Kyren Wilson defense of the title is still on after he came out the winner of his group yesterday. In the other group, the final match that decided the winner featured two amateurs: Bai Langning from China, still a teenager, and the reigning World Snooker Seniors Champion David Lilley. Bai prevailed.
Wilson And Bai Make Finals Day
Kyren Wilson and Bai Langning became the penultimate players into Finals Day of the BetVictor Championship League Snooker.
Wilson came through a tricky group with Matthew Stevens, Ken Doherty, and Oliver Lines to set up Group 1 alongside Bai and the winners of Groups A and B tomorrow.
The reigning champion began his day against Doherty, who he faced in the Finals Day group last time on his way to victory. It was the same story as last time, with three points for the Kettering man with the best break coming in the last frame (92). A 2-2 draw between Stevens and Lines in the next encounter kept Wilson in pole position before Doherty beat Stevens 3-1.
Those afternoon session results meant Wilson could secure the group with a win over Lines in the opening match of the evening and he delivered just that in a solid showing. Wilson secured a 3-1 win to seal his second victory of the day and secure top spot.
Lines went back out against Doherty taking all the points in a 3-0 display to take the second spot in the group and £3,000.
Wilson lost out in his last encounter 3-0 to Stevens and he was full of praise for his opponent: “It was nice to actually see with nothing being on the line how well Matthew played. Because growing up he was one of the ones at the top of the game, he was one of the flair players and I always enjoyed watching him.
On a hat-trick of CLS titles: “I don’t know what it is. It’s just very laid back. The lads have a bit of a laugh backstage. You chat to the commentators; you get fed well. I enjoy the laid back atmosphere of the event.
“I haven’t felt comfortable at all, it’s the first tournament of the season. I’ve not really put the work In I’d like to. I’ve got a young family. For me, it’s a nice bonus to still be in this tournament.”
“It would be lovely; I don’t think it’s been done before. Any sort of record in snooker nowadays is nice to have.”
Bai meanwhile came through a group of David Lilley, Mark Davis, and Noppon Saengkham to book his place in the final eight.
The 19-year-old started with a draw against Saengkham whilst Lilley beat Davis before losing out to Saengkham meaning there was work to do for Bai.
China’s Bai beat Davis 3-0 to start the evening session on table two and that proved to stoke the fire after Davis then went on to beat Saengkham.
Those set of results meant it was simple for Bai in the final game. A win or draw against Lilley would take him into the next stage whilst a loss would send the World Seniors champion into Finals Day. Breaks of 88 and 92 in the middle two frames were decisive in the end for Bai, after Lilley had taken the opener to give himself that chance of qualification. The points were shared, and Bai topped Group C on five points from three matches.
Whilst the focus on the defending champion is natural, it’s a bit of a shame that WST didn’t mention in any way what an extraordinary few months Bai has got. Having spend the whole past season in China, he came back for the World Qualifiers and reached Judgement day, He then entered Q-School and, despite not qualifying, he placed himself well enough to be invited to most events this season, and now, he’s in the final day of the first event of this season!