Snookerbacker

November 24, 2014

Coral UK Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:52 pm
Ahhh the memories....

Ahhh the memories….

Tuesday sees the beginning of one of the richest events, in terms of history and prestige, that snooker has. To a nostalgic old fool like me, the re-introduction of Corals as the sponsors for the UK Championship is bound to bring the memories flooding back.

As a young Snookerbacker I attended this event many times in its heyday, namely the early to mid-1980’s. Snookerbacker the Elder lived in Preston at the time and as an annual Xmas treat he would get me tickets for the final, all four sessions, and in a run of three fabulous years I witnessed Terry Griffiths, Alex Higgins and the Nugget all lift the trophy at the Guild Hall. The first two finals being something really special in an atmosphere that is sadly confined to these years in the UK.

I’ll get the moan out of the way before moving on to who I think might be lifting the trophy this year a week on Sunday. I think the format of this competition has been ruined by Barry Hearn. In events such as these I completely disagree with the 128-man field from the start at the venue.

The Sports Hall at The Barbican is nice enough and I love York as a host city, but I feel the urge to have everyone crammed in there like lemmings rather than have a qualifying event before taking 32 to the main venue is over-riding common sense.

The matches are of course a lot shorter than the glory years, whilst that cannot be blamed solely on the current regime, they have seen fit to shorten them further by reducing the two session semi-finals to best of 11 frames. For me, this tournament isn’t a patch on what it was.

But, it is what it is, whatever that means and from Saturday onwards we welcome back the BBC to the world of snooker. No doubt they will completely erase everything that’s been happening since Selby won the World Championship in May and pretend that there are only really 3 events that matter, but what the heck. At least we get to take the piss out of the gang again. Look out for a new addition to the studio team too.

To reiterate, the format is basically cram them all in from the start and use 8 tables until there are enough hotel rooms vacated in York to move it all into the main arena for the BBC cameras which begin rolling on Saturday. The bigger names will all get to play in the arena from the start, though not necessarily on a televised table, with the lower ranked and riff raff confined to the sports hall.

Having a look at the quarters, it’s very difficult to come to anything other than the conclusion that this will be won by one of 6 or 7 usual suspects. The form of Shaun Murphy in Mulheim has seen his price drop from 25/1 to 16’s and there will still be a few who will be tempted in at that price given his incredible cueing at the weekend and his new found break-building, ‘kill it off in one visit with a maximum’ acumen.

Hard to oppose

Hard to oppose

Ronnie O’Sullivan was last seen waltzing to the Champion of Champions title and he’s by all accounts bang up for this and of course, if he turns up in earnest, the others are up against it. He’s short enough given the size of the field but looking at his draw I think he’s more or less certain to make at least the Quarter Finals and from there on he becomes a very short priced favourite indeed, possibly touching odds-on.

You have to wonder how much becoming a father will have affected Mark Selby’s practice regime. He missed Mulheim, either to change nappies or to get match sharp but he may be best watched in this rather than backed. But I said that at the World Championships too and he didn’t do too bad there. Judd Trump is in decent form and is seeded to meet Ronnie in the final again, as he did in Coventry, I would not be a bit surprised if that happened.

Neil Robertson doesn’t yet look 100% to me, but he’s so good even him on 80% is capable of winning this if things go his way. Other players who seem in decent shape coming into this are Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham, Ricky Walden, Rob Milkins and of course Mark Williams, who is looking a bit more like his old self lately, unlike his old rival John Higgins who was last seen roaming a field with a shovel looking for a bulls arse to hit.  

The lesser-spotted Ding is another, like Robbo, who to me doesn’t look quite at his best yet but he’s a player that raises his game for events like this so the 10/1 might start looking very generous as the tournament goes on.

In terms of a very big outsider, the only name that stands out at a daft each-way price (300/1) to me is Alan McManus, but in reality you can’t see him making the final so I’ll pass on the each way bet on him for a change.

Recommended Outright Bets: 5 points on Ronnie O’Sullivan at 3/1. 2 points each way on Judd Trump at 9/1. 1 point on Alan McManus to win Quarter 1 at 33/1. 1 point each way on Marco Fu at 40/1. 1 point on Mark Williams to win Quarter 4 at 12/1.

