The Championship League Snooker competition continues inside the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Wednesday when another eight players start out their new campaign dreaming of silverware. The initial aim though is to secure one of the two places available in the second stage.
We have a couple of exciting speedsters to watch across the two tables on Wednesday and both will be hoping to make it through and join the plethora of players who have already qualified for the second group stage.
Day 8 Recap
It was a day of surprises on Tuesday with both favourites bowing out of the competition to a couple of inspired Asian stars. To be fair Noppon Saengkham wasn’t that much of a surprise on the main table as he is a perfectly seasoned player, even though it was John Higgins who was a favourite to come through. Over on Table Two it was Gary Wilson who was expected to qualify but Cao Yupeng had other ideas on his return to the sport after serving his ban.
We ran out of time for a preview on Tuesday but we did have one on Monday where unfortunately despite winning the opening frame, Rory McLeod didn’t win any of the other three against Ken Doherty to fall to an annoying defeat, annoying because he was plum in during the third frame only to snooker himself on the third last red with the frame at his mercy. That would have secured the push and he might well have gone on and won but it wasn’t to be.
Jianbo Zhao vs Gerard Greene
Robert Milkins vs Haydon Pinhey
Robert Milkins vs Gerard Greene
Jianbo Zhao vs Haydon Pinhey
Robert Milkins vs Jianbo Zhao
Gerard Greene vs Haydon Pinhey
Robert Milkins will be the player expected to make it out of Group 18 which takes place over on Table Two on Wednesday. He is the sort of fast and aggressive player who tends to go well in this competition. The other reason why he’ll be expected to make it through is because the cast list against him isn’t the strongest. To be fair to Zhao Jianbo he probably has a bit of improvement in him whereas we know what we’re going to get from Gerard Greene. Haydon Pinhey gets to complete the group as a top up from Q-School.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Zhang Jiankang
Martin O’Donnell vs Craig Steadman
Martin O’Donnell vs Zhang Jiankang
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Craig Steadman
Craig Steadman vs Zhang Jiankang
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Martin O’Donnell
The exciting to watch Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will be the star attraction on the TV table on Wednesday. He didn’t have a great campaign last term so he’ll be looking to get off to a fast start in this campaign. On the face of it he should have enough to come through if he is on song because the format doesn’t really suit either Martin O’Donnell or Craig Steadman. The wildcard could be Zhang Jiankang who is back on the tour after a year away and will be hoping to prove that he has improved in that time.
OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH 888SPORT AND BET £10 TO GET £30 IN FREE BETS PLUS A £10 CASINO BONUS! PERFECT OFFER TO USE ON THIS TOURNAMENT! CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO JOIN. USE CODE 30F. NEW ACCOUNTS ONLY. 18+ T&Cs apply (See image for significant terms). Gamble Aware.
I wouldn’t say that Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Robert Milkins are certainties because consistency isn’t something which you would say was a part of either of their games. I do think they are worthy favourites though just because of who they have up against them. Often when the top players are beaten in this format it is by youngsters who are aggressive and who can score well and get inspired for half an hour or so. There isn’t anyone who would say that is the case with.
If I was going to take one of the two favourites on I’d probably take on Milkins but only because Zhao Jianbo has the potential to improve and we’ve seen the Asian players fare well already in this competition. Whether he has the consistency to get the job done over three matches I have my doubts though and that is a pretty big concern. I’ll keep my powder dry when it comes to the group betting though I think.
Zhao Jianbo and Gerard Greene were in the same group in this competition last season and drew their match 2-2 but since then the Chinese ace has improved a lot, as you would expect an 18-year-old to do whereas Greene continues to plod so I fancy if there is a winner of their match on Wednesday it will be the youngster. Greene is perfectly competent as a player but he isn’t someone who is going to surprise with a burst of scoring very often.
Jianbo went on to beat the likes of Stuart Bingham, Noppon Saengkham and Zhao Xintong last season showcasing his talents and he’ll begin this campaign on the fringes of the top 64 which is a very good position for him to be in. That shows that he is someone who can kick on this season and as I keep saying we know the Chinese players will have been practicing throughout the close season as they are never off the practice table. Whether the same can be said of Greene I’m not so sure. I’ll take the youngster without the draw here.
Back Z.Jianbo to beat G.Greene (DNB) for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Coral