We are midway through the first stage of the 2022 ranking CLS and this is what happened yesterday as shared by WST:
Woollaston Knocks Out Selby
Ben Woollaston and Elliot Slessor are the latest two players into winners’ week of BetVictor Championship League Snooker, topping Groups Three and 23 respectively at the Morningside Arena, Leicester.
Woollaston kicked his season off in fine fashion, beating China’s Zhang Jiankang 3-0 with breaks of 50, 44, 49, and 67. The Leicester potter then followed up with his second 3-0 victory of the group, against James Cahill with a top break of 91.
Group Three’s conclusion came down to the local derby between Woollaston and four-time World Champion Mark Selby, with Woollaston needing just a point against the Jester to book his place in winners’ week.
Woollaston made a superb 68 clearance to steal the opening frame on the black, before Selby levelled at 1-1. Another fine clearance, 78, put Woollaston 2-1 ahead and secured the group-winning frame he needed. And he finished in style with a run of 127 to complete a 3-1 success.
“I played really well, surprisingly,” said Woollaston. “I knew the last match was going to be difficult going up against Mark, he only missed one ball all game, but I managed to play well too.
“I just tried to get on with it when I had chances and clear up. I’ve not played much in the off-season, I’ve played for about two weeks for one or two hours a day, so it was a surprise to be as sharp as I was out there. I’d love to get back into the top 32 again this season, and the aim every season is to win a title.”
Slessor fought through a tough group consisting of Welsh Open champion Joe Perry, Andrew Higginson, and Lukas Kleckers to book his spot in winners’ week.
A 3-1 win over Kleckers got Slessor up and running, and he then made breaks of 67 and 79 in a 2-2 draw with Higginson. The final match of the group between Slessor and Perry was to be the decider.
Perry won the opener then Slessor went 2-1 up, setting up a sudden death final frame. In a fragmented battle, a break of 37 proved crucial for Slessor as it gave him the victory he needed to book his place in winners’ week.
And here is the table:
Group 3 was very much a “three men” affair” as Zhang Jiankang was badly out of sorts and only won one frame all day. Mark Selby and Ben Woollaston, the local boys, both played well. Ben impresssed me because he truly went for his shots all day. He’s good to watch and I hope that he can eventually win a ranking event. He came close in 2015 when he reached the Welsh Open final. He was beaten heavily by John Higgins (9-3) and maybe it affected him because he went missing after that defeat.
Group 23 also was a “three men affair”. Lukas Kleckers wasn’t at the races at all yesterday but there was very little between the three others. I’m glad that Andrew Higginson got something positive out of his day, coming second. He’s too good not to be on the tour.