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Monday, April 22, 2024

Betfred World Snooker Championship Preview – Selby Can Add to Title Tally

It’s that point once more

To start with, welcome again. I’ve been on a self-imposed retirement from this place for practically a 12 months now but when there’s one factor that can all the time spark again my curiosity it’s one of the best 17 days of the 12 months on the snooker calendar, sure individuals (or no matter you determine as), it’s time for the 2022 Betfred World Snooker Championship from the Crucible.

I wasn’t planning on penning a preview this 12 months however after I truly stated as a lot on social media one thing very odd occurred, everybody began being very good to me and begging me to rethink.

Plainly despite the fact that this explicit nook of the web has lengthy since peaked, this time of 12 months wouldn’t fairly be the identical for a number of the extra deluded of you with out me babbling on concerning the first spherical. So, touched by your anorakness and after giving myself a stern speaking to, rethink is what I did.

On the threat of going all JP on you, I’ll qualify what I’m about to jot down with the caveat that I haven’t watched as a lot snooker this 12 months as I usually would and I haven’t seen numerous this younger man play. Additionally, I’ll get the odd stat or reality incorrect, so superior apologies to the Anorak Neighborhood, however that stated my relationship with info and figures can at instances be as tenuous as the present UK authorities, the one key distinction being I don’t lie on objective. 

There’s the disclaimer out of the way in which.

The qualifiers gave us a number of the traditional thrills and spills. Not least as a result of half the time the matches saved disappearing from our screens, some gamers had been additionally fairly offended that the cloths had been placed on the incorrect approach spherical to assist the hapless manufacturing firm get issues proper. It made the primary few days just about unwatchable and we’re to not know the conversations that went on behind the scenes between these concerned within the streaming and the governing physique, not a cheerful household at instances I wouldn’t have thought.

For the file, I’m not a complete fan of the change in format and I believe everybody who certified ought to have needed to play not less than two greatest of 19 matches. I’ve no difficulty with one of the best of elevens for the primary two rounds, as with a few of dross served up we’d nonetheless be there now, however after that it wants to start out feeling just like the blue riband occasion it’s, so if I used to be to change something I’d make the third spherical greatest of 19.     

We sadly misplaced a couple of acquainted faces from the principle tour on account of the qualifiers, notably those that presumably can be heading to Q-Faculty embrace essential tour stalwarts Michael Holt, Kurt Maflin, Fergal O’Brien and Andrew Higginson, proving what a tough profession alternative snooker will be in case you hit a foul run of outcomes, notably within the continued absence of the Chinese language occasions from the calendar.

The 16 who did come by means of embrace debutants Ashley Hugill, Jackson Web page and the gifted Iranian, Hossein Vafaei. The Man from Iran used his profitable platform to halve his fanbase with instant impact by saying Ronnie O’Sullivan is unhealthy for the game, ought to cease moaning and retire and go away it to the kids, fairly who suggested him to go together with this communication technique, god solely is aware of.

Additionally by means of are Crucible outdated palms Ding Junhui, Dave Gilbert, Stephen Maguire and Matthew Stevens, becoming a member of Stevens and the seeded Mark Williams alongside Web page to make up a six-pronged Welsh assault are Jamie’s Jones and Clarke and the resurgent Michael White. Wales being the second most represented nation within the Final 32, a lot for the Chinese language revolution boyo. 

Mark Selby is again to defend the title he gained for a fourth time final season and is quick turning into the participant to beat at this venue and arguably as shut as we’ve seen to a dominating drive right here since Hendry within the 90’s. The person in kind and bookies favorite is Neil Robertson and far has been manufactured from his comparatively poor file right here, whereas Judd Trump has been a little bit quieter than traditional this season, which isn’t all the time essentially a foul factor. Ronnie, after all, could have his legions of supporters, a few of whom might begin burning Iranian flags in Crucible Sq., and after claiming again the world primary spot who’s to say he can’t equal Hendry’s tally of titles even at this late stage in his unimaginable profession?

