March 3, 2016

Charity Snooker Shootout Shirt Auction

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:57 am

At one time or another they say that we will all, either directly or indirectly be affected by cancer, a cheery thought. A good friend of mine Jamie ‘The Bullet’ Barrett and his family are going through some tough times at the moment and Jamie has enlisted the help of a few potters to raise money for worthy cancer causes by raffling off their Snooker Shootout Shirts on Ebay.

Jamie is also unfortunately the world’s worst promoter of this so I’ve decided to help him out by posting the links on here, so click on the player name below to view and start bidding for a very worthy cause. 





If any other players would like to donate their Shootout top then please get in touch with either myself or Jamie 


January 19, 2016

The Rack Pack Review: A Triumph of Sound and Vision

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:50 am

Alex gets a touch up. Photographer: Amanda Searle

When I heard that the BBC were planning to show a film about the great rivalry of 80’s snooker played by actors I was immediately both curious and cautious. Having grown up in this golden era of the baize I was concerned that they’d fail to capture just how great it really was, snooker was the obsession of millions, from kids like me to twenty-somethings, from working mens clubs to housewives and grannies, it seemed back then that everyone had their favourite players.

The biggest rivalry in those days without a shadow of doubt was between Alex Higgins and Steve Davis. Alex, the maverick and all round nutcase and Steve, the robotic humanoid next door. They couldn’t have been wired up any differently as people and their mutual distaste for each other was orchestrated and nurtured behind the scenes by the ringmaster himself, Steve’s manager, Barry Hearn.

The Rack Pack opens up with a bang, with Higgins, played brilliantly by Luke Treadaway, seeing off the old guard in the form of John Spencer to the strains of ‘Black Dog’ by Led Zeppelin, giving us a subtle clue of what is to come, to win his first world title in 1972 in very different surroundings than we’re used to these days. The portrayal of a working class hero is evident from the start.

The film is primarily about Alex and originally apparently that was the plan, until the writers discovered that there was so much more to the 1980’s snooker scene than him. This era was all about change and showmanship; ‘Dallas with Balls’ as Hearn so eloquently puts it. As Alex himself had given the old guard a firm kick up the arse in the 1970’s, he himself was to fall victim to a changing of the guard not too long afterwards in the form of Davis, played again quite brilliantly by Will Merrick, who portrays a man growing in confidence as the years go by, from being a nerd with a notebook to someone no longer prepared to be bullied by Alex backstage at The Crucible, where two of the best lines in the film are uttered, in particular when Alex is describing witnessing the birth of his daughter and why despite all the warnings this didn’t phase him.

Behind it all is Hearn, played to perfection by Kevin Bishop. Arguably, whilst Davis is perhaps portrayed a little too wet behind the ears for greater comedic effect and Alex’s role is slightly romanticised to brush over some of the more unsavoury and extreme aspects of his personality, Hearn is played more or less to the letter. The one-liners are delivered with perfect timing and mask the ruthlessness with which he operated. As Alex changed the face of the public perception of snooker in his heyday, so Hearn did in his. Arguably without Alex none of this would have been possible and The Hurricane’s belief that this was the case would ultimately contribute to his demise as those around him, including his best friend Jimmy White, played by James Bailey, thrived under Barry’s brave new world, with Matchroom Slippers and Aftershave all thrown into the bargain.

While Barry is busy changing the sport and Alex enjoys the dying embers of his snooker career to great excess we also get a glimpse of The Hurricane’s tempestuous home life. The stresses and strains of his relationship with his wife Lynn (Nichola Burley) are played out emotionally enough so as to not be disrespectful whilst still maintaining a feel of how life had changed since they took to the dancefloor as sweethearts to the strains of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, illustrating perfectly the two sides of Alex.

As well as the character portrayals, the film also has a blinding soundtrack and the sets are absolutely fantastic, in particular the recreation of The Crucible, which has been carried out to the letter. Throw in The Who, Thin Lizzy, Jimi Hendrix, T-Rex and Grandmaster Flash, which predictably accompanies a scene depicting use of illegal substances and this element of the package takes you back to the time and the place perfectly.

We are told from the start that the film is inspired by real events and that some elements may not really have happened, but that is what drama is all about. So what if Higgins is shown breaking off from the yellow side? So what if Dennis didn’t wear his glasses until a little later than portrayed? So what if Alex’s breakdown at The Crucible wasn’t in a one table situation? So what if Big Bill was twice the size of the actor that plays him? So what if Tony Knowles’s character appears to be as old as The Bolton Stud is now and so what if David Vine tells us that Steve Davis is 2/5 at the bookies and he’s carelessly chalked up at 5/2? In the great scheme of things their historical accuracy is about as important as the truth in the metaphorical and touching final scene between Steve and Alex, all represent artistic license and the factual inaccuracies would only, as Clive Everton might say, be of academic importance.

