Before getting to this occasion, is anybody else loving the brand new Championship League format? The newest renewal supplied excellent leisure. Most teams appear to keep dwell till very late within the day, and the margin between qualification or elimination failure is tiny.
One of the season’s strongest fields
Nevertheless, it stays a non-ranking affair and carrying nothing like the importance of this week’s Champion of Champions. Though not a significant, this discipline is at all times of the identical stature. Matches of at the least greatest of-11 from the quarters often means the cream rises to the highest.
Ronnie O’Sullivan nearly owns this occasion. His first 5 makes an attempt yielded three titles and two shedding finals. He fell wanting that commonplace however solely by a 6-5 margin within the semi to the eventual winner final yr.
Neil Robertson’s reward for that achievement – he went on to beat Judd Trump within the remaining – is a plum draw. Whereas everybody else will get a harmful starter over best-of-seven, the Aussie faces World Seniors Champion Jimmy White. After that, I a lot want him to both John Higgins or Ding Junhui.
Plus he hasn’t obtained to fear about both Judd or Ronnie till the ultimate. I believed Robbo performed one of the best snooker on the English Open and he is due a title. There’s no shame in shedding to Trump 10-9 in a remaining, as a result of the world primary has change into peerless in these crunch matches.
The solely player who may problem Robbo for favouritism in a match prior to the ultimate is Mark Selby, whom I’m pleased to tackle with final week’s Championship League victor. I’m not even satisfied Wilson’s likelihood is inferior to the ‘Jester’ any extra.
Wilson nonetheless seems on the up
Kyren’s run to the world remaining would not appear to have actually impacted his odds a lot. Perhaps the disappointing reminiscence of his efficiency within the remaining lingers within the thoughts.
Don’t let it. He’s a winner, hell-bent on reaching the highest and was extraordinarily unlucky to lose the 2018 remaining within the decider to Ronnie, going in-off when splitting the pack.
The outsiders on this group are Stephen Maguire, who has gone off the boil since profitable the Tour Championship and Luca Brecel. I may see the Belgian giving Selby hassle first up.
This is a event Trump is but to win, though that’s hardly a significant stat contemplating how he is improved over the past two years. He received for the column on the English Open however his type continues to be beneath the height commonplace of final season. He’s the person to beat however is beatable.
Gilbert boosted by last-minute qualification
Who on this part may try this? Stuart Bingham is not any pushover to begin. Shaun Murphy was disappointing within the final couple of occasions so I’ll take an each-way likelihood on Gilbert.
He solely obtained in on the final minute and that little bit of luck may be simply the spark for a profession greatest. He’s introduced his A-game to majors so why not right here?
Outsiders good worth in backside part
Despite his event file, Ronnie makes no attraction in any respect at 3/1, pitched in the identical half of the draw as Trump. He’s executed nothing for the reason that World Championship. Mark Allen is the plain hazard however he is onerous to catch proper and has piled on the kilos.
Backing their first spherical opponents each-way at 80/1 and 150/1 respectively may show rewarding. One win over best-of-seven they usually’re two matches away from the ultimate. In a dream state of affairs they each win, leaving simply the semi to negotiate.
It could shock to be taught that Michael Holt solely trails Ronnie 4-5 all through their profession, and ‘The Hitman’ received their final three encounters. He had some good wins within the early rounds of the final two occasions earlier than working into Trump.
For the needs of the column, he will get the nod over Scott Donaldson at 80/1 however I would not deter anybody from that guess as properly. I count on Scott to give Allen a troublesome match first up.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty