So the williamhill.com UK Championship is here and we’re set for a fascinating nine day’s snooker.

It’s been three months since the last full ranking event. No disrespect to the PTCs, Premier League etc but this is what it’s all about: a major tournament, the game’s top players and all the drama and subplots that ensue before the winner is crowned.

There has been much fulmination about the reduction from best of 17s to best of 11s and I’m sure there will be plenty more.

Well, not from me. I didn’t agree with the change but that won’t stop me enjoying the tournament. It is what it is, it's not going to change now so just try to enjoy it.

The one good thing is that all matches are now televised, which is fairer than playing half on TV and half round the back in a cubicle.

Although fewer frames in theory means the lower ranked players have a better chance against the top seeds, we saw last season in the best of five World Open that qualifiers had several chances to cause upsets but felt the pressure of TV attention.

I’d be very surprised if the winner on Sunday week did not come from the list of usual suspects.

There are many questions to be answered...

Can John Higgins find that intensity he displayed last year to defend his title?

Can Ronnie O’Sullivan transfer his Premier League form into a fifth UK victory?

Can Neil Robertson maintain his excellent performances so far this season?

Can Stephen Hendry or Steve Davis, in that hoary old cliché, roll back the years?

Can a rank outsider have a good run?

Some have raised eyebrows about the BBC times, but it will still be on the red button (one channel on Freeview) and the BBC website.

There is also extensive live coverage on Eurosport and live streaming on liveworldsnooker.tv for those outside Europe.

York is a lovely place, particularly just before Christmas. It’s great to have snooker back at the Barbican.

And it’s great to have another major tournament on our screens. So wrap up warm, and enjoy the snooker.


Betty Logan said...

I don't get the BBC scheduling at all—are there really people out there who would rather watch repeats of Dad's Army and Flog It on a Saturday night rather than live snooker? It's like saying "piss off to ITV and watch The X-Factor"!

Dzierzgul said...

I have a feeling that Ronnie is either going to suffer a shock defeat against Davis or is going to win the whole thing. Personally though I'd like to see MJW break through; recently he has lost at least five matches he should have won (last year's UK, first round in China open, World semi-final, Australian Open and Shanghai Masters) and I'm worrying he may develop yips. Which would be a terrific shame.
But of course, as always, I'll be rooting for Hendry. It's a loooong shot and I know that it's not really gonna happen. But how great would that be: Hendry wins his 6th UK title and, as non-seeded winner he gets Masters wildcard (last year it was announced that the only way to get one was to win the UK) based on genuine merit. Wouldn't that be something?
Still, for me, of those who have a real chance: Ronnie, Mark or Higgins. Class of '92 - keep up the good work.

The Blog said...

Would anyone know if the BBC is showing the tournament in HD on BBC1 HD?


Colin M said...

I hope it'll be the "Grand Old" Duke that wins it... :-)

kildare cueman said...

If Trump emerges from his quarter I think he'll go all the way.

Anonymous said...

mjw to win

Anonymous said...

Rocket to nail it.

Betty Logan said...

Has anyone seen this bizarre offer from Paddy Power: http://www.paddypower.com/bet/snooker/uk-championship?ev_oc_grp_ids=2874

Basically, if Ronnie or Selby win the UK, PP will refund all outright pre-tournament winner bets. Has anyone seen an offer like that before?

It's a pretty shrewd tactic really, because in the last couple of years they've only won one full ranker between them! At first glance it looks like you're getting a free bet, but I think the chances of PP having to refund the stakes are virtually nil. Psychologically it's really clever, because it encourages you to bet on Selby or Ronnie as dead certs (which the bookies will clean up on when they almost certainly get knocked out) and also bet on all the other players; since only one can win, and it's unlikely that they will have to refund the money then they will clean up on all the others too.

It's pretty interesting that PP are virtually writing off Ronnie and Selby for this tournament though. It totally shafts the other bookies too, since if you actually fancy anyone other than Selby and Ronnie you may as well take advantage of the offer and cover your bet. If Selby or Ronnie win it though they'll get burned pretty bad.

Gerard said...

What's with JP's tournement preview on the bbc website? He keeps saying things like "the longer frame matches suit this player..." Is he aware of the changes? Is the bbc not allowing him to be more honest?

I'd rather read these fine articles and (often) interesting comments.

I think Robertson will win.


I am sure it will be a great event, David. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

PP are obviously doing it as a sort of loss leader

if they lose, they lose, but they get new traffic, some of which will stay.

if they win out it, they win.

its also a boot in the sphericals to the sponsor...another betting firm

no more, no less.

Betty Logan said...

I don't think it is a simple loss-leader, since it's notable they haven't included Higgins who enjoys a considerably higher profile than Selby, but since he's a likely winner of the event then they haven't gone near him. PP have chosen these two particular players because they massively underachieve in relation to their price, and they obviously don't make them favourites for the event even though their prices do, which for the most part just reflect the money they've taken on them.

Anonymous said...

yes betsy and thats why its a simple loss leader

they dont win much but have the perception of always being there and winning (at least to casual viewers)

Anonymous said...


those 2 players are the 2 at the head of the betting

itd be quite bizarre if they picked one at 3rd and one at 7th

your just trying to see things that arent there

its a gimmick and one to pull attention and £ from the sponsors

Anonymous said...

I don't think Betts understands Betts?????