 40/1.

I’ve had a daft multiple at Black Type which will probably bankrupt them if it wins on Sandi Lam (8/1), Barry Pinches (14/1), Leo Fernandez (25/1) and Billy Joe Castle at 12/1, all to qualify from the first event. Wish me luck with that as I’ll need it.

In terms of three lively outsiders in the ‘Qualify at any time’ market I’ve gone with Peter Devlin (15/1), Shane Castle (11/1) and a lad called Riley Parsons at 33/1, who I remember playing in my tournament a few years back and who looked very talented, he’s recently won a qualification event in Gloucester so has clearly kept it up.

The draws for all three 2019 Q School events, and the format of play are detailed on the links below. The events run from May 18 to June 4 at Robin Park Leisure Centre in Wigan.

Click here for event one draw

Click here for event two draw

Click here for event three draw

Click here for the format


May 7, 2019

World Champion and Runner-Up Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:08 am

In 2011, the final of the World Championship between Judd Trump and John Higgins was the first one covered on this blog, now roll forward 8 years and Judd has finally fulfilled his potential while still in his 20’s. His win over Higgins may not have been dramatic, but it was clinical and incredibly high quality, with some now predicting a decade of dominance for the new World Champion. 

Below we hear their reactions to the press at The Crucible, which closes it’s doors to snooker fans for another year. Thanks for tuning in to this little corner of the internet for this last month, it’s time for a break from snooker now for a bit, but we’ll all reconvene again next season which as ever, will come round in a flash.

But now over to the 2019 World Snooker Champion, Judd Trump.

May 5, 2019

The World Championship Final

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:18 am

So today sees the start of a repeat of the 2011 final between John Higgins and Judd Trump at The Crucible.

The first time around it was a very different Judd Trump that faced the Grand Master, one full of youthful exuberance and a fearless potting machine and it has to be said, one which we probably all thought wouldn’t have to wait this long to get back there. Higgins was coming back after a career threatening ban and since then he’s dipped again before his latest comeback to make his third successive final.

Higgins showed an almost superhuman side of his snooker character in the semi-final, seemingly down and out during the middle of the match he played almost flawless snooker towards the end to deny Dave Gilbert in a decider, Judd had a slightly easier ride against Gary Wilson and you’d imagine he’d be the fresher of the two going into the final.

I’ve no idea who is going to win, based on the semi-final performances you’d be a brave person to bet against Higgins, but since when has snooker followed the script? Particularly during this past couple of weeks.

Higgins’ all round game to me looks in the better shape of the two but Judd may be saving his best until last. The one thing I will say is that I hope they have sorted out the table which seems to be all over the shop and quite why they can’t get it right for the biggest event of the season is beyond me. As fans, I think we’ve all had more than enough of all this endless kick/chalk/big bounces natter so it would hopefully stop all that too if they can sort the table out. Let’s hope the snooker can distract from this side of things over the next couple of days.

In terms of a prediction, if someone threatened to shoot me I’d side with Higgins, I’m not particularly rooting for anyone but I think it would be nice to see Judd finally fulfill his potential and stop being labelled the new Jimmy White.

Thanks as ever for tuning in here over the past month or so, as ever it’s been quite a ride.

Semi Final Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:48 am

John Higgins takes on Judd Trump in the final but the two losing semi-finalists Dave Gilbert and Gary Wilson have made a huge contribution to the championship this year, here is what they all had to say after the matches yesterday, with Gilbert just a matter of a few balls away from the win.

May 2, 2019

John Higgins and Neil Robertson Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:13 am

Judd Trump and Stephen Maguire Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:11 am

World Championship Semi Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:02 am

It’s been a tournament of shocks so it’s no surprise that a couple of names that are still alive and kicking for the famous ‘one table situation’ are not ones that a lot of people will have expected.

I think it’s been an enjoyable championship so far if not quite raising the roof in a way that others have, the lack of a quarter final deciding frame was a bit of a let down and there will be many that will see the two matches we are faced with now as being one way traffic, but the championship is not done yet and there is still time for one final twist.

I’m not going to bother with recommended bets as I have enough interest still left in the championship with the 190/1 each way outright bet on Dave Gilbert and a special frames bet I requested at Ladbrokes, which basically entails the losers of every match from here on reaching 12 frames, so fingers crossed on that.

I will say that of the two players who start as outsiders in these matches I think Gary Wilson probably has the better chance of causing an upset. Dave Gilbert for the third match running faces another player who has denied him a ranking title in John Higgins. Their head to head strongly favours Higgins but Dave can take some encouragement from the fact he beat John on their last meeting in the 2017 World Open.

Judd and Gary have met each other on one occasion, again this was at the World Open and Gary rode out a 5-3 winner, so Judd will be looking to beat the Tyneside man for the first time to reach another final, perhaps again facing Higgins as he did in his only previous final appearance back in 2011.

I’ve been incredibly impressed with Wilson in this tournament and I honestly think he is more than capable of causing another upset. I think the 5/1 on him beating Judd represents a bit of value and I might have a nibble of it.

But I suppose it would be silly not to expect the final to be contested between Trump and Higgins, but as we know, this championship does sometimes throw up the unexpected, so it’s far from the nailed on certainty that the bookies seem to want to have us believe. Let’s just hope for two cracking semi-finals and if the losers could see fit to win 12 frames it would be greatly appreciated.

Dave Gilbert v John Higgins (Thursday 1pm, Friday 10am & 7pm, Saturday 2.30pm)

Gary Wilson v Judd Trump (Thursday 7pm, Friday 2.30pm, Saturday 10am & 7pm)  

May 1, 2019

Dave Gilbert and Kyren Wilson Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:07 pm

Dave Gilbert closed out his match this afternoon against Kyren Wilson and makes it two out of two debutants on the one-table situation this year. Here is what they had to say afterwards.


Gary Wilson and Ali Carter Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:42 pm

Qualifier Gary Wilson is the first name into the semi-finals at The Crucible after a 13-9 victory over Ali Carter in a high quality match, here is what they had to say afterwards.

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