Snookerbacker

September 1, 2014

Slow Play: Is it time to stamp out the snails?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:48 am
Snail on the Road

Some prefer to take their time

Today sees the start of the World Six Red Championship over in Thailand, a faster, more streamlined version of our traditional sport which is actually fairly entertaining to watch compared to other bastardized forms that have reared their ugly heads over the years, namely Power ‘Cue the Revolution’ Snooker (remember that?) and the ghastly Blackpool Shootout.  

As ever, for those of us with nothing better to talk about, watching a ‘new’ version of the sport usually has us prattling on about bringing some of the concepts and ideas from these other formats into the main arena. Thankfully, that’s not happened despite even some leading players calling for shotclocks at the Crucible, which for me would be akin to inviting members of the Islamic State to play a round of golf with some Americans to talk things through. Both would ultimately end in carnage.

One player that took to Twitter last week to bemoan the time my mate Rod Lawler was taking to play was Andrew Pagett, who is never short of a word or ten when it comes to such things. He called it ‘disgusting’ that Rod had taken an average of 41 seconds a shot in dispensing with his pal Mark Williams in Germany, ‘pathetic’ he cried in pointing out that a best of 7 match shouldn’t take 4 hours. He didn’t get personal with Rod, but it was clear from his tweets that our Padgey wanted action on this matter.

There have always been slow players in snooker, but I suppose the question is when does the speed at which a player plays become gamesmanship? There are players that were and are naturally slow, Cliff Thorburn was one but he remained usually very entertaining to watch and there was never a hint of any bad blood arising from his way around the table.

Eddie Charlton was another, his coma-inducing snooker meant that when he was on the telly, even as a baize obsessed youngster, I’d eagerly seek out a wall to stare at rather than watch. Many believed that he did this deliberately and I wouldn’t argue with that given his incredibly competitive nature, I’m sure he rose to heights in the sport that he’d otherwise not have done simply through boring opponents to death.

Then there’s another Aussie, Robby Foldvari. The snooker equivalent of a three toed sloth. He holds every record there is when it comes to snail-like snooker and was so turgidly slow that he often left slime trails around the table. Let’s hope we never see his like again, opponents would be bored into submission frequently by this geezer and it wasn’t pretty let me tell ya.

In more modern times there are those who prefer to take their time more than others, Rod is one but he’s also posting some great results with it. Others include Rory McLeod, who Ricky Walden famously labelled ‘The Dentist’ after a particularly gruelling Crucible slogfest, Peter Ebdon has also frequently been accused of using slow play to get results, this split screen You Tube video is a must watch if you haven’t seen it before. Even the World Champion hasn’t escaped criticism from fellow players and fans alike, Ronnie labelling him ‘The Torturer’ and fans referring to him as Mark Slowby. How mean is that?

So is it time to act and stamp out the snails from the sport and start penalising them in some way?

No, of course it isn’t.

OK, we’d all usually prefer to watch the likes of Ronnie and Judd bashing them in from all angles and getting on with it in free-flowing style, but some of the sport’s greatest moments happen when there is a contrast of styles and for me, long may that continue. So if Rod wants to take several hours sizing up a tricky green, let him, if Rory wants to reach for the lower incisor whilst pondering a straight blue to middle bag, I say that’s up to him, if Ebbo wants to munch down a field of carrots in between shots, then go right ahead I say.

Just don’t dig Eddie Charlton up unless you’ve got a wall handy and under no circumstances let Mr Foldvari consider a comeback, there are some things that are beyond taste and decency and these cross that line in spades.

In the meantime enjoy the 6-Reds, it’s not that bad for a once a year comp and it’s live all week on Eurosport, with lots of betting opportunities.

August 25, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Payment Deadline Sunday

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:07 pm

A reminder to all players that have reserved places for any of the following events that entry fee payments are due no later than 31st August. Anyone who does not pay the fee on or before this deadline will no longer have a place reserved in the tournament.

To pay the entry fee for Liverpool on the 9th November click here and follow the instructions. 

To pay the entry fee for Preston on the 16th November click here and follow the instructions.

To pay the entry fee for Leeds on the 29th and 30th November click here and follow the instructions.

For anyone who missed the further prize announcement the other day click here

August 24, 2014

Paul Hunter Classic Finals Day

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:42 am

Finals Day in Furth today at the Paul Hunter Classic and a cracking line up it is too with Ronnie, Selby, Judd and Robbo all still in contention. The outright picks of Ronnie, Robbo and 200/1 each way poke Angles McManus are all still in the mix and today seems destined to be a great day of snooker.

