Premier League Snooker 2009: Night Two Preview

After a short break last week for the Shanghai Masters, the Premier League is back this week as three more players make their 2009/10 bow…

Night Two fixtures:

Shaun Murphy v John Higgins
Stephen Hendry v Judd Trump

Shaun Murphy v John Higgins


Two players who have seen an awful lot of each other this summer are this year’s two World Championship finalists Shaun Murphy and John Higgins who meet again tonight at the Malvern Theatre.

Form-wise both look to be in good shape having reached the semi-finals in Shanghai last week, though John in particular was poor during his final match and will need to take more of his chances against Shaun. It was just the first event of the season though so you can forgive a bit of rustiness and you can be sure that both players are only going to improve over the coming months.

Higgins v Murphy is always an intriguing match-up, John winning that world final back in May of course with a superb performance, but Murphy gaining his revenge in no time with two victories against the Scot in the World Series events soon after. He did of course also defeat John back at the Crucible in 2005 on the way to his world triumph so he knows that he can get the better of arguably snooker’s best all-round player.

Though both have mixed records in the competition under the 25 second shot clock, I fancy Murphy to just about edge this tie and get his campaign off to a good start. If John is in the mood though and can take advantage of the opportunities that his stellar safety will no doubt bring him, then it could just as easily go the other way.

Stephen Hendry v Judd Trump

For me however the most fascinating clash of the night is that between the six-times Premier League champion Stephen Hendry and the man many people have tipped to follow in his footsteps, 20-year old Judd Trump.

Although the pair have been scheduled to meet on a few previous occasions, due to one of them losing in an earlier match the tie has not quite happened before – up until now that is.

Stephen Hendry comes into the event on the back of a mixed tournament in Shanghai where he won his first match against Marcus Campbell from 4-0 down, before failing to repeat the comeback against Ricky Walden in the next round. Over the last few years Stephen has struggled to get his season off to a great start but having played as much snooker this summer as he has during his career, it will be interesting to see if this makes any difference. In any case he will be hoping to do better than last year in this competition when he was hammered 5-1 by Mark Selby in his opening match.

Judd however has already made his Premier League debut this season, losing to Neil Robertson a couple of weeks ago in an entertaining clash where he opened the match with a magnificent total clearance of 139. Though he could not turn that into a win, he did play well and Neil was in great shape that night so he should not let that affect him going into this match.

I’m going to sit on the fence and call a draw here. The two are at different stages in their careers but both are class acts and appear to be in reasonable form at the moment…