The 2016 Champion Of Champions Snooker Tournament is a tournament for which players usually qualify by winning a tournament, though Stuart Bingham and Jo Perry have only qualified due to their rankings or recent final appearances. The tournament takes place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry from November 7-12. It’s a non-ranking tournament that was first won by Ray Reardon in 1978, then two-years later by Doug Mountjoy. However, the event didn’t resurface until 2013 when Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Stuart Bingham in the final. O’Sullivan also triumphed 10-7 against Judd Trump in the 2014 final, whilst Neil Robertson took the honours in 2015 with a 10-5 final victory over Mark Allen.
Just 16 players are in with a shout of the title, and it’s no surprise to see O’Sullivan heading the market at 3/1, with Mark Selby 5/1, Judd Trump 11/2, Ding Junhui 9/1, Neil Robertson 10/1, John Higgins 14/1, Shaun Murphy 14/1, Stuart Bingham 16/1 and Mark Allen 20/1.
The 16 Players are divided into 4 groups as follows, with the tournament(s) they won to qualify in brackets:
Neil Robertson (Defending champion & UK Champion)
Ding Junhui (Shanghai Masters)
Ali Carter (World Open)
Mark Selby (World Championship)
Liang Wenbo (English Open winner)
Mark Allen (Players Championship)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (Masters)
Robin Hull (Shoot Out)
Martin Gould (German Masters)
Mark Davis (World Seniors)
Shaun Murphy (World Grand Prix)
John Higgins (China Championship)
Judd Trump (European Masters)
Anthony McGill (Indian Open)
Two semi-finals in each group will take place over 7 frames, with the winning semi-finalists battling it out over 11-frames to be group-winners. The group winners will then play two more best-of-11 frame matches to determine who will take each other on in a 19-frame final on Saturday.
Groups A & B
O’Sullivan looks to have the easiest task of all, and it will be a major disappointment to his fans if he doesn’t emerge victorious from Group A, where he takes on Robin Hull, Martin Gould and Mark Davies.
Robertson may well be fresher than last week’s finalist Stuart Bingham in the first match in Group B, whilst Ali Carter may be hungrier than Ding Junhui in the other Group B match. Defending a title isn’t easy though, and Carter looks the value bet to take on Ronnie in the first semi-final. Sullivan will be long odds-on to make the final if he does play Carter though – as he leads 16-1 in their head-to-heads.
Group C & Group D
If Group-C goes to form, the Selby will be playing Allen to see who takes on the winner of Group-D, and it’s Allen who will be full of confidence after winning 6 of their last 7 matches.
Meanwhile, Trump will be fancied to overcome Anthony McGill in Group-D, though the match between Murphy and Higgins looks harder to call with the last 8 matches between resulting in 4 wins a piece. I’ll take a chance on Murphy though, as Higgins may struggle to get off to a quick enough start after his victory last week. Trump, who has won 70% of his matches with Murphy, must then be the pick to progress. That leaves Allen vs Trump, and it’s Allen who has won their last 5 head-to-heads.
That leaves us with an O’Sullivan/Allen final and, with their heads -to-heads currently at 2-2, I’ll take an each-way chance on Allen at 20/1.
Mark Allen each-way @ 20/1 ½-odds 2-places