Ronnie O’Sullivan v David Lilley: English Open Snooker

Former snooker professional Craig Edwards @EdwardsTips_ previews the
qualifying round encounter on Monday evening between Ronnie O’Sullivan
and David Lilley, citing ‘David v Goliath theory’.

Milton Keynes

Monday 1 st November 19:00

Ronnie O’Sullivan v David Lilley

There is no doubt Ronnie O’Sullivan is snooker’s GOAT but there have been signs in recent
seasons that he’s struggled when an overwhelming favourite against what is perceived as a
total underdog. Whether Ronnie will ever admit it is another matter but there’s no doubt
that James Cahill being the first amateur to qualify for the Crucible Theatre and then
drawing ‘The Rocket’ rattled the subconscious of the great man. During their match once it
became evident that James Cahill wasn’t going to be overawed the psychological pressure
transferred onto the favourite. He’s a genius but with that comes a price of expectation
from the general public and from within himself. Last season, Aaron Hill on his professional
debut tournament and Jordan Brown in the final of the Welsh Open gave credence to that
David v Goliath theory further.

David v Goliath or David v Ronnie
Amazingly, at the age of forty-six and in only his third season as a professional, David Lilley
has the perfect credentials we are looking for in our underdog. Technically though he is an
amateur (like Cahill) having failed to win his tour card back at tour school but because of the
Covid-19 situation he’s getting into most if not all events as a top-up from the Q-school
rankings. On first dibs, you would think David Lilley’s delayed promotion to the paid ranks
could be deemed a failure, but I don’t think he will view it as such. His expectations are
likely lesser than the younger breed and in those two seasons he turned in some cracking
performances, noticeably on televised tables when beating Shaun Murphy and Ding Junhui
in best of 7 frame matches. The other pertinent fact as to why David Lilley has reason to
have been encouraged by his opening two years as a professional was his World Seniors
Championship win in May which would have helped his confidence and bank account no

All bets could hinge on the opening frame

David Lilley to win frame 1 @ 5/2 (3.50)

David Lilley +44.5 frame 1 Handicap @ 5/6 (1.83)

Ronnie O’Sullivan had a spell pre-Christmas last year of being underprepared and starting
matches slowly, in fact, during that period he lost 18 out of 26 opening frames. It must be

stated however that he still won the majority of matches despite the slow starts which goes
to show how good he is at his worst. That said his last match in the German Masters saw a
shock 5-0 defeat to the Iranian Hossein Vafaei who it has to be said played well although the
Rocket showed a little petulance and exasperation when smashing the balls open in the final
frame. Seeing that encourages me for these bets given Ronnie could easily be in the same
uncommitted state as twelve months ago allowing his opponents a soft start and a foothold
in the match.

David v Goliath theory snooker bets (modest stakes)

David Lilley to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan @ 7/1 (8.00)

David Lilley -1.5 frame alternate handicap @ 19/2 (10.50)

David v Goliath theory in sport

There’s no doubt that as a tipster and bettor, I would not be on my own in bending a
narrative slightly, but David v Goliath theory is a real thing in sport, as Leicester City proved
in the EPL and particular how Tiger Woods only major failures in his pomp were against Rich
Beem and YE Yang (both a 1000/1) not the likes of Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh back in his

Given it’s only a Monday night English Open encounter between Ronnie O’Sullivan and
David Lilley that theory is loosened slightly but David Lilley is as close to the best example of
a David there is. There is no need for anything but modest stakes on the money line and
alternative handicap because we are compensated handsomely for taking the bets by the
price applied and fundamentally, they rely on David Lilley winning frame 1 for a foothold.

I will expand further on the psychological David v Goliath theory at a later date on

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