December 9, 2018

The UK Championship Final

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:27 am

It’s the final of the UK Championship today as the defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on the Masters champion Mark Allen, assuring us again of a very familiar name being engraved on the trophy this season, O’Sullivan aiming for a record number of UK titles, while Allen hopes to add his first to his CV.

You would probably say on balance that these have been the best two players in the tournament, but they’ve had very different paths here, with Ronnie coasting to his victories after a scare from Ken Doherty against players, other than world number 16 Jack Lisowski, all outside of the higher ranks. Allen on the other hand has had a much tougher path and has had to take care of Neil Robertson, Stephen Maguire and Stuart Bingham to get here.

The big question is whether Allen will bring his trademark fighting spirit to the table against not just the best, but the most intimidating player in the world. Ronnie seems to have such a hold over some players that he’s more or less got a three frame start before the off, but you’d like to think that Allen is in an elite bunch of players that this doesn’t apply to.

Their head to head confirms this. The most recent meeting between to the two came in Allen’s march to the Masters with a very convincing 6-1 victory over The Rocket and indeed over the years, just one match and two frames seperate them in the seven matches they have played.

I’m going to stick my neck out today and go for Allen. I think the 5/2 available on him to win is decent given their most recent meeting and the fact that the Northern Irishman is in sensational form. I also think if he does win he’ll win with a bit to spare so there are some decent handicap odds around if you agree.

As well as the final, today sees the draw for The Masters, which no doubt will be live on the BBC to varying degrees of ooooo’s and aaaaaahhh’s from the audience when the matches are called out.

The top eight in the seeding list below will be randomly drawn against the players seeded 9-16 in the opening round draw.

  1. Mark Allen (Holder)
  2. Mark Williams (World Champion)
  3. Mark Selby
  4. Ronnie O’Sullivan
  5. John Higgins
  6. Judd Trump
  7. Barry Hawkins
  8. Ding Junhui
  9. Neil Robertson
  10. Kyren Wilson
  11. Shaun Murphy
  12. Stuart Bingham
  13. Ryan Day
  14. Stephen Maguire
  15. Luca Brecel
  16. Jack Lisowski

The Scottish Open starts tomorrow but I’ll not be covering that on here, just all a bit too congested and it’s nearly Christmas.

December 3, 2018

UK Championship Last 32

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:40 am

Ronnie’s been at it again

It’s time to say goodbye to the Sports Hall as all the players now move into the 4 table main arena for the Last 32 of the UK Championship, with 8 matches played today and the remaining ones tomorrow.

It’s been an eventful few days not just on the table, but as ever off it.

First off we heard the news about Cao Yupeng and Yu De Lu. This pair of cheats have been coining it in at the expense of punters by fixing matches all over the shop, rightly they have both received lengthy bans, in the case of De Lu probably a career ending one, whilst Cao seems to have plea bargained by dobbing in a few of the others so hopefully we can expect more of them to be rooted out, as I’m pretty certain there are more than just the two of them who have been at it for substantial personal gain.

Then John Higgins said he was considering retiring at the end of the season following his loss to Alan McManus. He was really down in the dumps and seems to have totally fallen out with the sport. The obvious solution to me would seem to have a few months off and try and prepare for the World Championship, but perhaps the thought of trying his heart out there only to fall short at the end for the third year running is what is behind his current mood, we’ll see.

Not to be outdone by us talking about someone else for five minutes, the man grabbing the headlines back again is Ronnie. Old Rent-a-Gob is outdoing himself this week and has been telling anyone who’ll listen that he’s ready to make a move away from the current tour and form his own lucrative one in China. He seems oblivious to what Higgins said after his match as he claims he’s on board with him as well as ‘a few others who are fed up with the current set up’, so it sounds like they’ll be playing a lot of round robins and seeing quite a lot of each other.

He also claimed that De Lu and Cao were harshly treated, which is of course absolutely ridiculous. Barry Hearn rightly served him with a public rap on the knuckles for this and seems on the face of it to be getting a bit sick of his constant babbling, aren’t we all?

