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Betfair World Snooker Championship 2013 Quarter Final Preview

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After a wonderful week and a halves Snooker, we have reached the business end of this years Betfair Snooker World Championship. This years blue ribbon event has been action packed and the quarter final promises much,much more.

I for one could defiantly not have predicted the 8 men who make up this years 4 quarter finals, stepping out onto the baize matching up will be;Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins, Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham and Ricky Walden and Michael White.

The tie of the round for me is Shaun Murphy Vs Judd Trump a tie that would have made for a cracking final with both players in decent form all season and two real heavyweights of the sport. Both Sean and Judd have an aggressive style of play and this one promises to be a classic on and off the baize. The war of words leading into this game points towards a rivalry off the table, conflicting characters, the quiet respectful Murphy and the bashful young party boy Judd Trump.

China’s superstar Ding, faces a tricky tie against Barry Hawkins, Hawkins fresh from eliminating The Masters and Uk Championship holder Mark Selby will be brimming with confidence. Appearing in the quarter finals for the first time the Kent based que man will be dreaming of the semis, as will Ding. Ding has this season played some lovely stuff and after years of promise genuinely believes that this is his year. Ding has reason to believe after the simply stunning come back against Mark King in round two where he produced four centuries and seven further breaks over 50.

One of the most surprising aspects of this years tournament has been the ease Rocket Ronnie has returned to snooker with. The Rocket has powered through the first two rounds, few would bet against his chances of regaining his title after a years sabbatical. Standing in his way in this years quarter final will be Snooker Premier League winner and world number 8 Stuart Bingham. Bingham will be appearing in his first ever quarter final and will be looking to prove that he is a different player from the one Ronnie crushed 4 years ago in the opening round.

The final tie of the round may not have the big names of the other 3 but there is still an intrigue to this match. Ricky Walden came through a fascinating battle with Robert Milkins the man to topple Neil Robertson, to make it this far. Walden the world number 14 will be performing in his first quarter final as will his opponent Michael White. The young Welshman White will be wondering how far his debut adventure can go.

This years Quarter final has it all some new faces battling it out and some established stars squaring up all of which means as the tournament gets serious the action will be more than worth watching.

Aidan Fulham (@AidanFulham)

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The 2013 World Snooker Championship Draw

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The qualifiers for this years Snooker World Championship have now finished and the sad news is one of Snooker’s most likeable characters Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White won’t be making a first appearance in five years on Snooker’s greatest stage. Sad as this news is there are still some massive names taking place in this years tournament with some mouth-watering opening round ties, commencing with defending champion Rocket Ronnie taking on journeyman Marcus Campbell who Ronnie should beat with some ease.

Elsewhere last years runner-up Ali Carter will be opening his quest for the big one against first time qualifier Ben Woollaston. Chasing the triple crown The Jester Mark Selby will be hoping to start off in style against world number 45 Matthew Selt. The second favourite for this years tournament is a player I don’t give much hope to is the flamboyant Judd Trump who will open his campaign against the Space man Dominic Dale who will provide stiff competition. Third favourite with the bookies and my tip for the title The Thunder Neil Robertson will be playing Robert Milkins.

Other matches of interest will be youngster Jack Lsowski matching up against Barry Hawkins where there is in my opinion a very good chance of progress for the youngster. Flying the flag highest for China is Ding Junhui who will be hoping to defeat Alan McManus as will all of the Snooker loopy Chinese that will be making the pilgrimage to Sheffield and of course those back home.

There we go ladies and gents, now all that’s left is for the action to actually get underway this Saturday! Game on!

Aidan Fulham (@AidanFulham)

Rocket Ronnie To Defend Crown

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‘@WorldSnooker1: Ronnie O’Sullivan has stated his intention to play in 2013 World Champs. We are awaiting his formal entry, required by Feb 28th.’