My only criticism, from a purely selfish point of view, is that the end feels a little rushed, I’d like the aftermath to have been explored deeper, but like all great watches, it left me wanting more. I’ll watch it again, and again and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it airs on TV. But for now, the detail of how to watch it, in the UK at least, is linked below. If you enjoy it as much as I do here is an old post which sums up my own personal view of this era, snooker will never be the same, but why would we want it to be? If this film tells us anything, it’s that change is inevitable.               

Those of you that can, can download and watch it to your heart’s content here. You can also check out the tracklist here.

Rack 2

December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:37 pm

Time to sign off now for another year until snooker is open for business again in January. The Masters is the obvious highlight and should be enough to see us through the grimness of January.

In the meantime, thanks again for continuing to visit this place, you really should find something better to do with your time next year you know.

And remember, Christmas is a time for chilling….


December 9, 2015

Customer Feedback

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:54 am
Bob, pictured yesterday.

Bob, pictured yesterday.

Being a blogger has its occupational hazards, particularly when you are one who puts opinions out there in the form of bets. Generally however, most people understand that this is just what it is; an opinion, so apart from the odd pocket talker who seems to believe that just because I write it down it is some sort of personal guarantee to them that it will win, online life remains a fairly content place for me.

I do however sometimes receive emails and messages that defy logic. Long standing readers may remember the time that someone threatened to burn my house down with me in my ‘wheelchair’ clutching my ‘benefit book’ still inside because I’d recommended a losing bet on Sam Baird. A slight overreaction in my opinion. I also frequently receive emails from players asking for this and that but usually the real loons email me about betting. 

I wasn’t going to bother blogging today, but the email trail below from yesterday just seemed too entertaining not to share with the group and had Mrs SB in stitches last night.

I have concealed the name of the sender as I wouldn’t want him to feel the target of an online bully, but for the sake of this post let’s refer to him as Bob. Now, Bob regularly contacts me about the same subject as he refers to below, namely the profit and loss page on the blog which I try and keep up to date as time allows. This however, is regularly falling short of Bob’s high standards and demands and yesterday, approximately 32 hours after the conclusion of the UK Championship, he decided to contact me again.

Here is Bob’s opening gambit, bear in mind that he’s asked me this question a few times before.        

On Tue, 8 Dec, 2015 at 6:39, xxxxxxxxxxx

<> wrote:


Please can you update your profit and loss figures for the last two or three events.  You used to do it right away but now seem to not bother so much why is this please?

Many thanks

I’d just woken up and was sat in bed with a cup of tea at my side when I read this, with a strange feeling of déjà vu developing inside, I sensed nothing I could say would satisfy Bob but decided that I would reply to him anyway from the comfort of my bed. I wanted to put a stop to this before it got out of hand so decided to take an authoritative tone with him.    

From: Snookerbacker <>
Sent: 08 December 2015 07:10
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Profit/loss table

Why are you so bothered? As I have explained before I am very busy. I work full time, I run a national snooker tournament, I am married and I am also writing a book. I am not the sort of person that has time to write emails about things like this, clearly you are.

Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

As I suspected would be the case, Bob wasn’t satisfied with my rather short response and he now decides to take a more cynical approach to his assumption, disregarding everything I pointed out in my response about how busy I am. He also believes (wrongly) that the time it took me to respond to him equated to the time it took to update the figures and the graph, which, until recently were all updated by someone else far more efficient than I am. Note Bob’s begrudging praise in brackets in the next message by the way, it’s kind of like there is a nice person lurking somewhere deep inside desperate to get out. Even Hitler liked dogs.  

To: Snookerbacker <>
Sent: Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 12:03
Subject: Re: Profit/loss table

Well in the amount of time it took you to reply you could have updated the figures couldn’t you?  Does it have something to do with the fact you lost recently at the U.K so don’t want to update the new figure maybe?

If you’re keeping a figure (and it shows a very good profit it has to be said) then isn’t it only fair to count the losses too surely?

By now I was beginning to get a little fed up with Bob. So, again against my better judgement I decided that I would write a full explanation for my not meeting his expectations in this area in the hope that this might put a stop to this once and for all.    

From: Snookerbacker <>
Sent: 08 December 2015 12:47
To: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Profit/loss table

How do you know how long it takes? What are you, my boss?

