Championship League Snooker 2020 – Groups 10 & 15

Ronnie won his three matches yesterday by 3-0, making a 50+ break in every frame bar one. He had two centuries and two breaks over 90.

Tom Ford dominated the other group winning all his matches as well.

This is the report by WST:

Ronnie O’Sullivan returned to snooker’s limelight after a four month absence and won nine frames without reply as he topped Group 10 of the Matchroom.Live Championship League.

Click here for Group Tables, Results and Fixtures and here for details of how to watch live.

Moustachioed O’Sullivan bristled with confidence as he beat Kishan Hirani 3-0, Michael Georgiou 3-0 and Chris Wakelin 3-0, making breaks of 112, 52, 65, 116, 82, 80, 97 and 93 during the day’s action in Milton Keynes. He goes through to the Group Winners’ phase and will be back on the baize next Tuesday, in a quartet with Harvey Chandler and the winners of Groups 1 and 6.

“It was good fun,” said five-time World Champion O’Sullivan. “I have hardly played since the Welsh Open in February – you can’t really count the Shoot Out because that was only a couple of frames. Then I did a couple of exhibitions, but other than that I only played for about four or five hours last week. It just shows you probably don’t need the practice, I should spend my time doing something else.”

Asked about the moustache, O’Sullivan said: “I set myself a challenge. As soon as we were in lockdown I was going to grow a beard but that got itchy so my partner said, ‘why not grow a moustache?’ It was a bit of a giggle really. A few people have said I look like a Mexican drug lord, like ‘El Chapo’. Someone even said Freddie Mercury.”

On the other table, Tom Ford was almost as impressive as O’Sullivan, losing just one frame in his three matches in Group 15. The Leicester cueman saw off Ian Burns 3-0, Mike Dunn 3-0 and Robert Milkins 3-1, making a 130 and four more breaks over 50.

Saturday’s top stars will include Stuart Bingham, Ricky Walden and Jimmy Robertson; play gets underway at 3pm.

Also Ronnie spoke to BBC about the moustache and how he struggled with being locked up in his room.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has ‘struggled’ in ‘bubble’ of Championship League

By Shamoon Hafez
BBC Sport

Ronnie O’Sullivan says he has “struggled” in the “bubble” surrounding the Championship League tournament, which is being played behind closed doors and in a closed environment.

O’Sullivan, 44, returned to action sporting a new moustache and progressed as group winner without losing a frame.

“If every tournament was to be like this then I am not sure I would be able to do it,” said O’Sullivan.

Snooker was the first sport to return to live action on free-to-air TV.

It followed the government’s ‘phase three’ coronavirus pandemic guidance, which paved the way for competition to make a comeback from Monday.

The non-ranking event is taking place without fans at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, which has an on-site hotel, allowing players and staff to be contained on the complex without having to leave.

However, all personnel have had to have strict Covid-19 testing a day before they are scheduled to feature and are made to isolate in their rooms – world champion Judd Trump said he had to wait 18 hours before the result of his test was known and O’Sullivan even longer.

Although a catering service is provided, O’Sullivan – who last played competitively at the Shootout in February – only entered the event if he was allowed to bring his own food as he does not “trust people” cooking for him.

But being in his room for such a long period meant he had “run out of food” and so was left “eating cornflakes for the rest of the day”.

World number six O’Sullivan added: “I have struggled. I was in the room for 24 hours so I have had a bit of a headache and started to get a bit of a cough and can’t even get the window open.

“You want to be in good health at the moment so this bubble is not ideal. If the facilities do [improve] and if you have to stay on site at the hotel and [are able to] use the gym, then it would be better.

“At the moment there is none of that so it is tough. I like my own company but it is tough being cooped up. It is not easy for me, I must admit.

“It is just about having the freedom to go out for a walk, get a bit of fresh air and a coffee.”

Much of the talk on social media was not about O’Sullivan breezing through with a 100% record from three matches, but the addition of a handlebar moustache.

Asked how it came about, O’Sullivan said: “I set myself a challenge. As soon as we were in lockdown I was going to grow a beard but that got itchy so my partner said, ‘why not grow a moustache?’ It was a bit of a giggle really.

“A few people have said I look like a Mexican drug lord, like ‘El Chapo’. Someone even said Freddie Mercury.”

