Clarke And Murphy Progress
Jamie Clarke and Shaun Murphy are the latest two players to book their places in winners’ week at the BetVictor Championship League in Leicester, topping groups two and seven respectively.
Clarke was made to work hard for his first victory, but ultimately did enough with breaks of 50 and 62 helping to register a 3-0 whitewash against Sean O’Sullivan.
The Welshman could only manage a point against China’s Peng Yisong in his next match, leaving a group decider against Judd Trump. Clarke headed into it needing just a point against the 2019 World Champion, with Trump chasing a victory.
Clarke was able to hold off the usually dominant Trump, a hard-fought third frame went the way of Clarke thanks to a fluked red. Trump took the last, but a 2-2 draw was enough for Clarke to top the group.
Speaking with Dave Hendon afterwards, he said: “I feel really good, obviously when you’ve got Judd [Trump] and a couple of other good players in your group, you know it is going to be difficult.
“Preparation has been good, I’ve had about five or six sessions in the past ten days, I came to Leicester yesterday and had a game against Joe O’Connor too. I wasn’t playing my best but I’m just glad to get through.
“I’m 49th on the rankings at the start of this year, I’ve not got any real aims this season other than to win as many games as possible and go as deep at events as I can, and who knows; maybe even win a tournament.”
Murphy had a tough start to his day and required the final frame to secure a 2-2 draw against the impressive Ben Mertens.
The Magician showed his class in his next match against China’s Xu Si. He recorded a 3-0 victory, which was capped off with a century break of 109 to set up a must-win match against Liam Highfield.
Murphy romped to victory over Highfield, a 3-0 win with breaks of 45, 144, and 103 was more than enough to book his place in winners’ week.
and the table
Once again the report seems to focus mainly on the UK/Irish players. Yes, it mentions that Ben Mertens was impressive. Yes, he was. Ben, like Shaun was undefeated in the group and their match ended in a draw. Ben is only 17, he just booked his place on the tour whilst Shaun is a triple crown winner, a pro since 1998, seven years before Ben was even born, and, yet, the group was only decided on their frame difference… Doesn’t that deserve better than a short mention?
As for group 2 … Jamie Clarke was the deserving winner. Judd Trump was far from his best. Sean O’Sullivan struggled badly in the morning and appeared to be in pain when walking around the table. Peng Ysong ended up last in the group but he showed some very nice things. He managed a draw against both Jamie Clarke and Judd Trump. That’s no mean feat for a rookie who just arrived from China. Obviously he lacks experience and will need to work on the tactical side of the game, but he certainly has potential. Let’s hope that the brutal ranking system doesn’t crush him.
Today we have Group 16 with Dave Gilbert, Joe O’Connor, Zak Surety, and Florian Nuessle and Group 19 with Jordan Brown, Jimmy White, Mark Davis, and Ross Muir. You would expect Gilbert and Brown to top their respective groups. David Gilbert is the defending champion, he will likely come here well prepared.