The 2012 World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre is set to be a thrilling culmination to a fantastic year’s worth of action on the baize –which has witnessed the rise to prominence of young hotshot Judd Trump.
After winning the UK Championship in York at the back end of 2011, the 22-year-old from Bristol has shot to the fore of the ante-post market for the sport’s biggest and most prestigious tournament held at Sheffield’s famous old venue.
There is a whole host of world class players out to stop the ‘Juddernaut’ who has turned heads with his exciting, dynamic style of play and competitive attitude off the table.
Trump will be hoping to go one better than 2011 when he finished a sound runner-up to four time World Champion John Higgins and the bookmakers are certainly not taking too many chances on him with 11/2 being just about the best price available.
He somewhat failed to live up to his new star billing in the Masters when gunned down by Aussie Neil Robertson in the semi-finals however his destruction of Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round was nothing short of sublime – and a consistent production of that form will make him extremely difficult to beat over the long format of the World Championship.
Of the 31 other players standing in Trump’s way of a maiden world title, John Higgins naturally commands the most respect following his superb run in Sheffield over the past few years.
Despite having to withstand an investigation for bribery and gross misconduct, Higgins returned after a six month ban in the form of his life and followed up a tremendous 2010-2011 campaign by lifting the World Championship crown for a fourth time – his third title in just five years.
Regarded by many, including Steve Davis, as the best match player of all time, Higgins is sure to be there or thereabouts come the second week of the event and his odds of 7/1 reflect that punters will at the very least get a solid run for their money.
The aforementioned Ronnie O’Sullivan, a three time world champion, is also prominent in the early betting markets however the Essex Exorcet is not exactly a man to trust at the moment – especially after recently conceding himself that he does not believe he retains the mental toughness to win any more Crucible honours.
Neil Robertson is charging his way back to the World No.1 spot and his performance and success in the Masters suggested that the Melbourne Machine could be readying himself for a genuine assault on the world title which he won at the expense of Graeme Dott in 2010.
Robertson has never lost a major final when getting that far and his long potting is undoubtedly becoming an increased asset in today’s modern game – an attribute which allows him to get in amongst the balls first more often than not.
He is available at 10/1 and that is a massive price considering what he has already achieved during the current season. The Welsh Open and China Open have still to be played out before the tour makes its final stop in the Steel City and those events are likely to provide further clues towards who is in the best contention to potentially rule supreme on the biggest stage of all.
But it is Trump, Robertson and Higgins who probably have to be focused on more than others from a betting perspective, whilst current World No.1 Mark Selby can also get involved if he can rediscover the kind of form which earned him that title.
© Frixo 2014