The first week of the Championship League Snooker competition concludes on Friday when another two groups get played out inside the Morningside Arena as two more players will book their place in the second stage.
We have a couple of competitive looking groups to enjoy over the course of the day with Anthony McGill the headline act on a day which sees eight players who will all think they can make it through battling it out on the baize.
Day 5 Recap
The main table group on Thursday was extremely competitive with half of the matches ending as draws but it was Tom Ford who did what he needed to in the end to make it out of his group and send the first of our outright bets through to the next stage. Over on the other table, Bai Langning justified the hype around him to win his group courtesy of a couple of opening wins and then a draw in the match that mattered at the end of the day.
It wasn’t quite so good a day for us betting wise. We took a chance on Reanne Evans to beat Simon Blackwell and at 1-1 and with Evans in with a good chance in the third frame we were on the right lines but unfortunately she couldn’t convert and was shut out in the final frame to give us a slightly disappointing loser. Hopefully we can put that behind us and bounce back with a profitable Friday to end the first week.
Anthony McGill vs Billy Castle
Mark Davis vs Yuan Sijun
Mark Davis vs Billy Castle
Anthony McGill vs Yuan Sijun
Yuan Sijun vs Billy Castle
Anthony McGill vs Mark Davis
One of the best groups in the first round draw is Group 12 and that will provide the action on the TV table on Friday. Anthony McGill is the top seed in the group but you wouldn’t say he is anything like a certainty. Mark Davis tends to go well in these different formats to usual and he’ll be eyeing up a place in the second round. Yuan Sijun is one of the more talented Chinese players on the circuit but he needs a good campaign to justify that billing. Billy Joe Castle completes a competitive looking quartet in this section.
Pang Junxu vs Chang Bingyu
Luca Brecel vs Dean Young
Luca Brecel vs Chang Bingyu
Pang Junxu vs Dean Young
Luca Brecel vs Pang Junxu
Chang Bingyu vs Dean Young
Over on the other table, the winner of the first Championship League which used this format is in action when Luca Brecel takes to the baize for the first time this season. The event was right up his street two years ago and he’ll be looking to make it through to the second stage once again. He’ll have his work cut out though because there are a couple of Chinese stars who will be eager to get the better of him in the exciting talents of Pang Junxu and Chang Bingyu, both of whom are expected to make their mark this season. The group is rounded off by the only amateur to win his tour card at Q-School in Dean Young and he’ll carry plenty of confidence forward with him as a result.
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When the schedule came out for these matches I thought this would be a day where we could really attack the groups but the favourites aren’t as short as I would have expected them to be and as a result of that the challengers aren’t as big as I would have liked which is never a particularly good combination. In the end the easiest thing to do is wait for a better day and instead focus more on the match betting.
If I was going to take a bet on the groups I would probably have looked to take Luca Brecel on over on Table Two just purely because he is either hot or cold and at this stage of the season there is certainly no guarantees that he would be hot. The problem is picking which of the Chinese pair to take him on with as both are very good and could easily sweep the group themselves. If I was forced to bet in the group on the main table I would probably side with Mark Davis but overall I’ll leave the groups alone.
I’ll side with Pang Junxu in the match betting for his final match of the day against Luca Brecel. I like him in this match for a couple of reasons. The first of those is because Brecel is extremely hit and miss and that is never really a player I want to get my cash on, let alone in a four frame sprint. The other reason why I like Pang in this match is because he plays the match before against the weaker player in the group on paper in Dean Young so he should be able to build up some confidence.
This is the only match Brecel plays in the evening session and while he might have done what he needed to earlier in the day, he’ll be a little cold going into the match. I think Pang is a player who is going to kick on this season and a quick start to the campaign will certainly help that. We know the Chinese players are never off the practice table so he has a lot going for him in this match and at 5/4 he’s a decent enough price to see off the Belgian.
Back P.Junxu to beat L.Brecel (DNB) for a 3/10 stake at 2.25 with Coral