Snookerbacker

April 26, 2019

Ali Carter Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:33 am

Ali Carter ended up coming through quite comfortably yesterday against Jack Lisowski, this is what The Captain had to say after the match.

April 25, 2019

Barry Hawkins Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:37 pm

Barry Hawkins didn’t knock a century in last night but knocked out Li Hang very easily anyway, here is what he had to say afterwards.

 

April 24, 2019

World Championship Round Two

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:07 pm

As the opening round draws to a close it’s time to take a look at the ties in the Last 16, this post will be updated as and when matches are known, just click on the match for the head to head record.

Remember that we now move to the 3 session Best of 25 frame matches for the next two rounds of the championship.

We’ve lost Ronnie, we nearly lost Judd and we’ve had a whitewash from a resurgent Shaun Murphy, alongside deciders and one-siders aplenty, what does the next round have in store? Let’s take a look shall we?

TABLE 1

Mark Williams v Dave Gilbert (Friday 25th 2.30pm, Saturday 26th 10am and 7pm)

The defending champion started solidly enough with consistent scoring against Martin Gould and once he got a hold in the match he never really looked like being headed. Gilbert came through a very tough opener against Joe Perry by the same 10-7 scoreline but somehow that one felt a lot tighter than Williams’ match did and Dave held himself together well when Perry threatened a comeback at the end. Their last meeting will have left a snooker scar on Gilbert, it was the World Open final at the start of the season when Dave was just one frame away from his first big ranking title, only to lose the last five frames and hand the title to Williams. But the scar will not really be about the opponent rather than the occasion itself so I wouldn’t say that will play a part here. As you might expect, Williams had the better of their previous encounters and he looked like he was bang up for this in the first round, I can see this being a match where he establishes an early lead and keeps his opponent at arms length.

Prediction: Williams 13-10     

Barry Hawkins v Kyren Wilson (Sunday 28th 10am/7pm, Monday 29th 1pm) 

The pair’s third meeting of the season with Wilson currently ahead 2-1, but it’s Barry who has the overall advantage, which is probably what you’d expect considering that Wilson, these past couple of seasons, is a completely different proposition to the player who struggled to get a frame off Barry at the start of the decade. I expect this to be a very ‘neat’match, with very few mistakes and plenty of breaks over 50, if not over 100. I think it will be won and lost on the tactical side of the game and who has the stronger safety game, something which they are very evenly matched at. Barry hasn’t had a great season by his own standards but much is always made of his Crucible pedigree and his amazing consistency here, but I’m going to side with Kyren just on the basis that he’s very much on the up and has the look once again here of someone who means business.

Prediction: Wilson 13-11

Recommended Bet: Over 23 frames in the match at 9/4 

John Higgins v Stuart Bingham (Saturday 27th 2.30pm, Sunday 28th 2.30pm, Monday 29th 7pm)  

Another pairing where the last time they met was a final, this time back in 2016 when Higgins won the China Championship. Much has been made of Higgins poor recent form but he looked pretty sharp in the first round with three centuries and five further breaks over 60. Bingham, 8-1 up and cruising against Dotty decided just chill out and watch a bit of snooker from his seat before somehow regaining his composure to win in a decider, so it’s fair to say that he’s used up a little more mental energy than he might have been expecting to after the first session. The head to heads are convincing in Higgins favour and you’d be a fool to oppose him on his first round form, he’ll be looking to kick on from that and we all know how dangerous he can be when he gets his tongue between his teeth.

Prediction: Higgins 13-8    

Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson (Thursday 25th 1pm, Friday 26th 10am/7pm)

Just one frame dropped between the two men who breezed through the first round against opponents who looked like they had just landed on Earth and were just getting the hang of stuff. But you still have to go out and perform and they both did and both looked razor sharp in the balls, which came as no surprise with Robertson but Shaun looked as confused as everyone else in the audience did with the way he was knocking them in after a season best described as forgettable. The last time they met over a long distance was Murphy’s Masters win in 2015, when he gave Neil a right old pasting in the final, oddly, the last time they met at all was just over 4 years ago which given they have been permanent fixtures in the top 16 is one of those odd snooker anomalies. Shaun proclaimed after the match that if they both play the same again this could be a classic, I hope he’s right, but I detected some flaws in Murphy’s game that are still there, he wasn’t punished at all when he got a bit careless and that won’t happen here. I can only see one outcome in this and it has to be Robertson, comfortably.

Prediction: Robertson 13-6      

TABLE 2

Mark Selby v Gary Wilson (Thursday 25th 7pm, Friday 26th 2.30pm, Saturday 27th 10am)

Gary Wilson became the first qualifier to proceed into Round 2 with a tense win over Luca Brecel that included an incredible final frame which went on for about a week. His only ranking final to date came back in 2015 when he was heavily defeated by his opponent here, who seemed in very jovial spirits after a customary first round comeback from 5-1 down to Zhao Xintong. His scoring was very similar to Higgins in that match with three tons and a whole host of frame winning contributions so it may not be wishful thinking now to believe that after a very nervy start, he might just be coming back to his best. I did think after the match he seemed incredibly relaxed and perhaps the mantle of being Number 1 is something he’s happy to get rid of, but he’d better not be too sick of it because there is every chance with the early exit of O’Sullivan that at the end of this he’ll be back there again. As for this match, I can’t see Gary getting too close, if it goes tactical which I’m sure it will at some point, Selby should have enough in the tank to pull clear eventually and not eek every last drop out of the match.