Actually, sorry to disappoint you and not that it’s any business of yours, but the reason I haven’t done it since Sunday (a full day and a half ago after spending the weekend away from home in Leeds and only getting back on Sunday afternoon), is because I decided to spend a day with my wife yesterday putting our Christmas tree up instead of sitting in front of a computer all day. Furthermore, the files I need to do this are stored on my computer at work and not at home, again, not that this is any of your business.

I should clarify, the blog is a hobby, nothing more, and if I decide I don’t want to do something it is 100% my choice and nobody else’s business, if I decided to pack the whole thing in, which to be fair getting emails like yours makes a very attractive proposition at the moment, I would. In other words, what I do with my time has absolutely 100% nothing to do with you.

I trust this satisfies your rather strange curiosity. I’ve just used the last 20 minutes to make your day and updated the page, though part of me felt like leaving it for a couple of months just to annoy you. For your information, the email I wrote earlier took me about a minute.

Bob then starts to get a little bit confused. Clearly totally ignoring the fact that I’d taken the time yesterday to update the profit and loss to show the losses incurred on the UK Championship, he decides to ask me about Bulgaria, a tournament that showed a modest profit. The third line in this email is particularly confusing, maybe by now Bob was getting himself into something of a pickle?   

To: Snookerbacker <>
Sent: Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 14:07
Subject: Re: Profit/loss table

But the Bulgarian Open was a month ago???

You obviously don’t like updating it when you’ve lost.

I bet if you’d have won at the UK you’d have found the time though strange that!

Like I said whilst I can understand the UK was just a day or so ago what about The Bulgarian then, why did you leave that one so long???

I don’t like to make anyone look silly, but Bob just makes it so easy. He seems to ignore the fact that I’d left it a month to update the figures after showing a profit in Bulgaria. 

From: Snookerbacker <>
Sent: 08 December 2015 14:21
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Profit/loss table

I’m not replying to you any more. I have updated my biggest losing tournament for a while a day late (shoot me), but you have made your mind up that I don’t like updating it when I have lost – I showed a profit, albeit small for Bulgaria and didn’t update it for a month. So that’s your theory blown to pieces for starters.


To: Snookerbacker <>
Sent: Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 14:31
Subject: Re: Profit/loss table

You should be a politician the way you avoid a question.  WHY THEN have you left it a month to update The Bulgarian Open figures??? 

You can probably sense my frustration with Bob not actually listening to me in my final response to him. 

From: Snookerbacker <>
Sent: 08 December 2015 14:33
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Profit/loss table

Go away you silly little man. 

Bob decides to resort again to the big bold letters and a ‘hmmmm’ at the end, as if this somehow proves that he has made his point.


STILL no answer!!


So poor old Bob is now confined to my spammers queue. He’ll find some way of contacting me again and I’m sure I’ll probably play this whole thing out again in the future. Bob doesn’t seem to have much else going on in his life so I’m happy to humour him now and again.

January 17, 2015

Happy Blogday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:00 am

Five years ago today, I sat in bed and started spouting about snooker to anyone who’d listen. Since then, having a sometimes ill-judged opinion on something or other to do with the sport has led to me meeting a lot of great people and getting opportunities that I could only have dreamed of in 2010.

Thanks to all of you who have contributed in any way, either through regular visits here or through the Snookerbacker Classic.

To celebrate in style, here is a picture of a blue ball, worth 5 points.


December 31, 2014

Old Year Reflections and New Year Projections

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:41 pm
I'm not quite ready to retire just yet.

I’m not quite ready to retire just yet.

The new year is almost upon us and while most of the other snooker websites have been reflecting on the year, I’ve been busy doing other things and consequently haven’t found any time to blog or even to tweet. Much, I’m sure, to the relief of many. 

I’m not really even sure what I’m going to write here yet, but it just felt like the right time to return to the blog as we approach 2015. If anyone missed Matt’s awards posts over the Xmas period, shame on you, they are here and here.

In terms of this blog, I am going to break an annual tradition and NOT announce my retirement any time soon. I know this will come as devastating news to those of you who look forward to me doing this every year, but this year I mean it. I am not going to retire the blog just yet.

The reason for this is I suppose threefold, firstly, I will continue to pick and choose events I cover, this is a bit of an advantage of not having a bookmaker tie-in deal, as I have had for the first four years of this blog. It means, very much like the players, I can concentrate on only the events that I am interested in and not every conveyor-belt tournament under the sun.

Secondly, I continue to very much enjoy doing the Snookerbacker Classic and I hope to have some really exciting developments to announce about that in January. The Grand Finals Day is not even half full yet and the line-up already looks incredible, it can only get better.