Recommended First Round Acca: 4 points on Peter Ebdon, Anthony McGill, Dominic Dale, Fergal O’Brien, Rod Lawler and Ali Carter pays just on 7/2 with Boyles.

Daily match bets will be added ermm, daily. The best of luck with your bets.  

Tuesday

2.30pm
Main Arena
Peter Ebdon v Ross Muir
Robert Milkins v Michael Leslie
Graeme Dott v Alexander Ursenbacher
Barry Hawkins v Ashley Carty

Sports Hall
Kurt Maflin v Chris Norbury
Marcus Campbell v Scott Donaldson
Anthony Hamilton v Craig Steadman
Nigel Bond v Stuart Carrington

7.30pm
Main Arena
Alan McManus v Joel Walker
Stuart Bingham v Thanawat Tirapongbaiboon
Judd Trump w/o Rouzi Maimalti
Michael Holt v Zak Surety

Sports Hall
Tom Ford v Barry Pinches
Alfie Burden v Chris Wakelin
Aditya Mehta v Alex Davies
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Andrew Norman

Recommended Tuesday Match Bet: 3 x 2 point doubles and a 2 point treble on Donaldson (8/13), Carrington (8/13) and Wakelin (Evens).

Wednesday 

9.30am
Main Arena
John Higgins v Lee Walker
Matthew Stevens v Allan Taylor
Xiao Goudong v Ian Glover
Martin Gould v Lee Page

Sports Hall
Anthony McGill v Michael Georgiou
Jamie Cope v John Astley
Gerard Greene v Vinnie Calabrese
Ben Woollaston v Michael Wasley

2.30pm
Main Arena
Dominic Dale v Tony Drago
Ding Junhui v John Sutton
Jimmy White v Dave Harold
Mark King v James Cahill

Sports Hall
Matt Selt v Hammad Miah
Andrew Higginson v Tian Pengfei
Mike Dunn v Andrew Pagett
Joe Perry w/o Liu Chuang

7.30pm
Main Arena
Ricky Walden v Steve Davis
Fergal O’Brien v Igor Figueiredo
Ryan Day v Lyu Chenwei
Mark Selby v Oliver Brown

Sports Hall
Robbie Williams v Sam Baird
Jamie Burnett v Fraser Patrick
Rod Lawler v Alex Borg
David Morris v Li Hang

Recommended Wednesday Match Bets: 2 points on Astley (+2.5 frames) at Evens. 3 points on Glover (+3.5 frames) at Evens. 3 x 1 point doubles and a 1 point treble Patrick (7/4), Calabrese (11/8) and Wasley (5/4).   

Thursday

9.30am
Main Arena
Ken Doherty v Mitchell Mann
Dark Mavis v Jak Jones
Marco Fu v Ahmed Saif
Mark Williams v Steven Hallworth

Sports Hall
Jamie Jones v Liam Highfield
Luca Brecel v Noppon Saengkham
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Robin Hull
Jimmy Robertson v Zhou Yeulong

2.30pm
Main Arena
Ali Carter v Zhang Anda
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Daniel Wells
Mark Allen v Eden Sharav
Liang Wenbo v David Grace

Sports Hall
Rory McLeod v Ian Burns
Peter Lines v Joe Swail
Jack Lisowski v Chris Melling
Cao Yupeng v Lyu Haotion

7.30pm
Main Arena
Neil Robertson v Joe O’Connor
Michael White v Cao Xin Long
Shaun Murphy v James Wattana
Stephen Maguire v Lu Ning

Sports Hall
Kyren Wilson v Gary Wilson
Yu Delu v Oli Lines
David Gilbert v Elliot Slessor
Mark Joyce v Ratchayothin Yotharuck

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November 23, 2014

Ruhr Open Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:21 am

It’s Finals Day in Mulheim as the last sixteen battle it out to be crowned Ruhr Open Champ. 

In terms of the betting we still have each way pokes left on Mark Williams (40/1) and Rod Lawler (175/1) both of whom just need to make the semi-finals to land the place part. The main fancy to win it, Shaun Murphy (10/1) is also still in there so it’s an exciting day in store and fingers crossed one of those three (preferably Rod) can land the title.

Here is the running order today.

9am

Stuart Carrington v Rod Lawler
Robert Milkins v Andrew Higginson
Neil Robertson v Liang Wenbo
Stuart Bingham v Stephen Maguire
Judd Trump v Marco Fu
Fergal O’Brien v Chris Wakelin
Mark Williams v Mark King
Joe Swail v Shaun Murphy

12pm

Quarter Finals

3pm

Semi Finals

7pm

Final

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November 20, 2014

Ruhr Open Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:07 am
Look at the size of those jugs!

Look at the size of those jugs!

It’s a busy few weeks on the baize coming up with the UK Championship in York next week following the Ruhr Open in Mulheim, Germany this weekend.

The amateurs are already underway battling for the 20-odd places available to join the professionals who start on Friday in the usual PTC format.

The Germans, like the one pictured, of course love their snooker and unlike the Chinese even turn up to watch it, which is a bonus.

They always run a tight ship over there and the tournaments they hold, however big or small, always have a great feel to them. I’m not one for bolstering dated national stereotypes but the German comps are, as might be expected, very well organised from start to finish.

This one will again also benefit from Eurosport coverage although we won’t get to see either Ronnie or World Champion Mark Selby who have decided not to enter, presumably getting themselves geared up for the big one in York, which it’s been announced today will be returning to the sponsorship arms of Corals.

But there are enough faces in there to ensure a crowd with the likes of Robbo, Judd, Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy and Rod Lawler all there to entertain the natives. Apart from Rod of course who is just there. 

We’ve not done too badly on the outrights lately and in the last PTC Shaun Murphy obliged having been flagged up as the main bet at 16/1 and I am nothing if not loyal. It’s always nice to have a small book on the outrights in these as there is usually a spot of value to be had here and there. I usually take one from each quarter and look for a bit of each-way value along the way and it’s served us well in the past so here goes another punt.

Recommended Bets: (Remember to check place terms on Each Way bets, for 1234 go to Skybet, Boyles or Apollobet – all each way below are 1234)

2 points win on Shaun Murphy at 10/1. 1 point each way on Mark Williams and Michael White at 40/1. 1 point each way on Ryan Day at 50/1. 1 point each way on Peter Ebdon at 150/1. 1 point each way on Rod Lawler at 175/1.

MATCH BETTING: 3 point acca pays just over 4/1 at Corals on Ben Wollaston, Gary Wilson, Ryan Day, Chris Melling, Joe Perry and Mark Williams. 1 point on Peter Lines at 9/4 and 1 point on Joel Walker at 3/1 with a 1 point double on the two.

The full draw can be found here and the Order of Play is listed below.

FRIDAY

8.30am

Mark Allen v Hammad Miah
Mark Joyce v
Anthony Hamilton v Zak Surety
James Cahill v Stuart Carrington
Robbie Williams v
Gary Wilson v Lee Page
Elliot Slessor v
Rod Lawler v
Robert Milkins v Cao Xin Long
Ben Woollaston v Ross Muir
Jack Lisowski v Peter Lines

Approx 10am

Jamie Jones v Alexander Ursenbache
Aditya Mehta v
Dominic Dale v
Andrew Higginson v
Anthony McGill v Zhang Anda
Neil Robertson v Noppon Saengkham

Approx 10.30am

Barry Hawkins v Craig Steadman
Andrew Pagett v David Grace
Jak Jones v Lu Haotian
Liang Wenbo v Alfie Burden

Approx 11.30am

Oliver Lines v
Ryan Day v Michael Leslie
Jimmy Robertson v
Stephen Maguire v Mitchell Mann

Approx 12.00pm

Luca Brecel v
Kurt Maflin v Cao Yupeng
Stuart Bingham v Joel Walker
Graeme Dott v Ken Doherty

Approx 1pm

Liam Highfield v Alex Davies
Chris Melling v Ahmed Saif
Peter Ebdon v

Followed by later matches

SATURDAY

8.30am

Judd Trump v Rory McLeod
Sam Baird v Yu Delu
Kyren Wilson v
Matt Selt v Alex Borg
Fraser Patrick v
Scott Donaldson v Li Hang
John Higgins v Vinnie Calabrese
Marco Fu v Barry Pinches
Michael Wasley v
Joe Perry v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Allan Taylor v

Approx 10am

Fergal O’Brien v
Chris Wakelin v
Matthew Stevens v David Morris
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v John Astley
Michael White v Rouzi Maimaiti
Dark Mavis v Ian Burns

Approx 10.30am

Nigel Bond v
Gerard Greene v
Jimmy White v Zhou Yuelong
Ian Glover v

Approx 11.30am

Mark Williams v Tom Ford
Tony Drago v Michael Georgiou
Mark King v Chris Norbury
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Steven Hallworth

Approx 12.00pm

Jamie Cope v
Joe Swail v
Mike Dunn v
Tian Pengfei v

Approx 1pm

Dave Gilbert v Lyu Chenwei
Michael Holt v
Shaun Murphy v Lu Ning

Followed by later matches.

