The 2021 Championship League Snooker Group 1 was the first Main Tour event of the new year. It was played in Milton Keynes, under strict social distancing rules.
The group was won by Zhou Yuelong, who beat John Higgins in the group final.
Here are the reports by WST:
Day 1 – Monday – January 4, 2021
Higgins In Control Of Group One
John Higgins ensured himself a place in the Group One play-offs at BetVictor Championship League Snooker by winning all four of his group matches on Monday at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.
The Scot made a strong start on the opening day of the invitational event, which is broadcast on Freesports in the UK, Zhibo.tv in China and on Matchroom.Live, among other international broadcasters.
Stuart Bingham made his eighth career 147 in beating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 3-0. The former Championship League winner sits second table in the table having played three matches.
Graeme Dott occupies third having also won two of three matches played, with Gary Wilson also on two wins but having played four times.
Day 2 – Tuesday – January 5, 2021
Zhou Progresses In BetVictor Championship League
Zhou Yuelong beat John Higgins 3-2 in the Group One final at BetVictor Championship League Snooker to become the first player through to March’s big-money Winners’ Group.
Higgins took a 1-0 lead over Zhou in the best-of-five final at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, before the young Chinese talent took the next two frames to move within one of victory. Higgins levelled, but a 131 break in the decider means it will be Zhou who returns for Winners’ Group on March 31.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker is an invitational event which is broadcast on Freesports in the UK, Zhibo.tv in China and on Matchroom.Live, among other international broadcasters.
“It is a nice to start the New Year as the first group winner,” said Zhou, who accumulated prize money of £6,400 during the group. “I played great over the two days. Three years ago I first played the Championship League and I won the first group then too.
“The last frame was perfect. John Higgins is an idol, so I enjoyed playing him. I played him twice today and for me I can learn many things from him.”
Earlier, Higgins had beaten Graeme Dott in his play-off semi-final match, having topped the round-robin group table with five wins. Zhou had defeated Stuart Bingham 3-0 in his play-off semi-final.
Gary Wilson will join Dott, Bingham and Higgins in Group 2 having finished fifth in Group One, where they will be joined by newcomers Kyren Wilson, Scott Donaldson and Matthew Selt on Wednesday. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Michael Holt have been eliminated from the event having finished sixth and seventh respectively in the group.
Here his Stuart Bingham’s 147
Thepchaiya Un-nooh had made a century, a 107, in the very first professional frame of 2021. He couldn’t really follow that up though, as he finished 6th of the group.
All detailed results are available on snooker.org
3 thoughts on “2021 Championship League Snooker – Group 1”
Yes, it’s nice to see a shift in the reporting style. A couple of months ago, the headline would have been ‘Higgins loses in final of CL Group 1’. Now they are mentioning the winner’s name, and WST continue their decent record of interviewing Zhou Yuelong, although I’m not keen on the rather convoluted questions (journalists liking their own voice!) – they will help to keep things simple!
It’s a very problematic competition, because of the opportunities for more practice, and more money, by losing the play-off and continuing. John Higgins does have the problem of travelling up and down the country between this and the Masters, so he almost certainly won’t want to play 3 successive groups and then spent just 2 days in Scotland.
Dominic Dale revealed that he was the reserve player, thereby making use of commentators whilst they are there. It’s quite interesting to know the policy of CL selection, and also of other tournaments when there is always the possibility of covid test results.
On the other hand, Higgins might decide that it’s not worth it to go back to Scotland, hence wanting as much practice (and money) as he can possibly get ahead of the Masters. Anything is possible really.
That would mean over 100 frames of snooker in 6 days this week, 3 days’ gap (in isolation) before his Masters 1st round on Wednesday, with a potential Q-final on Friday. It’s a lot of snooker, gaps and time away from home. I’m sure his ideal schedule would be to win Group 2.
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