UK Snooker Championship Preview

Uk Championship Preview (3-11 December, Barbican Centre, York)

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Published: 12/12/2011

The 2011 UK Championship breaks off on December 3rd at York’s famous Barbican Centre as the new snooker season gets fully into swing.

Defending tournament and world champion John Higgins will be seeking to retain the crown which he won in emotional fashion last year on the back of losing his father and enduring a five month match fixing allegation inquest.

Despite snooker’s complex ranking system now rating the Wizard of Wishaw as no.3 in the world, many people still recognise Higgins as the very best on the planet, including former legend Steve Davis who lamented the Scot as the best player to have ever existed after he lifted his fourth world title at the expense of Judd Trump in April.

Young hotshot Trump is one of 31 other professional players who will be shooting it out for the title in York and the long potting specialist will be especially gunning for Higgins in an attempt to overturn this year’s World Championship final result.

Higgins is likely to start the tournament as favourite in his quest for a fourth championship success, however his odds should still be rather sizeable considering the high quality, competitive nature of modern day snooker.

Closest table rival Ronnie O’ Sullivan has experienced a rather barren spell of late in terms of significant ranking events; nevertheless he is likely to arrive in York as Higgins’s main threat as long as he is in the right frame of mind.

Although the Essex Exorcet has been overshadowed by the more consistent Higgins over the past two seasons, he still very much remains the main entertainment draw for the spectators and arguably the best natural cueist in the sport.

Such has been Higgins and O’Sullivan’s intense table rivalry down the years which has included a host of epic battles, it would seem wrong in so many ways if they were not to go at it hammer and tongs once again in the near future.

Nonetheless, there is an undoubted plethora of exceptional talent to assume top billing if either or both Higgins and O’Sullivan fail to shine or resume their joust in York.

2010 World Champion Neil Robertson simply cannot be underestimated in any major event and the Aussie will be adamant to rediscover his best form after dropping off the pace a little following his Crucible triumph.

The Thunder from Down Under comes into his own over the longer formats and he should definitely be in with a shout come the end of the week.

One player still threatening to take over the snooker world is Ding Junhui and the Chinaman’s finest hour to date came arguably came in the 2009 renewal when he beat John Higgins in the final, although he has again failed to really build on that promise and progress quickly enough to be considered a consistently serious contender for the major ranking events on the circuit.

2011 could well be his year however and the season whereby everything comes together for the world no.6, who will of course be looking for a third success at the Barbican after beating Steve Davis to the title in 2005 at the tender age of 18.

Veteran Davis will be competing again and faces O’Sullivan in what is arguably the pick of the first round draw.

Ding will be huge odds on favourite to swipe aside Mark Davis whilst Higgins opens his account against Rory McLeod.

Seven times World Champion Stephen Hendry is also back in action after pondering his long term future in the sport and he faces 2004 UK Champion Stephen Maguire in a fascinating all-Scottish clash.



Any odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of publishing (12/12/2011) but are subject to change.

12/12/2011     © Frixo 2017

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