Finally, I’ll also be working on another snooker-related project for the next few months, it’s already underway and once it’s done I’ll need this place to promote the living daylights out of it.

So that’s me, but what about snooker? This is, after all, the only reason for this blog’s continued existence.

Well, I do think the sport is in good shape for the most part, I was disappointed with the UK format and semi-final changes, I do think that more varied sponsors need to be found, I think the Chinese tournaments, with the exception of the International Championship are all becoming very very similar. I would like the German Masters to be given the status it deserves and the formerly prestigious Welsh Open is basically now just a PTC. But all in all I have enjoyed the year.

The World Championship was great again, despite the disappointing sponsor (come back Betfred) and it’s only a few short months until we are back in Sheffield. I enjoyed the Champion of Champions again, if only for the best Twitter hashtag of the year and the ITV team, the PTC’s are beginning to get their own identities and I like the increased emphasis on Europe and I always enjoy the Masters and the German Masters.

Of course, off the table is always in the spotlight too and the whole Stephen Lee saga came to a close, I do feel that the length of his ban was pretty hard on him and nobody likes to see someone kicked into touch with a young family and not many other options.

Big bounces and kicks are now the hot topic almost every day over on Twitter and it seems ludicrous that World Snooker can’t find a solution to these strange phenomenon. But they are now trialing a breakthrough piece of technology called ‘polish’ which seems to have gone down well with the players, if they’re not careful they’ll soon have to find something new to moan about.

'nuff said.

’nuff said.

Ali Carter has had quite a year too. Ali has become a friend of mine and I’m ecstatic that he’s beaten this cruel and indiscriminate illness for a second time. All of snooker and indeed everyone else can take heart from both his tale and the positivity he showed throughout the battle, he is a great example of why a positive outlook is essential when facing difficulties, whatever they may be. He’ll still be back to his grumpy old self on the table though soon, you mark my words.

So that’s my reflections on the year and hopes for the new one. I think the amount of snooker now is about right after a far too busy schedule the previous season. The changes to the rankings and what this means for players seems to me to be having the desired effect and all talk of burn-out should now be abated. It’s onwards and upwards for 2015, starting with the Championship League from Crondon Park and followed by The Masters at Alexandra Palace, part of Bazza’s BOGOF deal on the back of the current circus that’s on there. 

I’ll sign off with a few brief awards of my own:

Player of the Year: Ronnie O’Sullivan

Match of the Year: Michael Wasley beating Ding at the Crucible. Pure Drama.

Achievement of the Year: Robbo’s century of centuries.

Tournament of the Year: The World Championship.

Amateur Tournament of the Year: Modesty forbids me from revealing this one.

Snooker Website of the Year: Cue Tracker. Incredible achievement and an essential visit for stats.

Snooker Channel of the Year: ITV. More please and BBC take note, your viewers are not all retards, only half of them are. 

Rookie of the Year: Oli Lines. Great kid, I taught him all he knows.

Hero of the Year: Ali Carter. An inspiration.

Prick of the Year: The Wizard of Glos and Snooker Bingo on Twitter, can’t split them.

May 27, 2014

The Willies 2014 – Winners Announced

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:58 pm

The wait is finally over. Click here to see who are the winners and losers at this year’s annual Willie Awards.

February 3, 2014

German Masters Tipster Contest Winners

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:13 am

Congratulations to Mark Pitfield who stormed home in the German Masters Tipster Contest and lands the £50 free bet from Apollobet. 

The Top 3 were: 

1. Mark Pitfield – 272 points (£50 free bet)

2. Thomas Glanville – 238 points (£25 free bet)

3. Rich – 227 points (£25 free bet)

A big thanks to Rob Freeman for marking it for me as I was too lazy to do it.

Prize winners should contact me at for details on how to collect their prize.

Thanks as ever to Apollobet for their generosity.

January 28, 2014

A Bit of Housekeeping: New Blog Comments System

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:40 pm

I’m testing a new comments system on the blog, powered by Disqus. You might be asked to register – for free – or you can sign in with your Twitter or Facebook account when you post a comment if you prefer. 

At the moment the blog gets thousands of spam comments a day – although there are systems in place to deal with them it still takes up a lot of time, so this is an experiment to see if we can solve the problem. 

Previous comments are currently being transferred to the new system but as there are thousands it will take a short while to complete.

January 17, 2014

Fork Handles

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:42 am

I’ve just been reminded on Twitter that the blog is four years old today. I might buy a cake.

Fork Handles

How’s that for an understated birthday?

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