The Championship League Snooker returns from the weekend off on Monday when we see the world champion in action for the first time this campaign, on a day where another eight players get the new season underway.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is clearly the headline act over the course of the day on Monday but seven other players will be looking to make it through to the next stage of the competition across the two tables in use in this event.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Farakh Ajaib
Alexander Ursenbacher vs Alfie Burden
Alexander Ursenbacher vs Farakh Ajaib
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Alfie Burden
Alfie Burden vs Farakh Ajaib
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Alexander Ursenbacher
The world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is due on the baize on Monday. I say due on it because he doesn’t always appear and fulfil his obligations but if he does then you would imagine he only needs to hold the cue the right way around in order to come through here. Alexander Ursenbacher has given him some issues in the past but he doesn’t look in much form if the way his campaign last term ended is anything to go by. Alfie Burden could be dangerous on his day while Farakh Ajaib couldn’t get his card at Q-School and you feel he’ll struggle in this company.
Jamie Jones vs Andres Petrov
Sam Craigie vs David Lilley
Sam Craigie vs Andres Petrov
Jamie Jones vs David Lilley
David Lilley vs Andres Petrov
Jamie Jones vs Sam Craigie
Over on Table Two there is a much more open and competitive group on show. Jamie Jones is the top seed in it and that is fair enough because he is a very talented player but he isn’t the only one of those in this group. Sam Craigie is certainly a match for him on talent grounds even if he doesn’t quite match up to him in professionalism all the time. The former World Seniors champion David Lilley is another who could be dangerous in this group while Andres Petrov begins life on the tour in a group which he might well be able to compete in as we see the Estonian as a professional for the first time.
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I did mention last week that I wasn’t sure how many days I would be on the group markets in this tournament and Monday is one of those where I’m not going to. I don’t think you can oppose Ronnie O’Sullivan on Table One. Even if he doesn’t care and just throws his cue at the day I don’t really see anyone to take him on with. Alexander Ursenbacher finished last season terribly and Alfie Burden, while talented doesn’t really strike me as someone consistent enough to win two matches which will probably be needed to top the table. Farakh Ajaib is surely making up the numbers.
Over on Table Two I think the odds reflect the chances of the players involved. A little later into the season I might have chanced David Lilley and it might be that he is able to get the job done here but I have this between Jamie Jones and Sam Craigie and can’t really split them. If it does come down to their match then I would rather bet on that match rather than worry about frame difference or a shock result somewhere along the way so the group betting isn’t for me.
I’m not a massive fan of betting on the final match of a group because so much of what has gone before can determine what happens in that last game with one player likely to only need to draw and the other to win but given that we get a market without the draw in play I am going to get stuck into it on Monday as Jamie Jones takes on Sam Craigie in the match I expect to determine who qualifies out of Group 27.
These two have met five times in their career. Craigie won the first three of those and while he has lost the last two they were both in a deciding frame so this is a good matchup for Craigie and I suspect that is because he has the edge on Jones in the scoring department. This tournament tends to favour the scorers given the short sprint that each match is. Craigie can really flow when he gets going and having already had two matches prior to this one he should have his eye in. I’ll take him without the draw in play.
Back S.Craigie to beat J.Jones (DNB) for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
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