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?

September 15, 2013

Snookerbacker Classic 2014: Gloucester Draws LIVE!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:07 pm

We have just completed the draws for the opening two qualifying events of this season’s Snookerbacker Classic and you can see who plays who by playing the two videos below.

The first video is for Saturday 28th September and the second one is for Sunday 29th September, both take place at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

If you would rather not sit through these two pieces of lunacy you can click here to view the draws and the match start times.




June 11, 2013

Blogger’s Block

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:16 am
You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.

There’s lead in my pencil, but I don’t know how to use it.

It’s a very modern phenomenon and would have been unheard of 20 years ago, but it’s real and I think I am going through it at the moment. Ladies and Gentlemen, I think I have Blogger’s Block.

Writer’s Block is well known, it’s got everyone at one point or another. There are pieces of advice to beat it out there, usually written by people who don’t write for a living.

‘Work on more than one project at a time’ they say. ‘Change your routine’ they scoff. ‘Stop worrying about being original’ they bark. But my personal very unhelpful top tip has to be ‘Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writer’s Block’ – presumably this inner-journey is concluded by a very dark episode with a pearl-handled revolver, a glass of fine single malt, a Cuban cigar, a photograph of your loved ones and your very last tear stained epic left atop of your beloved mahogany writing bureau.

Let’s not go there.

I thought I was alone until I read a tweet last night from Matt at Pro Snooker Blog who seemed to whimsically indicate that this was an annual event in the calendar for him at precisely this time of year. He even gave it a little name making it sound like something he actually didn’t mind having?? Even top scribe and snooker nut Dave Hendon wrote a piece yesterday about cues which screamed denial. Regular bloggers without whom the snooker season would not be half the fun it is seem to have gone into hibernation or temporary limbo.

In short, IT’S EVERYWHERE.  

So what causes it? Well, I can only speak from personal experience and draw the non-conclusion that it could be a number of things. Is it the blogger’s equivalent of burn-out? Could be….. Is it the fact there is so much snooker on that it can sometimes feel like you are a hamster on a wheel, living Groundhog Day over and over again? Could be…. Is it the beginning of the end? Is it a realisation that you have done what you can and have nothing else left to say? Could be…. Is it the changing of the seasons or the tides of the sea? Could be…. Is it Henry the mild-mannered Janitor? Probably not.

Regular readers of this tripe will know that I frequently make reference to there being too much snooker, I do believe that in order to keep a sport interesting there needs to be some period of rest, some downtime. Like any relationship absence can make the heart grow fonder and with due respect to the potters on their way to the latest Asian PTC which starts properly tomorrow, I couldn’t really give a monkeys who wins it.

Perhaps Blogger’s Block is as Matt describes, simply an annual thing which is as regular as clockwork, perhaps I have always had it or perhaps once you get over three years of blogging in the bag it sets in. One thing I do know is that when I was on holiday with Mrs SB last week I didn’t miss blogging one bit and casting my mind back three years, I am pretty sure that I did when I was away for a week back then.

One thing I did do though is think about how to freshen the blog up a bit and I did have an idea which I think could have some mileage. The downside is that it involves me climbing into the loft at SB Mansions first to dig out a stack of old magazines (no not those type of magazines), I mean old snooker magazines and I will probably get round to doing that at the weekend and then see what develops.

This piece might also sound and probably is utterly self-indulgent and I am always mindful of something that I read which I think Chris Evans said once when talking about a time when he was acting like a complete bellend. He said ‘you stop being entertaining when you think you are the news’, or something like that. Roughly translated I think it means that once your head disappears so far up your own arse that all you can see is your intestines then you might as well pack it in as nobody is listening to you anymore.

But in writing this I am following my own piece of advice, write yourself out of it, confront it head on and beat it into the ground. That’s what I usually do when confronted with a problem and so it seems the natural way to do it and you know what? I already feel a bit better.

So all that is left is to offer my sincere apologies to those who wanted, quite understandably, to read something about snooker on a snooker blog, if that is you read this far down.

Normal service will be resumed shortly, I’m fairly sure it will anyway.

May 31, 2013

And then while I’m away….

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:40 pm

ClosedTomorrow is the day that myself and my lovely wife accompanied by our two faithful hounds head to the hills for a spot of walking in the middle of nowhere and as a consequence of the sometimes appreciated lack of contact with the outside world, the blog is having a few well-earned days off.

Unfortunately, I still work on bluff old traditionalist time and still feel a little uncomfortable with snooker going on while the UK enjoys its annual three and a half hours of sunshine. I am getting used to it but it may take a little longer. Hence, this is the time of year that it’s most convenient to go away before the proper season starts.

Unfortunately, Barry Hearn having made his millions already only believes in sunning himself while everyone else has to work for him so the snooker rages on at a pace while we are away with the conclusion of the Australian Open qualifiers and a PTC taking place in somewhere called Bulgaria of all places, whatever will he dream up next from his big pond full of fish that all have names that he writes down?

So while I’m away, I won’t, unlike my fellow Scouse quartet, apart from the two ones that are dead, be writing home every day or sending any of my loving to you, most of you will be glad to hear.

To keep in touch with all things snooker, the live scores are the first port of call for the Aussie qualifiers and if you want to read about the Bulgarian PTC then here’s the draw and the format of that event which starts in the middle of next week.

For a bet, keep your eyes peeled for value and don’t forget to check out blog partners Apollobet by clicking the banner below.

But from me, for a few days at least, I bid you farewell. If I fail to return by Saturday please alert the emergency services in Snowdonia National Park. Thanks in advance.

Apollo Post banner

May 24, 2013

Blog Facebook Changes

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:20 am

A very quick note to say that as of today I will be gradually moving all updates about the blog and the Snookerbacker Classic to this page on Facebook.

So if you want to keep up to date with new posts, competitions on the blog, general snooker news and deadlines and updates on the Snookerbacker Classic, please just press the ‘Like’ button by clicking that thumb thing and then it’s sorted.

Thumbs Up


 P.S. The blog itself will remain the same, this is just if you are on Facebook and want prompts when posts go up. I’ll keep annoying everyone on Twitter too so no change there.

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