April 11, 2013

Snookerbacker Classic 2014 – Want to Join the SBC Family?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:12 am
Last year's champion Martin O'Donnell presents the trophy to this year's winner David Gray.

Last year’s champion Martin O’Donnell presents the trophy to this year’s winner David Gray.

I have started confirming venues and dates for next season’s Snookerbacker Classic this week and am well on the way to cementing dates in the diary for the biggest UK amateur event of them all.

Without giving too much away, there will be a few new aspects of the event this year, including a bigger prize fund, a Snookerbacker Order of Merit, Roycey’s Ref School and three new venues on board.

Prize money will be extended from losing Quarter Finalists to players that lose in the Last 16, meaning that you will need to win just 4 matches to be in the money.

The tournament also benefits from the generosity of sponsors, a happy bunch that form the SBC family.

Already on board as partners of the event next season are:

John Parrott Cuesports
Lake Creative Design
The Capital Venue/South West Snooker Academy
Sight Right UK
My Snooker Stats

If you or your company want to join the Snookerbacker Classic family, get in touch with me at [email protected] to see how you can.

The launch of the event will follow this season’s Q-School where past winner Martin O’Donnell used his winners prize to full effect last season by qualifying for the main tour and this years winner David Gray will be attempting to do just the same in May.

April 10, 2013

That Once a Year Time: The 17-Day Snooker Punters Guide

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:59 am

Internet-TrollIn honour of this excellent piece by Dave Hendon the other day relating to the once a year snooker journalist brigade that descend like a huge turd from the sky on our sport at this time every year having spent the rest of the year watching football, I thought as a blogger, tweeter, gambler and first and foremost fan I should also give some pointers for those in society who only share my passion for 17 days a year.

Please share these tips with anyone you know that fits this description.

The Once a Year Snooker Gambler

The golden rule that should be remembered here is that if a bet that you place loses it is NEVER YOUR OWN FAULT. Here is why:

There are a number of factors at work here, firstly, if you have simply decided to place the same bet as a blogger or someone that you have been told knows what they are on about, blame them, after all they TOLD you to bet and took the money out of your pocket to give to the bookies and line their pockets.

It is THEM, NOT YOU, who is responsible.

If your bet loses, there is a huge probability that the match was bent, why else would everyone on the Betfair forum be saying so? The player you bet simply missed too many balls on purpose, balls that you yourself can proudly tell everyone that you would have potted (add a ‘blindfold’ reference for added comedic effect). The bookies had got word to the player that they stood to lose a fortune on him and offered to give him a decent bung to lose. This is often the ONLY RATIONAL EXPLANATION for your bet losing, particularly if it wasn’t a bet that someone else told you to do.

The good thing about this is that as well as ‘seething’ to yourself you can take to social media websites like forums or Twitter to tell everyone, even sometimes the people who are to blame themselves, what you think of them. So here are some top tips on using social media at this time of year.

The Once a Year Snooker Tweeter

Always go for the right target and if you don’t get a response from them, go for the next one in line and so on and so on. Get gradually ruder, angrier and more personal with every message building to a crescendo which will see you ‘blocked’ by the guilty party. Remember, they are only blocking you because deep down they KNOW you are right and they cannot cope with the guilt.

Twitter is a good way to express yourself.

Twitter is a good way to express yourself.

Here are some handy hints:

Always use the hashtag #clueless when directing your views at the person at fault, this is particularly effective when directing it at someone who made you have the bet, for example:

‘@snookerbacker1 call yourself a tipster LOL LMFAO. Fucking guesswork pal go and get a proper job you are a fucking muppet #clueless’

This should upset the tipster enough for them to block you and it will also make you feel a lot better, knowing that you have got ‘under their skin’.

You could also contact the player if you aren’t getting anywhere with this so-called ‘tipster’, this handy template should help:

‘@playerwholost WTF was that? You are a fucking disgrace to your sport, how much did you fucking spoon from that? Fucking BENT #FACT’*

*Use #FACT as many times as you can, as facts cannot be disputed.

Hopefully at least one (or if you are lucky) both of these tactics will work, you will get the response you want and both will feel guilty for you losing your money.

Job Done.

The Once a Year Blog Commenter

The downside of social media is that you sometimes get blocked by people and not enough people get to know the truth, always for the reasons above (i.e. you are telling the truth and they don’t want to listen) but the good news is that there are always blogs for you to post on too!! The added bonus of this is that you can usually do this largely anonymously so you can say whatever you want without any fear of being caught!