November 7, 2014

The Captain Returns to the COC Pit

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:13 am
Flying High.

Flying High.

Today isn’t just about snooker, today is the day that the snooker family welcomes back it’s biggest winner, Ali Carter, who is back in the big events much sooner than we might have expected having won his biggest fight of all. 

I’ve purposely not touched on Ali’s private battle while it was going on as for me it’s not really the type of thing that belongs on a snooker blog, but having had a long association with him I can now say how in awe of him I am. His positivity and determination throughout what must have been a living hell has seen him come out of the other side smiling and winning. I hope his reception in Coventry today befits one of a returning hero, for that is nothing less than he is.

Right, that’s that bit over with. Having spoken to Ali it’s clear that his attitude towards snooker has also changed, who knows we might even see Mr Grumpy transform into Mr Happy before our very eyes. With all the bickering, back-stabbing and moaning that goes on in snooker, it’s worth everyone taking a minute to step back and put things into perspective, it is, after all, only a game and not as one daft football manager once put it, more important than life or death.

Ali has already made a comeback of sorts of course over in Hong Kong when he won the General Cup beating Shaun Murphy in the final. That seemed an ideal way to get back into the groove and while to the snooker fan it may not have been a big deal, I assure you for Ali it was.

Today he faces Neil Robertson first up and with due respect to Robbo I don’t think there is a snooker fan out there that would begrudge Ali the win. But the main thing is he’s here, he’s fit and healthy and he’s playing.

The winner of that will face either International Champion Ricky Walden or the in-form Mark Allen who face each other in the other semi-final in a repeat of their final in Chengdu last weekend.

Call me a sentimental old fool, call me Susan if you like but I’m putting my cash where my loyalties lie today. I wouldn’t blame you for not following me in, but sometimes fairy tales can come true.

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Ali Carter to win the group at 6/1. 1 point on Ali Carter to win the COC at 45/1.

1pm

Neil Robertson v Ali Carter
NB 3pm

Ricky Walden v Mark Allen

7pm

Neil Robertson/Ali Carter v Ricky Walden/Mark Allen

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November 4, 2014

Too Busy for COC

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:15 am

With one thing and another I’ve been too busy to give any time to the Champion of Champions (COC) this week but hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to catch up with it a bit.

Ding qualified yesterday but, apologies for the after-timing, (though I did tweet it in advance) the bet of the day was surely Barry Hawkins to beat John Higgins so I hope a few of you launched into that. Higgins is really struggling at the moment.

Steve Davis is back on our screens this afternoon for the quite superb ITV coverage, BBC take note. He faces a pretty stern test against Mark Selby while Judd Trump faces Stephen Maguire.

Recommended Bet: 2 points on Trump to win Group 2 at 5/2 with Corals 

Group 2 (click match for head to head)

1pm
Mark Selby v Steve Davis

NB 3pm
Judd Trump v Stephen Maguire

7pm
Mark Selby v Judd Trump

October 28, 2014

International Championship Last 16

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:17 pm
All he wants is some COC action.

All he wants is some COC action.

Well, well, well, who would have thought it? First Shaun Murphy gets hammered by Rob Milkins, then Mark Williams turns back the clock to wallop Barry Hawkins, then Joe Swail produces a vintage comeback to oust Robbo and as if that wasn’t unbelievable enough then Judd Trump loses a decider to Jamie ’30 feathers’ Burnett!! You couldn’t make it up guv’nor.

So what is going on in Chengdu? Only 5 of the 16 left in it are top 16 players and even Ronnie has decided to play seriously this time. It’s almost like all of what we know to be true isn’t true after all and falsehoods and ancient myths become truths and the world has been spun around and turned on it’s head. Next thing Peter Ebdon will be tucking into a steak and Rod Lawler will beat Ronnie’s fastest 147 record. I need a lie down, Nurse – fetch the bedpan.