Different seeded gamers who will quietly fancy their possibilities embrace Crucible specialists Barry Hawkins, Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill, former champions John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham and naturally the brand new Chinese language technology of main winners in Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong.

Whenever you get by means of an inventory like that and you continue to haven’t talked about a confirmed main winner like Mark Allen you form of know this could possibly be probably the most open championship for years; it’s a cliché after all, however I believe this 12 months the label is justified and you may make a case to some extent for almost all of the sphere.

Proper right here goes with a take a look at the matches, in case you click on on the match it should magically transport you to the pinnacle to heads between the 2 gamers courtesy of the all the time wonderful Cue Tracker, an actual on-line haven for anoraks.


  • Winner: £500,000
  • Runner-up: £200,000
  • Semi-finals: £100,000
  • Quarter-finals: £50,000
  • Final 16: £30,000
  • Final 32: £20,000


Mark Selby v Jamie Jones (Sat 16 Apr 10am/Sat 16 Apr 7pm)

As is conventional, Saturday morning on Desk 1 begins with the defending champion as Mark Selby kicks off his marketing campaign to make it 5 world titles towards a participant with a status for a little bit of giant-killing in Jamie Jones. Selby’s psychological well being points have been a lot documented and since he was sat in a carpark getting impatient for Vicky to fetch his espresso and determined to inform the world of his points, the snooker group has put a collective cueing arm round him. However make no mistake, in relation to taking part in at The Crucible he doesn’t want any such assist. His file right here while he’s been battling his inside demons leads me to conclude that that is more and more turning into that protected place that all of us want occasionally. His file towards Jones doesn’t actually supply any hope to the Welshman who pretty much as good as I believe he’s, will certainly battle over this distance within the tactical division towards the reigning champion. I don’t foresee any main difficulty for Selby right here and I believe he’ll as soon as once more be very near the enterprise finish of the championship.    

Predicted Rating: Selby 10-5

Yan Bingtao v Chris Wakelin (Tue 19 Apr 10am/Tue 19 Apr 7pm)

Yan Bingtao has not likely kicked on since his well-known Masters win in errmm, Milton Keynes, and he’s solely managed to safe a seeded spot right here by the pores and skin of his enamel with outcomes going his approach, principally not by means of any actually sturdy performances from him of late. Early exits in his defence of the Masters and the UK alongside his 9-0 drubbing within the German Masters remaining by the hands of Zhao appeared to knock the stuffing out of him a bit so to rescue his season he’ll want a good run on this. Chris Wakelin makes his third look right here and can be hoping it’s third time fortunate to win his first match, on his debut he got here inside a whisker of beating Judd however final time he was soundly crushed by Dave Gilbert. They’re 1-1 on the pinnacle to heads and I don’t suppose Chris is with no likelihood right here so it’s price trying on the handicaps, however on stability I’m going to take Yan to only pinch it from the Dancing Potter.   

Predicted Rating: Yan 10-8

Barry Hawkins v Jackson Web page (Sat 16 Apr 2:30pm/Solar 17 Apr 7pm)

A meaningless face to face stat implies that successfully these two are assembly for the primary time. Perceived knowledge is that the seeds all the time desire to play a debutant so I don’t suppose a seasoned Crucible specialist like Barry can be too involved with this draw. Jackson, nonetheless solely 21 regardless of having had a beard for a few decade got here by means of in blistering type, a completely fearless and ferocious potter who has been the protégé of Mark Williams now for a couple of years, he’ll little question go on the market with this identical perspective so the way in which the primary few frames go will I believe dictate the story of the match. However both approach I see both a snug win for Hawkins or a nervy one which he simply edges.      