  1. Always be insulting and personal, looking for weakspots and exposing them.
  2. Always swear A LOT, the more offensive the words, the more impact they will have.
  3. Never ever listen to excuses when it comes to betting, do not be bamboozled by someone explaining to you that their strike rate on snooker is pretty good and the profits clearly demonstrate this. This is rubbish and a diversionary tactic designed to steer you away from the information you took in good faith. ATTACK them AGAIN.
  4. Never, ever agree with anything your enemy says. Remember, they put their views up for you to disagree with, nothing more. They are picking a fight and boy have they picked the wrong guy this time.
  5. Remember, they stole your money, you would not be acting in this way if the bet had won.
  6. Even if they have put you in the Spam queue, carry on posting, there is no chance that they will see it but it will always make you feel better.

And there we have it, a nice pocket sized guide to punting and using social media for the 17 day snooker fan. I hope this helps people really get the most out of the World Championship.

Happy Punting!

April 9, 2013

The Captains Log: Life on the Road, The Forgotten Grape and Crucible Hopes

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:07 pm
The highlight of the season for the Captain

The highlight of the season for the Captain

It’s been a long time since The Captain gave us an update from the cockpit, so long that half the passengers on Carter Airlines Flight 147 are beginning to think he’s fallen asleep, but on the eve of the World Championship Ali has come up with the goods and below he talks about his feelings on how his season has gone, why he will be looking for more work/life balance next season, why he reckons (wrongly) I owe him a bottle of German wine and of course his thoughts on a possible match-up with Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible…..I will hand you over to your Captain.

Hello again everyone,

Well it’s been a while but as I’ve just about had enough of SB’s nagging I guess it was finally time to give in and pen another entry to the Captain’s Log.

It’s been an up and down year for me on the table and in many senses off it too. As ever it’s been a very busy season with lots of travelling and time away from home and family. The travelling always takes its toll and it can easily affect all aspects of your life – not only your game but your health, your home life and relationships and if you don’t do very well it affects your bank balance too! Some events this year have cost me more to participate in than I have picked up in prize money.

I know it’s even tougher and more costly for lower ranked players or amateurs entering the PTCs but as a ‘professional’ snooker player that’s a bit hard to swallow sometimes! I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me and the rest of us – I know we are fortunate to be able to do what we do for a living and also you have to look at the season overall really, rather than event by event. But that’s the way things are going now. Looking at next season’s calendar it looks like as expected the majority of the season will be events overseas again. That being the case, I think it’s going to be as important as ever now to try and get some element of work/life balance and it may well be that you see a lot of the players being a bit more selective this season about what tournaments they enter. It’s something I will be sitting down with the people close to me and looking at. I want to be able to focus and fully commit to the events I participate in this year and that means being fit and healthy, motivated and fully prepared, rather than just drifting from one tournament to the next, which is how it can seem sometimes.

As I said earlier, it’s been an up and down year in many ways. I haven’t felt like I have played really well all year really, although I have in patches, but the consistency hasn’t been there. But I have learned how to dog out matches and win games when not playing at my best and that’s useful, and unfortunately sometimes necessary to be able to call on sometimes so I have won matches this year when I have felt I’ve not played great. Health wise I have not been particularly well in myself for a lot of the season. Combined with the hectic schedule and other off table commitments (and life in general!) it’s hard to get enough practice in sometimes. This has probably found me out at times this year and while I have never looked to my illness as an excuse, it certainly doesn’t help matters along the way. It’s an ongoing thing to try and identify the best eating and lifestyle habits but the condition really is so unpredictable when it comes and goes that it’s hard to pin things down. I see my consultant regularly too and remain in hope that we are able to find the best way to control things, as far as is possible.

The fair grape of dornfelder

The fair grape of dornfelder

Of course I was delighted to win in Berlin and knew that I was playing okay and feeling confident enough going into that event. That really is an amazing event in our calendar and one which I would love to see given more credibility and to become more lucrative. All the players love it there and it has to be the best supported event in the year. The venue and crowds are amazing and it’s a superb buzz going out to play in a one table set up at the final stages of an event like that. It meant a lot to re-establish myself again as a ranking event winner and having flown my girlfriend Milly out for the final it was the icing on the cake to be able to share the win with her. I kept telling her I was an okay player and that I might one day win something again but not sure she believed me until then! Haha.

