Snooker: The UK Championship Final

Would you believe Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan have won an identical number of professional snooker matches, 934 in total?  But there is one big difference between the pair:  O’Sullivan, who could inch ahead on total wins in today’s final of the UK Championship, is operating at a 75 percent won-to-played ratio.  Williams 934 victories have come from 1,449 matches meaning his lifetime won-to-played ratio is a little under 65 percent.

To matters at hand, will it be O’Sullivan that collects the £170,000 UK Championship winner’s cheque in Sunday’s final from York’s Barbican Centre (broadcast live on the BBC and Eurosport) or Mark Allen?

‘King Ronnie’ has certainly been majestic this past fortnight winning 24 frames and dropping just three in his past four games. But Ken Doherty certainly went close to beating him in the second round surrendering a 4-1 lead to lose in the deciding frame. However facts are facts and they show O’Sullivan has won a remarkable 25 matches this season, losing just two:  The final of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open (7-9 to Judd Trump) and the semi-final of the BetVictor English Open (1-6 to Mark Davis).

Tale of the tape

So far in this competition O’Sullivan has posted seven century breaks and another 16 50+ breaks.  Allen has recorded six centuries and 17 50+ breaks.  There’s clearly not much between this pair on these figures and historically they are closely matched too.  Seven previous meetings have seen O’Sullivan claim four wins, Allen three.  But those seven games consisted of 68 frames of which it is just 35-33 in favour of O’Sullivan.

Many would say, given his amazing run of form and UK Championship record which shows he has won this competition six times and made an additional final, it’s neigh impossible to oppose O’Sullivan.  But as left-handed Mark Allen showed last night from an unpromising position against Stuart Bingham, he is a true battler who should never be underestimated.

Let us not forget Allen has already collected a £175,000 prize when taking the International Championship which concluded at the start of November.  He recorded an incredible 14 century breaks during the course of the week-long event.

UK Snooker Championship 2018

Back Allen with a start

Given the historic head-to-head record (Allen won their last meeting by a 6-1 score-line in the quarter final of the 2018 Masters, a competition which he won) and similar stats during the course of this competition, my recommendation is to back the Northern Irishman on the handicap where he receives a +3.5 frame advantage in this ‘best of 19’ final.   That’s a 4/5 poke.

Additionally the 11/8 about Mark Allen claiming the highest break of the match looks way out of line.  He’s claimed three 120+ breaks during the course of this competition (128 being the maximum).  Ronnie can only boast one 120+ a 122 against Tom Ford in the semi-final.

Admittedly O’Sullivan has posted 100+ breaks more often than his opponent this season (37 from 227 frames played meaning a ratio of one per every 6.14 frames contested) but the best form in snooker is the most recent form and that indicates Mark Allen is over-priced in this market.

 

Recommended Bets

Mark Allen +3.5 frames to win the match 4/5

Mark Allen to claim the highest break of the match 11/8

*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Roy Brindley

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Snooker, darts and greyhound betting pundit

A former magazine editor, author and journalist, Roy has specialised in all matters gambling for almost 20 years. He is a regular on English TV screens as a betting pundit and throughout the 2000’s worked as commentator on SKY Sports poker coverage.

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