February 13, 2015

China Open Qualifying Round

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:00 pm

The China Open first round begins in Barnsley with all the big names involved in this one. It’s potentially a very big day for those in and around the low 16-mid-20’s rankings, as this will be a big contributer to who qualifies for the Crucible automatically.

These include the likes of Mark Williams, John Higgins and Graeme Dott. A loss for any of them this weekend could put a very serious dent on their automatic Crucible hopes. 

I may put some bets up if the bookies ever get any prices up.

Mark Williams v Lee Walker
Ben Woollaston v Joe O’Connor
Mark Allen v Michael Leslie
Yu Delu v Chris Norbury
Jimmy Robertson v Steven Hallworth
Dominic Dale v Ian Glover
Cao Yupeng v Adam Bobat
Jack Lisowski v Ahmed Saif
Dechawat Poomjaeng v James Cahill
Neil Robertson v Lu Haotian
Mike Dunn v Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Luca Brecel
Marcus Campbell v Lu Chenwei
Jimmy White v Ashley Carty
Jamie Jones v Michael Tomlinson
Anthony McGill v Alexander Ursenbacher
Alfie Burden v Allan Taylor
Shaun Murphy v Igor Figueiredo
Li Hang v Zak Surety
Nigel Bond v Craig Steadman
Anthony Hamilton v Michael Wasley
Michael Holt v Zhou Yuelong

Dark Mavis v Mitchell Mann
John Higgins v Oliver Lines
Judd Trump v Eden Sharav
Liang Wenbo v Joel Walker
Rory McLeod v Robin Hull
Jamie Burnett v Ian Burns
Mark King v Lu Ning
Marco Fu v Michael Georgiou
Matthew Stevens v Mark Owens
Ken Doherty v Dave Harold

David Morris v Jamie Clarke
Ricky Walden v David Grace
Ali Carter v Martin McCrudden
Jamie Cope v Thor Chuan Leong
Michael White v James Wattana
Rod Lawler v Joe Swail
David Gilbert v Adam Duffy
Xiao Guodong v Elliot Slessor
Matthew Selt v John Astley
Mark Joyce v Fraser Patrick
Mark Selby v Barry Pinches

Ding Junhui v Ross Muir
Kyren Wilson v Matthew Day
Tom Ford v Alex Davies
Robbie Wlliams v Daniel Wells
Graeme Dott v Sean O’Sullivan
Peter Ebdon v Sam Baird
Aditya Mehta v Zhang Anda
Andrew Higginson v Hammad Miah
Stephen Maguire v Lee Page
Gary Wilson v Jak Jones
Joe Perry v Oliver Brown

Barry Hawkins v Noppon Saenghkham
Gerard Greene v Chris Wakelin
Ryan Day v Syd Wilson
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Liam Highfield
Alan McManus v Tian Pengei
Fergal O’Brien v George Pragnall
Kurt Maflin v Cao Xinlong
Stuart Bingham v Scott Donaldson
Peter Lines v Chris Melling
Robert Milkins v Stuart Carrington

February 12, 2015

Indian Open Qualifying Round

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:21 am

Thursday and Friday sees action in Barnsley in the qualifying round for the Indian Open, which takes place in Mumbai in March, delayed from it’s original slot earlier in the calendar.

Following these matches, which decide which 64 players board the plane to India, we have a similar event for the China Open which takes place in early April in Beijing. The China Open will have a particular edge this year given the race for players to be in the top 16 and qualify automatically for Sheffield and avoid having to win 3 matches at Ponds Forge just a few days after it finishes.

Unfortunately all the matches in The Indian Open are still best of 7 which means I won’t be having a bet on them. China being best of 9, I may stick a few bets up.



Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Joe Roberts
Luca Brecel v Lu Ning
Matthew Stevens v Ian Glover
Gerard Greene v Ahmed Saif
Jamie Jones v Sean O’Sullivan
Liang Wenbo v James Cahill
Anthony Hamilton v Michael Georgiou
Tom Ford v Chris Melling
Andrew Higginson v Fraser Patrick
Jamie Cope v Ross Muir
Jamie Burnett v Steven Hallworth


Ding Junhui v Barry Pinches
Joe Perry v Ashley Carty
Marcus Campbell v Zak Surety
Sam Baird v Darryl Hill
Rod Lawler v Craig Steadman
Yu Delu v Martin McCrudden
Kyren Wilson v Joe O’Connor
Alan McManus v Cao Xinlong
Mark Joyce v John Astley
Robbie Williams v Tian Pengfei
Aditya Mehta v Hammad Miah


Mark King v David Grace
Rory McLeod v Callum Lloyd
Ricky Walden v Matthew Day
Judd Trump v Martin Ball
Peter Lines v Lu Chenwei
Gary Wilson v Daniel Wells
Jack Lisowski v Adam Duffy
Dave Harold v Eden Sharav
Graeme Dott v Scott Donaldson
Ken Doherty v Sanderson Lam



Anthony McGill v Ian Burns
Jimmy White v Zhou Yuelong
Robin Hull v Chris Norbury
David Morris v Michael Wasley
Joe Swail v Jak Jones
Mike Dunn v Jamie Clarke
Robert Milkins v Alex Davies
Marco Fu v Sydney Wilson
Stuart Carrington v Lee Walker
Li Hang v Oli Lines
Michael Holt v Allan Taylor


Alfie Burden v Joel Walker
Cao Yupeng v Michael Leslie
Michael White v Mitchell Mann
Ryan Day v Oliver Brown
Nigel Bond v Liam Highfield
Jimmy Robertson v Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon
Dechawat Poomjaeng v Thor Chuan Leong
Kurt Maflin v Rhys Clark
Chris Wakelin v Saqib Nasir
Noppon Saengkham v Andrew Pagett


Fergal O’Brien v William Lemons
Dark Mavis v Elliot Slessor
John Higgins v Adam Bobat
Ben Woollaston v Alexander Ursenbacher
Ali Carter v Lee Page
Dominic Dale v Lu Haotian
Peter Ebdon v Paul Davison
Mark Williams v Zhang Anda
David Gilbert v Nico Elton
Matthew Selt v Igor Figueiredo
Zack Richardson W/O Barry Hawkins

February 10, 2015

John Sutton Suspended

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:49 pm

Irish amateur player John Sutton has been charged with match-fixing in relation to an International Championship Qualifier in September and has been suspended from snooker pending the result of this enquiry.

I wrote about this match at the time in this post and don’t have a great deal to add.

The one thing I will say is that I have chatted to John, who I know and like very much, about this and I’ve also been contacted by someone who is implicated in the whole episode. It goes totally against what I know of John, as he’s a thoroughly decent bloke who loves the sport.

I’m not going to break any confidences by recounting his side of things, or the correspondence with the other person, who I don’t know personally, but the version of events from Ireland is plausible enough and I’m sure will form the basis of John’s defence. 

We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out. 

February 9, 2015

The Finale at Crondon Park

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:00 am

Following all the hullabaloo over in Berlin and no doubt a night of wild abandon in Camp Selby, it’s back to the very much more calming and sedate atmosphere of Crondon Park today for the last group followed by the Winners Group of the Championship League.

You can keep up with the action by checking out the various bookies sites or the World Snooker TV channel, you can find all things Championship League by checking the official website here.

February 8, 2015

Kathi’s Final Blog

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:37 am
Kathi (left)

Kathi (left)

It’s Finals Day in Berlin and time for Kathi to sign off with some behind the scenes gossip. I’ve only allowed the Katy Perry reference through because she says how lovely I am….over to our German correspondent…

It’s the final day of the German Masters here in Berlin, for the last time this week I have hacked Snookerbacker’s blog and I’m already starting to miss everything! I’m close to leaving a beach towel on my chair in the press room, actually.

So, time for a look back! Here’s my week at the Tempodrom in pictures – I’ll try to describe three of my favourite moments or little scenes from the quarters and semis for you.

The one scene that absolutely needs to be on this list is THE ONEFOURSEVEN: I was standing in the arena, behind the TV cameras, when Judd potted the colours. 2500 excited people in front of me, a bemused Ronnie O’Sullivan to my left and a wonderful 147 to my right. In those moments the roof of the Tempodrom resembled a circus tent more than ever and we were all watching a Cirque du Snookér show. Does snooker get any better?  Who knows, but even two days later I cannot say anything else but “YAY!” about my maximum experience.