Also in attendance were Mr and Mrs Snookerbacker. I understand that I pretty much paid for their trip as Mr SB had tipped me and put his money where his big mouth is by having a few quid on me. Now SB knows that myself and ‘Manager Steve’ are students and fans of the red grape and we have indeed all shared a glass or two over the last few years. So in the run up to Berlin SB had been teasing us with the promise of a previously unknown (and in fact, still unknown) vin rouge called ‘Dornfelder’ – being, as we understand it, a German grape and wine. Naturally, we were more than happy to sample a bottle or two of the ‘felder’ courtesy of SB. But no, it never happened, SB failed miserably to locate a bottle of the felder all week so it still remains a mystery to us. We settled for a few glasses of whatever it was they were serving in the players lounge at the venue after the event and while I went back to the hotel and retired I believe Steve and Mr & Mrs SB sank a few bottles in the hotel bar. Last time I won a trophy I managed to drop the bag it was in in the car park at Heathrow on my return and took a few chunks out of it but this time I’m happy to report the Berlin trophy got home in one piece.

So at this point in the year I am no different to every other player and snooker fan out there and am excited and eagerly awaiting the start of the World Championships. It was touch and go if I would scrape into the top 16 for automatic qualification so was pleased when it was known that I had just about done enough. I’m busy putting in plenty of practice and can’t wait to get going up there. We were all anxious to get the schedule last week and know when we play so we can start organising. It’s then that it feels real. The Worlds is a funny tournament because in a way the season that has passed by kind of pales into insignificance. That’s all done and we all just really focus on the World Championship. It can be such a pivotal tournament and make your season, even if you’ve had a mediocre one up to then (as I did last year!)

FinalThis year again there are so many of the guys who you just cannot write off and who are definitely capable of winning. There really is no easy round there. Personally I never had any doubt that Ronnie would be back to defend. And despite what some people think I am glad he is. I don’t believe that one player makes the game and we have had a great season without Ronnie being involved for the majority of it but there is no doubt that the snooker world can’t wait to have him back at the Championships. A lot of people will be looking ahead to a possible clash for us two in the second round. I really hope that is the case but we both have to get through our opening rounds which is no certainty for either of us. If it goes to plan then I too will relish the occasion and can’t wait to get it on!

So I’ve got a new tip on and practicing hard. We are all keeping an eye on the qualifiers and its always interesting to see who comes through and then what the draw is – so plenty of excitement ahead of the main event itself.

I’ve had no time (and the weather has been terrible too) to get up in the plane recently but when the Worlds is all done I hope to be able to spend a bit of time in the cockpit and will almost certainly try and grab a little holiday with Milly too. Dubai is one if my favourite holiday destinations so rather than just going via the airport as I have done plenty in the past to and from China I’d like to stay a litter longer and see at least a beach or a pool!

Okay, I’m off…. Enjoy the Championships and see you on the baize soon…

The Captain

January 23, 2013

Now, this award thing…..

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:18 am

Last week I was nominated for a Shorty Award in the category of Best Blog and the blog is now in the top ten in the world having received nominations from quite a number of people, including my great pal Steve Davis (we go way back), Stuart Bingham (mee old mukker), Michael Holt (he loves  SB) and the one and only MJW (King Float).

Oh and look who else has decided to nominate? Only World Champions Ken Doherty and Shaun Murphy, that’s all…

It needs to get into the top 6 to get to the judging phase when it will surely lose but the competition closes in a fortnight so I would be very grateful if you could take a second to tweet your vote. I even did an interview to boost my chances which you can read by clicking here.

All you have to do to register your vote is to copy and paste the tweet below onto your Twitter account and tweet it.


I nominate @snookerbacker1 for a Shorty Award in #blogger because (then give your reason) 

Thanks to everyone who has voted so far.

(Oh yes, any Snookerbacker Classic players that haven’t voted will be docked 4 frames in their next match)

January 17, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:00 am

The Blog is Three Years Old Today!

Look, here’s a cake with a careless snooker player on it.

All together now…..Happy Birthday SB, Happy Birthday SB, Happy Birthday Dear SB, Happy Birthday SB….


What have you bought me then?

