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.


Neil Robertson v Ali Carter
NB 3pm

Ricky Walden v Mark Allen


Neil Robertson/Ali Carter v Ricky Walden/Mark Allen


November 5, 2014

Enter King COC

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:20 am


The Champion of Champions continues in Coventry today and sees the reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan take centre stage as he opens his defence against Stuart Bingham.

Already through to the semi finals or Final Group if you prefer to call it that are Ding Junhui and Judd Trump. I’ll admit to not seeing how Ding played but Judd was mightily impressive last night against Mark Selby, some of his shots were so audacious that they smashed through the naughty scale into full on criminal damage, but you’ve gotta love the way he bashes them around with his stick when he’s in the mood.

The crowds so far have been a bit disappointing, they are all shoved up to the front to try and make it looked packed but no matter how you look at it it doesn’t seem to be bursting with atmosphere at the venue, maybe today that will change with the arrival of The Rocket, who still remains easily snooker’s biggest asset in terms of bums on seats.

The ITV coverage however has been it’s usual high standard. Alan McManus, who I am currently enjoying a manlove affair with on Twitter compliments Clive’s commentary perfectly and it’s as if they were meant for each other (if Angles wasn’t taken by me of course). The commentary is intelligent without being stuffy, informative without being patronising and best of all is devoid of tired old cliches.

Jill and Fouldsy are holding things together in the studio well too. We are yet to see a repeat of the infamous ‘Curry Incident‘ of a couple of years ago and I’m sure Jill will be hoping that Neal doesn’t start cracking the funnies again while they are on air, she’ll also be hoping that Clive is a little less careless when they are out for dinner together.

All in all, I quite enjoy this tournament and with today being the day our greyhound gets scared out of her wits at bloody fireworks it’s good to know we can hike up the volume later on while all the retards watch their money go up into the sky for no good reason. Clive I am sure will make sure she’s OK, it would be nice if he could send her a little message live on air to comfort her during the evening session. One can dream…..

The recommended 5/2 on Judd yesterday landed and I actually think it’s worth taking a chance on the outsider and serially under-rated Marco Fu today, just in case the Rocket is misfiring.

Recommended Bet: 1 point on Marco Fu to win Group 1 at 13/2

Click on the match for the head to heads.

Group 1

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham

NB 3pm
Shaun Murphy v Marco Fu

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marco Fu

Snookerbacker Classic Liverpool Details

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:54 am

The SB Classic continues this Sunday as once again The George Scott Snooker Centre or ‘Scotties’ as it’s universally known opens it’s doors to 16 more hopefuls to find the next Grand Finalist.

The draw was made last night and this heat involves a few top names from the Merseyside scene and some from further afield looking to nab the fourth qualifying place.

You can view the draw here and the matches will commence at 10.30am sharp with the usual rules applying for late arrivals. The dress code, as with all qualifiers is polo or collared shirt, with trousers and shoes. All matches are the best of 7 frames.

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)

Mark Selby v Steve Davis

NB 3pm
Judd Trump v Stephen Maguire

Mark Selby v Judd Trump

November 3, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic: Clarke, O’Donnell and Sharav Set the Standard

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:23 pm

SWSA in play

Saturday and Sunday saw the opening two days qualifying for this season’s Snookerbacker Classic held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester and I’m delighted to say that the standard of play more than lived up to my expectation throughout.

The tournament is now into it’s fourth season and judging by the popularity of it seems to continue to hit a note with the players as being both a little bit different from the norm and well worth entering, given the £7000 plus pot of prize money at the end.

Myself and Mrs SB do try and put a bit of extra woomf into the tournament and I think at the weekend our efforts paid off as we were all treated to some fantastic snooker by the amateur players that entered. Maybe it was the chocolate orange and victoria sponge cakes baked by the fair hand of Mrs SB that made the difference. Early on Saturday even Shaun Murphy was asking about entrance criteria, if anyone turns up who looks even vaguely like him I’ll be tugging at their beard to make sure it’s not a fake.  

On the table, Saturday’s opener could have passed for Grand Finals Day and it was Jamie Clarke from Wales, a Grand Finalist for the past two seasons who again qualified at the first time of asking and justified the favouritism that the bookmakers placed on him before it started, beating Sean ‘The Storm’ O’Sullivan, a first time entrant 4-2 in the qualifying final.

There were some outstanding performances from both finalists and special mention must also be given to Brett Miller, who powered in two centuries in his first match, a best of 114 before losing to the eventual winner in Round 2. 

It was a lively day which culminated in several of the players who stayed late, including myself, pissing ourselves laughing at the most bizarre You Tube video that had been designed for a couple having a party there, you really did have to be there….and was followed by a curry with the refs, my biggest two fans, Mrs SB and Andy Marriott, who I talked about Morrissey with all day.

A great performance from Jamie and made even more impressive by the fact that he had been forced to pull out of Sunday so needed to qualify on Day 1 in such a strong field to bag an early Grand Finals slot. I wish he took as much care with his trousers though…..careless.

To view all the results and breaks from Saturday click here.