After the Freaky Friday epic evening session that also had four deciding frames in store, I was hanging out in the arena near the table where Maguire had just won against Robertson. While the referee was finishing his match report sheet, the guys from World Snooker Services stormed into the arena and started dismantling the other tables. It was such a fascinating scene – an hour ago, Selby and Trump had battled it out on a table that was now being put down in record time. While the you-could-hear-a-sausage-drop silence was gone within seconds, the transformation began. The good thing is: Those tables will be put up again and they’re just waiting for their next maximum break. As am I!

Finally, Selby vs. Maguire. One-table set-up, tickets were sold out and the atmosphere was so electric that I was afraid it’d mess up my hair-do. During the first frame I was standing in the arena thinking “I love this game” on a (snooker-) loop. Then, after two frames, I thought “I love writing, I’ll go finish my text now”. The fact that I’ve been able to write about snooker this week is simply blowing me away. Thanks to all the people who have read some of my articles!

Also, I want to say thank you to a few more people because they have all made a big dream come true for me this week: Martin, Alex, Mark & Alfie, Ivan, Lewis & Daniel, Hector & Monique, Christian, Kyra & Lula, the Snookerstars team, my twitter gang and some others I might have forgot to mention (sorry!) – THANK YOU! :)

Oh, and then there’s this Snookerbacker guy! I can honestly not thank him enough. He introduced me to so many legendary people and for some reason he even let me write for his blog this week. However, I am not going to ruin his reputation by telling everyone how genuinely nice and lovely he is. By the way, it all started with a Crucible giveaway and Katy Perry’s song “Firework”, but that’s another story. It’s been a firework of a week for me – because of all the stellar people in my snooker life.

Kathi x

German Masters Final

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:05 am

34 matches played, 16 wins each and 2 draws. Frames? Selby 122, Murphy 121. It all points to another epic battle between these two old foes in front of a sell out 2.5k crowd.

German Masters Final

Shaun Murphy v Mark Selby

Recommended Bet: 3 points on the winning margin being under 3.5 frames at 8/13


February 7, 2015

German Masters Semi Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:48 am

It’s semi final day in Berlin after a dramatic night of snooker last night. I managed to call every single match wrong which is quite an achievement given how well things had been going up until then, but when the tide starts to turn it’s time to buckle up the satchel and call time on an otherwise successful punting tournament.

Here is the running order, if I was having a bet I’d plump for a Murphy/Selby final with a dramatic finish, probably with Selby coming out on top. 

12 noon (UK)
Liang Wenbo v Shaun Murphy

Prediction: Murphy 6-3

7pm (UK)
Stephen Maguire v Mark Selby

Prediction: Selby 6-4


Kathi’s Blog Day 3

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:39 am
More from Kathi behind the scenes

More from Kathi behind the scenes

More from my snooker spy over in Berlin, this time she talks trends, strangely dressed audience members and just, well, German stuff.

“It’s a funny sport“, the commentators sometimes say when there’s a massive fluke. Which happens every once in a while. When you’re at the Tempodrom, watching live snooker on five tables at the same time, you’re bound to witness loads of (mildly, or if you want: Germanly) funny scenes. Today I’m going to present my three favourites – so far, I’m hoping for more to come!

First of all, German fans seem to pick up on trends pretty quickly. That is why we got to hear quite a few dramatic “Go <insert name of the player>” shouts and grunts this afternoon. However, the most influential one came from a young Chinese lady (presumably) cheering on Liang Wenbo during his match against Stuart Bingham. Why influential? She managed to cause some sort of multiple collision between top referee Alex Crisan (looking up to the audience), Liang Wenbo (looking at the table) and Stuart Bingham (looking wherever). As snooker is a gentlemen’s sport, this led to multiple excuses mid-match.

Secondly, German fans seem to pick up on trends pretty quickly. That is why quite a few extravagant shirts à la snookergoths / guy with the football shirt can be seen in the arena. The “Dark Mavis” t-shirt is famous already but there are some other eye-blowing pieces of clothing around: One lady apparently decided to dress up as a unbelievably bright, pink ball. Her outfit was actually brighter than any flashlight. Unfortunately she never got a spot on the table.

Talking about pink, the Selby vs. Ebdon match turned out to be so boring – sorry, I meant to say tense – that the referee decided to loosen up the situation a bit by counting pink as a red when Ebbo potted pink first. Lovely smiles all around – no one would call that a mistake. Not even Liang Wenbo, who sticked to screaming something like “yeahh” after his win against Bingham – a notable improvement compared to what happened in Fürth.

