Sunday, 26 June 2011

Paul Collier's players to watch

It's a new season but some things never change.

Resident columnist Paul Collier has been signed up for another year to work alongside OnCue snooker blog.

For most of us, World Snooker's shoddy efforts to supply live scoring was the closest we could get to capturing any of the action from the PTC1.

But our man on the ground Paul was in Sheffield refereeing.

With previews to the new season scattered across the web, there's been plenty of discussion about the top eight players, Judd Trump and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

But what about the rest?

Paul outlines his players to watch this season...

Luca Brecel

It's his first season on the professional tour and he's already got a couple of PTC wins under his belt. I refereed one of his matches and he looked in really good shape. His attacking style of play makes him easy to watch and I think he'll enjoy a good maiden season. One of his greatest qualities is that he doesn't think too much, he just gets the balls in the pockets. He's very relaxed around the venues. He just focuses on the table and gets down to play. He likes to have a go and I was impressed with how well he takes even half chances.

Joe Perry

A worthy finalist at the PTC1 and looked like he's back to his best form. He was finishing a lot of frames in a single visit and showed signs of his game that got him in to the top 16 not too long ago. He's definitely a confidence player but these few early wins will help him have a good season in my opinion.

Graeme Dott

Every referee that had one of his matches commented on how well he was playing. Everyone knows he's a good player but sometimes I don't think he gets the level of credit he deserves. He's never been a slow player, in fact, he's quite fluid. His average shot time is up there. He had a good World Championship reaching the quarter-finals, and it looks like he's carried that form into the new campaign.  

Xiao Guodong

He's got the good all-round game that you need these days, but the thing I like about him most is that he's a proper safety player. He's not one of these players who just thinks getting the cue ball up the table is enough. He regularly puts his opponents in a lot of trouble. He plays a lot with Ding, which is great for his progress, and I've been told Peter Ebdon has been talking very highly of him. Peter told us all how good Ding was going to be a couple of years before he broke through, so I trust his judgement.

Jamie Jones

I refereed his defeat against Perry, but in fairness, he didn't play a bad shot. He'll be happy to have made the quarter-finals in the first event of the season and I think that bodes well for him.  He's a very capable player. I expect him to move up the rankings in this campaign.

Matthew Stevens

He was back to his very best form at the end of last season and I think he'll continue with that. The great thing about Matthew is that he's capable of winning every tournament. He's good in both the shorter and longer formats of the game, as he's proved in the past. I bet he picks up a trophy this season.

Michael White

Results weren't great for him last season, but I think we'll see more from him this time. He's settled on the professional tour now and, in Sheffield, he had a great big smile on his face and looked like he'd found a buzz. Watch out for him.

Tony Drago

Never write him off. He's got a good record so far in the PTCs, which is perfect given how much a part they play in the game now. He's a lucky-go-lucky kind of guy, who won't be putting too much pressure on himself. That makes him dangerous. He still enjoys playing and if all goes well, he can rattle frames off quickly.

Jimmy White

With the snooker legends tour, he's playing seven days a week at the moment. He'll be feeling fresh and could take some stopping in the qualifiers this season. He's back on the television with the Premier League. He's still hungry for the game. He could do some real damage.

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