Monday, April 30, 2007

Snooker Table Conditions in Doubt at Crucible

I have been watching a lot of the snooker over the last week and in all of the matches I have watched I have doubted the consistency in the cushions.

Is it me or are they playing very inconsistent? A number of shots are coming off the cushions a lot faster than the way they went in this means that players are over-running position on a lot of occasions. Never have I noticed this before, also there seems to be fewer century breaks are the cushions the cause?

On the other hand certain cushions are making the ball square up after contact which means not enough bounce.

Surely at Snooker pinnacle event this problem should be addressed?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hendry Unconvincing even with New Snooker Cue

Stephen Hendry made, what in some people's eyes would be regarded as mad, a decision to change his trusty cue 2 weeks before the start of he 2007 Snooker World Championships.

It did not look to be the right decision either as he struggled past David Gilbert in the first round after being 4-1 down.

A snooker cue is generally seen as an extension to a players cueing arm and it takes some time for that feeling to exist with a new cue.

Why make a decision to change this close to the World Championships? I am unsure but Hendry is confident that the cue can move him forward - The cue he is using is an Acuerate, a cue developed by leading coach Chris Henry that uses low deflection technology to stop the cue ball squirting when playing with side.

I believe Hendry is the first Pro to use one in competition and it will be interesting to see how he progresses.

Hendry's match in the second round started today against Ali Carter.

Friday, April 27, 2007

An "Almost" 147

Unlucky goes out to Joe Swail who was on a maximum attempt when a kick left him low on his next red.

He potted the red quite easily and then left himself what would have been a thin cut into the corner on the next black - he decided to take the pink after long deliberation and attempted what would have been a Crucible first - 146 break. It was not to be as he missed an easy black off its spot off the next red.

There would have been £157,000 for a 147, I would have taken that black on!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A "Kick" Up the Behind

Kicks have always been part of professional snooker but as each tournament goes by why do we see more and more?

I have noticed more in the first week of this years world championship than any other tournament - I could be looking for them though!

There are many arguments as to what causes a kick, or bad contact between the cue ball and the object ball these are some of them:

  1. Chalk residue - when chalk deposits itself on the cue ball (or when balls pick up chalk from the cloth) it creates an area that when contact is made the ball will jump in the air or kick. Many tests have been carried out. Some prove the theory and some don't. Players such as Mike Massey believe it has something to do with the finer Green chalk used by snooker players, this may also account for the reason that there are less kicks in pool.
  2. Static - The fine napped cloths that are used in professional snooker events can create a static charge on the balls surface due to the friction and temperatures the balls reach on contact. A static charge as opposed to a clean surface would again cause a kick.
  3. Manufacturing Process - One of the newest theories out there is that of the oils used in the manufacturing process and that the balls used in professional tournaments actually lubricate themselves during play. If this lubrication has not happened then a poor contact will occur. For more on this argument visit Talk Snooker Forum.

I for one am not completely convinced by any of the arguments and feel that at the professional level it could be a combination of all of the factors, including the lighting conditions caused by TV.

The debate continues.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

World Snooker: Wait is Over

The 2007 World Snooker Championships started at 10am this morning with defending champion Graeme Dott against Ian McCulloch and Peter Ebdon vs Nigel Bond

The Dott vs McCulloch match was slow going with only 2 breaks over 50. After the interval Dott shot to a 4-2 lead but a missed black on frame ball let McCulloch in for a clearance. He then took the next 2 to lead 5-4 going into the second session tonight.

In the other match Peter Ebdon stormed into a 4-0 but the mid session interval seemed to revive Nigel Bond who strung 5 frames together to take the lead going into the second session. The highlight was a 114 in the 9th frame which is currently the highest break of the event.

Coverage available on BBC and BBCi all week.

Buy Snooker Cues

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 World Snooker Championships 2007: Our Guide!

The 2007 World Snooker Championship is only days away and a fortnight of snooker bliss begins.

This year will in my opinion see one of the closest fought championships in a long time. Nobody has this year dominated the Ranking events, which leaves a lot of players in a position to grab the games ultimate prize.

Lets start with the favourites. Ronnie O’Sullivan, undoubtedly the games most natural talent, has once again had an up and down season. At the Masters in January we saw the side of Ronnie that is both brilliant and exciting yet preceding that we saw him walk out of his match with Stephen Hendry when the game was not lost.

