Stephen Maguire and Jamie Burnett, whose match at last December’s UK Championship is the subject of an official investigation by the Gambling Commission following unusual betting patterns, will play each other in the first round of next month’s World Championship.

Regardless of the result of the investigation, this is hugely embarrassing for snooker.

The sort of coverage we can expect of this match is the last thing the game needs.

Meanwhile, what a stinking draw for Stephen Hendry, who will play Mark Williams, the man he beat ten years ago to win his seventh world title.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, the defending champion, will face Stuart Bingham, who he has practised with in the past.

Mark Selby has a tough opening assignment in the shape of Shanghai Masters champion Ricky Walden.

There is certain to be a Chinese player in the second round after Ding Junhui drew Liang Wenbo.

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham
Mark Allen v Martin Gould
Peter Ebdon v Nigel Bond
Ryan Day v Stephen Lee
John Higgins v Michael Holt
Joe Perry v Jamie Cope
Graeme Dott v Barry Hawkins
Mark Selby v Ricky Walden
Shaun Murphy v Andrew Higginson
Marco Fu v Joe Swail
Ding Junhui v Liang Wenbo
Stephen Hendry v Mark Williams
Ali Carter v Gerard Greene
Neil Robertson v Steve Davis
Mark King v Rory McLeod
Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett


Matt said...

Can't believe that Stephen drew Williams, can't see him winning that one given how they are both playing at the moment. Hendry is going to have to pull something out of the bag in China I think.

Selby v Walden looks to be a cracking tie though, probably the highlight for me as well as Ding v Wenbo.

Roll on April...

Devil's Advocate said...

There is a certain symmetry to the Hendry-Williams match - 10 years ago the x7 Champion beat Williams to win his last World Title, and on current form the Welshman could be the one to knock him out of the Top 16.

Whilst I agree that the Maguire-Burnett pairing is awkward to say the least, that is the nature of draws. I can't believe it was intentional - certainly the draws in Champions League football are far more dubious in my view.

Kimball said...

16/1 for Ding to meet Wenbo.
Worst possible draw for the championship, I say as O'Sullivan,
the draw was fixed:-(

And in balance, I think it is nearly tragic that best mates
and Chinas stars should be paired
The sport needed the chance for both to be in the second round.
Wenbo like Trump has to make sure to make top 16 during next year.

Sparky said...

I had a FEELING that Hendry would face Williams...

Anonymous said...

Selby v Walden, Maguire v Burnett, Ding v Liang and Hendry v Williams are well obvious when you think about it. It couldn't have happened any other way.

I notice that the off form top 16 players such as Ebdon, King and Dott have had a kind run of the ball.

Anonymous said...

Nearly spat out my drink when we heard Maguire vs. Burnett. Hah...!!!

Anonymous said...

At least we know the draw was straight, nobody at the WSA wanted Maguire and Burnett to play each other.

Kimball said...

Fair enough, but who shall I dump from my snookermanager team, Ding or Liang??

snookerfan92 said...

I wonder what the reaction was, as soon as the Maguire and Burnett's name was pulled out of the hat. Did anyone record the live drawings?

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt say that Dott has had a kind run of the balls drawing Hawkins

Anonymous said...

nice draw for Stephen Lee- he should make the quarters on current form-interesting match up with Ebdon in the last 16

Anonymous said...

The draw always seems to find some interesting pairings and this year is no exception. I know WSA don't get much sympathy, and maybe deservedly so, but on this occasion, I certainly echo Dave's sentiments - the Maguire/Burnett pairing is just what the game does not need right now - the spotlight will be firmly on those two again and reference back to the infamous match cannot be avoided during the coverage at Sheffield...very harsh on WSA to have to face the negative coverage that will rear its ugly head again at a time when everyone involved, connected or a fan of snooker cannot wait for the buzz of this years championships to begin. A new Crucible, new players, but the same drama to come I'm sure - personally I can't wait to get there!

Mr D

Anonymous said...

I disagree Dave that the talk surrounding this match is the last thing that snooker needs. The last thing that the inept administration need yes, but anything that ensures more coverage of the sport for whatever reason, and gets people talking, is a good thing.

I'll also say that I am not at all surprised that Hendry is playing MJW or that Wenbo meets Ding. It's all about ratings, and the only place you could hear the draw was through BBC Radio Sheffield. I think that says it all really.

Anonymous said...

I dont think that Ronnie has it as easy first round as everyone thinks..Bingham has a good chance IMO.

Monique said...

