SNOOKER analyst George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) shares this first round picks ahead of the Northern Ireland Open.
Northern Ireland Open | 12th-18th November 2018 | Eurosport
My opening fancies in the first round in Belfast, comes in the form of a Trixie (3 selections – 2 doubles and a treble).
Rookie on tour, Ashley Carty, has far from disgraced himself this season. He may of only won four times but he's lost close encounters to Yan Bingtao, Barry Hawkins, Mark King and Graeme Dott. He faces Kurt Maflin at 2pm Monday, a player very difficult to assess. He can turn up and blitz players, like he did in qualifying for Daqing (won 6-0 to Jak Jones) then turn up to venue itself and get beat 6-0 (to Ali Carter). He's very erratic. It could go either way this, but at the prices, Carty (13/8) is the more reliable player to be on.
I've been impressed by 31 year old, Jordan Brown recently. After an auspicious start of five straight defeats, he's won five of his last eight. He made the last 32 in Furth and Crawley. I watched him a few times at Q School in May and he's got plenty of backbone and guts – a real tough nut. Bit like one of his very good friends, Mark Allen.
He faces Robin Hull, who's already stated he will probably retire at the end of the season due to continuous back problems. He has just two wins from eight. Yet he's favourite to beat Brown. This should be Evens apiece on given form, but Bet365 dangle 11/8 on the Northern Irishman. With home support on his side, and if it comes down to a battle, I favour the four time Northern Ireland amateur champion.
To end the Trixie puzzle, I'm favouring a professional, Wales' Duane Jones to oust top amateur David Lilley at 7/4. This price up doesn't make sense to me. Lilley is having a good season as a regular extra/wildcard, winning five times. Opponent Jones is no mug though.
He's a regular practise partner of world champion Mark Williams. He's won just twice this season. And that's why the bookies have him as an outsider here. If this was played at the start of the season, Jones would be favourite. In this best of seven, it's such a close match to call. Yet Lilley is 4/9. Jones is 7/4. The value is the last mentioned.
Onto a few singles, I think local amateur Raymond Fry is worth a few quid at 12/1 to take out Luca Brecel. Luca has yet to go past the last 32 in an event for nearly a year. I can't imagine his confidence is through the roof. Used to losing, flattering to deceive.
Fry said this in a recent interview. “I practice with Mark Allen in Antrim, which has really improved my game,”
“If you can't compete against Mark you'll just be picking balls out all day and it has made me realise what I have to do against the top players.
“It has also removed the fear factor because I know if I can win a few frames off Mark then I can do the same against anyone.”
This might not be the stroll in the park the bookies think it will be for the Belgian. If Fry can compete with Mark Allen, he can definitely against Brecel. There shouldn't be stage freight. It's all about on the day, but I wouldn't be touching Luca with a barge at 1/25. Have a gander at the handicaps also in this. Fry is 5/1 +1.5, 11/5 +2.5 and 8/13 +3.5 in this best of seven with Betway.
My best bet of the round, comes in a ‘highest break of the match' market. It involves Andy Lee and Sean O'Sullivan. I've mentioned before that O'Sullivan is without a win on tour since September 2017 – 19 losses on the trot. This season, O'Sullivan is yet to register a break over 50. He's won just seven frames in eight defeats including four whitewashes. Talk about confidence being rock bottom. Andy Lee is a regular practise partner of Marco Fu's in Hong Kong. In 9 matches, he's only been whitewashed by Barry Hawkins in his opening match so he's a capable player. He's won 17 frames in nine matches, 10 more than Tuesday's opponent.
Lee isn't a great safety player, but a decent scorer. He's knocked in seven breaks over 50 – to O'Sullivan's zero. I can see Lee winning the match well, but he's the same price (4/6) to win as he is for the highest break. Much rather have a dollop on the highest break prize here. It should be a 1/2 shot or shorter.
I'm going to also advise to small stakes, Lee for a century (over 0.5) at 6/1 Bet365. Tricky in a best of seven, but far from impossible if he clicks. I can imagine he hits them in for fun in practise. He could breed confidence from O'Sullivan's uncertainty.
To finish off, I'm going to advise an accumulator for the first round, starting with Lee defeating Sean O'Sullivan. Same surname, but firmly with Ronnie O'Sullivan, who shouldn't have any problems versus Iranian Soheil Vahedi so will advise him -2.5. Same applies for Marco Fu (1/9, should be shorter) against Chen Feilong – a huge gulf in class there. Then, throw in Ian Burns (1/5) to defeat loose cannon amateur Farakh Ajaib, and consistent Mei Xiwen (1/4) to beat fellow chinese Zhang Jiankang for wins at odds on. The five player Acca pays 13/5 Bet365.
Northern Ireland Open Trixie
Ashley Carty 13/8 (2pm Mon)
Jordan Brown 11/8 (8pm Tues)
Duane Jones 7/4 (8pm Tues)
Trixie pays best – bet365
Northern Ireland Open Singles
Andy Lee v Sean O'Sullivan – Andy Lee Highest Break (4/6 bet365)
Andy Lee v Sean O'Sullivan – Lee over 0.5 centuries (6/1 bet365)
Luca Brecel v Raymond Fry – Raymond Fry to win (12/1 bet365)
Northern Ireland Open Accumulator
Andy Lee (2pm Tues)
Marco Fu (2pm Tues)
Mei Xiwen (11am Tues)
Ian Burns (2pm Mon)
Ronnie O'Sullivan -2.5 (2pm Tues)
Fivefold pays 13/5 Bet365