Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Snooker: 2007 BetFred Premier League

One of the 8 players featuring in this season's BetFred premier league will be current World Champion, John Higgins. Higgins hasn't played in the premier league for the last 3 seasons, but let's face it, BetFred can't really do without the World Champion!

Ronnie will be returning to defend his title after winning the last 3 leagues. This tournament really suits him and who says he can't win it again. But there are some great quality players there this year, with Higgins, Ronnie, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Jimmy White.

With the 25 second shot clock, you would think the tournament would favour the naturally flowing players like Ronnie, Robertson, Ding and White. But as shown last year, pretty much all the players can play under this kind of time pressure, ...including Graeme Dott, who has a more measured approach.

For the players that are invited, this tournament can be quite lucrative. In the league stage players will receive £1,000 per frame and £1,000 per century break. The total prize money is a minimum of £226,000.

In the initial league stage, everybody plays everybody with the winner in each match receiving 2 points, and 1 point is awarded to both players in the event of a draw. The top 4 in the league will move into the knockout stage.

All the matches will be played on various nights from September through to December with the knockout stages taking place on the 1st and 2nd of December.

I look forward to this event every year, it really is a refreshing change from snooker-as-we-know-it! Last year Jimmy White threw his cue to the other side of the arena on national TV and we didn't see anything about in the press the next day. And it was the first time the world saw Ding Junhui completely lose it against Jimmy White, throwing his head back against the advertising hoardings and smashing the balls each time he got back to the table. This was a long time before he lost it at the Masters in London earlier this year.

Also, last year, even though Ding qualified to get to the knockout stage he had to pull out because he had committed himself to the Asian Games. Let's hope nothing like that happens this year.

I'll be watching all the matches and commenting on them when I have time, the earliest something will be up will be the following day. All the matches will be shown on Sky as well as other selected channels around the world. If you know of any other channels the league will be shown, please post a comment.

Here's the line-up with their World Rankings:

John Higgins – Scotland (1)
Ronnie O’Sullivan – England (5)
Neil Robertson – Australia (7)
Stephen Hendry – Scotland (8)
Ding Jun-hui – China (9)
Steve Davis – England (15)
Jimmy White – England (60)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Betfred arent sponsoring it this year