The second day of the new snooker season takes place at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Wednesday when two more groups of the first stage of the Championship League competition get played out.
We saw a pair of tight groups on Tuesday which were won by Robert Milkins and Aaron Hill and on Wednesday our first top 16 player gets his campaign underway on what should be another competitive day of action.
Zhao Xintong vs Michael Holt
Hammad Miah vs Adam Duffy
Hammad Miah vs Michael Holt
Zhao Xintong vs Adam Duffy
Adam Duffy vs Michael Holt
Zhao Xintong vs Hammad Miah
The headline attraction on Wednesday is the UK Championship winner Zhao Xintong, who will be looking for another brilliant season to build on the one he delivered last season. He will be out to win his group on Table One. The second seed in this section is Hammad Miah, a player who tends to do enough to remain on the tour but doesn’t really go any further than that. Adam Duffy won his tour card back at Q-School and will begin life as a professional once again here while Michael Holt dropped off the tour at the end of last season but is high enough up on the top up list that he should see plenty of action to try and win enough points to get his card back. He’ll be looking to take the first step here.
Noppon Saengkham vs Steven Hallworth
Anthony Hamilton vs Ashley Hugill
Anthony Hamilton vs Steven Hallworth
Noppon Saengkham vs Ashley Hugill
Ashley Hugill vs Steven Hallworth
Noppon Saengkham vs Anthony Hamilton
The action over on Table Two will be headlined by the Thai player Noppon Saengkham, who rescued a poor season last term with a run to the Crucible Theatre and he’ll be out to go much better this season, beginning right here. He is in a very competition group though because Anthony Hamilton is more than good enough to hold his own in any competition on his day. Ashley Hugill is the third seed in this group but he also ended last term at the Crucible. The outsider of the four is Steven Hallworth, who dropped off the tour at the end of last season and gets his chance here as a Q-School top up.
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I mentioned on the opening day that I’m not sure how many groups I’m going to bet on the outright market on and Wednesday is a day where the answer is zero. If we look at the main group on Table One it is near enough impossible to oppose Zhao Xintong. I suspect there will be a fire burning in Michael Holt to go well here as he bids to win back his tour card without having to go back to Q-School next year but he fell off the tour for a reason. There is just nobody reliable enough to take Xintong on with but at the same time this is anything but the tournament to be betting short odds on shots.
Moving onto the group on Table Two and this looks a much more open and competitive section of the competition but that is reflected in the odds. In truth, there isn’t really a standout here. I’m not sure I trust Noppon Saengkham but the prices of the other three aren’t really reeling me in either. My hunch is that Ashley Hugill will build on last season and kick on this term but it really is only a hunch and not one I’m that keen to act on so I’ll leave the group betting on Wednesday.
Another hunch I have is that this first week in particular the Q-School players will have a bit of an advantage on the rest, particularly those who didn’t make it through to the World Championship. Hammad Miah for example won’t have picked up his cue competitively for 11 weeks and that is a long time between hits. He isn’t exactly coming into this season full of confidence anyway after just six wins in all tournaments since the British Open last term.
Adam Duffy will be his first opponent on Wednesday and he should be buzzing having successfully navigated his way through Q-School to earn his tour card. He beat two good players in the last two rounds to secure his card too in Michael Georgiou and Daniel Wells so he should be carrying plenty of confidence into this tournament with him. He’ll have the fire in the belly to start his new two-year card with a bang and he is a good scorer which I always like here. At 10/11 without the draw in play Duffy looks good here.
Back A.Duffy to beat H.Miah (DNB) for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
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