With all these bizarre twists and turns going on it’s easy to lose sight of what a blessing some of these results are for good old dictator chairman Bazza’s big ITV event, the Champion of Champions or #COC next week.

Had some of the names knocked out today stayed in Chengdu any longer the start of the tournament would possibly have involved Steve Davis playing Dommo Dale three times on the first day with Mark Selby reffing. But as ever, it’s all fallen into place for Baz and now he can get his top boys like Selby, Robbo, Ding, Murphy and Judd to open the show in style for the great coverage being afforded it by ITV4. Isn’t it odd how it all works out sometimes??? Almost like it was planned.

One person who won’t care much for all this series of unpredictable events is Ali Carter. Hanging by a thread onto his place in Coventry and hoping that either Ronnie, Mark Allen, Ricky Walden, Ballrun Bingham or Marco Fu can win it so he can make his main tour comeback next week. Poor Ali, he’s been through the mill and back and still he must sit and wait to see if he can get his stick out a few weeks earlier than planned following his General Cup success in Hong Kong last week.

In terms of betting, it’s time to just give up on the match bets and get really excited about who we still have left in from the recommended outright bets. Mark Allen at 14/1 came back from a slow start to beat Gouldy today, Peter Ebdon seemed in fine fettle in walloping Joe Perry and the 250/1 recommended on him now looks a little more exciting, we also have Xiao Guodong who is obviously now another big contender, he was 66/1 when recommended, he damn sure ain’t that now.

Here’s the line up for Wednesday. Is it Ronnie’s to lose? I wouldn’t be so sure.  

6.30am

Joe Swail v Ricky Walden
Marco Fu v Rod Lawler
Mark Williams v Sam Baird
Robert Milkins v Xiao Guodong

11.30am

Peter Ebdon v Jamie Burnett
Michael White v Ian Burns
Li Hang v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Stuart Bingham v Mark Allen

Predicted Winners: Swail, Fu, MJW, Guodong, Ebdon, White, O’Sullivan, Allen.

October 27, 2014

International Championship Last 32

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:04 pm
Ronnie: Dodged a Woolett

Ronnie: Dodged a Woolett

It’s the last 32 in Chengdu as the International Championship continues at a pace rushing through the rounds at breakneck speed on the six table set up.

As a traditionalist anorak, this tournament leaves me in something of a quandary, on the one side we have long matches including the two session semi-finals which haven’t been seen in other main ranking events since the UK Championship was massacred by Bazza and his daft flat format idea, but on the downside is all these tables….we don’t get any idea of how some players are playing as we never see them and that is made even worse when the World Snooker scoreboard breaks down as it did today.

I know, in a perfect world I’d just want best of 17’s in every round  with 32 players competing on two televised tables, but unfortunately we are told that the audiences of today would find that format far too boring and long winded.

Well stuff ‘em is what I say and let’s get back to that kind of format whether they want it or not, sod what the market researchers say I say. Show the wildcards the door, get rid of this ridiculous cramming of sardines into a tin at the main venues and let’s sit back and watch them all grind it out over 31 frame finals.

Anyway, back in the real world, I’ve managed to catch snippits of this and it looks like Ronnie dodged a bullet against Ben Wollaston, who, but for one shot could have sent the Rocket home but failed. As did Eurosport who didn’t show the resulting re-spotted black as they had carelessly misread the score. The same dodge tactic can’t be said for Scottish duo John Higgins and Stephen Maguire who both came a cropper. Poor old Higgy was wandering around with a shovel looking for a bulls arse to hit at times, he’s well out of sorts isn’t he?

But there are still enough big names in there to keep us interested, Robbo, Judd, Smurf, Ballrun, MJW, Hawk and Rod. I’m also delighted to see SB Classic runner-up from last season Mitchell Mann starting his professional career with a bang and he’s up against Michael White in the first session at 1.30am UK time.

Here’s the running order for the last 32, which will all be completed in a day. Joe Davis would be turning in his grave…

Recommended Bets: 2 point acca on Murphy, Guodong, Walden and Fu pays 9/4. 1 point double on Peter Ebdon and Ryan Day pays over 13/2. 1 point on McGill to beat Ronnie at 11/2.