I’ll tell you what, if you haven’t bought me anything, take 20 seconds to do this and I’ll forgive you.  


December 30, 2012

Back to the Future

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:27 pm

The new year period usually finds me in reflective, sometimes mistaken for grumpy mood and it’s a time when I like to take a look back at what the last twelve months have or have not delivered as hoped for, as the case may be.

On a personal basis I’d give it a B+, as ever I continue to be racked with self-doubt, guilt at not being a vegan or at least a vegetarian and worries that I might have said the wrong thing to someone that I shouldn’t have once or twice. The death of my 15 year old spaniel friend in June was also a particular lowpoint, however inevitable it was, the poor little fella.

These are somewhat counter-balanced with having a largely happy home life, a beautiful and very patient wife, with caring for two lovely dogs including a newly rescued greyhound who might otherwise have been somewhere else entirely due to the savagery of this particular ‘sporting’ industry, the fact that my mum still thinks I’m a nice person and the friends I have made as a result of this blog, all of whom it is a pleasure to know most of the time.

From a blogging point of view the reflections are no different, there are things that I’ve been really pleased with and other things that I would rather have gone differently. It’s also a chance to look at the highlights of the snooker year and look ahead to what is in store for the rest of the season and beyond, both on the table and from a bloggers point of view.

Bloggers are an odd sort and the one that I think I have the most in common with when it comes to ‘bloggers woes’ is Matt at Pro-Snooker Blog who does annual awards each year and is very thorough as ever in completing this task. You can vote in all the categories and he uses this fully democratic system to determine the winners. As for me, this is where we differ slightly, I reckon democracy is an overrated system so I prefer to just say what I think have been the highlights of 2012 and if you don’t like what I decide, well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles really isn’t it? You can’t do anything about it so don’t moan at me about it, ok?

My player of the last twelve months if it were to go on the performance of the year would have to be the boy O’Sullivan for his often flawless snooker at the Crucible, I can’t remember another world championship which had such a feeling of inevitability about it from so early on, I’d argue as early as the second session against MJW in round two. It truly illustrated just how far ahead Ronnie is of all the other players when he’s in the right place, he is in a league of his own.

Judd’s had a good year too of course, winning the International Championship being the highlight for him as well as being World Number 1 for a couple of weeks, which he spent partying and celebrating before boring old Selby got it back again. But for me the player that has been the most consistent and the hardest working who has really made 2012 ‘his year’ is Stuart Bingham, so I am going to give my vote to him. I’m not a fan of the Premier League as you know but he took the big cash chance that was offered to him with both hands and has made the effort to make every tournament around the globe and reaped the rewards for it, also scoring a 147 in Wuxi and winning a couple of APTC’s, quite a year and I say good on him.

I’m not going to go through all the categories Matt does but for me the most improved player has to be Dark Mavis. OK, his ranking might not have changed too much like say, Michael White who is climbing faster than a twelve year old in a Jim’ll Fix It ladder challenge, but the increase in events has definitely shown in his results and performances, culminating in his spectacular victory over John Higgins in York, quite something for a player that did sometimes (well, all the time) underperform when the heat was on, he should still embrace the nickname though, it’s his big chance to stand out.

Best match? No question at all for me was Ali Carter v Judd Trump in the World Championship. Arguably because I had a ringside seat for all of it, was close enough to hear the thoughts of Mr Carter (for my ears only) when things weren’t going his way and witness one piece of physical contact between the two that the TV cameras seemed to miss. In short it was a bad tempered affair, full of twists and turns and mind games and I bloody loved every minute of it, it was the highlight of the professional season by a mile for me and a reminder of how dramatic snooker at the Crucible can be.

The high point of my own personal involvement in snooker in 2012 was undoubtedly the crowning of Martin O’Donnell as the first Snookerbacker Classic Champion and his subsequent qualification from Q-School onto the main tour (my emotional reaction to that is here). He was playing Judd on the telly a few weeks ago, how good is that? Martin’s progress being recently followed by the news that Allan Taylor will be joining him next season is great news all round for two top blokes with a sense of humour second and third only to my own. I’m also encouraged that the tournament wot I thought of has been so well received this season and we both look forward to crowning a new champ in February, although we haven’t bought the crown yet.