Meanwhile, the rescheduled Tour Championship – originally due to take place in March in Llandudno – will take place at the Marshall Arena from 20-26 June.

Regarding the latter here is the announcement by WST:

Friday 5 Jun 2020 03:30PM
Snooker’s return to live action will continue later this month with the Coral Tour Championship from June 20th to 26th at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

Judd Trump leads the race to win the 2020 Coral Cup
The event was originally due to take place on March 17th to 22nd in Llandudno and then rescheduled for July 21st to 26th. But new dates in Milton Keynes have now been confirmed. The tournament will be behind closed doors with extensive live television coverage from ITV4.

This follows the success of this week’s Matchroom.Live Championship League, one of the first sporting events to be staged in the UK since March.

Following weeks of detailed liaison with the UK government, strict health and safety regulations, including Covid-19 testing for all players, officials and staff, have been put into place. These regulations have been followed meticulously this week, allowing the tournament to run smoothly.

The same procedures will be followed during the Coral Tour Championship, and the venue in Milton Keynes has again been selected as it has a hotel on site which means that all personnel can isolate without needing to leave the venue.

One day has been added to the original schedule which means that the whole event can be played on a single televised table, with one match on each day including the final on June 26th.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to confirm dates for this event, coming hot on the heels of the Matchroom.Live Championship League. The feedback we have had this week from the players at the venue in Milton Keynes has been excellent. Any concerns they may have had about their own welfare have been laid to rest – in fact one player described it as ‘probably the safest place on Earth.’

“We have proved that despite the many challenges associated with running events in the current conditions, it can be done. There is no sport which can meet the required regulations on isolation, sanitisation and social distancing as rigorously as snooker can, and that is why we have set an example for other sports to follow.

“This is a huge tournament with a stellar line up and massive prize money on offer. We are thrilled to be working with the Coral team as we come to the final chapter in the series with the Coral Cup still up for grabs for all eight players in the field. It’s another major event for the fans and players, ahead of the World Championship.

“And we appreciate the fantastic coverage from ITV and their commitment to working with us to provide many millions of fans with top class live sport.”

The Coral Tour Championship world ranking event is the third and last event in the Coral Series. It features the top eight players on this season’s money list, battling for a top prize of £150,000. The leading money winner across the three events will also receive the Coral Cup and a bonus of £100,000.

The draw for the event is:

Judd Trump v John Higgins
Neil Robertson v Ding Junhui
Mark Selby v Yan Bingtao
Shaun Murphy v Mark Allen

Coral Cup standings after the Coral World Grand Prix and Coral Players Championship:

Judd Trump £132,500
Neil Robertson £100,000
Yan Bingtao £50,000
Shaun Murphy £30,000
John Higgins £27,500
Mark Allen £15,000
Mark Selby £15,000
Ding Junhui £0

Fans who had tickets for the original dates at Venue Cymru in Llandudno will have the option of transferring them to next year or receiving a refund. Next year’s event at the same venue will start on either March 15th or 16th and run until March 21st. With both the venue and ticket agents working with very limited staff, we kindly ask that you refrain from contacting them directly, they will be in touch with all ticket holders as soon as possible.

Here are the matches:

4 thoughts on “Championship League Snooker 2020 – Groups 10 & 15

  1. I thought Ronnie looked really good. He scored heavily and seemed to be in better physical shape than he was earlier this season, and he also seemed to be (generally) serious and in a winning frame of mind.

    I would have to think that he wouldn’t be (1) playing in this event and (2) taking it seriously if he weren’t planning to make a serious commitment to winning the WC this season…

  2. Yes Ronnie was good, and I’m sure a lot of people really enjoyed watching him play after these frustrating months of lockdown. I never pay any attention to the post-match comments, but he seemed focused on the table. He can’t really complain about ‘safety’ measures, since he’s been advocating things like not shaking hands for some time – he has no option but to support the procedures.

    I have heard that 7 of the 8 players in the Tour Championship have confirmed. Ding Junhui, who is currently in Beijing, is ‘highly unlikely’ to be able to play, according to a report. This lifts Maguire into 8th place,

    • I don’t think he complained about the measures, I’m sure he understands why they are necessary, but I was not surprised to hear that he struggled with being locked inside a room all day. It would be a big shame about Ding and a cause to worry about the chances for the international players at the World qualifiers if they go ahead

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