Predicted Rating: Hawkins 10-4

Mark Williams v Michael White (Solar 17 Apr 2:30pm/Mon 18 Apr 2:30pm)

The very first thing that stands out right here other than a whiff of sheep dip within the air is the face to face between these two. The a lot missed and very gifted Michael White was at this stage again in 2013 when he beat Williams 10-6. Granted this was the Williams who at that time was nonetheless simply plodding alongside however since then White has crushed him twice extra, most notably within the UK Championship in 2019 when Williams undoubtedly wasn’t nonetheless simply plodding alongside. So going into this Michael could have nothing to worry when it comes to his file towards his fellow taff. I do sense that there may be an upset on the playing cards right here and of the 4 seeds on this quarter I’d say MJW is probably the most weak, however that is the brand new Mark 2 Williams, so I simply can’t have him being crushed on the first hurdle right here lately, however by no means say by no means.   

Predicted Rating: Williams 10-8 

Kyren Wilson v Ding Junhui (Wed 20 Apr 10am/Wed 20 Apr 7pm)

Lots of people’s tie of the spherical this one with Ding trying again to one thing like some respectable type of late. The stress of expectation which has dogged him all through his world championship campaigns being properly and really lifted from his shoulders by the youthful Chinese language gamers, for now not less than. Lots are making the purpose that final time he needed to qualify he made the ultimate so the omens are all good for his followers. Kyren is establishing himself very a lot as subsequent new World Champion materials and he will get on very properly with the venue, which might be round 80% of the battle. I’ve seen that previously on morning periods right here Ding can take some time to heat up in order that may be price factoring in, the face to face is lifeless degree and so they have crushed one another in the previous few weeks in rating occasions so all indicators level to a thriller.        

Predicted Rating: Wilson 10-9

Stuart Bingham v Lyu Haotian (H2H 0-0) (Mon 18 Apr 7pm/Tue 19 Apr 2:30pm)

2015 Champion and narrowly crushed semi-finalist final day trip Bingham performs Lyu Haotian for the primary time in each their skilled careers, in order that’s any face to face clues out of the window. Lyu is making his third look at The Crucible and he has truly gained a match right here earlier than, beating Marco Fu on his debut in 2018. He’s clung onto his essential tour card this season and isn’t seen troubling something just like the enterprise finish of occasions so this constitutes his greatest run of the season by a great distance. The factor with Lyu is that he very not often beats gamers who’re ranked increased than him and infrequently beats anybody in Stuart’s lofty bracket so I believe this one could possibly be one-way site visitors for First Poke.     

Predicted Rating: Bingham 10-3

Anthony McGill v Liam Highfield (Solar 17 Apr 10am/Mon 18 Apr 10am)

That is undoubtedly 1 / 4 bursting with Crucible specialists and Anthony McGill is one other so as to add to this checklist as he takes on the harmful Liam Highfield. Liam is yet one more qualifier making their third look right here and one other that’s but to win a match, being simply crushed by Judd at this stage final 12 months. He isn’t with out the odd prime 16 scalp and this season he has crushed each Mark Selby and Jack Lisowski so the sport is there however he not often progresses previous this stage of any occasion. McGill himself has had a patchy season however a semi-final and quarter-final rating look tells me that he’s not in unhealthy form general. He tends to all the time play his greatest right here and once more, I’m going to aspect with the seeded participant to progress.  

Predicted Rating: McGill 10-7

Judd Trump v Hossein Vafaei (Wed 20 Apr 2:30pm/Thu 21 Apr 7pm)

As I stated within the opening preamble, Judd has had a reasonably quiet season by his personal excessive requirements which appears foolish to say when he has picked up two titles and is testomony to what’s anticipated of him lately. He’s talked of taking a while off from snooker so maybe mentally he’s not the place he must be going into the large one, however what number of instances have the Snooker Gods modified fortunes in Sheffield down the years? Hossein is taking part in right here for the primary time however one factor this man isn’t missing is confidence. He talks like a world-beater, he even generally performs like one and also you get the sensation he believes he’s destined for higher issues within the sport. He does have one thing of a star high quality and if he does win right here I believe he could possibly be the shock bundle of the championship in a winnable quarter. Nicely I’ve to again towards one seed on this half don’t I? Sorry Judd, I simply suppose it is a man you could possibly do with out if in case you have a couple of gremlins upstairs.    

