The highest seeds progressed in both group yesterday: Ryan Day had it easy, Stuart Bingham had to battle to the last frame. Here is WST report:
Bingham And Day Top Groups
Stuart Bingham and Ryan Day rounded up week two of BetVictor Championship League Snooker action at the Morningside Arena in Leicester as group winners.
Bingham’s passage to the next stage started in the first match of the afternoon session where he shared the points with an inspired Michael White after a 2-2 draw.
White meanwhile was going about his business swiftly with a 3-1 victory over Elliot Slessor, including his second century of the day, to have four points from two matches.
The pressure was soon on Bingham to perform in his second match of the day against Gao Yang and that’s exactly what he did with a 3-0 victory, which included a clearance of 134. That topped the group’s previous high break of 112 set by White.
A win was paramount for White in his last encounter of the day to apply the pressure on Bingham and he delivered one after going into an initial 2-0 lead over Gao. Eventually sealing things at 3-1 after a scrappy final frame where it looked like it could’ve got away from the 2017 Paul Hunter Classic winner.
Bingham went into his match with Slessor knowing any form of victory would do with the high break already in his pocket. He won the opening frame, before being pulled back to 1-1. An effortless clearance of 116 in the third frame by Bingham set things up finely poised for the last where the Essex cueman did what was required after a moment where it seemed Slessor may take a point.
Bingham said: “A hard day for me today, my nan passed away at the beginning of the month and her funeral was today. It’s been a tough day, seeing all the family at the wake after, it was tough to get my head around it. Obviously in the end I got the job done. This is for my nan.”
“It probably relaxed me a bit more, I sort of thought, what’s the worst that can happen I can get beat. Obviously, I wanted to win it for my nan. So, it probably relaxed me a bit more and I got the job done…Thankfully I held myself together and I got the job done.”
Day’s progression to the next stage was far more straightforward after back-to-back wins over Barry Pinches and compatriot Jackson Page to be top on six points and three clear ahead of the evening session.
The Welshman knew a point would be enough in his final match to seal the top spot and Day did just that against Hossein Vafaei to finish the day, three points clear of Page.
Day felt if he performed like he did today, he could go far: “A bit surprising really. I haven’t had too much time to get practice in, the weather’s been too good to be stuck indoors playing snooker. I thought I played really two good matches, I felt really sharp straightaway. I’m really pleased.”
“From now, I will probably be spending more time on the practice table. I don’t know whether if that’s going to be a good or bad thing. Sometimes a break is as good as anything. I think the break I’ve taken this summer is as long as I can remember. Probably the longest time I’ve had away from playing in probably my whole career. Maybe there’s something in it.”
BetVictor Championship League Snooker returns on Monday with Joe Perry and Jimmy White in Group 4 with Jimmy Robertson and Shaun Maddocks on Table 1. Table 2 sees Stephen Maguire headline with Sunny Akani, Ashley Hugil, and John Astley.
Michael White did play well yesterday and it all came down to the frame difference between him and Stuart Bingham. This season, Michael will probably play in all events, and, if he sustains a good standard, he could well regain his tour card via the one year list and avoid the Q-School.
Gao Yang showed very good things as well. He’s only 16.
I was really in two minds watching the last match of the day between Stuart Bingham and Elliot Slessor. Whilst watching, I had no idea about Stuart’s beravement and I wanted to see Michael White top the group. Michael belongs to the main tour and progressing to stage 2 would have helped his cause. On the other hand, I didn’t want to see Elliot Slessor take the third place, leaving Gao Yang with nothing to show for his efforts. Elliot’s attitude was very poor yesterday, particularly during the first session. Ok, the table conditions were bad, very bad; they have been from the start, especially on table 1, but they are the same for all players. I have seen other players getting frustrated this week and the previous week, but they continued to try their best. During the afternoon session Elliot was a picture of angry sulking frustration. During the inter-session he complained on Facebook, saying that the conditions were terrible, that it had destroyed his confidence right from the first shots and that he wanted out of there. To be fair to him, he did try his best in the evening, and he took a frame from Stuart, but he deserved to be last.