Here’s the line up.

9am

Mark Selby v Liang Wenbo
Ricky Walden v Fergal O’Brien
Judd Trump v Stephen Maguire
Tian Pengfei v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Neil Robertson v Dechawat Poomjaeng
Rod Lawler v Fraser Patrick
Alan McManus v Xiao Guodong
Robert Milkins v Mark Allen

12pm

Mark Selby/Liang Wenbo v Ricky Walden/Fergal O’Brien
Judd Trump/Stephen Maguire v Tian Pengfei/Ronnie O’Sullivan
Neil Robertson/Dechawat Poomjaeng v Rod Lawler/Fraser Patrick
Alan McManus/Xiao Guodong v Robert Milkins/Mark Allen 


3pm

Semi Finals

7pm

Final

August 22, 2014

Paul Hunter Classic: Pro Day Two

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:36 pm
The World Champion is in action on Saturday.

The World Champion is in action on Saturday.

After the first eight qualifiers have gone through to Sunday’s Finals Day, Saturday in Furth sees the other section of the draw whittle down to the eight that will join them. 

The good news is that the acca flagged up on Friday at just on 7/1 landed so I hope a few of you that I know are still logging on regularly despite my recent lack of updates got on. It’s quality over quantity these days as far as I’m concerned, both in terms of the posts and the bets flagged up hopefully.

I’ve taken a look at the early Saturday matches but for the life of me I can’t find anything that interests me on the betting front enough to part with the hard-earned. I think there are a few outsiders with a chance in the morning matches, Oli Lines, Allan Taylor, David Morris, James Cahill, Stuart Carrington and Vinnie Calabrese all have chances at decent odds. Fraser Patrick faces a toughie against Stuart Bingham but is way overpriced and possibly being under-rated by the bookies.

But I’m keeping the satchel closed. Gun to head I’d say the best two from that list of outsiders are Calabrese and Cahill for a small interest double which is paying you close on 6/1. 

The matches are listed below and the tournament continues on Eurosport.

8.30am

Mark Selby v Alexander Ursenbacher
Dominic Dale v Oliver Lines
Shaun Murphy v Luke Garland
Mark Joyce v Lu Ning
Jak Jones v Kishan Hirani
Liam Highfield v Cao Xin Long
Andrew Higginson v Liang Wenbo
Dark Mavis v Sanderson Lam
Chris Wakelin v Eden Sharav
Michael Wasley v David Grace
Allan Taylor v Tom Ford

Approx 10am

Ricky Walden v Andrew Pagett
Ryan Day v Adam Duffy
Gerard Greene v Peter Lines
Fergal O’Brien v David Morris
Marco Fu v Hans Blanckaert

Approx 10.30am

Anthony McGill v Mitchell Mann
David Gilbert v Craig Steadman
Neil Robertson v Elliot Slessor
Jimmy Robertson v Vinnie Calabrese

Approx 11.30am

Kyren Wilson v Paul Davison
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Lyu Chenwei 
Jack Lisowski v Stuart Carrington
Graeme Dott v Martin O’Donnell

Approx 12pm

Mark Williams v Rod Lawler
Sam Baird v Yu De Lu
James Cahill v Dave Harold
John Higgins v Zak Surety

Approx 1pm

Mark King v Michael Collumb
Jamie Jones v Lyu Haotian
Ross Muir v Matthew Stevens 
Stuart Bingham v Fraser Patrick

FOLLOWED BY LATER ROUNDS

Paul Hunter Classic: Pro Day One

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:13 am
Birthday Boy

Just seen the size of his present from Bazza

Following a busy couple of days for the amateur players today sees the professionals enter the fray in Furth. 

Ronnie O’Sullivan plays his first match at 12 noon and I’m sure you’ll be able to catch that on Eurosport if you get the chance.

Another legend of the game Steve ‘Interesting’ ‘The Nugget’ ‘The Ginger Magician’ Davis is also in action first up, it’s a bit unfair putting him on that early on his birthday. He’ll hardly have time to blow out the candles on his cake before he’s got to get back to the baize.

There are also a few of the SB Classic regulars in action, Jamie Clarke, Jack Bradford, Alex Taubman and Gaz Allen will all be hoping to give a good account of themselves and progress.

Here’s the running order for today.