1.30am

Stuart Bingham v Ryan Day
Sam Baird v Dark Mavis
Ian Burns v Craig Steadman
Mitchell Mann v Michael White

6.30am

Neil Robertson v Joe Swail
Joe Perry v Peter Ebdon
Shaun Murphy v Robert Milkins
Xiao Guodong v Noppon Saengkham
Fergal O’Brien v Rod Lawler
Barry Hawkins v Mark Williams

11.30am

Zhou Yuelong v Ricky Walden
Jamie Burnett v Judd Trump
Marco Fu v David Gilbert
Anthony McGill v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Martin Gould v Mark Allen
Li Hang v Zhao Xintong

Snookerbacker Classic – Saturday Qualifier Prices Available

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:46 am

SB2015 A4 Poster2On Saturday this season’s Snookerbacker Classic gets underway in Gloucester with a 16 player qualifying event to find this season’s first Grand Finalist.

Boylesports have priced up Saturday’s outright market and last season’s semi-finalist Jamie Clarke is favourite in a highly competitive field which also includes former champion Martin O’Donnell, former Grand Finalists Syd Wilson, Ryan Causton, Andy Marriott, Zack Richardson and Callum Lloyd as well as Ladies World Champion Reanne Evans and SB Classic debutant Sean O’Sullivan.

You can view the draw for Saturday here.

You can view the outrights for Qualifier 1 and the tournament outright betting by clicking here.

In terms of the overall betting on this season’s champion, Sam Craigie, who isn’t involved at Gloucester, has been something of a gamble and has been backed in from 16/1 to 8/1 favourite to lift the trophy. 

There are still a few places left for the Leeds event on Sunday 30th November at the Northern Snooker Centre, if you would like one of them click this link and get your payment in.  

To read all about the tournament, view available venues, prizes and terms and conditions click here.

October 24, 2014

International Championship Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:10 am

Int ChampsSunday sees the start of undoubtedly the best tournament China has to offer both in terms of prize money and format. Even in its short time on the circuit the International Championship is now firmly established as one of snooker’s biggest events.

In fact, since they butchered and ruined the UK Championship format, I’d say this is actually a more prestigious title to hold, the money is the same after all. Add to that it’s got long matches from the start and two session semi-finals and the bluff old traditionalist anoraks like me are dancing in the streets with ecstatic abandon clutching our almanacs.

Another bonus is that Ronnie O’Sullivan is in it, OK he might not last long, he rarely does these days when he’s over there but he’s in the hat and faces Ben Woollaston first up. Interestingly but perhaps not suprisingly our Ronald doesn’t make the editors cut on the promotional posters, will they rue the day they missed his moody boat race off the visuals? Maybe.

The two glaring absentees over in Chengdu however are World Champion Mark Selby and the increasingly elusive Ding Junhui. Selby was toppled by the man of the moment, boy wonder Oli Lines and the holder Ding lost to fellow Chinese player Wang Zepeng, meaning that the home crowd are left wondering where he’s got to for the second time this season. Barnsley has a lot to answer for. Let’s just hope this gaping void does not further effect the poor crowds which seem to be commonplace in Chinese events when he isn’t there.

The draw for the final stages, which unfortunately includes unnecessary wildcards who don’t deserve a place in the tournament can be viewed on My First PDF at World Snooker by clicking here. The match schedule is listed below.

In terms of the outrights, the bookies are taking no chances whatsoever with Ronnie, I was surprised when clicking on the prices to see him so short given his recent forays in China have not exactly been hugely successful and that his form coming into this is largely unknown (and he’s not on the poster which automatically rules him out of course), he can be backed anywhere between 2/1 and 10/3 but that’s no sort of price for me, he’s not a bet in this even if he turns it on, which would be totally at odds with what he’s done here for quite a few years now.

It’s always worth considering a Chinese player to do well and the 66/1 about Xiao Guodong, who for me is the second best player China has at the moment is worth a small wager. He’s been to a ranking final in China before and is more than capable of doing so again with the home crowd behind him.

My habit of backing Alan McManus for nearly everything this season shows no sign of disappearing, I still think he’ll win something, though knowing my luck it will be the shootout or something like that, but the 175/1 on him, even though he may face Ronnie in Round 2 (who he beat last time they met in China) is big enough to tempt me in again.

