Ranking June 25th, 2024

Jack Lisowski celebrated his 33rd birthday in style by securing passage into Stage 2 at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker, Mattioli Arena, Leicester. He Guoqiang also stunned seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in Group 2 to book his place in the latter stages.


Group 12

It was a birthday to remember for Jack Lisowski who remained unbeaten across the day in Leicester to book his spot in stage 2 at BetVictor Championship League Snooker Ranking.

Jackpot was in the groove early on Tuesday with a demolition job on Anton Kazakov, kicking things off with a break of 138 en route to sealing a 3-0 win in less than 45 minutes play. China’s Jiang Jun, marking a second appearance at BetVictor Champions League Snooker was next in Lisowski’s line of fire.

The 33-year-old would hit two centuries – breaks of 127 and 106 respectively – in a 3-1 win to put the group in his hands heading into the final match against Mark Davis. The Battler from Hastings was himself unbeaten heading into the group finale, having followed up on an opening 2-2 tie against Jiang with a 3-1 victory against Kazakov.

Lisowski’s form carried into the opening exchange of the match, taking a 2-0 lead to ultimately secure his fate. Second place, and a £2,000 consolation prize, was guaranteed for Davis but the 51 year old would finish his season opener with a momentum boost to tie level at 2-2.

Group 2

Seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan returned to Leicester as the top seed in Group 2. The Rocket flew out of the traps in the group opener, with breaks of 72, 53 & 53 seeing him past Kayden Brierley in 32 minutes – a harsh reality lesson for the debuting 22 year old.

It wasn’t plane sailing from then on though for O’Sullivan, pegged back in the second match against Birmingham’s Mitchell Mann. Frames were exchanged between the pair before O’Sullivan had a 2-1 lead, but in the decider, a tense exchange ended withMann potting the blue with two snooker’s required for O’Sullivan. With Mann taking a 3-1 win over China’s He Guoqiang, the Rocket would need to match or better Mann’s result to advance into stage three in the final game.

Mann would draw his final match 2-2 with Brierley, however is was He Guoqiang that would stun the group in the final match of the evening. The 23-year-old, facing 41-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan, produced three half-century breaks (80, 57 & 77) to record a notable 3-0 victory to top the group himself – relegating the Rocket to third place.

The Championship League is the first ranking event of the new season and was won last year by Shaun Murphy. The opening tournament of the season runs until July 3rd. In the first phase, 128 players are split into 32 groups of four, with those 32 group winners going through to the next round.

The tournament takes place over three stages, starting on Monday, 10 June. Winners’ Week will run from Friday 28, June concluding with Finals Day on Wednesday, 3 July. The eventual winner will also receive an invite into the 2023 Champion of Champions this November 11 to November 17 alongside the £20,000 first-place prize.

The action continues on Wednesday (26th June), which sees 2023 German Masters winner Ali Carter and world no. 23 Zhou Yuelong enter as the top seeds in groups 5 & 16 respectively. For details on how to watch, click here.

(Photo by Zheng Zhai)

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