I agree with you Anon, Stu Bingham is not the easiest draw Ronnie could get. They practice together and they know each others game inside-out which can play both ways. And Stu will defo not freeze when facing Ronnie.
IMO Hendry will have a very hard time facing a hungry Williams. On the other hand it might spurr him into a good performance.
Ding vs Liang will be interesting. People complain it's a shame one wil necessarily go out ... well one will certainly stay in; silver lining.
Selby vs Walden could definitely bring an upset.

Anonymous said...

All these insinuations of draw-rigging are beyond ridiculous.

Apart from anything else, World Snooker have mucked it up so many times in recent years when it's been straight.

Imagine how much of a mess they'd make if they were trying to fix it.

Dave H said...

Two points to make:

1) The draw wasn't fixed and I don't believe it has ever been fixed

2) Controversy is good for snooker but the one controversy that isn't good is match fixing allegations, because they undermine confidence in the whole sport

Anonymous said...

Maguire-Burnett it is very good draw for Stephen.
If you think it was fixed at UK champs you are wrong.
I hope Stephen will win all tournament.

Anonymous said...

I think Bond has a great chance against Ebdon, this is not an easy draw for Ebdon at all.

snookerfan92 said...

If the UK champs was fixed, they would have prooved it by now, even though these things are very hard to proove.

Anonymous said...

should be easy for the punters having seen Maguire/burnett play recently over that distance they should be betting on 10-3 or 10-4 as that is the ability difference between the two players

Anonymous said...

Just why is the betting enquiry taking so long? All the necessary experts have surely had long enough to study the match by now and there has obviously been enough time to interview all those involved. So what's the hold up?

olly k said...

Of course it's fixed. Every tie has some significance:
1. Defending champ v man who beat defending champ in 2000 but now has chance of top 16.
2. Up and coming youngster game needs to do well v gimmie debutant
3. Old stager v old stager
4. Future star v fading star
5. Machine v "character"
6. Most improved player v future star
7. Ex W/C v player with chance of top 16
8. Machine v machine
9. Ex W/C v debutant
10. Crowd favourite v crowd favourite
11. China v China
12. Ex W/C v ex W/C, rerun of 1999 final (shades of Davis v Parrott in 1997 here)
13. Machine v gimmie
14. Machine v Legend
15. Eminently beatable v first black qualifier
16. Say no more

Every match has a narrative which helps WSA promote snooker. As for them wanting to keep Maguire and Burnett apart, utter nonsense. It guarantees headlines and might make people tune in who wouldn't usually watch or haven't for a while, boosting viewing figures.

Dave H said...

I can only hope your sake that you're being satirical because if you really believe that you need help

snookerfan92 said...

The live drawing can be seen here, in case anyone missed it:

Anonymous said...

And a video of parts of the drawing: http://www.thestar.co.uk/sportheadlines/World-Snooker-Championship-2009-draw.5062843.jp

Bookies Runner said...


1/6 Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham 7/2

1/2 Mark Allen v Martin Gould 6/4

4/7 Peter Ebdon v Nigel Bond 5/4

8/11 Ryan Day v Stephen Lee EVS

4/9 John Higgins v Michael Holt 13/8

10/11 Joe Perry v Jamie Cope 4/5

5/6 Graeme Dott v Barry Hawkins 5/6

1/3 Mark Selby v Ricky Walden 9/4

1/3 Shaun Murphy v Andrew Higginson 9/4

2/5 Marco Fu v Joe Swail 7/4

2/5 Ding Junhui v Liang Wenbo 7/4

6/5 Stephen Hendry v Mark Williams 8/13

1/4 Ali Carter v Gerard Greene 11/4

1/2 Neil Robertson v Steve Davis 6/4

1/2 Mark King v Rory McLeod 6/4

1/6 Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett 7/2


Dave H said...

Thank you. Very interesting odds, although I'm surprised by a couple of them.

Sammy said...

I don't see Greene winning against Carter. Greene has done nothing this season and was lucky to draw Ken. I am gutted Holt got Higgins, I thought the Worlds was a great chance for him to show what he can do, but Higgins is just too good. It's annoying to see Dott and Ebdon get favourable draws as it would have been nice to see a couple of younger, exciting players in the Last 16. Who wants Bond or Ebdon in the Last 16? I would really like Rory McLeod to do well as he's a great guy and he has a great chance against King, after that Maguire is beatable and Rory seems to have a good chance. It'll be interesting to see how many Chinese turn out for the Liang Ding match and who'll they'll support!
Mark Selby's disaster of a season might continue as I think Walden'll cause lots of problems.
Can't wait for it to start, can't believe it's still over a month!


kimball said...

I like the double Higginson-Walden

Ruthie said...