Recommended Bet: 2 point acca pays almost 7/1 at Boyles on Joel Walker, Jamie Cope, Anthony Hamilton, Tian Pengfei and Matt Selt.

8.30am

Gary Wilson v Steve ‘Birthday Boy’ Davis
Kurt Maflin v Li Hang 
Joe Swail v Scott Donaldson 
Michael Holt v Xiao Guodong 
Alex Davies v Joel Walker
Jamie Cope v Barry Pinches
Rob Milkins v Chris Norbury
Martin Gould v Ryan Clark
Michael White w/o Marcus Campbell
Ian Glover v Ratchayothin Yotharuck
Luca Brecel w/o Ken Doherty

Approx 10am

Alan McManus v William Lemons
Ben Woollaston v Jamie Clarke
John Astley v Alex Taubman
Rory McLeod v Alex Borg
Mark Allen v Lee Walker 

Approx 10.30am

Judd Trump w/o Zhou Yuelong
Anthony Hamilton v Steven Hallworth
Tony Drago v Lee Page
Nigel Bond v Mitchell Travis

Approx 11.30am

Jimmy White v Ahmed Saif
Stephen Maguire v Hammad Miah
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Steve Mifsud
Aditya Mehta v Jeff Cundy

Approx 12pm

Matt Selt v Alfie Burden 
Michael Georgiou v Tian Pengfei
Chris Melling v Cao Yupeng
Noppon Saengkham v Ronnie O’Sullivan

Approx 1pm

Mike Dunn v Ian Burns
Robbie Williams v Thomas Dowling
Michael Leslie v Jack Bradford
Barry Hawkins v Gareth Allen

FOLLOWED BY LATER ROUNDS

August 20, 2014

Paul Hunter Classic Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:21 am
Back in Action in Germany

Back in Action in Germany

The European tour continues this week as the Stadthalle Fürth, Fürth in Germany plays host to many people’s favourite on this tour, the Paul Hunter Classic, named after one of snooker’s brightest and sadly departed stars.

It was won last season by Ronnie O’Sullivan and happily he’s back to defend his title. Despite his detractors and critics it remains for most a more interesting tournament when Ronnie is involved, he’s not been seen since the World Championship but appears on the face of it keen to get back to competitive action now that the tour is organised to his exact specifications.

Indeed the only really notable exception in this is Ding Junhui, who seems to be becoming the new Ronnie the way he’s picking and choosing lately. But other than that we have all the big guns, World Champion and World Number 1 Selby, Wuxi winner Robbo and early season winner in Australia Judd are all in the mix.

It’s a fitting tribute to Paul that this is becoming something of a main event. OK, the prize money is still low compared to the main rankers but to all intents and purposes that is how it feels and it would be nice if the prize money on offer one day reflected the esteem in which it’s held by the players and fans, but the good news is that it’s getting there.

The tournament also sees the beginning of a slightly busier period in the calendar, a fortnight after this ends we’re off to Shanghai for the Masters there and in between is the 6-reds, which Dark Mavis will probably win again.

In terms of this event, the dream semi-final line up would be Ronnie or Judd against Selby with Robbo arguably in the ‘easier’ half of the draw. This in effect makes Robertson an automatic outright pick given his relatively smoother path to Finals Day. Ronnie starts the event as favourite and if you are a firm believer in horses for courses he more or less cantered to victory here last season, beating unlikely finalist Gerard Greene and breaking the trophy afterwards. Selby however is already back to winning ways and will want to cement his current status to the max, possibly by putting Ronnie to bed again in the semi-finals. Indeed snooker is now increasingly getting the feel of a big 4 or 5 who seem to be pulling away from the chasing pack a bit, my guess is that Ronnie, Mark, Neil, Judd and Ding will be sharing quite a few titles amongst them this season while the others look on.

All that said, it’s always worth hunting around for big each way prices and this is especially true where the bookies are paying out on the semi-finalists, which most of them now appear to be doing. My each-way long shot for this one is the in-form Alan McManus at 200/1 with Betfred to compliment a couple of the more obvious picks in the outrights of O’Sullivan at a best priced 4/1 and Robertson who is available at 7/1. I’m not doing points anymore but they are three I’m backing in this and I’d be surprised if one of the big names isn’t holding the trophy aloft on Sunday.

You can view the draw for the Paul Hunter Classic including the amateur rounds here and you can take a look at the Eurosport schedule by clicking here.

I’ll bash some match bets up as and when the tournament begins.

