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The Betfair Contrarian: Why the World Championship won't have a new champion

RSS / / 15 April 2008 / Leave a Comment

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The Betfair Contrarian is at it again, this time telling us why a past winner will be walking away with the trophy again in the 2008 edition

The Contrarian: Why the 2008 World Snooker Championship won't be won by a new winner

In two of the last three years, and five of the last eight, the World Snooker Championship has ended up in the soft yet steady hands of a newcomer. However, the Contrarian has little time for "fresh young talent", and believes that the title will this year be returning to a player already familiar with the taste of snooker glory.

The New Champion market at Betfair has "Yes" available at [2.0], "No" at [1.85].

The rankings don't lie

The official snooker rankings give the clearest indication of who the top players are right now, and the evidence points to the old school - the top six players in the world are all past winners of the Snooker World Championship.

Sheer volume of numbers

Of the 32 players battling for the title, nine have already won at the Crucible, which represents over a quarter of the field. And it's not just a case that they've all won it once - the former champions have a combined 23 World Championship successes between them. Since 15th seed Steve Davis first won in 1981, there have been 15 repeat victories and 12 new winners (a new winner every 2.25 years.) As five new players have already won this century, that suggests the balance is due to tip back in the veterans' favour.

It's not a tournament for foreigners

Like baseball's World Series, the "world" bit of the World Snooker Championship is an outrageous overstatement. Only three times since its inception in 1927 has it been won by a player from outside Great Britain: Australian Horace Lindrum in 1952, Canadian Cliff Thorburn in 1980 and Irishman Ken Doherty in 1997. Not great news for the highest ranked player never to have won the title: Australian Neil Robertson.

It's not a tournament for losing finalists

World number eleven Mark Selby has never won before, yet is second favourite on Betfair at [7.2]. Last year he blitzed his way past former champions Peter Ebdon and Shaun Murphy on his way to the final before narrowly losing out 18-13 to John Higgins. But coming close doesn't count for much 12 months later - only once in the last 20 years has the losing finalist gone on to win next time round (Mark Williams in 2000).

Stephen Maguire doesn't like the Crucible

In his four previous World Snooker Championships, third favourite Stephen Maguire ([8.8] on Betfair) has bowed out in the first round twice, the second round once and reached the semis last year with the benefit of a relatively easy draw. He has never beaten anyone with a higher seeding than him at the Crucible and while he will be grateful to be in the opposite half of the draw to Ronnie O'Sullivan, who has eliminated him twice, he will likely have to beat number-two seed Graeme Dott and rival Shaun Murphy to reach the final which, given his record against his superiors in this tournament, seems remote.

It's not a tournament for the inconsistent (unless you're Ronnie O'Sullivan)

Ding Junhui [13.5 on Betfair], currently ranked ten in the world, exploded onto the British snooker scene in 2006, becoming only the third player to win three tournaments before turning 20, and he received rave reviews for tearing through John Higgins, Ken Doherty, Stephen Lee and Ronnie O'Sullivan to win the Northern Ireland trophy. He has since developed the knack of leaving his talent at home, however, such as when he arrived at the Crucible last year, and O'Sullivan crushed him 10-2.

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