This draw is very strange: if it was fixed it was by someone who hates snooker. Yes, one Chinese player will make the second round, but I think they both stood a very good chance of doing so and now one is obviously certain to lose in the first round. Maguire v. burnett is a disaster, and unless they summon up some mid-1990s form Ebdon and Bond could be an awful slog. Walden was always going to have to face someone tough but I feel sorry that either he or Selby will have to go. I think they're both good to watch. I also think Gerard Greene has a good chance of causing an upset, which would be awfully hard on Carter. Greene has a lot of experience and has the odd match where he scores extremely heavily. Oddly I think drawing Williams may help Hendry. Their friendship and rivalry, not to mention the rankings must be an incentive for him.

Anonymous said...

i make it


Bookies Runner said...

Dave, which ones surprise you out of interest? As a betfair previewer I'd be keen to hear your early thoughts.

Anonymous said...

"your" Allens odds and Robertsons odds are the ones that surprise me, given whats available at betting firms....

Claus Christensen said...

Snookerfan92: thank you for uploading the draw. I presume you are the same 'snookerfan92' that supplies youtube with tons of brilliant snooker videos. If that is the case I thank you and I suggest everyone takes a look.

snookerfan92 said...

Your welcome Claus. I also uploaded Ali Carter's appearance on: A Question Of Sport, a few weeks ago:


Anonymous said...

You all are fixed as a hell.

Dave H said...

Bookies Runner - the odds in the Hendry and Fu games surprised me.

Ruth made a very good point about the Hendry match. The last thing he wanted was someone everyone thinks he should beat - a Martin Gould or Rory McLeod. The pressure is actually lessened by the fact he has a tough draw.

I'd personally have made Fu v Swail 5/6 each of two, but then again I'm not a bookie!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who should start favourite between Hendry & Williams and cant really see why that dubious honour should fall on Williams on all known form.
They are good pals but Hendry wont want to lose to MJW, the Scot still posseses a steely edge even if his cue action sometimes plays him up.
At the oddschecker prices I am with Hendry and like others, wouldn't fancy him so much against an up & coming type.

David said...

I like Joe Swail at the moment, I feel he could put a run together this year, I'll have 7/4 vs Fu, that's a bargain.

Anonymous said...

Also the Ebdon/Bond match doesn't exactly capture the imagination that much.
I think Nigel will win that one as Peter seems to have many things on his mind right now, not least his marital break-up which is always a sad state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

To those saying the draw was fixed.... if they wanted to attract Chinese interest, they would have given Ding/Wenbo a much easier opponent in the second round wouldn't they?!

I think Wenbo will beat Ding, and who knows how far he can go? But Hendry/Williams will be a tough second round. Whatever happens, I can't wait for it all to start. The only really bad thing is Mark Selby being in the same half of the draw as O'Sullivan. It would have been a classic final....

Anonymous said...

The likes of Ding and Hendry have a fixed position in the draw and the random nature of it was only which seed plays against which qualifier.
Despite Hendry beating Ding last year, I doubt either Ding or Wengbo will mind playing slightly lesser lights as Hendry or Williams over 25 frames nowadays.
Sad to say and certainly no indictment on either former world champion but pretty much true of their current game.

Anonymous said...

When I looked at the odds laid out by Bookies Runner I thought they all looked about right. For the life of me I can't see Hendry or Swail prevailing against Williams or Fu. This decade Williams has the upper hand over his best mate and has played the better snooker all season. And Fu is a title contender - something you can never say about Swail.

I thought a man with your expert knowledge would realise that Dave.

Dave H said...

Since when have first round matches been about 'being a title contender'?

Anonymous said...

I'd have a treble of Allen, Day and Robertson. would get better odds as well with a minus frame difference for them. Allen will win by 4 frames or more, Day to win by 4-5 frames and Robertson the same. Lump on !

Anonymous said...

Because world snooker have done nowt over allegations concerning Maguire and Burnett the tabloid press will have a field day.

I bet you one tabloid get someone to say the game is bent before a ball is hit in anger.

Anyone wager me five English pounds?

Anonymous said...

I agree with fellow anonymous (above Dave's last comment). If anyone thinks the odds for Hendry and Swail are worth a punt that's up to them but I would place Williams and Fu as clear favourites.

Anonymous said...

Can we expect the frame score of the Maguire v Burnett match to be announced in the papers about a week before the event, as it was last time?

jamie said...

Can't wait for Hendry v Williams there is going to be top 16 places on the line. I fancy Fu too see of Swail and get a run going. Also Lee is going to have a run as he is not playing too shabby this season. I think the draw should be put back on Five Live nationally. Also any 1 who thinks it is fixed is stupid if you were doing that you would not draw out Maguire v Burnett, as they need sponsors and the publicity this match generates won't help that.

Anonymous said...

any predictions for the maguire match scoreline?