On the table we’ve seen a few shocks, notably Higgins, but also some fine performances, notably from Neil Robertson who staged a marvellous comeback against Un-Nooh and from Dave Gilbert who knocked in four tons in his defeat of Peter Ebdon, another who is considering retirement at the end of the year, along with Dominic Dale, there will be none of them left at this rate.

We’ve also seen the debut of Shaun ‘Ten Jobs’ Murphy on the BBC team. He’s slotted right in and is already kitted out in the regulation knitwear favoured by the team, though Alan McManus, ever the rebel, broke ranks yesterday with a patterned cravat, making him look quite the dandy Scotsman of the team. Get you Angles.

Here is the draw as it stands and you can have a look at the schedule here.

RECOMMENDED LAST 32 BET – 4 FOLDS AND AN ACCUMULATOR ON ALL THESE MATCHES TO HAVE OVER 9 FRAMES: Bingtao/Wilson, Ford/McManus, Carter/Maguire, Pengfei/O’Donnell, Bingham/Gilbert – acca pays around 29/1.


November 30, 2018

The UK Championship – The BBC comes to town

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:31 am


It’s that time of year again when Joe Public in the UK thinks the snooker season starts. Yes, the first BBC coverage of the six month old season gets underway tomorrow in York with the last 64 of the UK Championship.

I’ve had a lovely time this week, we’ve just rescued another hound so I’ve decided to stay at home for the duration of this event, apart from a couple of days next week when I’m heading there, and I’ve been watching the excellent live streaming on Eurosport Player.

The reason it’s been so enjoyable is because firstly, there is no commentary, just the relaxing clicking of the balls and polite audience applause and secondly, they leave the cameras rolling all day so you really get a sense of what it’s like to be there.

If I could wish one thing it would be that they did this for all events; that we at least had the option of watching and listening and just interpreting the action on our own instead of being subjected at times to inane babbling and daft catchphrases and jokes as old as Anthony Hamilton’s trousers. That’s what I want for Christmas.

But for all that, I do still look forward to the BBC coming back, granted my sense of heightened anticipation is more or less done the minute Dennis opens his mouth but there’s still something nostalgic about it all, like slipping on a comfy old pair of fluffy slippers and having a mug of tea while listening to Val Doonican’s greatest hits, we all love a bit of nostalgia don’t we? No? Just me then? Oh well.

The first round has thrown up two big shocks, firstly Mark Selby continuing his ongoing York-based nightmare and getting pumped by James Cahill and secondly, the woefully out of form Shaun Murphy falling to the Chinese player Chen Feilong. Both big surprises and even more so when you see that Murphy was seemingly coasting at 3-1 up then managed to lose five on the bounce.

This prompted one particular poster on Twitter to suggest that Shaun pursue a different career, which I’d suggest is a little harsh given he’s made quite a bit of bunce out of knocking balls around with a stick, he’s even got one of those mowers that you sit down on, that’s how you know life is going well. Anyway, I’m sure Shaun won’t follow this well-meaning chap’s advice, instead he’ll probably double his effort in an attempt to silence the critics. Failing that he can always wave to them from his sit-down mower. 

All the other big names are through though Anthony McGill counted himself out of the race to The Masters with a defeat, with Jack Lisowski still in the driving seat for the 16th spot as things stand and the likes of Ali Carter, Marco Fu, Joe Perry and Dave Gilbert in hot pursuit and Maguire, Brecel and Day (also out) still not certain of their starting place at Ally Pally.

I’ll be posting match bets on Twitter and anyone who has been following will know that it’s been a pretty good week on the punting front, particularly yesterday, we were also just one frame shy of landing a whopper from the main preview, I’ll be having stern words with Eden Sharav next time I see him. The main acca only missed out because Ken Doherty rolled back the years and he now meets Ronnie on Sunday afternoon, I wonder if he can raise his game again?

Here is also a look at the latest standings in the Tipster Contest, the exit of Selby hitting a lot of those involved with a hammer blow.

The match schedule can be found here. Over to you Hazel….


November 23, 2018

UK Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:29 am

It’s a great time of year for snooker fans this as we all shift attention to The Barbican in York for the UK Championship, the first of the BBC events this season and only a few short weeks later the other side of Christmas we have The Masters, for which the final field of 16 will be decided in York.