All of the top bookmakers place Ronnie as the favourite with the best odds of 7/2 available at both Stan James and Ladbrokes.

It is then difficult to pick a second favourite with seven players hanging around on the same odds. Pick of the bunch would be John Higgins at 14/1 at Bet Fred.

We have seen rapid improvements in the games of Chinese sensation Ding Junhui and Australian Neil Robertson. Robertson has won 2 ranking events this season that has seen him move to World Number 7 in the provisional rankings. Ding on the other hand has had a consistent season with a few dips, most notably last week in his home tournament the China Open where he failed to progress beyond the first round.

What of last seasons champion? Well, Graeme Dott is in a rich vein of form after winning the China Open a couple of weeks ago – he demolished Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 in the semi-finals en route to the final. He always brings his “A-Game” to the Crucible and I am surprised to find him at 12/1 in most places with a best price of 14/1 at William Hill.

I think there are also a couple of other players that are also worthy of a mention – Stephen Hendry (he will be playing with a new snooker cue at this event) and can be backed at 10/1 at Bet Fred and cannot be overlooked. Peter Ebdon an amazing Crucible performer over the years and his best price is 14/1 available at Stan James and Bet Fred. Shaun Murphy a previous winner is also someone not to be dismissed and has had a topsy-turvy season with a high point of a win in the Malta Cup.

Matthew Stevens, twice a runner-up has had a disappointing season that has seen him fall out of the top 16 provisionally, so he will be looking for a good performance to keep his ranking in the elite 16 players.

Fancy an underdog?

The biggest price can be had on BBC presenter and 1991 World Champion John Parrott who at 500/1 is a bit of a long shot, however, you may see him progress through the first round at least as he has drawn fellow presenter Steve Davis in the 1st Round.

A player in my opinion that you have to look out for is Judd Trump, the lowest ranked and youngest player in the tournament. He is ranked number 71 in the world and is only 17 years old. He is the third youngest player ever to compete at snookers pinnacle event, the other two are multiple world champions, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan. Judd can be backed at 66/1 for the outright win at William Hill.

The tastiest tie of the 1st round see’s Ronnie O’Sullivan play Ding Junhui in what will be a rpeat of the 2007 Masters Final. Ronnie won that match 10-3 so Ding will be out for revenge. I think if Ding beats O’Sullivan then he will win the World Championships.
If O’Sullivan wins that match then the title will go to either him, Neil Robertson or Stephen Hendry, if I had to move off the fence I would pick Stephen Hendry.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

China to Become Snooker's New World Force?

The China Daily (link above) has reported that China are aiming to stage no less than 10 World Ranking events.

The thinking behind this move (although it would not happen for a good number of years yet) is that as the game is enjoying rapid growth in China it is important from an awareness point of view that Chinese players are featured in the world ranking list. Currently it takes chinese players a long time to move through the rankings due to the structure of the sport.

10 events in China would mean it would be easier for Chinese players to break into the higher echelons of the sport.

Ding JunHui has shown the prowess of Chinese players with a number of World Ranking wins already under his belt. However, Junhui has had to move to the UK to achieve this. Ranking events in China would mean less trvelling and more opportunities for Chinese players to promote themselves.

Personally I think any move to introduce more rankinf events into the calendar is a good move and would be welcomed by all of the players and supporters alike.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Site News: A few Changes

After a couple of months with a new site design we have taken the decision to revert back to the old style. The main reason for this is that the old design allows us more freedom with the content that we want to make available.

We have also added a couple of neat little extras to help your browsing pleasure. If you have an account with Billiards Boutique then you can now add product reviews to the system, please try and be honest, we get to check everything before it goes live.

The second is a very simple little tool that allows you to email a specific product to a friend via a pop-up window, you can have control over the message that you send but there is already one included as default.

If you have any questions regarding these items then please call or email.

Dott Wins in China

A bit delayed I know but in case you weren't aware my prediction was correct!!!

Graeme Dott defeated Jamie Cope in the final of the China Open by a score of 9-5. Dott, I predicted he would win from the 1/4's onwards, went home with a cheque for £35,000 and another ranking title - only his swecond ever ranking event win - the first was last years World Championships.

Jamie Cope, who is only 21, has reached two finals this year and has been beaten in both, however he looks in great form along with Dott going into this months World Championships. Cope went away with £17,500 for 2nd and also picked up £2,000 for his 145 break against Shaun Murphy.