Snooker guru George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) takes an early look at the 2018 UK Championship.
UK Championship | Tuesday 27th November 2018 – Sunday 9th December 2018
I had a look at the UK Championship ante post market Friday afternoon and came across a price too big to ignore.
Barry Hawkins is a triple crown winner waiting to happen in my opinion. For someone who's proved consistently good for years now ,(this his 18th year as a pro and sixth season in a row in the top 16) it's a surprise ‘The Hawk' has only three ranking tournaments to his name (made seven finals).
He's been called a nearly man on many occasions and can be described as a player that thinks too much about the prize money rather than relaxing.
In the other triple crown events, he made the World Championship final in 2013 and a Masters final in 2016. In both finals he succumbed to Ronnie O'Sullivan. So he knows how to make the final two in these.
The UK Championship has been a bad tournament for the Kent man.
This will be his 14th appearance in the event and he only has one Quarter Final to show for it (2013). A baffling statistic when you consider his record in the World Championship the last six years reads one final defeat, four semi final defeats and a quarter final loss.
It's only a matter of time until he stops the rot and it could be this December at the Barbican in York. It's a tournament that should be right up his street. He loves the longer format and the UK is best of 11 up to and including the semi final. Best of 19 in the final.
Toughness to go all the way
Mentally, Hawkins is as tough as anyone on tour. He loves a battle. He had 40 centuries last season and has 275 in his career so is not at all shoddy in the break building department. A cracking all rounder. He has great respect too from everyone on tour. I can't imagine somebody so good not winning one of the big three.
Snap up the value
Hawkins has been priced 33/1 (now 25's) for the UK Championship in December by Betway. He's 20/1 in other places and that's the correct price.
When you take into account he is a top price 22/1 for both the Masters in January and for the Worlds in April, 33/1 for the second biggest ranking event on the snooker calendar is a bit lofty. Come December, even if he's not in great form, he'll be 20/1 for this. If he wins a title en-route, then he'll be shorter.
The draw (and form) is always important for outright selections and obviously at this early stage its an unknown. He's started the 2018/19 season well by qualifying for Riga and the World Open comfortably. I'm happy to take the risk here without a draw. He knows how to beat them all.
Hawkins is 39 years old and some would of said 5 years ago, that you should be on the decline coming up to 40. However, Mark Williams (43), John Higgins (43), and Ronnie O'Sullivan (42), are having a renaissance in the 40 club winning 10 titles between them last season.
The 33/1 is well worth taking on Barry Hawkins. I'm hopeful you will have a value ticket before it starts on 27th November and I won't be surprised if the 33/1 gets snapped up fast.
My first outright preview with WLB will be on 26th July for the Riga Masters.
2018 UK Championship – Barry Hawkins each-way (25/1 Betway)