Premier League Snooker 2008: Night Eight Preview

Premier League Snooker – Night Eight, SkySports1, 7:30pm

Steve Davis v Ding Junhui

Mark Selby v John Higgins

So it is night eight of the Premier League season and the infamous date clash with the ongoing Bahrain Championship. Tonight sees Steve Davis come up against China’s Ding Junhui at Haywards Heath while Mark Selby meets John Higgins in a repeat of the 2007 World final…

Match One: Steve Davis v Ding Junhui

Having won just three frames of the 24 he has played in the competition so far, Steve Davis will be hoping for better tonight but he’ll find it tough against an opponent who is showing real signs of returning to form.

Ding Junhui, who of course beat Davis in the final of the 2005 UK Championship has endured a tough 18 months or so, but looked to be in decent form in the Grand Prix, before winning the Warsaw leg of the World Series and then defeating Joe Perry 4-2 last week in the league last week. He is not yet playing quite as well as he did back in 2005/6, but his recent results have been encouraging and he will undoubtedly be a handful for Steve tonight.

Hopefully Steve, who against Hendry last week abandoned his ultra-conservative break-off shot, can find some form and make a contest of it, but it would take a brave man to bet against Ding recording his second win of the campaign tonight.

Match Two: Mark Selby v John Higgins

Now this is a cracking line-up, the Premier League leader against the recent Grand Prix winner John Higgins once again.

Selby has settled into the competition well on what is his debut season in the league, but John Higgins is in decent shape and the moment and of course made the final in this competition last year. Already pretty much assured of a spot in the play-offs, Selby will still want to win tonight to improve his chances of finishing top of the league this season and in theory secure himself an easier semi-final next month in Hopton.

Higgins though is by no means assured of a spot in the semis yet and could really do with taking both points tonight to take him up to four points and level in the table with fellow Scot Stephen Hendry.

Utlimately though I suspect that it will be Selby who will just edge the match and leave John in real trouble when it comes to qualifying for the semis. He just seems to be enjoying this competition a lot at the moment and be in better form, despite Higgins winning the last ranking event in Glasgow. We shall see though, it is hard to write off a man of Higgins’ class…