Prediction: Selby 13-8

Ali Carter v Zhou Yuelong (Sunday 28th 10am/7pm, Monday 29th 1pm) 

A pretty meaningless head to head between the pair means that we should only really go on their form to get here, this of course being the only match where both players have already won 40 frames in the championship. Ali was clinical in his first round against Lisowski, who it has to be said at times played some real kamikaze snooker. Yuelong held himself together well in the face of a comeback from Mark Allen when he had already benefited from an inexplicably bad session from Mark. I’m pretty convinced that Ali will see this as a match that he should not lose and I’d expect him to look to really impose himself from the start and if he does, I can see him winning this very comfortably.

Prediction: Carter 13-6    

Judd Trump v Ding Junhui (Saturday 27th 7pm, Sunday 28th 2.30pm, Monday 29th 7pm)

Plenty, including me, will be scouring the ties in this round and wonder where the annual classic second rounder is coming from, well I’d look no further than this one. Drama seems to follow Judd around here and he needed all 19 frames to take care of Theppy and set up a fourth World Championship meeting with Ding, with Judd leading 2-1. In competitive snooker over the years they have played a total of 142 frames and Ding leads 72-70, which just tells you all you need to know about how evenly matched these two are, arguably here we are seeing the best players ever to play the sport without being a World Champion, an accolade that at least one of them will maintain for at least another year. Of the two, Ding was by far the heavier scorer in Round 1 and also looked the most comfortable with the surroundings, which he doesn’t always here. I’ve always thought both of these two are vulnerable in the two table set up and don’t really relax until they reach the bigger stage from the semi-finals, only losing there to stellar performances rather then under-performing. On first round form I’d have to plump for Ding, who like Selby, looks like a man with a weight lifted from him, but I’d not put him in any straight accumulators as this one could get very twitchy.

Prediction: Ding 13-11     

Stephen Maguire v James Cahill (Friday 26th 10am/7pm, Saturday 27th 2.30pm)

Two players who may suffer from a bit of shell shock even being here, Maguire because he should really have been beaten in the first round and possibly owes his win to a fluke, Cahill well, I don’t really have to elaborate why he might think he is dreaming do I? It’s a very odd one this for me as history tells us that when the unlikely giant slayer re-enters the arena to start again, he tends to under-perform and go out with a whimper and leave everyone saying what a shame it was he’d beaten so and so, but I have a feeling Cahill may prove an exception to this, particularly if Maguire gets a bit careless as he can do quite often. The one thing that I think will divide them however is Maguire’s heavier scoring. Cahill was knocking tons in for fun in the qualifiers but he didn’t get near one against Ronnie, despite some very good frame winning breaks. I’ll side with history here and plump for Maguire but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cahill gave a decent account of himself again.

Prediction: Maguire 13-9

RECOMMENDED BETS: Total Frames Treble – Williams/Gilbert Over 21, Robertson/Murphy Under 21, Ding/Trump Over 22 – pays 13/2. Add John Higgins (-2.5 frames) and acca pays over 16/1. Match Handicap Acca: Higgins (-1.5), Robertson (-2.5), Williams (-2.5), Ding (+3.5), Selby (-3.5) pays just under 12/1.  

Judd Trump Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:00 pm

A clearly relieved Judd Trump speaks to the press after his dramatic final frame win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh this morning.

 

Stuart Bingham and Graeme Dott Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:54 am

A very strange match to say the least, a huge comeback from Dotty was finally stopped in its tracks in a decider, a very disappointed Dott and a relieved Ballrun spoke to the press afterwards.

James Cahill and Ronnie O’Sullivan Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:47 am

The big news yesterday was undoubtedly James Cahill’s defeat of Ronnie, some say it was the greatest shock in Crucible history, I’d not go that far but I don’t think many people saw this coming. Here is what they both had to say afterwards.

April 23, 2019

Mark Selby Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:22 am

Mark Selby came back for 5-1 down to eventually overcome Zhao Xintong last night, here he is reflecting and looking forward to the rest of the tournament and as ever The Jester cracks a few one liners.   

John Higgins Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:18 am

A relieved John Higgins after his victory over Dark Mavis who he felt let him off the hook a little, here is what he had to say after the match.

 

April 22, 2019

Shaun Murphy Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:39 pm

Shaun Murphy became only the second player ever to dish out a 10-0 drubbing, coming through his opener with Luo Honghao in some style, here he is after the match.

Stephen Maguire Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:15 am

Stephen Maguire reacts to his last gasp win last night over Tian Pengfei, when he quite literally grasped a win from the jaws of defeat.

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