The new snooker season begins on Monday when the qualifying tournament for next month’s Riga Masters takes place with a bunch of players looking to get their campaign off to a victorious beginning.
There are four sessions of action over the course of the first day of the new term with some big names on show. Ali Carter, Alan McManus and Anthony McGill headline proceedings in the best-of-seven battles.
There is a blockbuster of a first round match on one of the streamed tables on Monday when Yan Bingtao meets Anthony McGill in a match both men must be wondering what on earth they have done to run into each other so early. The other streamed game sees the former Shootout champion Michael Georgiou taking on the Chinese player Chen Zifan. There is one match on the outside tables where Rod Lawler faces Yang Qingtian.
Early Afternoon Session
Two household names occupy the streamed tables in this session of play when Luca Brecel and Ricky Walden take to them. Both men face players who recently came through Q-School. Brecel has a tricky task against Andy Hicks while Walden takes on Si Jiahui who impressed getting his card. Mei XiWen goes up against Paul Davison away from the cameras and the other match in this session has Chang Bingyu going up against Ian Burns.
Late Afternoon Session
Alan McManus will begin his season on one of the streamed tables in this session when he takes on Billy Joe Castle but the match of the session sees Yuan Sijun playing Noppon Saengkham on the other streamed offering. Elsewhere Sam Craigie will look to build on a good campaign last term when he meets Long Zehuang while Mike Dunn faces Mitchell Mann for a place in the main draw in the Latvian capital.
Two big names will grace our laptops and tablets in the evening session when Ali Carter and Ryan Day get their seasons underway. Carter faces the competent Xu Si while Day faces another Q-School graduate in Louis Heathcote. The other matches in this final session of the day sees Thor Chuan Leong playing Jak Jones and youngster Ross Bulman taking on a Michael Holt who needs a much better campaign than he delivered last term.
You often find at this stage of the season that those warmed up from Q-School can take care of a few big names who don’t really get up for a qualifying event for one of the lesser tournaments on the schedule over the best-of-seven frames and I’m going to take three such players at a big price. If one lands we’ll come out with profit. Two and we’re nicely ahead and three we’re in clover.
I won’t give massive reasoning because that pretty much is it but Andy Hicks could give Luca Brecel a game at the best of times but with Brecel having not played since losing at the Crucible he could be there for the taking. The same goes with Ali Carter who doesn’t have it easy against Xu Si who came through Q-School impressively. Ross Bulman didn’t win a tour card at Q-School but he’s in this on the top up system and he has a decent draw against Michael Holt who doesn’t really have much to gain here. All three are tasty prices and worthy of support.
Back A.Hicks to beat L.Brecel for a 2/10 stake at 5.00 with Coral
Back X.Si to beat A.Carter for a 2/10 stake at 4.00 with Coral
Back R.Bulman to beat M.Holt for a 2/10 stake at 4.50 with William Hill
Back him here: