Steadman began the 2014/2015 season by qualifying for the Wuxi Classic for the second year in a row and was beaten 52 by Marco Fu in the first round. He also qualified for the International Championship by defeating Cao Yupeng 64 and he saw off Graeme Dott 61 in the first round, before losing 63 to Ian Burns. Despite Anthony Hamilton being docked a frame for arriving late to their first round UK Championship meeting, Steadman was edged out 65 in a scrappy six-and-a-half-hour match.
But in the end it was all about the competitive snooker and David Gray produced two deciding frame finishes to claim his spot in the Finals while Martin lost just four frames all day to take his. They are now each just two wins away from free Q-School entry and three away from being crowned the first ever Snookerbacker Classic Champion.
The outside tables will be full in this first session with six other matches on the schedule. Scott Donaldson goes up against Allan Taylor on one of them while Eden Sharav meets the Shootout winner Michael Georgiou on another. Craig Steadman faces Joe Swail with Ken Doherty playing Chris Wakelin. David Lilley will look to build on his good season when he meets Tom Ford while Oliver Lines takes on Joe OConnor in the other match.
Newly crowned King of Speed Barry Hawkins plays Masters runner-up Shaun Murphy who I think is beginning to come into form at the right time of the season. Mark Selby had a very poor Masters by his standards and to me is feeling the pressure of being the current world number one. I can see Smurf going to the business end of this event. Ricky Walden holds a 6-1 head to head advantage over Martin Gould with Gould only beating him in a PTC and Ricky winning all the others in more prestigious events (if you count the recent match in a circus tent in Brazil) so that maybe tells us that something about Martins game plays into Rickys hands a bit too often. If he is, his current form is going some way to easing this pressure as he wont be there for much longer. Graeme Dott is a player that I think enjoys this set up and lost narrowly to Selby in the semi-finals last year, hes in good form and I think he will beat Wattana and then go on to have another tussle with the Jester, hes a possible dark horse in this. That said, he would be very disappointed to lose in the first round here after a final appearance last year.
2016 CORAL SHOOTOUT PREDICTION CONTEST
As ever, there will be those that enjoy this and those that dont, which makes it even more interesting. In my opinion this event was the best addition to the calendar last season by a long chalk and was played to sell out crowds who watched Mark Williams beat Mark Selby in the final. The set-up is unique in that they have a multi-table open format in a huge arena so that the audience can catch a glimpse of all the players on show in any one session.
He first entered Main Tour for the 2009/10 season, after finishing the 2008/09 PIOS rankings on the rank 8. He reached the final of the 2008 European Snooker Championships but was defeated 76 by David Grace. Steadman began his professional career by playing Challenge Tour in 2001, at the time the second-level professional tour. He reached the quarter final at the 2006 IBSF World Championships in Amman, Jordan, where he was eliminated by Manan Chandra 63.
Interestingly, if Neil Robertson continues his amazing run of form of late and you havent backed him, Apollo are going to refund all outright win bets up to a stake of 200, so bear that in mind if betting on the outrights as Robbo is your insurance policy and it may be worth taking a small hit on the price to bag this offer. You can also view Apollobets prices on both the outrights and the matches here.
Martin Gould is on the outside tables when he faces Billy Joe Castle with Tian Pengfei going up against Nigel Bond. He meets Sanderson Lam with Joe Perry up against Daniel Wells on the other TV table. The evening begins with another full set of matches with the first game on the main table seeing the world number one Mark Selby in action. The other two matches sees Ben Woollaston meeting Graeme Dott and Michael White facing Hossein Vafaei. Elsewhere we have a Chinese tussle between Zhang Yong and Chen Feilong while Jamie Clarke meets Adam Stefanow on another one.
Competing in the PTC events as an amateur in 2011/12, Craig impressed with his consistency, winning 22 matches in total and reaching the last 32 of four separate events. As a result Craig earned enough points on the Order of Merit to reclaim a place on the main tour for the start of the 2012/13 season, becoming the first amateur player to do so via the PTC events.
Official Snooker Thread (Part 7)
Dunn is a good competitor and if Murphys mind isnt on it the veteran is certainly good enough to see Murphy packing. He pulled out of the lucrative Shanghai Masters recently and Murphy never pulls out of events unless he has to so it might be that he hasnt been able to see as much of the practice table as he would like. Shaun Murphy was thrashed 6-0 by Sam Baird in the International Championship qualifiers on Friday and that sort of result makes me think that all his not well with him behind the scenes. The sheer close proximity of that match to this makes me think Mike Dunn might be worth trying. If Murphy clicks hell win but 3/1 is a nice enough price on the outsider to pay to find out.
Only Mark Selby has beaten Vafaei this season and the Iran star saw off Dave Gilbert and Ryan Day in China recently. White hasnt won a match since the Paul Hunter Classic so he will be lacking in confidence and it remains to be seen how the Jamie Jones debacle has affected him with the pair being good friends. Ill go with two bets over the course of the opening day although we have to wait until the evening session for both of them. The first one sees Michael White taking on Hossein Vafaei and I expect the Iranian to continue his good form here. Whatever impact it has or hasnt made I expect Vafaei to win this.