Click the banner below to open an account at Betfred and get a free £25 matched bet

August 17, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Further Prize Announcement

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:02 pm

SB2015 A4 PosterIt’s only a few short months now until this season’s Snookerbacker Classic gets underway and this week I’ve managed to add once more to the prize pot, making this easily the most lucrative amateur snooker tournament in the UK.

I am delighted to announce that SB Classic partner Lake Creative Design and Marketing are becoming more involved in the tournament this season by stumping up the entry fees for all European Players Tour Championship events next season for the winner.

This means that not only will this season’s champion be £1500 richer, he or she will also have all their EPTC entry fees paid courtesy of Lake Creative, all they ask in return is shirt logo sponsorship for each event.

Andy Spilsbury, the Managing Director of Lake Creative who are also responsible for this season’s poster design said ‘We’re delighted to announce this sponsorship package for this season’s Snookerbacker Classic Champion and really look forward to giving the winner an extra helping hand in their snooker career. It’s a brilliant event and we are immensely proud to be involved as it continues to go from strength to strength’.

Lake Creative are an award winning design and marketing company based in Oxfordshire and Merseyside delivering high quality design and marketing solutions to a portfolio of national brands and campaigns.

More information about Lake Creative can be found here.

More information about this season’s Snookerbacker Classic can be found here. A reminder that the deadline for payment for all the events this side of Christmas is August 31st. There are still a handful of places left in a few of the events, details of how to enter are also included in the link.

August 12, 2014

Shanghai Masters Qualifiers – Picking and Choosing

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:19 am
Sometimes you feel like you're going round in circles.

Sometimes you feel like you’re going round in circles.

Being a snooker blogger these days is a bit like being a snooker player, the only obvious things missing in this line of work are the talent for knocking balls into holes with a stick and the potential to earn stacks of dosh while travelling to all corners of the globe, apart from that the two vocations are staggeringly similar.

With the introduction of the money list, lots of stock has been placed on the freedom this has given potters to choose events that they want to play in and those they’d rather swerve. This is where the similarity with bloggers really kicks in.

Over the course of the past 4 years and 7 months (not that I’m counting you understand), I’ve announced my semi-retirement from the blogging front line approximately 346 times, if you don’t count that one time I did it as a joke. But this time, I might just be a bit more serious about it.

There are so many other places on the web covering snooker these days it’s unreal, some, like players, that are better than others. I’m not going to single out any examples as that would be unfair but it’s a far cry from when I started this blog, primarily as something to do, when there were only really three other snooker-only presences out there. Somehow I managed to infiltrate this monopolistic triangle and make it more of a rectangle and to my continuing bewilderment the blog has remained more popular than I could ever have imagined. If I could personally thank everyone who has ever logged on I’d probably get to around 5 of you before I got a bit bored but it’s the thought that counts.

Yes readers, the time has come to take a long hard look at what’s going on and I’ve decided to very much follow the path of a certain enigmatic yet frustratingly unreliable, when it comes to playing in tournaments, 5 times world champion. I’ll continue to cover the biggies without a doubt as these are the ones that I continue to enjoy the most, particularly when I get to sit here and take the piss out of the BBC coverage. I’ll continue to post the odd links and stuff here and there for the lesser events and the qualifiers/EPTC’s, in fact if I’ve nothing else to do I might just get fully involved in an event that takes my fancy, but it’s fair to say I won’t be writing War and Peace about any new events that Bazza might like to put on in the South Pole.

The Snookerbacker Classic will continue for at least this season and possibly beyond, in fact, I am hopeful that this week I will be able to announce an exciting new prize and I still harbour possibly misguided hopes that something I’ve been after now for a while could still materialise, if only the person that has the power to grant it would speak to me.

So, for this season, I’m not going to be doing daily updates on that many events and one of these is the Shanghai Masters Qualifiers which starts in the morning and runs until Friday in the ‘old’ qualifying format, that is, not the flat draw of which Chairman Bazza is so fond.

The running order of matches can be found here and live scoring at World Snooker here.

So, while this is not the end of the blog, it’s (possibly) the beginning of a (slightly) more relaxed approach, sometimes, as with snooker, I find that the less you are that bothered and busting a gut about something the better your form gets, so we’ll wait and see. Again like snooker, if you don’t enjoy what you are doing it usually isn’t worth doing in the first place and your form inevitably dips. I told you they were the same.