Predicted Rating: Vafaei 10-8


Neil Robertson v Ashley Hugill (Mon 18 Apr 2:30pm/Tue 19 Apr 10am)

OK, very first thing’s first, it’s pronounced ‘Hugh Gill’ just like the Gill rhymes with Grill. So all collectively now…. Ashley Hugh-Jill, I imply Enormous-Gill oh by no means thoughts, simply name him Ashley. Anyway, the favorite for the championship has drawn a debutant, albeit one which has crushed him on their solely previous assembly, however Robbo can’t be upset in how the balls got here out of the luggage. A lot has been manufactured from his file right here after all and the ‘strolling into the shot’ difficulty he has as he tends to method the desk like an ostrich along with his enormous (pronounced Enormous) stride-in. I did supply to let him observe on my desk at residence to get used to what it’s wish to be up towards the hearth however I didn’t hear again. It’s nice for Ashley, one other protégé of the snooker manufacturing unit that’s Vic’s Academy in Sheffield, that he’s made it this far however it might be a hug……huge shock if he received any additional. If Robbo could make the semi-finals it goes with out saying he’ll take numerous stopping however he may must beat Higgins to get there.      

Predicted Rating: Robertson 10-3

Jack Lisowski v Matthew Stevens (Tue 19 Apr 7pm/Wed 20 Apr 2:30pm)

I’m actually trying ahead to this one between two of one of the best gamers to look at within the sport. Stevens has already carried out a minor miracle along with his comeback to beat Ali Carter, who seemed to be coasting to victory earlier than Matthew discovered his potting boots. I believe they may each be happy with this draw because it’s sure to be a match the place they every get possibilities and get to play their pure sport. The face to face doesn’t actually inform us something between two gamers who will depend on their really feel and kind on the day. Jack isn’t all the time the strongest starter right here and also you may anticipate his Crucible file to be a little bit higher at this stage in his profession. Matthew has been there and oh so practically accomplished that on many events, albeit some time again. However that win towards Ali should give him an actual enhance and I believe the momentum is with the Welshman.    

Predicted Rating: Stevens 10-7

Luca Brecel v Noppon Saengkham (Wed 20 Apr 7pm/Thu 21 Apr 1pm)

And earlier than anybody begins, it was ME who referred to as him The Pallindromic Potter first and anybody who claims in any other case I’ll see you in courtroom. Anyway, Noppon is a prolific scorer and by all accounts one of many hardest working professional’s within the enterprise, he’s additionally one other who’s right here for the third time having given Shaun Murphy an excellent hiding on his final go to earlier than taking Mark Selby all the way in which, so his pedigree on the venue will not be unsure. The identical can’t be stated for Luca, 4 visits and but to win a match but it’s the unpredictable Belgian that’s the seeded participant, an indication of how up and down he will be when it comes to kind. I’d say the smart cash right here can be on Noppon to progress, he gained’t be phased by the venue, his opponent nonetheless has that monkey on his again and he’s contemporary from an ideal efficiency within the qualifiers.    

Predicted Rating: Saengkham 10-6

John Higgins v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Tue 19 Apr 2:30pm/Wed 20 Apr 10am)

The potential of an all Thai second spherical conflict has one other slight impediment in the way in which, although not as a lot in the way in which as he was 12 months in the past, within the new slimmed down John Higgins. John’s transformation should absolutely have a constructive impact on his possibilities if he progresses into Week 2, I believe if he’d been this match within the three finals he’s misplaced in recent times he would most likely have captured not less than certainly one of them, however that’s unattainable to quantify after all. Theppy doesn’t have a lot luck with first spherical attracts and faces Higgins for the second time at this stage having misplaced 10-7 again in 2018. He received a proper outdated pasting from Ronnie final time he was right here so he’ll need to put up a significantly better present this time, however he’ll must attempt his greatest to curtail his attacking urges to get wherever close to the wily outdated Wizard right here. I can’t see it personally.    

