Yesterday in a nutshell: Judd Trump turned it on when he had to; Shaun Murphy was superb against Martin Gould.

And so to today...

Higgins regards this as his bogey tournament, despite winning the Masters twice and reaching two other finals.

It does seem to be an all or nothing event for him. From the other 13 times he has played in the Masters and not reached the final he has lost nine times in the opening round.

Higgins has yet to really hit his stride this season. We all know he can, and indeed that he probably will, but it isn't bound to happen today.

Stevens was Masters champion in 2000 but has only won one match in the event since. He is playing in the tournament for the first time since 2007.

The Welshman has done well to get back in the top 16 but is lacking wins over the top players of late.

I think it'll be a close match and, if it is, that Higgins will win.

Prediction: Higgins to win 6-4

This could be a classic. Allen is riding high after reaching his first major final at last month's UK Championship. Robertson has emerged as a fiercely competitive big occasion player.

It's a clash of styles: Allen is fast and attacking; Robertson is attacking but has slowed down and is now as dogged and determined as his late compatriot Eddie Charlton.

They played in the quarter-finals last year and Allen won 6-4. He will be full of confidence after his York exploits and is yet to lose his first match at the Masters in three previous appearances.

His strength is his scoring power but he is also great in adversity, a trait he shares with fellow Northern Irishmen Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and Joe Swail.

Robertson took a good break over Christmas, visiting Norway from where his partner hails. When he came back to Cambridge he was unable to practise with Joe Perry as he was in Germany for the PTC.

Robertson had two days of Championship League snooker last week. He was clearly rusty at first but soon hit his stride.

I don't see either player running away with it.

Prediction: Allen to win 6-5


Anonymous said...

one of the things i like best about your blog is the clean post times.

maybe the xmas grogs getting the better of you as theres some bizarre post times now david.

:) good blogging!!

jamie brannon said...

How come no Willie Thorne at the Masters?

Robertson v Allen should be tasty tonight, but fancy Allen to win 6-4. Live on the red button at 7pm, which is readily available to most who have a television, yet you'd think it was only available to those on planet mars the way people bang on about snooker being put on there.

I'd wager more people in the UK watch snooker on the red button than on Eurosport. It is unrealistic to expect the entire event on BBC2.


Hi David. A proper professional performance from John Higgins today, in beating Stevens, 6-2, in my view.

Anonymous said...

I notice Willie Thorne hasn't been commentating this week.

Gerard said...

Dave, nice commentary on Robertson vs Allen just now (you sound like Steve Davis sometimes .. in a good way). Neil does seem to be back to the form he was when he took the world trophy. This could well become his ninth tv-final and title. Plus I can't really see Trump dominating with Robertson (and others) around.


Hi david. Robertson v Allen. A great match from both. Great breaks and tactics from both. Frame 8 was the turning point. Allen shud have won it. Robertson did win it, and made a good cliching break to win, 6-3, after winning frame 9. Another great day's play in my view.


Hi David, to go slightly off subject, Malcolm Thorne, Willie Thorne's brother, passed on, one year ago today.(17-1-2011. Today is 17-1-2012. I send my best wishes, thoughts and regards, to him, and family and friends.

I am guessing this to be the reason that Willie Thorne is not in the BBC commentary box, for the 2012 Masters event.

I am sure that Malcolm Thorne will be watching this event, from up above, in his own way. I am also sure that he will be loving what he is seeing.


Dave H said...

Willie is being 'rested' by the BBC but will be doing the Welsh Open for them


OK David. Thanks for that. In my view, the BBC Commentary box is not the same without our other friend and colleague, Clive Everton , either. I do know he will be there in the press room though.

Anonymous said...

wt is the best commentator.
dave is 2nd best
the rest of eurosports are crap.
hendry and foulds are good

Anonymous said...

You mean BBC Wales are using a non-welsh commentator? Hope this doesn't mean less airtime for John Evans

Anonymous said...

WT is one of the worst actually. Always being wise after the event and then sayin "not to be wise after the event, but that was the wrong shot as it turns out". And he exeggerates too much: "oh, this is by far the shot of the tournement", "he's one of the top 4 or 5 in the world at this or that" and "I love Selby, I love Selby, I love Selby".

1 - John Virgo
2 - David Hendon
3 - Stephen Hendry

jamie brannon said...

The Daily Mail will probably turn the Thorne dropping into something it isn't. Ultimately, the Masters event doesn't require more than four commentators.

Not everyone would've have dropped Thorne, me being one, but sometimes you've just got to accept the call.

Stephen Hendry is proving to be the trump in the pack anyway.

Thorne will bring some much needed class to the BBC Wales team.

Anonymous said...

Virgo hasn't a clue, but he makes me laugh out loud sometimes. Willie and Dennis should be pensioned off, they've had their day. Neal Foulds is the best regular, and I've been impressed with Hendry and John Parrot—Parrott is a better commentator than he is a pundit. I think the commentary team could benefit more from having some journalistic insight, it seems to be all ex-players now.

Anonymous said...

Bob The Builder would make a better commentator than WT.

Anonymous said...

bob the builder would make more serious comments than 812am

Farquhar Martin said...

The Great "WT" talks too much. Glad he's not at The Masters. Time he was pensioned off !

Anonymous said...

You lot haven't got a clue! Willie Virgo an Taylor are the best three by a long shot for knowledge charisma and likeability factor, And WT & Virgo the best duo! Defo! Come on people you clearly don't understand snooker very well!

Anonymous said...

Thorne is the best commentator. If you enjoy playing in amateur snooker leagues and would love to improve, WT talks a lot of snooker sense.

Anonymous said...

I miss WT

Count Baizey said...

Willie Thorne is best kept away from a) co-commentating with Virgo, as they chat far too much, and b) commentating on Selby, because he can't hide his bias for a fellow Leicester man. JP and Hendry have proved adept at commentary. Steve Davis, likeable and professional as a studio pundit, prattles intolerably when put on commentary. The best commentator was Clive Everton, of course - shamefully treated by the BBC.

Anonymous said...

Did miss the Thorne commentary but all the others apart from Virgo are world title winners and you cant drop Virgo cos hes a king amongst men. As long as Thone is in for the worlds thats fine. Also Neil Folds is a good comentator too

Anonymous said...

the only thing i want to hear is wheres virgo gone

bob clark said...

christ want a load of twaddle get real thorne talks to much about old days and calls wrong shots. taylor was a average player who got lucky. mike hallet wangled his way into nice lottle earner virgo living in past . the lot want clearing out.best comentator joe jonson by a mile