There is a lot of talk amongst snooker fans that the UK isn’t the event that it used to be. Indeed, I myself feel a bit less excited about it than I used to, the eroding of the match lengths and the flat 128 draw to me make it feel a bit less prestigious, but weigh that against the excellent venue, apart from the Sports Hall, and the fact that the BBC give it some airtime (though again not as much as they used to) and it is what it is.

As you’d expect, all the big names are involved and once we get past the first three rounds (or as Ronnie prefers to refer to them, the Numpty Rounds) things will begin to take shape. Looking at the draw, the main protagonists all seem on paper to have a strong chance of making the latter stages but I’m sure we’ll see someone take on the mantle of David ‘Amazing’ Grace a few years back and go deep when you least expect.

I’m firmly of the opinion however that we’re not going to see an unexpected name lift the trophy at the end, the draw simply can’t allow it as the players who come good in major events are mainly keeping out of each others way until the last 16 or in some cases the last 8. I’ve looked at each quarter individually below and given my usual masterful, crystal-ballesque insight.

Quarter One:

The holder Ronnie O’Sullivan is a firm favourite to make the semi-finals and you have to say that the draw has been particularly generous to The Rocket. His form is rock solid and he’s winning and knocking in tons for fun so he is definitely the man to beat here. On balance I’d say the two players with the best chance of doing that in this section are Jack Lisowski and Shaun Murphy. Last year’s runner-up Murphy is in desperate need of a run in this to get into the ranking events later in the season as he is languishing currently at 54th in the one year list and struggling to find his game, conversely, Lisowski is flying and continuing where he left off last season and is assured of his place in at least 2 of the Coral series of events. If Jack ends up playing Ronnie in the last 16 I think he’ll run him close and from there anything is possible. The prices on Murphy being quoted at some firms are bordering on farce and are worth a punt regardless, but on balance this quarter should go with the seedings.

Predicted Quarter Outcome: O’Sullivan to beat Murphy in the Last 8. 

Quarter Two:

Another who seems to have benefited from a pleasant draw is John Higgins, as if he needs it. I can’t see any issues that he can’t overcome prior to a quarter final meeting with Judd Trump, the only potential banana skin for me being Liam Highfield. Man of the moment Judd will be buoyed by his win in Belfast and hungry to add another major to his CV, he has form here of course and something tells me that the win last week will get that pesky monkey off his back and he too will fly through to a quarter final match up with Higgins, with only Ryan Day who I feel might have something to say about that. I really fancy Higgins to go deep in this and add this title to his list of major successes.

Predicted Quarter Outcome: Higgins to beat Trump in the Last 8.

Quarter Three:

The bottom half of the draw to me looks much more competitive than the top half. There are a multitude of possible outcomes and my guess is that if we are to see a ‘shock’ semi finalist it will come from this half of the draw. The obvious name that stands out is of course Mark Selby, he’s looking a bit more like Mark Selby these past few weeks rather than the Mark Selby who has been doing an impersonation of Mark Selby for much of the last year or so but without the winning titles bit. His path to the last 8 though isn’t easy and amongst others he’ll have to possibly tackle the in form Dave Gilbert, who could be the man to be on at a huge price if you fancy an upset this year. Other live contenders in this section are Barry Hawkins and Judd’s best mate Kyren Wilson, both with proven big stage pedigree, I’d be surprised if the quarter final from this section didn’t feature two of the names mentioned here, which includes the four times I mentioned Mark Selby, OK five times.

Predicted Quarter Outcome: Selby to beat Hawkins in the Last 8.

Quarter Four:

Another fairly open quarter which involves the in-form Mark Allen and snooker’s newest international playboi Mark Williams. Drinker and part-time snooker world champion Williams has said that he’s not arsed if a) he doesn’t win another match all season and b) he isn’t ranked number one in the world. He’s as mad as a hatter so he’s probably telling the truth. Allen will be coming here on the back of a disappointing homecoming in Belfast after his most recent triumph in China and I’d say he’s favourite for this section of the draw on his current form. Neil Robertson is coming back to form too so it would be no surprise to see him at the business end again at a venue that I know he enjoys and for me his predicted last 16 with Allen holds the key to the winner of this quarter, with possibly Stephen Maguire coming through to meet the winner in the quarter final.

