There are three days of action left in the first stage of the Championship League Snooker tournament and the first of those comes along on Wednesday when two more groups get played out inside the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
That means that another eight players start out on their journey for the new season. We are beginning to get some decent names coming to the party and two more standouts are on show over the two tables on Wednesday.
Shaun Murphy vs Andrew Pagett
Tian Pengfei vs Lukas Kleckers
Shaun Murphy vs Lukas Kleckers
Tian Pengfei vs Andrew Pagett
Lukas Kleckers vs Andrew Pagett
Shaun Murphy vs Tian Pengfei
The action on Table One on Wednesday will be headlined by the Players Championship and Tour Championship winner Shaun Murphy. He ended his season in disappointing fashion at the World Championship last term and will be eager to put that behind him and get a new season off to a positive start. Tian Pengfei is the second seed in this group and he’ll probably want to look good in light of the Chinese bans recently dished out. Lukas Kleckers finished last season in better fashion and he’ll be keen to begin the second year of his tour card by picking up some much needed points while Andrew Pagett regained his tour card at Q-School and will be looking to start out with some points.
Barry Hawkins vs Jamie O’Neill
Zhang Anda vs Sanderson Lam
Barry Hawkins vs Sanderson Lam
Zhang Anda vs Jamie O’Neill
Sanderson Lam vs Jamie O’Neill
Barry Hawkins vs Zhang Anda
It goes to show how good the action is on Wednesday that the main seed on Table Two is Barry Hawkins, a player who might have dropped out of the top 16 at the end of last season but who is perfectly good enough to deliver the goods over the course of the day. Much like Murphy in the other group, Hawkins has a Chinese player as the number two seed in his group in Zhang Anda. Sanderson Lam is the third seed in this section and probably needs a big day to be competitive in this company. Jamie O’Neill has dropped off the tour and gets an invite into this group as an amateur player.
Sign up for a Boylesports account and bet £10 to get up to £20 in free bets! Perfect offer for this tournament! Click the image below for this great offer! New accounts only. 18+ T&Cs apply. Gamble Aware.
As ever we have a couple of group markets to get stuck into on Wednesday but the problem is there is an odds on favourite in each of them. In Group 4, Shaun Murphy is an emphatic favourite and I think that is justified. While he did much the better work in the second part of last season, Murphy isn’t someone that you can accuse of being underprepared for any tournament. Tian Pengfei will probably be practicing hard and be ready but Murphy is the one dictating the passage of play in that section. I can’t be betting odds on in this format though.
Over in the other group it is Barry Hawkins who is the odds on favourite. He would be much easier to take on than Murphy but the problem is finding someone to do it with. I don’t really think Sanderson Lam is much as a third seed while the fact that Jamie O’Neill dropped off the tour and didn’t get his card back tells us where he is right now. Zhang Anda is a little too hit or miss for my liking so I can’t really find anyone to take Hawkins on with but I’m no fan of having Hawkins onside this season so I’ll leave the group betting alone.
It is over to the match betting for a punt on Wednesday and as always I am looking for favourites to take on in those opening matches where we can catch someone cold at a decent price before the results begin to alter the dynamic of the day. I don’t think we can take on either of the top seeds in the group because the fourth seeds don’t look particularly strong and in truth both Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins should be good things.
The second seeds look a bit more vulnerable and while I wouldn’t really want to take Zhang Anda on with a Sanderson Lam that I don’t trust but Lukas Kleckers finished last season well enough to make me believe he could be worth chancing against a Tian Pengfei, who when he plays well can be very hard to beat but when he doesn’t can much easier to get the better of. Pengfei went well at the Welsh Open but that was the anomaly not the norm whereas Kleckers was a quarter finalist at the WST Classic which might be significant given the conditions are similar here. I think the German is overpriced to beat an inconsistent Pengfei.
Back L.Kleckers to beat T.Pengfei (DNB) for a 2/10 stake at 3.00 with Coral