Predicted Rating: Higgins 10-4

Zhao Xintong v Jamie Clarke (Sat 16 Apr 10am/Solar 17 Apr 10am)

It’s taken 12 matches of being extremely goal however now it’s time for me to nail my colors to mast and say that I need Jamie Clarke to win this match greater than I need world peace. I’ve identified Jamie for a few years since his involvement in my competitors and he’s a cracking lad and is now growing into the participant I all the time knew he could possibly be. I’m in Sheffield on Saturday so when the draw was made I used to be delighted as I’ve a ticket for this match courtesy of the sponsors, so all the celebs are aligned properly. In fact Zhao is a large expertise and has rightly earned reward for his UK and German Masters wins, however he’s solely performed right here as soon as and misplaced to Selby again in 2019 so Jamie’s run on his debut should give him confidence. I genuinely suppose he can upset the chances and play on his higher expertise of the venue, albeit this time with a capability crowd and a biased Scouser cheering him on from the rafters. GET IN THERE.    

Predicted Rating: Clarke 10-8 

Shaun Murphy v Stephen Maguire (Sat 16 Apr 7pm/Solar 17 Apr 7pm)

I might begin this one with a drained outdated gag warning Mags to not neglect his chalk, however that will simply be infantile and never one thing anybody would want to drag up once more. Anyway, this clearly supplies centre stage drama between two gamers who’ve met up 22 instances in correct comps with Murphy holding a slender 12-10 lead on the pinnacle to heads. Their final two conferences have seen Maguire come out on prime, most just lately on the 2021 Welsh Open in a decider. You may’t cut up these two regardless of the gulf that has developed briefly of their respective rankings, final 12 months’s runner-up will likely have needed an opener the place he might stamp his authority over a fragile beginner, as a substitute he’s received arguably the toughest check of the lot. Unattainable to name with any diploma of certainty aside from it should absolutely be 10-8 or 10-9 both approach. Oh Mags, don’t neglect your chalk.     

Predicted Rating: Murphy 10-9

Mark Allen v Scott Donaldson (Mon 18 Apr 10am/Mon 18 Apr 7pm)

One other participant up there with Matthew Stevens as ‘one of the best participant by no means to be world champion’ is Mark Allen, however he nonetheless has time to place that proper. To do this he’ll actually need to embrace this venue, which has held slim pickings for him prior to now. Generally you simply must take inventory and marvel why a participant who can play like Allen with a pleasant compact motion can’t reproduce that right here, it’s very tough to place your finger on so it should drive him potty. His face to face with Scott Donaldson could be very constructive so he’ll haven’t any purpose to have any nagging first spherical doubts the place the draw is worried. I believe assuming this goes to kind and a sure Mr O’Sullivan wins his match this could possibly be the form of first rounder that Allen must focus and springboard an actual run to the one-table state of affairs, he has it in him, however can he discover it?  

Predicted Rating: Allen 10-6

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Dave Gilbert (Sat 16 Apr 2:30pm/Solar 17 Apr 2:30pm)

I sat within the press seats behind the cameras when these two met at this stage in 2016 till some massive tree from a rock band booted me out through the second session, taking over sufficient house for 3 of me. However what I did see was a virtuoso efficiency from Ronnie regardless of Gilbert hardly placing a foot incorrect. There are particular gamers that I believe Ronnie actually steps up towards and I believe Dave is certainly one of them, perhaps he can see, as most of us can, what an ideal participant he’s, he barely ever performs the incorrect shot and subsequently Ronnie must put him away, this may be why Dave has by no means crushed him in six makes an attempt. It pains me to say it however that is most likely an excellent heat up for Ronnie to play Allen in Spherical 2, I nonetheless love Gilberto although so not less than now he’ll be a greater value within the outrights. 

Predicted Rating: Ronnie 10-7

Predicted Champion – Mark Selby

Predicted Quarter Winners – Selby, Vafaei, Higgins, O’Sullivan

I can be posting any really helpful bets previous to the beginning of the occasion on Saturday each on right here and on Twitter

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