Day 4 in Milton Keynes saw Matthew Selt and Shaun Murphy progress.
Shaun Murphy and Matthew Selt won their respective groups at BetVictor Championship League Snooker to progress to Stage Two, where they’ll join Zhou Yuelong and Dominic Dale in Group B.
Murphy met Martin O’Donnell in what was a group decider, although just a point was enough for the former World champion, while O’Donnell needed the win.
Both players had earlier beaten Jimmy White and tour rookie Peter Devlin, but Murphy had done it without dropping a frame, meaning he would finish ahead of O’Donnell should the final match be a 2-2 draw.
However, that didn’t come into it as Murphy saw out a 3-1 win to advance to the next phase of the tournament.
“I am pleased that my game seemed to be there today, I hit some really nice shots among some bad ones and I am through to the next phase,” said Murphy, who was visibly limping at the table during his matches.
“I suffer from Achilles tendonitis and it’s something which has flared up since lockdown. When it comes it is very, very sore and there’s not much I can do about it. I felt it flare up when I was practicing yesterday and tried to ice it as much as I could. It’s painful but we are so fortunate in these times to still have tournaments to come to that you have to just keep pushing on.
“I was chasing snookers in the last frame and didn’t know I was through at the time. I didn’t realise when he missed the pink in the last frame how important that was.”
On table two, Matt Selt took top spot in Group 8 with 3-1 wins over Gao Yang and Si Jiahui before drawing 2-2 with Ben Woollaston to confirm his place in the next phase.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker continues on Thursday with coverage of both tables available at Matchroom.Live.
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Matthew Selt 3 2 1 0 8 4 4 7 Si Jiahui 3 1 1 1 6 5 1 4 Gao Yang 3 0 2 1 5 7 -2 2 Ben Woollaston 3 0 1 1 4 7 -3 1
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Shaun Murphy 3 3 0 0 9 1 8 9 Martin O’Donnell 3 2 0 1 7 4 3 6 Jimmy White 3 0 1 2 3 8 -5 1 Peter Devlin 3 0 1 2 2 8 -6 1
Again, I only watched one table yesterday, table 2 where group 7 was competing.
For some reason, I found it rather hard to watch. There was little fluency. Matthew Selt played OK. Both young Chinese players showed great potting ability, but were lacking in all other aspects, especially Gao, which is entirely normal given that he’s only 16 and this was his first outing as a professional. Si Jiahui showed great resilience.
What happened to Ben Woollaston since his Welsh Open final in 2015 is hard to understand. I had some hope that he might be coming back when he made to the final Group in the 64 men CLS last June and nearly won it, but now here he is finishing last of the group, with one draw and two defeats. Maybe he just gave priority to spending time with his young family during the inter-season break and didn’t practice much? Still it’s worrying, especially as he also lost heavily in his first match in the World Championship qualifiers in July.
Also regarding Anthony Hamilton … here is the link to a very good interview with Phil Haigh
I picked those two excerpts – bold added by me
‘Obviously Matchroom and World Snooker are run by the same person [Barry Hearn] so it doesn’t make much sense to me,’ Hamilton told Metro.co.uk. ‘ I was down to play this Sunday in the Championship League then the Monday next week in the European Masters. In 24 hours the policy changes, within the same venue.
‘You’re not supposed to say anything about it, but it’s absolutely nuts, it doesn’t make any sense at all.’
The former German Masters champion has dismissed the suggestion that he was just out to win some prize money in qualifying, but is not surprised that the WST chairman saw it this way.
‘I fully expected it because we know what Barry’s like,’ Anthony said. ‘For him to be philosophical or phlegmatic about it would be the opposite of what he normally is.
‘I pulled out of the the World Championships before I knew I’d get any points or money and I thought I’d get a fine as well. At the time I probably thought it was 80% likely I’d not get the prize money, the points and I’d get a 500 quid fine on top, and despite that I thought it was the right decision to pull out.
‘I knew that there would be a crowd, but I foolishly, naively assumed that the safety measures would be more stringent. I assumed there might be a glass partition like in NHL, or maybe no one in the first six rows, something like that.
‘I only saw the seating plan on the day I was travelling to Sheffield for testing, that was the first time and that was the day I decided it was not safe. I got really anxious about it and just felt I had to do the right thing for me.
‘He [Hearn] made his mind up that that’s the way I was thinking but he’s just making his own news.
‘Come on, I haven’t been to the Crucible for 12 years, why wouldn’t I want to play? At 49 I may well not get back there again, it doesn’t make any sense. I’m doing alright for money, I’m not falling off the tour. If I didn’t want to play I wouldn’t have entered, I’m not that sort of guy.
‘But unfortunately for me Barry’s got all the platform to say this and that and I didn’t think it was worthwhile putting my point out there, you get in a tit-for-tat with him, you’ll come off second best.