Thursday, 28 July 2011

Australian Open Snooker - Bingham downs Williams in decider

Great snooker and Williams is sick. But for a long time Bingham has been good enough to do serious damage. Joe Johnson made the point that he was experienced enough to be able to play at his best and without the pressure of expectancy he forecast Bingham to play well in the final.

Mark Allen must be rueing his statement about Bingham's lack of bottle. Undoubtedly it helped him beat the Ulsterman in the last eight which gave him momentum for the run-in. And now Allen looks a fool - how many ranking tournaments has he won. Yes that's right - Zero! And that's in six years as a professional. That said I think Allen has more bottle than Bingham but the Essex man is a better snooker player.

Williams was jaw-droppingly brilliant in this tournament and on this form he will win lots more this season. But it must worry him somewhat that he has lost big matches recently from clear winning positions.

Losing the UK final against John Higgins 10-9 from 9-5 up.

Ending the first second session of his Crucible semi only 9-7 up again against the Scot when it should have been 11-5.

And last week in Australia losing 9-8 from 8-5 up. I hope his sleep patterns are back to normal. If he thinks about the difference in prize money which knowing Mark he will have done and the extra money he would have won then he will still be tossing and turning!

Premier League Snooker starts on the 18 August with a new format. Should be great and I'll post more a couple of days before.

Until then.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

World Cup Snooker

China have just lifted the World Cup which is something of a surprise - they didn't seem as together as some of the other teams. Wales were rock solid.

The event was hotly contested and despite the disappointing crowds the snooker was riveting. Next time it runs maybe the doubles need looking at because of the time players spent on shots in addition to it encouraging negative shot choices. And we saw players play on for snookers from almost certain losing positions (although Fergal O'Brien did gain the five snookers he needed in one frame though he went on to lose it). This was accentuated by some players who needed a few snookers and who weren't very good at laying them... This needs to be addressed - maybe playing on for three snookers only when red(s) left on the table or two snookers on the colours.

I was impressed by the attentiveness of the referees. Some free balls weren't awarded readily enough but when needing to call a touching ball they really bent down and scrutinised the balls. Far too often we see UK referees declare touching ball from a standing position (Michaela Tabb clearly excepted) when it really can make the difference. So instead of the striker needing to play a thin snick, by touching ball being called is offered the chance to play a really telling snooker or safety.

Australian Open Snooker

It's great to see the ranking circuit going this far - and it couldn't go much further...

But for the first round losers it's a long way to go for one match but if it was me I'd take family or a friend or two and make a holiday out of it. Let's hope most have. Australian Steve Mifsud impressed this week and now has a chance of some progress in the event with the withdrawal of Ronnie O'Sullivan.

In betting markets the Rocket was around an 8/1 chance before pulling out. Given that he struggles to spend time away from home illustrated by his domination of the Premier League where he can turn up and play then go home. We can be forgiven for thinking the 8/1 should have been for him to make the starting gate!

Mark Williams impressed in Bangkok this week and he travels well. Winning ranking tournaments in China in 2009 and Germany in 2010.

You can read my preview for by clicking here

More during the week from Bendigo.


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Snooker World Cup

Bangkok hosts the Snooker World Cup starting on Monday. It's the first running of the event since 1996 and features a far more global mix than before with 20 teams battling it out live on Eurosport.

You can read my preview for by clicking here.

I'll post regular updates including betting tips throughout the tournament and it should be great fun to see some of the minnow nations such as Afghanistan and Poland under the cosh in the TV lights. We will see a few sitters missed.

But also see how it suits some pairings and not others. The alternate format of the singles play will mean some players struggle to find some rhythm so we will see the odd shock too - especially in the best of five frame round robin stage

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Murphy to retain Wuxi Classic

Watching the snooker from Wuxi in China today on Eurosport it was immediately clear how different the playing conditions are. The balls played really heavy. But the cloth is so fast and the cushions so responsive that the balls ran very true and with less kicks than usual.

This will suit the touch players and one player stands out head and shoulders above the rest and that is the defending champion Shaun Murphy. Still available at 4/1 (general) which is far too big a price considering he starts in the last eight against Peter Ebdon who failed to impress earlier today in his 5-3 win over Rouzi Maimaiti. Importantly too Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins aren't playing.

If you're thinking of having a bet then best do it tonight - Murphy starts tomorrow at 6am BST ...

Then on Monday it's the PTT-EGAT Snooker World Cup from Thailand and the following week the Australian Goldfields Open from Bendigo, Victoria.

Busy isn't it? And to think the players only narrowly voted for change but at least the vote went the right way.

I'll be previewing the World Cup and you can read that at this Saturday.

Have just set my alarm for 6am!