Predicted Quarter Outcome: Robertson to beat Maguire in the Last 8.         

You can play around with the draw here to arrive at your outright conclusions.

You can view the match schedule here.

Recommended Bets: John Higgins to win the UK Championship at 11/1. Each Way – Dave Gilbert (250/1), Neil Robertson (22/1), Shaun Murphy (55/1 – Boosted) and Jack Lisowski (40/1).

Quarter Winners Acca: O’Sullivan, Higgins, Selby and Robertson pays 114/1.

First Round Acca pays almost 10/1 – Honghao, Sijun, Jimmy Robertson, Li Hang, Bingham, McManus, Gilbert and Saengkham.

Doubles, Trebles and an Acca (Acca pays over 55/1) on Sharav, Swail, McLeod and Baird.


November 21, 2018

The Reny’s Ark / Black Type UK Championship Tipster Contest

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:00 am

It’s been a while since we had a tipster contest on here so it’s high time we put that right.

The UK Championship is nearly upon us and to whet your appetite I thought I’d ask around for a few prizes and this is what I’ve come up with.

Winner: £50 free bet on The Masters outright market with Black Type Bet. Plus a £50 voucher to spend at Reny’s Ark.

Runner up: £30 free bet on The Masters outright market with Black Type Bet. Plus a £25 voucher to spend at Reny’s Ark.  

Third Place: £20 free bet on The Masters outright market with Black Type Bet.


Please note that these must be strictly followed for your entry to be valid – anyone not following these instructions will not be entered.

Select two players from each of the groups below

To enter, please go to Twitter, name your team of eight players and use the hashtag #SBUKTipsterContest

Your players will score 1 point for each frame they win in the UK Championship and the winner will be the team with the most points.


GROUP ONE (choose 2) GROUP TWO (choose 2) GROUP THREE (choose 2) GROUP FOUR (choose 2)
Ronnie O’Sullivan Kyren Wilson Ryan Day Luca Brecel
Mark Selby Neil Robertson Jack Lisowski Dave Gilbert
John Higgins Ding Junhui Yan Bingtao Zhao Xintong
Judd Trump Shaun Murphy Ali Carter Liam Highfield
Mark Williams Barry Hawkins Marco Fu Robert Milkins
Mark Allen Stuart Bingham Joe Perry Michael Holt


The draw can be found here. BEST OF LUCK EVERYONE.


Small Print: To claim the free bet prize you must be 18 years or over and either hold or open a valid Black Type Bet online account. In the event of a tie, prizes will be shared equally.

November 12, 2018

Northern Ireland Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:30 am

The snooker train ain’t slowing down and now Coventry is done it’s over the water we go to the Belfast Waterfront arena for the second leg of the Home Nations Series and the Northern Ireland Open, where we find a huge field of 128 players competing to lift the Alex Higgins trophy.

The only one of them who is still in with a slim chance of taking Bazza’s million pound bonus, otherwise known as the unicorn sitting at the foot of the rainbow, is English Open champion Stuart Bingham. Our pal First Poke is the only potter who can put the wind up the chairman by getting this hands on this trophy and placing it in his already overcrowded khazi.

Fresh from his success in Coventry, Ronnie O’Sullivan also lines up in this, which is surprising considering he’s no longer in with a chance of the million pound bonus and given all he’s had to say about this style of car boot snooker in leisure centres that stink of piss. Joining him following his disappointing defeat is Kyren Wilson and we’ll see what he has in terms of bouncebackability this week.

It’s covered by Eurosport and Quest TV, so expect the first few days to follow the tried and trusted format of one-sided matches on the main table until it gets to around the last 16 when they start getting a bit closer.

Also expect references to adopted Irishman Shaun Murphy, who has recently moved to the south of Ireland and will no doubt at some point start being heard saying things like ‘top o’the mornin’ to anyone who’ll listen whilst supping a pint of Guinness and wearing a shamrock. I actually think he stands a chance this week at a decent price as to me he showed signs of getting back to something like form in Coventry. All eyes will also be on home favourite Mark Allen, who is of course bang in form and I’m sure would love to win here, he’ll not be without his backers.       