The news that every snooker fan has been eagerly waiting for, defending world champion Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan will be defending his crown in Sheffield this April/May. The last time the Essex cue man graced the baize was way back in September being beaten by snooker minnow Simon Bedford in a Players Tour Championship. Ronnie will now return as number one seed for the big one which is great news for the sport as a whole.

There were three possible routes it was believed Ronnie the four time world champion could have taken; returning, retiring or taking to the less pressure filled Snooker legends circuit. The great news is though he will be back.

Ronnie’s return from his snooker sabbatical is huge news, he will be the player everyone wants to beat at the Crucible. As snookers box office name and stand out star he will have the support of the vast majority of those in Sheffield who will be hoping that snookers most naturally talented player can find the impressive form of last year and be a real contender for snookers biggest prize.

Welcome back Rocket.

Aidan Fulham (@AidanFulham)

The 2013 Betfair Masters Semi Final Preview

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That’s the quarter finals of this year’s fantastic Betfair Masters snooker all sorted and once again we have been treated to another fantastic two days of top snooker action from Alexandra Palace.

After 4 intense quarter finals I can reveal the semi finals will look as follows;
SATURDAY 19 JANUARY
Neil Robertson (Aus) v Shaun Murphy (Eng) 13:00 GMT
Mark Selby (Eng) v Graeme Dott (Sco) 19:00 GMT

Up first is a fantastic game in prospect between two players who have played an immensely entertaining two matches en route to this years semi final, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy. To reach this far in the tournament Neil Robertson has already dispatched Ding Junhui 6-5 in the opening tie and edged an inform Joe Allen in the quarter finals again in a incredible deciding set, which included the red of a life time, a red Neil described on twitter ‘My opening red was like reading and draining a 30 footer in golf. Good judgement with a bit of luck to get perfect on the black :)’. Up against the clearly brimming with confidence Thunder from down under is The Magician Shaun Murphy. Shaun Murphy’s route to the semi final included a opening round 6-4 victory against Rickie Walden and an impressive 6-5 victory against one of the favourites John Higgins. Shaun’s match went late into Thursday night and was again a treat for those of us who are somewhat snooker loopy! To come back from 4-1 down and then from 5-4 down in this match up Shaun has clearly shown the metal that could lead him to possibly completing the illustrious triple crown he craves dearly.

The second match up sees the winner of the last of the quarter final match ups Mark Selby taking on Grahame Dott. Marks route to the semi’s have seen him see off Stuart Bingham 6-5 and Mark Williams tonight 6-1. Dispite the Jester’s comprehensive looking victory the scoreline is quite deceptive with neither player really hitting top gear playing possibly the worst game of snooker at this fantastic tournament, with hardly a big break in sight along with some poor misses in general, this game wasn’t really the best advertisement for the neutral. Taking on Selby is Grahame Dott, the man who has arguably pulled off the shock of the entire tournament handing out a hiding to the favourite Judd Trump demolishing snookers new golden boy 6-1. Prior to dismantling Trump in such convincing fashion the Scot overcame his fellow countryman Stephen Maguire in a decider to win 6-5. But more on that incredible quarter final victory against the Juddernaut, a terrible day at the office for Judd allowed Grahame to rack up a fantastic victory which is credit to the Scot who has been battling away to change his form which has been poor for quite some time and a first appearance in the last four of this tournament is excellent reward for The Pocket Dynamo’s persistence.

If you have managed to see any of my previous posts during this years Betfair Masters you may have noticed I’ve made a few predictions and surprisingly for me I’m usually terrible at this sort of thing my favourite for the tournament is still very much in with a shout and despite some excellent performances from all who have reached the semi’s i still feel this tournament will be heading back home with Neil Robertson.

Aidan Fulham (@AidanFulham)

The 2013 Betfair Masters Quarter Final’s

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As I promised in my previous post this years Masters would be something to savour the first round of ties have certainly not let us down.