My favourite tournament of the year is a tougher one, the World Championship was great but wasn’t the occasion I had experienced the previous year (too wet) and the UK a couple of weeks back was for me a little flat too (too cold), but I was suffering from an infection at the time so that did somewhat dent the enjoyment (too grumpy). I really enjoyed the first ever International Championship though I wish they would just bin the bloody wildcards now as it’s giving me high blood pressure. I also again enjoyed last season’s German Masters and Masters, Robbo’s win probably being for me the culmination of the best tournament of the year, though of course the best final for entertainment was the Higgins/Trump almost exhibition-like showcase in Shanghai.

There have also been a number of disappointments, Ronnie’s antics and decisions have taken the game’s only truly global star from the sport and I for one think we might not see him again despite the changes to the ranking list which undoubtedly suit a player who likes to pick and choose. I’m really not sure his heart is in it anymore, but I am there to be proven wrong as ever.

I’ll miss his smiling face.

It was sad to see that Scottish bloke Hendry retire too, but for a player with as much pride as him I can understand it, at least he went out with a bang with the 147 at the Crucible, which I famously and carelessly left the media seats a frame too early for and missed while that hanger-on Matt was clapping along, I must unfollow him on Twitter after writing this, been meaning to for ages.

It’s always sad when betting scandals are in the news too, Joe Jogia and Stephen Lee have had better years, well Lee has anyway, and whatever the truth in the matters concerning them, hooky betting patterns in a sport that relies heavily on the gambling industry is never good news. I’ve heard very strong whispers of another match involving an amateur player in the PTC’s, I’ll not be so polite as to not reveal it in the future if his name crops up again.

The PTC’s have been a bit of a mixed bag, some excellent (usually the European ones) some not so (ermm, Scotland). It’s also a great shame that the South West Snooker Academy are not hosting them anymore, particularly the Kay Suzanne Memorial Trophy which added character and a bit of difference to a series of events that do sometimes have the feeling of conveyer belt tournaments with relatively little at stake and no real interest outside of the hardcore snooker and betting community.

In terms of the blog and blogging in general, I’ll not lie and say that the increase in events has really hit the spot with me as a blogger, because it hasn’t and I am not and never have been a fan of saturation coverage of sport as I like to have a life now and again.

This is partly the reason I made the post the other day hinting at stopping the blog after Sheffield, which this year I am choosing not to attend for a number of reasons. I can’t thank people enough for their emails and direct messages asking me not to stop blogging, but some things will change that’s for sure, they will have to as I’m beginning to lose interest in events that I would have been bang up for two seasons ago because I’m having to devote time to qualifiers for an event in Bongo Bongo land that’s three months off. If that isn’t obvious from the coverage I have been giving so far it soon will be.

The future of the blog will also depend on negotiations over the coming months with potential partner bookmakers for next season and getting a deal which will be good for me and for them, but whatever happens this tripe will continue to exist in some format or other and I hope to grow the Snookerbacker Classic alongside it as this still gives me a lot of enjoyment. A new amateur Tour perhaps, who knows?

To summarise, whilst I firmly believe that snooker is on the up, particularly in Europe, my five new year wishes list for Bazza would be (in no particular order apart from the top one and maybe the bottom one, or either or, just pick one):

1. Get rid of wildcards in the Chinese events, please Baz, the doctor says it’s essential to my recovery and I have had a second opinion.

2. Pay players prize money for every match they win in a World Snooker event and stop being a stingy bastard.

3. Take a really good look at the congested calendar and stop putting the Premier League fixtures in front of everything else, it’s always been shite and Ronnie doesn’t even want to play in it now.

4. Don’t move the World Championship to China or consider moving it there for the next 600 years. Move it to Germany if you have to but don’t start fiddling with the format.

5. Write it into Dark Mavis’s (Mark Davis) player contract that he is to be referred to as Dark Mavis from henceforth and pay me a decent royalty for coming up with it. Oh and The Ferginator is good too but he doesn’t make as many venues, if he does, that’s wish numero sixo.

So what are your highs and lows from 2012? What would you like to see change? What are your five wishes to Bazza? How much do you love this blog and not want it to stop? (in no particular order of importance).

December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:49 am

It’s that time of year again and after a hectic year on the baize it’s time for me to shut up shop for a few days and relax with Mrs SB and the dogs here at Snookerbacker Mansions.

