Snooker World Championship 2016 Preview

Apr 16th, 2016 Betting Tips, Previews

Crucible Theatre in Sheffield

The BetFred Snooker World Championship 2016 marks the pinnacle of the sport, and the highlight in the calendar for professionals and snooker fans alike. Since it was founded in 1927, it has remained the premier event in the sport, with a prize pot equalling the prestige of the competition. In 1977, the tournament moved to its spiritual home at the, arguably the most famous venue in the sport and home to the championships in every year since. Playing out over 17 days, it pits the world’s best snooker players against each other, to settle on an ultimate winner on the first Monday in May.

The history of the tournament has been littered with big names, near misses, and fresh talent, and thanks to widespread TV coverage, has introduced millions of new fans to the sport. The knock-out format gives fans the chance to enjoy the thrills and spills of each frame, as players progress through the stages to reach the final. The final is among the most viewed sporting events on terrestrial TV in the UK, and is arguably hugely significant in the establishment of snooker as the popular sport it remains today.

Stephen Hendry (7 wins), Steve Davis (6 wins) and Ray Reardon (6 wins) sit atop the pile, as the most successful players ever to grace the competition. Indeed, some would argue this alone qualifies these players as the best the sport has ever seen.

As Ronnie O’Sullivan chalks his cue in preparation of this year’s tournament, he will surely have one eye on joining them, and cementing his 6th win would feel just for a player who has been utterly dominant at the table in recent years.

Tournament Format

The format of the World Championship was fixed in 1982, and has remained the same in the years that followed. The tournament is structured around knock-out phases, which aim to conclude by the first Monday in May, when the final of the championship is played. The top 16 players in the world are invited automatically to take part, while a further 16 qualifying places are available for anyone who can make it through the qualifying stages. There are three qualifying rounds, which follow a similar format to the main tournament. Those players who win in the qualifying rounds are then invited to take part alongside the seeded players in the first round of the championship.

Snooker

Each match is played over 19 frames in the first round, graduating upwards to 33 and 35 frames in the semis and final respectively. This makes for tense snooker, and allows the action to ebb and flow in the way that has made this tournament so popular for so long.

The Ones To Watch

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Never one to write off going in to any tournament, Ronnie O’Sullivan remains the man to beat, and probably the most scary draw for any would-be contender along the way. Possessing a natural talent and flair that is unseen in most professionals, there is always an air of genius when Rocket Ronnie is at the table. His personality makes him a key fan favourite anyway, but with unparalleled break building skills and the ability to squeeze a result from the toughest of situations, Ronnie O’Sullivan is the bookies favourite for this year for a reason.

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Added to that, chasing down a 6th title win has the feel of legacy about it, and Ronnie will most definitely want to find himself at the top of the wins table before his career is through. With two wins to go to equal Stephen Hendry, he will certainly be fired up and ready to challenge in this year’s field.

Neil Robertson

In a world where Ronnie O’Sullivan wasn’t a constant threat, Neil Robertson would clear up. The talented Australian first broke through in 2006/07, and has battled his way to the top of the field since. A consummate professional with bags of ability in ever facet of the game, his methodical, step by step approach to dismantling opponents has made him a serious threat to any would-be champion. Expect to see Neil there or thereabouts come final day – it often takes a special performance to counter his impressive skills. The bookies have Neil as the second favourite to win at the Crucible this year, and he justifiably looks like a solid contender.

Judd Trump

The ‘Ace of the Pack’ Judd Trump is another one to watch this year. Very much in the ascendency of his career, Judd is an entertaining player to watch and follow, and has already racked up impressive achievements throughout his career. Born in 1989, he still has potentially decades to go in his career, and certainly several years before he reaches his peak. Could 2016 be another breakthrough year for Judd Trump? It looks likely. But whether he is able to conquer all comers at the Crucible remains to be seen. By no means a long shot bet, the odds on Trump might well tempt you to back Englishman in this year’s contest.

Stuart Bingham

Spare a thought for last year’s champion, Stuart Bingham – at 38, the oldest winner of the World Championships since Ray Reardon in 1978. Starting life as a 28-1 outsider for this year’s tournament, he would seem to be just out of reach of the last few stages. Indeed, back to back title wins would be considered an amazing achievement, and one that few seem to have confidence in Bingham to complete. Of course, there are other players who are looking more on-form, but don’t go writing off Bingham too early on. His performance at the Crucible last year showed just how clinical he can be, and his world number 2 ranking is more than justified by his performance. An outside chance perhaps, but Bingham may still prove to be one to watch at this year’s championships, and having beaten O’Sullivan, Trump and Shaun Murphy along the way to his win last year, he may still have what it takes to win again.

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