BLACKPOOL,UK – The third staging of the one frame snooker shootout begins at 6pm on Friday evening with the six time former World Champion Steve Davis taking on the defending champion Barry Hawkins.
All the frames are of ten minute duration with a 15 second shot clock in place for the first five minutes; this reduces to ten seconds per shot for the remaining five minutes of the contest. Because of the very short format and the added pressure of the ten second shot clock the majority of the matches are the toss of a coin but after closer inspection there are two games that although being odds on selections can be justifiably backed.
Jack Lisowski available at 5/6 (bet £6 to make £5 profit) with Marathon and China’s Ding Junhui on offer at 8/15 (bet £15 to make £8 profit) with Spreadex look the pick of the opening round matches as they are against opponents who are struggling with form and also have precious little experience, if any, in front of the TV cameras.
21 year old, Essex based Lisowski, is a bubbling pot of talent waiting to boil over. His potential is unquestionable and although he is yet to make his real big breakthrough in the full ranking events he did reach the final of PTC1 (Players Tour Championship) at the start of this season. He has currently won 23 out of the 40 matches he has played this year (57.5%) and can claim the scalps of Mark Williams, Judd Trump (twice) and the vastly experienced Scotsman Alan McManus this current snooker calendar, he also impressed on his television debut in the last 32 of the 2011 Welsh Open in Newport where he narrowly lost 4-3 to the eventual winner and four times World Champion John Higgins.
Lisowski’s first round opponent is Sheffield based, second year professional Adam Duffy. Duffy’s maiden season on the tour was more than sufficient for the 23 year old and after wins over Mark Selby, Dave Harold and former World ranked number three James Wattana and winning 26 out of the 46 matches he contested; Duffy found himself World ranked in the “top 64” which secured his tour place for the following year. 2012/2013 has been a different story altogether as Duffy has clearly struggled to get to grips with being a seeded player and so far has won just 5 of the 23 games he has contested (21.7%), the Yorkshire man has lost his opening match on 13 occasions and is yet to win more than one match in any tournament he has played in during the current campaign.
This is Duffy’s first proper appearance at a main televised venue in front of the cameras and although the pair has shared their two previous career meetings it would be a brave man who would oppose Lisowski at 5/6 on the information provided.
China’s Ding Junhui is a player that needs no introduction, the twice former UK Champion is a formidable challenger for the games very best and at his peak scores effortlessly in the balls as the 226 career centuries and four 147 maximum breaks clearly show. This season Ding has won 33 of his 49 matches in all tournaments played (67.3%) and also won the EPTC5 (European Players Tour Championship).
First year professional Robbie Williams stands between Ding and a place of the last 32 of the shootout for the first time. Williams is currently World ranked number 76 and is only in the event courtesy of players higher ranked than him either being banned, on suspension, retired or simply just not entering the competition. Rookie professional Williams, who hails from Liverpool, has had a satisfactory start to life on the circuit and has so far won 20 out of the 38 matches he has been involved in (52.6%) but is yet to progress any further than the last 16 of the events he has competed in to date although he has enjoyed wins over Fergal O’Brien, Alan McManus and Tom Ford.
In the first two years of the shootout Ding has twice lost his opening fixture, in 2011 he lost 15-71 to the former Grand Prix Champion Dominic Dale and in last years event he crashed out again at the first hurdle to eventual winner Barry Hawkins 27-53. Ding will surely view this as an excellent chance to progress as Williams has never fully adjusted to the televised set up in the qualifiers and has often commented on social media sites about how different it is from the normal cubicle set up he is used to. This will be William’s first time also at a main venue and with no previous experience, against one of the best players in the World, in front of a capacity audience it could well turn out to be a career snooker outing that Williams may want to best forget.