The title of the post may sound like a terrible Americanism but for a non-religious person it is actually more accurate and fitting than the more traditional message we give each other during the festive season. But please also take it as a thank you for continuing to log on here on a regular basis and for making it according to the Alexa rating statistics (currently 175,000th in the world) and unfathomably to me, the most popular snooker blog on the internet.

I love Christmas, just without all the God stuff, but if the unquestionable and overwhelming scientific evidence is wrong and that book that someone made up a few years ago is somehow the greatest guess in the history of humanity, below is what I’d like the afterlife to be like.

All the best to you and yours, SB & Mrs SB.

November 19, 2012

Potters Last Requests: Barry Pinches

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:30 am

Can Barry’s choices save him?

It’s a long time since we had a chat to one of the players on here and I thought it would be an idea to get them talking about something other than boring old snooker for a change. So I have come up with a new feature which may or may not become a regular thing on the blog and it’s called Potters Last Requests.

This is a totally original idea* (see footnote) of mine which is set within the walls of a solitary confinement unit of a prison. It’s where the potters go when I perceive them to have transgressed. These poor unfortunates have been sentenced to a life of pain and misery in here unless I deem them to have chosen their last requests wisely enough to secure an early release.

The first person that I threw into this stinking cell is none other than Barry Pinches. Why Barry? you may ask, well, long term readers of the blog will know the answer to this, it’s a sorry tale for which he deserves the harshest punishment. Allow me to elaborate….

The year is 2005 and the venue is the Crucible Theatre. I’d had a large accumulator bet on the handicaps and Barry was the final leg of it. He had to win at least 6 frames against Ken Doherty for me to win a very large sum of cash. I was there, with my mate Mike and we watched the first session of the match in anticipation. Barry started well and soon to our delight built a 5-2 lead which was reduced to 5-4 by Ken at the end of the session. Nonetheless, I still believed the bet to be in the bag and decided to treat my pal to an afternoon of total excess, both on the booze and Michelin Star standard food.

We (well I) decided to make a night of it and not bother going to the other session, we got absolutely trousered at my expense, refusing to take a penny from my friend and we celebrated the bet landing, forgetting that Barry still had to win that vital sixth frame. The rest is history, I awoke next day in a Sheffield hotel room barely remembering anything about the previous day. Then I checked the result of the match…..10-5 to Ken.

I’ll now let Barry complete the story:

Hi SB! Yes I remember that match I think I was 5-3 up (No Barry you were 5-2 up) and Ken had no form to speak of for about a year and came out in the evening and absolutely buzzed! I was in contention for the 16 too, not sure what happened but sorry about your bet…..

Name: Barry ‘The Canary Cueist’ Pinches
Crime: Letting down an SB bet of epic proportions
Sentence: Life

Because of the prisoner’s good behaviour I have decided to grant him some requests. These will consist of 10 songs, 1 book, a luxury item and what might be his final decent meal before he has to start eating slops again. Based on these choices I’ll decide whether to set him free or buy another lock for the cell.

OK SB, thanks for the chance to set myself free, it’s a bit whiffy in here. OK my first choice of song is The Prince – Madness which was the first record I ever bought at the age of 9.

My second song is Message in a Bottle – The Police, I think this is Sting’s favourite Police record, great guitar riff and drums, I’m trying to play it on a rock band drum set and it’s extremely difficult. I think of all my choices this one is my favourite.

Next I’ll go for Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who 8 minutes of classic drums from Keith Moon and guitar from Pete Townsend.

My fourth choice would have to be More Than A Feeling – Boston. A classic rock song and featured on one of my favourite adverts, that Barclaycard rollercoaster in a city one.

SB – It was all going so well until choice four….

OK SB, I’ll have to redeem myself here as you obviously don’t like my last choice…..number five for me is Going Underground – The Jam. Paul Weller at his best surely SB?

SB – You may have just saved yourself, we’ll see…

Here’s two big hitters SB. Beat It – Michael Jackson, the King of Pop at his peak and a great video. Next you’ve got to have Signed Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder a classic bass line, surely SB you can’t disagree with those?

Time to get serious now SB and my next track is I Believe in You – Talk Talk, a little known song written about the songwriter’s brothers heroin addiction and subsequent death. Look up the lyrics and the video is very powerful.

Time for a bit of disco next SB to cheer things up a bit and it has to be the dance floor filler that was used in a brilliantly funny scene in the movie Airplane and that’s Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees.

