Premier League Snooker 2008: Night Two Preview


Premier League Snooker – Night Two from Basingstoke, SkySports2, 7:30pm

John Higgins v Ding Junhui
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Joe Perry

Following on from last week’s terrific start to the new Premier League season, the circus now moves on the The Anvil in Basingstoke for the second set of matches.

Match One: John Higgins v Ding Junhui

Playing their second match of the tournament so far, both Higgins and Ding will be looking for their first win of the season in order to really get themselves in contention for a play off place.

Having failed to secure a single point in the last four frames of his 4-2 defeat to Mark Selby in Grimsby last week, Ding in particular will be keen to put that behind him and earn his first points of the campaign. In addition with his home tournament at the Shanghai Masters coming up next week, he will want to go into that full of confidence so a win tonight is perhaps even more important than usual.

Higgins meanwhile will be in good spirits following a very creditable 3-3 draw with the four times defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan last week and a semi-final in the Northern Ireland Trophy. Looking comfortable with the shot clock from the very start this season, he will be confident of strengthening his position in the top four and a win against Ding would do him no harm at all.

The match should be a close one as both players when at their best are right among the best in the sport sport today. On current form though you would have to make Higgins favourite to add to his points tally, but you never know with Ding who notched up 13 centuries in this competition last season…

Match Two: Ronnie O’Sullivan v Joe Perry

Having started his Premier League season with that draw with Higgins last week, O’Sullivan will be hot favourite to record his first win against debutant Joe Perry. Indeed this would be his second win of the season over Perry following his 5-3 win in their recent meeting in the last 16 of the Northern Ireland Trophy earlier this month. As if things didn’t look tricky enough for Joe, he will be making his debut in the Premier League and so the conditions (which so far have suited O’Sullivan perfectly), may take some time to get used to.

So what chance has Perry got? He has definitely improved a lot as a player recently, winning the Championship League and reaching his first World semi-final this May. Although not particularly a household name, if he plays to his very best then he is certainly capable of giving O’Sullivan a game and taking a point or two.

Despite this, you cannot help but fancy O’Sullivan to win the match, given his current confidence levels and his liking of the event. Mark Selby showed last week though that a debutant can win straight away against top opposition and if Perry were to follow in his footsteps then it would really be an eye-opener.