You can take a look at the draw for this here and even play around with it to make your picks.

Recommended Bets: WIN ONLY: Shaun Murphy (28/1), Jack Lisowski (35/1), EACH WAY: Ali Carter (50/1), Noppon Saengkham (250/1), Chris Wakelin (300/1).

If you want to book tickets to go and watch you can call 028 9033 4455 or CLICK HERE

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. 

October 25, 2018

International Championship

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:30 am

Plays better in front of one man and his dog these days

From 28th October snooker once again moves over to China, this time to Daqing for the annual International Championship, where China specialist Mark Selby will be looking to make it three on the spin in this particular event and bag the impressive £175,000 first prize.

Once again a huge arena awaits the players over there, if only the same could be said about the spectators, or should I say lack of them. One question that I am frequently asked is why the Chinese in general fail to turn up in numbers at venues when we are told how huge the sport is over there.

My best guess is that this is largely cultural, perhaps they like playing more than watching, or watching on TV more than live at the venue. Perhaps with China being so vast the venues are not accessible to sufficient numbers to form a respectable crowd, perhaps the ticket prices are restrictive…..perhaps it’s a bit of all of these.

But the fact is that year on year, event by event, the crowds are woefully poor. There is the odd exception which perhaps points to the fact that the cities they are holding these in are the main issue, the more affluent areas of Shanghai and Beijing always seem to attract the larger audience but some of the events in the arse end of the country are probably just too far away from the crowd or anyone with any money to draw in the punters. I do continue to wonder why they choose to hold them in vast arenas though, it adds nothing to the tournament and if anything makes it look a bit desperate as a spectacle in my opinion.

Anyway, Selby returns to try and take his third successive title here and he is becoming a player just lately who seems to be performing better on Far Eastern shores than he does at home for whatever reason. He’ll soon be facing a real fight with snooker’s newest playboi Mark Williams to hold on to his number one spot in the rankings and that one could well go right to the end of the season before we know who will finish on top this time around, but a nice drop of the £175k purse for either of them in this would probably help enormously to making that happen.

You can play around with the draw to make your selections here even entering the prediction competition if you so wish. I’ve done that and my selections are included below as I try and follow up the success from last week’s English Open with the recommended winner Stuart Bingham (40/1) and runner-up Dark Mavis (150/1) both being chalked up each way before a ball was struck.

Once again this is covered by the stalwarts at Eurosport though I’m guessing this one won’t include the studio bits, first off, Jimmy White has qualified for the main event and secondly Ronnie has decided to swerve it so I assume he has other plans, not sure the Eurosport snooker budget will stretch to first class flights to China for the regulars so it’s a scaled down coverage but coverage all the same and for that we should be very grateful as the Eurosport offering continues to go from strength to strength.    

Recommended Bets: WIN ONLY – Judd Trump (7/1) and Mark Allen (22/1) EACH WAY – Anthony McGill (160/1 – Boosted), Ali Carter (50/1) and Joe Perry (80/1 – Boosted).

Round 1 Acca – Anthony McGill, Martin Gould, Martin O’Donnell and Graeme Dott pays over 7/1.  

October 14, 2018

The English Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:07 pm

Back with the numpties at the car boot sale

This week sees the first of the four legs of the Home Nations events, with snooker being played in Crawley, where apparently there has been an event before, but I can’t remember what it was.

These are of course the events that form part of the pot at the end of the rainbow that is £1 million for anyone that can win all four of them. In fact, finding the pot at the end of said rainbow is probably a piece of piss compared to the nigh on impossible task here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to competitive action and seems to be getting a bit confused with the ranking list. The recent Shanghai Masters winner and current world number three believes that if he were to win this event he’d be the lowest ranked player ever to win a professional tournament.

The hapless Rocket is basing this ridiculous assertion on the fact that he’s not earned any money so far this season in ranking events, on account that he hasn’t been playing in them. But he’ll clearly reassert this stupifying piece of buffoonary several times as the week goes on to try and make people believe him.

Don’t. It’s fake news.

He’s also been having a go at the poor old Numpties again, reminiscing back to the good old days when he just played at venues in front of huge crowds and never had to qualify for anything and wondering why people who in his words are ‘very poor at the game’ are professional.