Clarkey is something of a qualifying specialist.

Clarkey is something of a qualifying specialist.

Sunday began in slapstick fashion. The time was 9.24am and there was one notable absentee from the list of starters due to break off at 9.30am, one Mr Phil (aka Phillipa) O’Kane.

Knowing Phil of old and having seen him the previous evening ‘on his way out’ I decided to ask Sean O’Sullivan to make sure he was on his way, which turned out to be his wake up call at the Holiday Inn across from the venue. Somehow, from waking out of this slumber, just 5 minutes later and with the clock fast approaching him being 1-0 down, here ran O’Kane at breakneck speed in full view of all the players, applauding this outstanding effort from surely the most careless amateur ever to grace the modern game. If you think ‘Chariots of Fire’ crossed with ‘The Muppet Show’ you’d probably be about right. But somehow, against the odds, he made it in time.

Once the dust had settled and the laughter had nearly stopped it was down to business and whilst Round 1 did not pass without incident, with one match being decided away from the table with a handshake accompanied by a rather unusual take on the traditional ‘good luck in the next round’ line, we began to see that Martin O’Donnell’s defeat the previous day had fired him up. He started the day with a break of 126 and that was to end up the highest break of the weekend and nab the extra £100 prize generously donated by the guys at

Martin avenged his defeat the previous day to O’Sullivan and went on to beat Ryan Causton in the final, only losing three frames all day. The M’OD of course was the first ever Snookerbacker Classic Champion back in 2012 and looks bang in the mood to put his name back on the trophy this time around.

Oh and a quick thank you to Shane Castle, who I have never met, for continuing to fund the tournament through his no-shows. He must love me as he just enters, pays his money and never turns up, that’s my kinda guy. 

The MO'D wants his title back.

The MO’D wants his title back.

The bottom half of the draw saw eventual victory for Eden Sharav, the Scottish International who is now based down in Gloucester hoping that the top drawer practice facilities will bring out the best in him.

Undoubtedly the match of the round took place in this section with that man Brett Miller again banging in two centuries to edge out Jordan Church, who also helped himself to a century, 4-3. Brett doesn’t play very much, he works hard and treats snooker as a hobby. All I will say is, if he ever gets the opportunity to play full time, the others had better watch out. But he’s a lad with a great head on his shoulders, a sometimes incomprehensible accent and a great deal of talent. He’s earmarked the SB Classic this season and I have a feeling he might have a say in it.

There were also centuries on Day 2 for Syd Wilson and Sean O’Sullivan meaning that over the weekend we saw 8 centuries, 4 of which came from Miller.

Eden Sharav meanwhile had just returned from action in China and had been suffering from jetlag, he did look a little tired early on and on going 3-0 down to Miller in his semi-final seemed to be heading out, but all of a sudden China Time kicked in and he seemed to come alive, not losing another frame in completing the comeback and then beating Matthew Day 4-0 in the final.

Matthew is another favourite of ours and he spent the entire day trying to sell anything from fridge freezers to cues to anyone who would listen. We went for something to eat with him afterwards where I swear he tried to sell us a car. One day my son we’ll all be millionaires…

Eden was in a different time zone.

Eden was in a different time zone.

For all the results and breaks from Sunday click here.

Final thanks go to all at the SWSA, Andrew Norman, who remains a tireless worker and never sits still and all the staff there, even Michael Wasley popped in on Sunday to spread butter on a door….it remains, even after all the changes, the best venue in the UK for snooker and I am delighted to be going back there a few times this season. A special mention also to Aaron Cook, who helps out there and is clearly coming on as a player, taking a frame from Eden in the first round. It’s great to see him progressing.

Thanks as ever to the glovelies, this time Nick ‘Chardo’ Harry and Clive Brown kept the order and a watchful eye on the potters.  

Thanks again for the £100 added prize from and of course ongoing thanks to sponsors Lake Creative and John Parrott Cuesports, JP’s are putting up the £500 highest break prize this season of £500 and the £1000 for a maximum. O’Donnell tops the break list with his 126 on Sunday but there is a very long way to go.

Finally thanks to My Snooker Stats for continuing to supply all the details that are essential for me to run the tournament without being sussed out for the rookie I am. You can view the top breaks and the Order of Merit List, which runs throughout the tournament here. Sean O’Sullivan tops this and at the end, the top 2 who have not qualified automatically will take their place at Grand Finals Day.  


October 31, 2014

Snookerbacker Classic Opening Weekend

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:30 am

Information for players contained below. Please note earlier start time on Saturday than originally published, all players have been informed of this personally.

Please feel free to come along and watch some top amateur snooker this weekend, there will be cake.

To view outright and Qualifier 1 odds courtesy of Boylesports, click here.

EXTRA PRIZE: £100 for the highest break of the weekend courtesy of Thanks very much to the guys at SBAT – click here to find out all about them.

Qualifying Event 1 – South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester. Saturday November 1st.

All Matches the Best of 7 frames. Referees: Clive Brown and Nick Harry. 1 Qualifier.