Last but not least is a song called Pinches which was written about me by some friends of mine who are in a very good indie band called Pale Man Made.

OK Barry, now then. If I decide that you are confined to life in the slammer I will grant you three things to help you pass the time. A book, a luxury item and one last decent meal. Go for it…

Thanks SB. For the book – Alive, which is a true story about a plane carrying a rugby team which crashed in the Andes mountains and their subsequent fight for survival. Great film too. For my luxury item in my cell, I want the best PC money could buy with internet gaming and poker access! For my meal, it has to be an Indian, I love it, anything will do SB I’m not fussy, nice and spicy.

Before you pass sentence SB, can I tell you a funny story? I was playing Marco Fu at York in the UK and Tony Drago was on the next table to me. Some mates had come to watch me and before the match they were in the toilets discussing watching Tony as well as me. One of them said in very inappropriate language (I’ll paraphrase) ‘what do I want to watch that slightly overweight gentleman from Malta for?’ On completing this sentence Tony walked out of the toilet cubicle and threw them a few daggers in the process.


I have to say that on balance Barry’s requests are pretty decent. Madness, The Who, The Jam and Talk Talk, what’s not to like? But Boston? Boston? This is the problem, I know I should set him free but he might start listening to that again. I’ll have to set some conditions so:

The Judge has decided that Mr Pinches be released but that any return to listening to soft dad rock will result in his immediate return to a life of squalor.

Court Dismissed.

*and is in no way anything at all like the BBC’s long running radio show Desert Island Discs, I would like to make that perfectly clear from the outset, it’s absolutely nothing like it. I ask for song requests, a luxury item and a book, but do they ask for a final meal? Is it set in a prison? No, so there you see, absolutely nothing like it at all. Barry also chose 10 songs (I only asked for 8) but this again highlights the difference.  

October 23, 2012

International Championship Prediction Contest

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:34 am

Sunday sees the start of the lucrative International Championship in China and once again blog partners Apollobet have put up a £50 free bet as a Prediction Contest prize.

Have a look at the groups below and choose your team of 8 for next week.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Choose 2 Choose 2 Choose 2 Choose 2
(WC Round included)      
Michael White Mark Selby Stuart Bingham Ryan Day
Ken Doherty Shaun Murphy Ding Junhui Andrew Higginson
Aditya Mehta John Higgins Martin Gould Marco Fu
Cao Yupeng Stephen Maguire Ali Carter Peter Ebdon
Jamie Burnett Mark Williams Ricky Walden Dark Mavis
Fergal O’Brien Neil Robertson Matthew Stevens Rob Milkins
Barry Pinches Ronnie O’Sullivan Graeme Dott Dominic Dale
Lu Haotian Judd Trump Mark Allen Zhou Yuelong


Select two players from each group

For every frame your player wins you will score 1 point

If your player wins the tournament you score a further 10 points

If your player has a 147 break in the tournament you score a further 15 points

The usual rules apply regarding anonymous or multiple entries

To enter simply go to the comments section and enter your team together with your username and valid email address in the boxes provided (only I can see the email address)

Entries close when the first ball is struck on Sunday morning.  


September 26, 2012

This is the Word of MOD

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:42 pm

He Talks. I Listen. That’s How it Works.

Today sees the first of a regular feature on the blog as the reigning Snookerbacker Classic Champion Martin O’Donnell aka The M’OD takes us through his first season as a professional player on the tour.

We’ve been keeping in touch ever since he won the 2012 Classic and had a good natter last night on the old dog and bone and here is what he had to say.

SB: So my good man, how do you feel the first few months as a pro have gone?

MO’D: I really don’t think I have played that bad at all especially in the main ranking events, I had one stinker the first time I played Alfie Burden but all in all I have been happy with my first few performances. I keep seem to be playing the same players though so it would be good to get a bit of variety in there, I’ve played David Grace twice, Alfie twice and I’m playing Robbie Williams again soon. But it’s all good, the form is there, I just need that bit of luck to get going.

SB: What’s different about being a pro? Does it feel like a step up?