We’re getting to see so much top-drawer snooker in Berlin at the moment. But for me it’s those little odd moments that make the live experience an even more lively experience.

Kathi x

P.S.: I’ve just seen my first ever live 147. Standing in the arena, best place in the house. Thanks, Judd! If I was cool, I’d write something meaningful about it. But I’m not. So, just: YAY! 

February 6, 2015

German Masters Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 6:10 pm

A quick turnaround of matches in Berlin as this afternoon’s winners make up two of the evening match ups, joining the four players who made it through last night.

Click on the matches for the head to heads.


Ryan Day v Liang Wenbo
Shaun Murphy v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Neil Robertson v Stephen Maguire
Judd Trump v Mark Selby

Similar match ups in the top half of the draw where two players with fairly straightforward afternoons play two who came through at the death. Not only for this reason, though it does play a part, I’d take Ryan Day and Ronnie O’Sullivan to progress. Shaun Murphy is on a long winning run but who can forget the way Ronnie toyed with him at the Crucible last season? Ronnie seems in imperious form and I don’t think Shaun will get near him. Ryan was recommended at 8/1 to win this quarter and I’d always take him in form over Liang, who very rarely makes the semi-finals in anything. 

In the bottom half are two that could easily go to the wire. Robbo hasn’t lost a frame here and is another who is choosing the right time in the season to start showing some form, despite in the initial preview going for Maguire to win the quarter, my mind is swayed by Robbo’s form and I’d side with him. I’ve advised against Mark Selby twice now and these things always come in threes. Main tip for the title Judd has shown nothing as yet to put me off him and I fancy tonight will finally see the World Champ trumped.

Recommended Bets: 4 points on O’Sullivan (-1.5 frames) at 10/11. 2 points acca on Day, O’Sullivan, Robertson and Trump pays just on 11/2.


February 5, 2015

Kathi’s Blog: Day 2

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:45 pm

Courgette FlowerThe more observant amongst you, if there are any left who haven’t gone senile yet, will have noticed that this pile of tripe has been invaded by the Germans this week.

But fear not, this invasion is in the lovely form of Kathi, a wonderful, warm, delightful person who myself and Mrs SB met on a recent trip to Munich. She recommended a very nice understated courgette dish in lavish surroundings, what more can be said? Her downside is that she likes snooker.

But, fellow male Britons! Think of this not as an intrusion into our secret little betting world, but more someone who is prepared to give prose to our sad little male dominated corner of the interblognet from a different perspective; decorate it with fragrance, sew on materials that make nice cushions, comb kittens and dare I say add a little courgette flower to our sad little lives.

Over to Kathi…  

This is clearly a snooker blog but let us talk about ballet for a second. Today I got to witness a beautifully choreographed performance – no flaws to be seen, all steps were accurate, it was art. Most of you will know the dancers: I am talking about the snooker referees.

It was such a pleasure to watch them set up the five tables before the afternoon session. Five people almost simultaneously setting up colours and reds as precisely as they possibly can. Five people checking the set-up. Five people double-checking the set-up. Magic.

That was the perfect intro to an afternoon of quick-fire snooker: Most of the matches were over before you could have spelt “plumberginearoon” – Shaun Murphy played almost as well as he did in the Masters, Joe Perry barely let his opponent pot a ball and Ronnie won before it even got dark.

During his press conference in front of a packed press room he philosophically said: “So many things can go wrong when you play snooker.” Which is obviously true, you know. But this afternoon at least, snooker was Rocket science. The fans loved it!

Talking about Ronnie: The other thing that really made me smile today was the fans’ reaction to the new Eurosport lounge. While most people didn’t dare to hang out near Holy Ronnie and his TV gang yesterday, that picture changed substantially today. Suddenly the lounge was full of people and some of them even stayed when the cameras were on. We might not have a proper Cuezone or fancy sci-fi features yet but we’re getting there. We might even start handing out medals soon.

Oh, I promised gossip yesterday – here it is: Rumour has it tickets for Saturday are completely sold out already. 2.5k people in the arena. That’s my kind of gossip. And my kind of snooker tournament.

Kathi x

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