This is how the draw for this years Betfair Masters looks:

THURSDAY 17 JANUARY
Neil Robertson (Aus) v Mark Allen (NI) 13:00 GMT
John Higgins (Sco) v Shaun Murphy (Eng) 19:00 GMT
FRIDAY 18 JANUARY
Mark Selby (Eng) v Mark Williams (Wal) 13:00 GMT
Judd Trump (Eng) v Graeme Dott (Sco) 19:00 GMT

The action breaks off with my tip for the tournament Neil Robertson taking on in form Mark Allen. This for me is a match that promises an awful lot, Mark Allen demolished his opponent Mark Davies and provided the moment of the tournament dropping the rest which spread the balls all over the table! Robertson defeated Ding Junhui to make it to the last 8 but must again be at the top of his game to overcome a very tricky opponent.

Thursday’s second tie sees one of the bookmakers favourites in action John Higgins who will be taking on this years UK championship finalist Shaun Murphy. Again I can see this match being a close affair but one I see John Higgins edging. Higgins a two times masters champion fought past Ali Carter in round one recording an impressive 6-3 victory. Shaun Murphy’s place in the last 8 was sealed by beating Ricky Walden 6-4.

Friday starts with an intriguing tie between reigning UK champion and world number 1 Mark Selby who takes on the Welsh man Mark Williams. To make it to the last 8 Mark Selby produced a quite stunning comeback to dispatch Stuart Bingham coming back from 5 frames to one down. It’s fair to say Selby will be brimming with confidence after such a performance but must keep his form up to dispatch a tricky opponent in Mark Williams. Mark’s journey to the last 8 was secured thanks to a scrappy 6-4 victory against Matthew Stevens a game at one point that looked beyond his grasp.

The final tie of the last 8 sees bookies favourite for the crown Judd Trump up against Grahame Dott. Trump navigated his way to the last 8 by winning what was for me the match of the tournament against Barry Hawkins. The match seemed lost for Trump who at one point was 5-3 down and looked very likely that he would have to again change his choice of footwear this time not from Roller Boy £2000 Louboutin’s to loafers but from loafers to walking boots! His opponent is the ever competent former world champion Grahame Dott who battled past his great friend Stephen Maguire in a deciding frame to win 6-5.

So that is this year’s Betfair Masters semi final schedule and a brief run down of what’s happened thus far at Ally Pally.

As I’m sure your aware I’m a man who loves to make a prediction, so here’s who I believe will be in the semi finals; Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Mark Selby and Judd Trump.

I for one can’t wait to watch these matches that promise so much!

Aidan Fulham (@AidanFulham)

The 2013 Snooker Betfair Masters

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Today the 2013 Masters tournament kicked off, taking place in London’s Alexandra Palace, the tournament will be running through the week with a champion being crowned on Sunday night.

Action got under way today in some style, in a pulsating match defending champion Neil Robertson got the better of Ding Junhui in a 6-5 victory. As the score line suggests The Thunder From Down Under didn’t have it all his own way and had to rally in order to regain the advantage in the match, he did this by winning three frames on the bounce to snatch victory.

Snooker is still undoubtedly a sport struggling without its box office name Ronnie O’Sullivan who is once again sitting out the tournament for personal reasons but with some of the snooker the top 16 have been producing this season his loss isn’t the be all and end all for Snooker. If the rest of the tournament continues the way of the first game we are in for a great high-class, high entertainment, quality tournament this week.

With an opportunity to see all of the top 16 battle it out for the £175,000 top prize this is a tournament not to be missed, I’m definitely aiming to pop down to see the action live later in the week as well as staying up to date with all the action on the BBC and on Eurosport.

Who do I think is going to win? My heart would love Stephen Maguire but if he’s on top form Judd Trump is unstoppable as is John Higgins but I really can’t look beyond Robertson regaining his crown, so that’s my #AidansSnookerShout.

Aidan Fulham (@AidanFulham)