Stuart Bingham and Xiao Guodong won Groups C and H respectively to move into the final day of the 2022 BetVictor Championship League Snooker at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, Matchroom.Live and networks worldwide.
Bingham came through early on against Ben Woollaston in a 3-0 win to set the tone for his day. The former World Champion taking the first in a scrappy opening frame before 68 and 72 sealed a comprehensive opening display. Jamie Jones had to settle for a two-all draw with Jordan Brown after going two up to keep the group wide open after Bingham’s opening win. Brown made back-to-back centuries to steal the point.
The afternoon was wrapped up by Woollaston defeating Brown to keep Bingham in pole position. Brown had taken the first but Woollaston came back with breaks of 85 and 100 to lead 2-1 before a steely clearance in the final frame from blue sealed all three points for the Leicester man.
Bingham began the evening with the picture pretty clear, another win and he was through thanks to the other results in the afternoon. Ball Run delivered just what was needed with 51 and 73 in the opening two before Jones took his only frame of the match to trail 2-1. In the end, Bingham was too strong for Jones as he made 59 to seal top spot in the group and his spot in Friday’s final day.
The day was complete by Bingham beating Brown 3-1, his best coming in the third frame with a break of 120.
Bingham: “It’s important to get off to a good start and the 3-0 over Ben put me in good stead for the rest of the group. I didn’t really put my cue down. The longest I put it down for was six days. I had a few exhibitions. I’ve hit the ground running. It’s a very good start. Getting through the European Masters and the next stage of this. I am taking it game by game. My game is getting stronger. I just need to relax and calm down and get a bit of confidence. I didn’t have the best of years last year. The world’s saved me.”
Xiao meanwhile had the tough task of toppling reigning champion David Gilbert, Robert Milkins, and Michael White. White was in the best position early on after beating Gilbert 3-1 early doors in a high-quality affair of four 50+ breaks including contributions of 70, 130, and 131 from White.
Milkins drew with Xiao in the second match of the day after the former had taken a 2-1 lead. The Milkman’s hopes of progression were firmly halted by White though who was on a mission in a 3-0 victory. White was sitting pretty at the top on six points going into the evening knowing a point could be enough in his final match of the day against Xiao.
Gilbert’s hopes of retaining the title were cut short with Xiao beating the Farmer 3-1 with a deciding 69 in the final frame. With that win, Xiao knew a win over White would hand him the title. White took the opener but it was his last meaningful contribution after Xiao made 78 in the second, 68, and then 32 and 66 to win it and move through.
Group A headlines Table 1 tomorrow live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ali Carter, Yuan Sijun, Pang Junxu with Group D live on YouTube from midday with Zhao Xintong, Mark Allen, Gary Wilson, Chang Bingyu.