Another old geezer who appears to be coming back to form and who has history of winning tournaments in China when you least expect it is Peter Ebdon, who can be backed as big as 250/1 if you have a good look around. It would be hard for any fan to accept that Ebdon will never grace the winners mantle again, he may not be everyone’s favourite to watch, not me I hasten to add as I find his unique shot selection quite fascinating, but he’s one of snooker’s biggest characters and only the harshest fan would begrudge him another title or two before he hangs up his carrot bag.

In terms of a more realistic winner, I have to plump for Mark Allen. His form is solid, he’s on a good winning streak and he represents a bit of value in the market given his draw and the absence of Ding in the top half. It’s also probably worth covering that with one of the poster boys and as Shaun Murphy is in sparkling form and he’s a generous 14/1, let’s have a punt on him aswell for the heck of it.

It’s very early in the morning for us Europeans to be up watching the first session and that is the biggest drawback of this championship as you don’t really get to see a lot of it unless you live the week on China Time. There will be plenty of coverage throughout the week on Eurosport though for insomniacs and early risers everywhere.

Recommended Outright Bets: 2 points each way Mark Allen at 14/1. 2 points win on Shaun Murphy at 14/1. 1 point each way on Alan McManus at 175/1. 1 point each way on Xiao Guodong at 66/1. 0.5 points each way on Peter Ebdon at 250/1.  

Recommended Match Acca: 3 points at over 11/2 with Boyles on Ryan Day, Alan McManus, Kyren Wilson and Matthew Stevens. Add Peter Ebdon for 2 points at over 8/1 with the same firm. Add Mark Williams for 1 point at almost 11/1 with Corals. 2 points on Zak Surety to beat Dave Gilbert at 5/2.

Sunday

1.30am
Stuart Bingham v Robbie Williams
Barry Hawkins v Jimmy White
Jamie Jones v Zhao Xintong
Oli Lines v Huang Jiahao
Martin Gould v Joel Walker
Mark Joyce v Ryan Day

6.30am
John Higgins v Li Hang
Oliver Brown v Mark Williams
Joe Swail v Yan Bingtao
Mitchell Mann v Niu Zhuang
Alan McManus v Anthony McGill
Aditya Mehta v Michael White

11.30am
Ben Woollaston v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Nigel Bond v Mark Allen
Craig Steadman v Graeme Dott
Dominic Dale v Ian Burns
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Dark Mavis
Sam Baird v Kyren Wilson

Monday

1.30am
Shaun Murphy v Yu Delu
Wang ZePeng v Mitchell Mann/Niu Zhuang
Noppon Saengkham v Stephen Maguire
Andrew Pagett v Peter Ebdon
Dave Gilbert v Zak Surety
Jamie Jones/Zhao Xintong v Kurt Maflin

6.30am
Neil Robertson v Matt Selt
Marco Fu v Liam Highfield
Zhou Yuelong v Chris Melling
Matthew Stevens v Jamie Burnett
Fergal O’Brien v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Joe Swail/Yan Bingtao v Andrew Higginson

11.30am
Jimmy Robertson v Judd Trump
Xiao Guodong v Eden Sharav
David Morris v Ricky Walden
Joe Perry v Mike Dunn
Barry Pinches v Robert Milkins
Rod Lawler v Oli Lines/Huang Jiahao

October 5, 2014

Bulgarian Open: Finals Day in Sofia

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:44 am

It’s Finals Day over in Sofia and here is a run down of what to expect today. The first match on TV at 8am British time is the one between The Whirlwind and Shaun Murphy. We still have Murphy (16/1) and Alan McManus (100/1 e/w) in the hunt bettingwise so fingers crossed on those.

8am

Mark Selby v Robbie Williams
Shaun Murphy v Jimmy White
Michael White v Jimmy Robertson
Luca Brecel v Mark King
Ricky Walden v Martin Gould
Mark Davis v Alan McManus
Joe Perry v Peter Ebdon
Michael Wasley v Judd Trump

11am

Quarter Finals
Mark Selby/Robbie Williams v Shaun Murphy/Jimmy White
Michael White/Jimmy Robertson v Luca Brecel/Mark King
Ricky Walden/Martin Gould v Mark Davis/Alan McManus
Joe Perry/Peter Ebdon v Michael Wasley/Judd Trump


2pm

Semi Finals

6pm

Final

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