The last day of the first “slice” of the 2020/21 season Champonship League Snooker saw Mark Selby and Jamie O’Neill progress to the next stage.
Mark Selby took advantage of a Lyu Haitian miss in the final frame of their group decider to earn a draw and advance to Stage Two of BetVictor Championship League Snooker, while Jamie O’Neill also advanced in the final frame of his group.
After 3-1 wins over Fergal O’Brien and Brandon Sargeant, Selby had six points and needed just a point in the last match against Lyu, who had beaten O’Brien but drawn against Sargeant.
The Chinese player took a 2-0 lead, leaving Selby all to do, before he halved the deficit in the third frame. Lyu, though, looked set to clear for the win in the fourth and deciding frame, until he missed a simple red and the three-time World Champion cleared for the match and top spot in the group.
“I didn’t play fantastic throughout the day; I probably played my best at 2-0 down,” said Selby. “It’s a tough format, cut throat, and in best of four frame matches you can lose to anybody, it doesn’t matter what standard it is. It’s just a matter of getting through, so I’m happy to win the group.
“Lyu had a couple of chances to beat me 3-0 and again to beat me 3-1, so he’ll be disappointed there because he’ll feel he lost it rather than me won it, but he gave me a chances and all I can do is pick up the pieces, which I did.”
On table two, O’Neill also went through in the final frame, beating Sean Maddocks 3-1. Ahead of the match Maddocks needed just a draw, but at 1-1 O’Neill won a clutch frame on the pink and then took the final frame to advance.
Earlier, O’Neill had beaten amateur Daniel Wormesely, who would go on to beat group seed Michael Holt, who Maddocks had also beaten.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker will return on Monday, September 28 for the second half of Stage One. Coverage of both tables will be available at Matchroom.Live, with UK television coverage on Freesports.
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Jamie O’Neill 3 2 0 1 6 4 2 6 Sean Maddocks 3 1 1 1 6 5 1 4 Daniel Womersley 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4 Michael Holt 3 1 0 2 4 6 -2 3
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Mark Selby 3 2 1 0 8 4 4 7 Lyu Haotian 3 1 2 0 7 4 3 5 Brandon Sargeant 3 0 2 1 5 7 -2 2 Fergal O’Brien 3 0 1 2 3 8 -5 1
It wasn’t an easy passage for Mark Selby who, as himself assessed, was far from his best.
Lyu Haotian could and probably should have won the group. However he started slowly, didn’t play well at all against Brandon Sargeant, only finding some form in the last frame to secure the draw. He was probably helped by the fact that he then stayed at the table, and carried on, totally dominating Fergal O’Brien, and scoring well. Against Mark Selby, I think that pressure and anxiety got at him, unfortunately. Will the scars of his first disastrous experience on tour ever heal?
In the other group, Michael Holt’s “performance” surprised me. Actually, he looked frustrated right from the start, as Sean Maddocks was considering his options for quite some time. Sean definitely did speed up afterwards, and we should not forget that this was his first ever match as a professional, a match he ended up winning by 3-0. If anything, Sean didn’t score heavily enough. He had only one 50+ break and, ironically, it came in the only match he lost.
Daniel Womersley, who replaced Anthony Hamilton, got ￡1000 for his efforts, and a lot of praise on social media for the best “jazzy” outfit in the competition so far.
As for the surprise group winner, Jamie O’Neill, he’s been around for years, can be very dangerous on his day, but never showed the consistency to breakthrough.