Group J of the short-format quick-fire Pro Series gets underway on Tuesday morning and there looks to be a good value favourite in the line-up.
Dave Gilbert heads the betting at
7/4 and there doesn’t seem to be too many dangers to the Tamworth cueman.
Little to Fear From Group J Field
Martin Gould is next in at
9/5 and there’s no doubt the Pinner potter is a capable performer on his day. Gould made the final of the European Masters at the start of the season, but there hasn’t been much else to shout about and that comes after an extremely disappointing campaign last term.
Elliot Slessor had been showing major signs of improvement, but that seems to have slowed and the Gateshead cueman was beaten 4-2 by Gould in the second-round of the Gibraltar Open last week.
At the prices Slessor would rate a bigger danger to Gilbert, but there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of value in the
5/1 on offer.
Father and son duo of Oliver and Peter Lines are also in the field, but the younger of the pair looks shocking value at
10/1. Peter Lines is as experienced as they come, but the Leeds cueman has lost in the first-round of seven of the eight ranking events he has contested this season.
Ian Burns is a likeably player, but he also struggled this season and it’s unlikely that this short format will play to his strengths.
There’s little to fear from James Cahill, who has produced big wins in the past, but lacks consistency and the line-up is completed by 15-year-old Iulian Boiko.
Boiko won his first standard ranking event match, when beating Fergal O’Brien 4-3 in Gibraltar last week and the Ukrainian ran Mark Allen close in round two.
It will be interesting to see how the young potter progresses, but this looks a step too far at this stage.
Gibraltar Run Stands Gilbert in Good Stead
Gilbert hasn’t enjoyed a huge amount of success this season, but the Angry Farmer still had the class to reach the semi-finals of the Masters at the turn of the year and it was only two years ago that the 39-year-old made the last four of the World Championship.
Gilbert managed wins over Paul Davison, Jimmy Robertson and Zhao Xintong in Gibraltar last week and that should tune him up nicely for a tilt at the Pro Series.
The former world number 10 remains one of the most talented break-builders on tour and if he can find his rhythm he could make quick work of his opponents.
Gilbert gets the group underway against
80/1 shot Boiko and a comfortable win should tee him up nicely for the biggest tests that await.
This event is played over just three frames so clearly that leaves less time for the cream to rise to the top but, in this field, Gilbert shouldn’t have too many problems and he can book his place in the winners group.
*All odds correct at time of writing