Actually, I’ve quite enjoyed writing this, might be time for another rethink.

August 10, 2014

Finals Day in Riga

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:44 am

Finals Day in Riga and the line up for the day is this….

8am UK Time

Last 16

Sean O’Sullivan v Dark Mavis
Mark Williams v Mark Allen
Matthew Selt v Anthony McGill
Chris Wakelin v Judd Trump
Barry Hawkins v Alan McManus
Robert Milkins v Marco Fu
Peter Ebdon v Stuart Bingham
Aditya Mehta v Mark Selby

11am

Quarter Finals

Sean O’Sullivan/Dark Mavis v Mark Williams/Mark Allen
Matthew Selt/Anthony McGill v Chris Wakelin/Judd Trump
Barry Hawkins/Alan McManus v Robert Milkins/Marco Fu
Peter Ebdon/Stuart Bingham v Aditya Mehta/Mark Selby

2pm

Semi Finals

6pm

Final

August 6, 2014

Viva La Riga! The Riga Open

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:33 pm
The impressive arena

The impressive arena

It’s been a fragmented start to the new snooker season and feels a little bit like being stuck in an airport waiting a month for your connecting flight. The Wuxi and Australian events, won by Neil Robertson and Judd Trump respectively were followed by the longest gap in snooker since the days of Sir Rodders, but with the first ever Latvian professional tournament, we now see the season kick off in earnest.

By the looks of the pictures of the arena I have seen, it looks like a cracking venue, the image above was taken by World Snooker Services who are setting it all up for the amateur rounds which kick off on Thursday. There seems to be plenty of space and viewing platforms with 11 tables to choose from, a veritable sweet shop of snooker for those baize hungry Latvians to suck on.

It’s great that snooker is now fully embracing the European market and I think the calendar now has much more of an even feel about it. It’s not too heavily weighted either in the UK or China, though they do still have all the more prestigious events, with a whole swathe of smaller events in Europe alongside the fantastic German Open in Berlin and of course the Aussie Open which continues to cling onto the tour for dear life by virtue of the obvious enthusiasm of the organisers down under, undoubtedly given a further boost by this season’s championship won by Judd. There’s also the Indian Open of course which this season moves to Mumbai and strong rumours of a new event in Dubai with lucrative prize money attached.

The gap in the calendar has, from what I’m hearing, been welcomed by all the players and I dare say some of the hard working people around the circuit who would also have needed to recharge their batteries and had a well-earned holiday. This may not have been by design and of course the second Asian PTC was cancelled seemingly because of some issues with the parties involved, but all in all it’s made the snooker community hungry again for a bit of action.

The draw for the Riga Open can be viewed here, the order of play over at Snooker Island here and the Eurosport schedule here.

Prize Money

Winner: £20,883 – not bad for a few days work.
Runner Up: £10,000 – not to be sniffed at.
Losing SF’s: £5000 – got to be pleased with that, fair play.
Losing QF’s: £3333 – covers the trip comfortably and pays the mortgage for a month I suppose.
Losing L16: £1917 – well it’s not cost anything and I got a few days away, no dent in the bank balance.
Losing L32: £1000 – I might as well have stayed at home.
Losing L64 £583 – For fuck’s sake the Mrs is gonna kill me.
Everyone Else: A really expensive city break and the chance to contract a sexually transmitted disease while you wait for your flight home.

So who are the main contenders then? Well, the two winners so far this season Robbo and Judd are both involved, as well as World Champion Mark Selby and a host of other big names. The only real notable exceptions are Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui, Ding being amongst a whole host of Chinese players that cannot play in this, presumably because of visa restrictions.

It’s impossible to know who is going to hit the ground running after such a long break but it has to be said that Robertson’s draw is probably as good as anyone could hope for and he has to have a big chance of carrying off favouritism in the form he’s in, other than that, a punt on a few outsiders is all there is to be had at this stage for me. Note that if you are betting each way, most of the firms are betting only on the Finalists at half the odds, a more realistic punt would be to take the odds at somewhere betting on the final four at a quarter of the odds, there’s not always that much difference.

If you fancy signing up for a free matched £25 bet at Betfred, click the banner at the foot of this post and open an account there.

Check out Monique’s photos from the venue in the comments section Facebook link.

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Neil Robertson at 6/1, 1 point each way on Joe Perry at 33/1, 0.5 point each way on Martin Gould at 50/1, 0.5 point each way on Robin Hull at 250/1.  

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