Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snooker: Maplin UK Championship Preview

After a week of intense competition at the World Snooker Centre at Pontins in Prestatyn, 16 players have qualified for the games second most prestigious tournament the Maplin UK Championship.

The qualified players are listed below:

Ian McCulloch
Joe Swail
Ricky Walden
Mark Allen
Nigel Bond
Adrian Gunnell
Stuart Bingham
Paul Davies
Dave Harold
Anthony Hamilton
Marco Fu
Joe Perry
Michael Holt
Mark King
Barry Hawkins
Jamie Cope

Qualifying for any of the ranking events is getting tougher and tougher, this was proved this time when former top 16 player Matthew Stevens was beaten Adrian Gunnell. Also on the list of high profile casualties was Shanghai Masters winner Dominic Dale, Grand Prix semi-finalist Gerard Greene and Northern Ireland Trophy runner-up Fergal O'Brien.

The main event kicks off next saturday at the Telford International Centre.

Bookmakers Odds:

Stan James place Ronnie O'Sullivan as the 3/1 favourite - last night he reached the final of the Premier League playoffs so is a man in some sort of form. 2nd favourite for the title is Dind Junhui at 6/1 followed by Higgins and Murphy at 8/1 and 9/1 respectively.

They are only offering each way on the finalists so looking at the draw the bottom half is definately tougher so an outsider to come from the top? Last years winner Peter Ebdon who has always liked the longer match format. He is available for 20/1 so a £5 each way bet would mean a £160 return.

It is difficuolt to predict a winner due to the way that snooker has gone this year, 3 events and 3 different winners with only one from inside the top 16 players.

Murphy looks good and has a good draw so he may be able to add to his previous world title. Another to look out for is Mark Selby and new young gun Mark Allen.

All matches are live on BBC TV and over the internet.

Complete Draw
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