Premier League Snooker 2008: Night Four Preview


Premier League Snooker – Night Four from The Malvern Theatre, SkySports3, 7:30pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ding Junhui
Mark Selby v Steve Davis

Night four of the Premier League pairs the two top century makers of last year’s tournament as well as two of the best tactical players in what should be a good night of snooker. Click below for my preview:

Match One: Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ding Junhui

Having made 19 centuries between them in last season’s competition, it would appear that both four-times defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and China’s Ding Junhui love this format and are able to play some of their very best snooker in the conditions of the Premier League.

While O’Sullivan’s recent form has been strong however, the same cannot be said for Ding Junhui who has started the League season with just one draw to show from his first two matches. Also having lost both his opening matches in ranking events, Ding could really do with a good performance sooner rather than later to boost his confidence which must be as low as it has ever been at the moment.

It is hard to see it coming tonight against O’Sullivan though as despite a poor final session in the Shanghai final against Ricky Walden on Sunday, his start to the season has been an impressive one and he remains the man to beat in this competition. All things considered therefore, I suspect that Ding might have to wait a little while yet for that first win…

Match Two: Mark Selby v Steve Davis

League leader Mark Selby will be hoping to push on tonight as he prepares for his third match of the campaign against the legend that is Steve Davis.

Mark’s form this season has been very good so far, particularly in the this competition as he won the last four frames of his match against Ding without letting him pot a ball before cruising past Stephen Hendry 5-1 last time out. Having seemingly experienced no problems adapting his style to the shot clock, he will be a heavy favourite heading into tonight’s match.

Davis however will have something to say about that and is in good shape himself at the moment. He has not only qualified for two of the first three ranking events so far this season, but last week in Shanghai became the oldest man in 14 years to reach a quarter-final. One thing that will be interesting to see is whether he sticks with his rather unorthodox break-off shot that he first used against Joe Perry in the League a fortnight ago and continued to use in Shanghai. Rolling into the pack of reds off two cushions rather than attempting to return to baulk, I can only imagine that Steve is trying to eliminate the chance of leaving a long red at the start but it does appear to be a fairly negative tactic and I’m not sure how long he will persevere with it…we shall see.

Either way, it is hard to back against Selby tonight and you would have to imagine that he will consolidate his position at the top of the standings with co-leader Joe Perry not in action tonight. Hopefully we should see a close match though…