MO’D: Definitely it does, it just feels, I don’t know ‘professional’. I feel like it’s more of a job. When you go to the qualifiers there aren’t as many players and everyone who is there is just there to do a job. It’s little things too, sounds weird but just having wet and dry towels supplied for you at your table…odd I know, but it’s different from being an amateur. The negatives I suppose are the PTC’s, which take a bit of getting used to as a pro because you are there to be shot at now. When I was an amateur I thought ‘just give it a go’ as it felt just like a big Pro-Am and because of that you are a bit more fearless, as a pro the boot is on the other foot! There is so much more at stake in them as a professional than as an amateur in terms of your ranking position, so there is a lot more pressure, but it’s all a learning curve for me and still a buzz.

SB: Talking of the PTC’s, you know what I’m going to ask, Gloucester or Sheffield?

MO’D: I prefer Sheffield. Gloucester is a great venue don’t get me wrong, but for an event as important as the PTC’s they need to have partitions, people are getting up and walking around and it’s just very easy to get distracted, you don’t get that in Sheffield.

SB: But the venues are moving more and more towards open plan aren’t they?

MO’D: I know SB, it’s something I will have to work on I know. I do feel I am capable of making a venue this year and with the flatter structures of the Welsh and German that gives me even more of a chance.

SB: You’re a fan of the flatter structure then?

MO’D: Definitely SB, it just makes more sense. There will be less expenses needed as there will be fewer qualifying matches to play which means more tournaments, which means more chances to make money. If the rankings are going to be based on a money list it’s essential that flat structures are adopted, otherwise the current system where you can win two matches and earn nothing but if you are higher up the list you can win £3k just for turning up will make the whole thing very unfair.

SB: I think it’s very unfair that professional players can win matches and leave tournaments pennyless, even out of pocket.

MO’D: It’s a profession and we are professionals, in what other job can you turn up, do a job and not get paid? It makes no sense. It’s such a high standard that you should be rewarded, even if it just covers your expenses.

SB: How’s the practice regime going?

MO’D: I now have a Star table of my own at a club in Watford thanks to one of my long term sponsors, I just need to get there a bit more often! I still work to pay the bills but hoping that very soon I can free up a bit more time to put more hours in. That said, my game is in good shape, if I look after that side of things the money side looks after itself. I have self-belief and I think I’m due a run in something, there are a lot of big comps coming up so I’m going to be giving them my all.

SB: I’m hoping you make Germany as I’m going with the Mrs and she wants to give you a cuddle.

MO’D: Me too SB! The German Masters looks an amazing event to be involved in and I also love the beer over there. A cuddle from Mrs SB gives me even more incentive!

Winner Winner Chicken Jalfrezi

SB: So your hopes for the season M’O?

MO’D: Big One. Make a venue. Once I do that I think I can kick on. It’s still very early in the season.

SB: Turning back the old Dickory Dock. Lots of people on here will know you best for winning the SB Classic and it’s coming around again this weekend so I can’t leave without asking you about it, as I am a shameless self promotionalist, any advice for this year’s players?

MO’D: You know what SB? I didn’t realise how important the SB Classic was until I got through to the Finals. I then said to myself ‘Jeez, I’ve got a chance of winning this’. Winning the whole thing was the best feeling, it really helped me mentally at Q-School knowing that I had earned my place there and I wasn’t thinking about the financial side of things at all and I think that helped me win through. I’d just say to players to relax and enjoy it, it’s an event that is run like no other and for me easily the best amateur event in the UK. It’s just an enjoyable experience being there. But my only two regrets are that I should have had more of Mrs SB’s cakes than I did and that I chose to celebrate my win with a Wizard Tour, that curryhouse was rank and your burnt onion salad was the pits, why did you order that SB?

SB: Long story….Anyway, I’m looking for someone to present the trophy to the next winner?

MO’D: Count me in SB, if I’m free I’ll be there.

SB: Good man, I’m sure I speak for all readers when I wish you luck for the rest of the season, come and tell us how you’re doing throughout the season.

MO’D: Will do mate, usual fee?

SB: Yep, that’s right, I’m a man of my word. A packet of Pickled Onion Monster Munch (Family Size) and half a litre bottle of Dr Pepper (unopened this time, sorry about that).

MO’D: Thought so, speak soon and all the best to the blog readers and thanks for all support!

The MO’D is available for coaching and exhibitions. Why not take the MO’D challenge at you club? Click here for details of how to book a night with The MO’D at your local or arrange some coaching from a World Snooker qualified coach and an all round good egg. If I’m free at the same time I might even come along and recount hilarious anecdotes for my adoring public.  

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