For the first time since 2004, the British Open has a place on the snooker calendar and it is very much more than welcome.
Even more so given the lack of top-level snooker in recent weeks where only the thrill less Championship League has offered some respite between other non-exciting events.
Now though, the 2021/2022 snooker season is up and running at last so things should begin to heat up again, starting this week in Leicester.
The first ranking title of the season has already been claimed with David Gilbert landing his first ever ranking title, the aforementioned Championship League.
But what can we expect this week?
Return Of An Old Classic
— Neal Foulds (@fouldsy147) July 20, 2021
The British Open has been away from the schedules for the past 17 years but prior to that had been a staple of professional snooker since 1985.
The tournament itself began in in 1980 as an invitational event for 16 players and was back then known as the British Gold Cup and was held at the Assembly Rooms in Derby. After numerous new identities, it was renamed the British Open for the 1984/85 season and has stayed that way ever since.
The 2021 British Open will be played from the 16th of August through to the 22nd of August 2021 at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, England. It is the first British Open event to be played since 2004 when John Higgins took the crown making him the reigning champion.
The famous old tournament used to be a prestigious event on the snooker tour for well over three decades, but it was removed from the schedule to make way for newer, fresher events earlier in the century.
The tourney will work on a random draw basis rather than through seedings which should keep things interesting. This reformatting creates the exciting prospect of two of the best players in the world meeting in the early rounds of the tournament.
The first four rounds are played as best of five frame matches, while the quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played as best of seven frame contests, and the final will be played as a best of 11 frames match.
British Masters Snooker Betting Tips
Judd Trump is the favourite in the betting which is pretty standard for the world number one. It is a lofty position that Trump has held since August 2019 but one which is under threat this week from a Leicester local.
Judd Trump is in danger of losing his world number one spot to the Jester from Leicester Mark Selby during the British Open this week.
For Trump to avoid this, he must at least reach the quarter-finals, but it is when the pressure is on that the great players tend to prove their metal and we would expect nothing less of the Ace in the Pack.
Bristol’s Trump opens up his campaign against world number 97 Mitchell Mann.
The Jester To Win In Leicester
Reigning World Snooker Champion, and four time world champ, Mark Selby has 20 ranking titles to his name and, back in his home city, will fancy his chances of recreating his fantastic win in the World Championship earlier this year.
John Higgins who scooped this prize when it was last held 17 years ago, has been installed by the traders as the second favourite in Leicester this week. Higgins was victorious in the last British Open final back in 2004 where he saw off the challenge from fellow Scot Stephen Maguire 9-5 in the final which was then held in Brighton.
The Wizard of Wishaw’s last appearance was back at the Crucible when he registered a defeat to another of the old guard, Mark Williams, at the World Championships in April. Now the 46 year old will be hoping to avoid embarrassment and replicate his 2004 success in the second World Snooker Tour ranking event of the season.
Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham are all worth keeping an eye on also.
Elsewhere, David Gilbert has to be in contention. He lifted the Championship League trophy last week and is priced nicely to go well again this week at the Morningside Arena.
He was a World Championship semi-finalist just two years ago and is a top talent when it comes to building breaks.
At last week’s short format tourney, he saw off the likes of Mark Allen, Ryan Day and Ali Carter, results which are not to be sniffed at.
In all, Gilbert goes into this one in high spirits and good form. He takes on Matthew Stevens in round one on Tuesday night where the former English Open runner up should be too strong for his newest opponent.
Interesting Ties In Round One
In all, the opening round of randomly drawn matches has delivered some interesting fixtures, not least notably a repeat of the World Championship final this year between Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy.
There are also other round one matchups that catch the eye such as Mark Davis and Michael Holt. While Holt is favoured in the match betting, it is hard to fathom why given he hasn’t gone deep at a ranking tourney for far too long to justify such a short price against one of the most experienced performers on tour.
Jimmy Robertson, who kicks off his campaign against Mark Joyce in a match he is expected to take easily, went well in the recent Championship League where he won his group which contained the likes of Judd Trump, Stuart Carrington and Tom Ford.
Another fixture that has added interest is the battle of the exes between Reanne Evans and Mark Allen who were drawn against each other in an extremely awkward first round match. The pair were involved in a three year relationship before they went their separate ways 13 years ago and, despite having a 14 year old daughter between them, remain unfriendly. This match will certainly be interesting as well as having a lot of needle, but I would expect Allen to come out on top, just.
Snooker British Masters Betting Odds 2021
- Judd Trump – 7/2
- John Higgins – 15/2
- Mark Selby – 8/1
- Mark Allen – 11/1
- Kyren Wilson – 12/1
- Yan Bingtao – 16/1
- Mark Williams – 18/1
- Barry Hawkins – 18/1
- Stuart Bingham – 18/1
- Jack Lisowski – 20/1
- Shaun Murphy – 20/1
- Carter, Allister – 25/1
- David Gilbert – 28/1