Round 1 – All Matches Commence at 11.00am – players must arrive on time.

Phil O’Kane v Jamie Clarke
Andy Marriott v Brett Miller
Wayne Townsend v David Donovan
Paul Norris v Zack Richardson
Adam Bobat v Callum Lloyd
Aaron Cook v Sean O’Sullivan
Ryan Causton v Reanne Evans
Martin O’Donnell v Syd Wilson

Quarter Finals onwards on a roll-on roll-off basis, players should be available to play when called.



Qualifying Event 2 – South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester. Sunday November 2nd.

All Matches the Best of 7 frames. Referees: Clive Brown and Nick Harry. 2 Qualifiers. PLEASE NOTE THAT IF SATURDAY’S QUALIFIER IS DRAWN TO PLAY ON SUNDAY CHARON PARKER WILL TAKE THEIR PLACE.

Round 1 – The Following Matches Commence at 9.30am – players must arrive on time.

Wayne Townsend v Sean O’Sullivan
Adam Bobat v Phil O’Kane
Martin O’Donnell v Simon Dent
James Burrett v Mike Rogers
Matt Glasby v Alex Taubman
Ricky Hong Chin v Syd Wilson
Samir Ali v Ryan Causton
Paul Norris v Ashley Beal

Players for the following matches should arrive at the venue for 11am.

Adam Holmes v Hassan Vaizie
Matthew Day v Shane Castle
Zack Richardson v Andy Marriott
Alan Tunney v Tom Davie
Brett Miller v Jordan Church
Kishan Hirani v Ben Harrison
Joe Steele v Charon Parker
Eden Sharav v Aaron Cook

Later rounds played on a roll-on roll-off basis, players should be available to play when called.


To view terms and conditions which also details the penalties for late arrival, click here.

October 30, 2014

International Championships Finals Weekend

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:27 pm
Had to wait 12 years

Had to wait 12 years

OK, so Friday isn’t strictly the weekend but we all kind of think it is really don’t we? Well I know I do and it’s my blog so what I say goes. OK?

There is an interesting sub-plot going on here of course as the final place in the Champion of Champions which starts on Monday is still not decided, this is how it currently looks:

Wednesday 5th, Group 1 (first match at 1.00pm) 

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Stuart Bingham

Shaun Murphy (2) v Marco Fu

Friday 7th, Group 3 (first match at 1.00pm) 

Neil Robertson (1) v Ali Carter (or winner of International if not already qualified)

Ricky Walden (2) v Mark Allen

Monday 3rd, Group 4 (first match at 1.00pm) 

Ding Junhui (1) v Dominic Dale

Barry Hawkins (2) v John Higgins

Tuesday 4th, Group 2 (first match at 1.00pm) 

Mark Selby (1) v Steve Davis

Judd Trump (2) v Stephen Maguire

So basically if Mark Allen or Ricky Walden win this Ali Carter is into the Coventry event, but if Mark Williams or Rob Milkins do, one of them will take the final place.

MJW produced a decent second session performance to beat Ronnie for the first time in a ranking event since 2002, so that’s a monkey off his back, at least for now. The way in which Mark Allen reeled off the final 5 frames in his match against Michael White suggests that he’s in the mood for winning again, he was the main pick at the start at 14/1 and there seems nothing to suggest to me that he won’t make the final.

Rob Milkins showed some solid stuff under pressure to beat Marco Fu, giving rise to a plethora of very childish Milkman puns on Twitter, I have no idea who starts these things, I really don’t…anyway, Ricky faces Milko tomorrow after he saw off Jamie Burnett comfortably.

So it’s best of 17 for the semi finals with Ricky and Rob doing battle tomorrow and Mark and MJ on Saturday, before the final on Sunday. As I’m busy in Gloucester with the SB Classic that will be my last post on this event. For both the betting and Ali’s sake, I hope Allen can do it.

Snookerbacker Classic Entry Fees Due

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:21 am

Entry fees are now due for all the remaining Snookerbacker Classic events in 2015. These are: Gloucester on the 21st and 22nd of February and on 29th March and Derby on 8th March. 

As the deadline to pay for people with reserved places is today, places being paid for from now on will be allocated on a first come-first served basis for all remaining qualifiers.

Select the venues below, press Add to Cart and follow the instructions – please be aware that places in all qualifiers are capped. You can also use the link below to pay fees for Leeds on Sunday 30th November, there are still 5 places left in that one.

Select Event and Add to Cart

October 29, 2014

International Championship Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:46 pm

Here is the line up tomorrow in Chengdu, the last place in next week’s Champion of Champions remains in the balance but on the balance of probability I think you’d have to say that Ali Carter is now a hefty favourite to get it.

Obviously the main match tomorrow is the O’Sullivan Williams clash. Mark has a very poor record against The Rocket, can he reverse these fortunes in China? Bettingwise, all hopes now pin on main fancy Mark Allen. 


Ricky Walden v Jamie Burnett
Marco Fu v Robert Milkins


Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Williams
Michael White v Mark Allen

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.  


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


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.

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