What he appears to be blotting out is that as well as the holy trinity of the Class of ’92, who are still owning three of the top four spots on the tour in which he is of course included, there are also a few thousand others who were in that class who now put ‘ex-professional snooker player’ on their social media profiles, leaving out the bit that they were only professional because they paid to do it when the floodgates were opened for anyone with a cue and a bulging wallet to do so. Mark my words, he played a lot more numpties in his early days than he does now, The Norbreck in Blackpool was like a mecca for numpties back in the day.

Again, fake news.

What isn’t fake news is the suspension of Jamie Jones that happened this week which I wrote about here and also a rather bizarre outburst from Mark King in the qualifiers in Barnsley during his match with Gerard Greene. Poor old Kingy got so frustrated at his lack of form that he huffed and puffed, banged and clanged and even told the referee to piss off. I think despite his protestations and sincere apologies at the end of the match he might be at least £250 lighter in the coming weeks.

Anyway, oh yes, this comp. You can predict your own outcome of it here and watch it on Eurosport all week. It’s best of sevens until the latter stages with 128 players in from the start, or as Ronnie likes to call it ‘car boot snooker’.

Here’s my outright selections for Crawley (where is Crawley by the way?). I have a feeling O’Sullivan will win it, but his price is way too short so some value each way pokes are the order of the day.

To Win Outright: Barry Hawkins (25/1) and Mark Allen (45/1 – Boosted)

Each Way: Stuart Bingham (40/1) Ryan Day (66/1) Yan Bingtao (66/1) Dark Mavis (150/1) and Gary Wilson (250/1) 

September 21, 2018

China Championship

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:00 am

You wouldn’t know from the photo but Shaun actually lost.

It’s back to China we head again next week, this time for a ranking event and the China Championship in Guangzhou, which this year sees total prize money of £725,000 with the winner bagging £150,000 of that purse. Luca Brecel is back to defend the title he won in style here last year before he turned rubbish for the rest of the season. It’s the third year of this event and the second time it’s been a ranker. 

Shanghai Master Ronnie has decided to skip this to give the others a chance and there are a few players who would really benefit from getting their seasons up and running as we enter the busy winter months on the baize.

One of them is current world number one Mark Selby, who looks set to be knocked off his perch by Williams in the not too distant future. If he’s to finish the season yet again as the number one player these are the events that he needs to start winning, but as yet he’s not really looking in great shape and seems to be continuing where he left off at the back end of last season, namely badly.

Others who will be looking at this event to springboard their seasons will be the likes of Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Stuart Bingham, while the recent form player so far this season Kyren Wilson will be looking to continue on the upward slope and climb up the rankings further EDIT – Kyren Wilson has withdrawn from the event since this preview was written.

Given O’Sullivan’s absence and the mediocre early form of some of the big players it’s wide open this one and this is reflected in the bookies going 11/2 on favourite Higgins, probably the first time for a while that Selby hasn’t gone off favourite in an event Ronnie isn’t in.

Looking at the draw however the 12/1 widely available on Ding Junhui could be a bit of value. I also raised an Roger Moore like eyebrow at the price on Bingham so that has to be backed.

Of the outsiders I think there is potential for the top quarter to throw up a semi-finalist at long odds so it’s worth having a punt on defending champion Brecel at 190/1 (Bet Boost) and Tom Ford at 200/1, either of whom are capable of making the last four if things go their way, Luca does look like he is returning to form and if you are a believer in horses for courses you’ll be positively salivating at that price. I’ll also throw in Graeme Dott at 190/1 (Bet Boost) from lower down in the tougher bottom half, so that’s my lot for this.

Recommended Outrights: Ding Junhui 12/1 (WIN), Stuart Bingham 45/1 (E/W), Luca Brecel 190/1 (E/W), Graeme Dott 190/1 (E/W), Tom Ford 200/1 (E/W).

Recommended Acca pays over 7/1 Joe Perry, Jamie Jones, Stuart Bingham, Dave Gilbert and Gary Wilson.    

You can view the full draw and even work out your predictions in this handy event planner here (and even enter the competition if you want to submit your predictions), view the match schedule here and view the Eurosport schedule here.

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