Cao Yupeng and Sam Craigie have progressed to the final day of the BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on Viaplay Xtra in the UK, Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, Poland, and broadcasters worldwide including Matchroom.Live.
Judd Trump, Joe Perry, and Matthew Stevens all stood in Cao’s way of progression but did enough, in the end, to move through to tomorrow’s final day. Trump and Stevens faced off in the opening match of the session in a high-scoring affair that saw Trump take it in the end with two centuries along the way 3-1.
Cao put on a strong showing to progress through the opening stage including a tournament high break of 145 and he continued that momentum to start phase two with the Chinese cueist dismantling Perry 3-0 with a 141 and 59 for the heavy scorer. Those results made it clear it would be a straight fight between Cao and Trump for top spot and they met to close the afternoon session in what proved to be an entertaining 2-2 affair.
There was a string of draws to open the evening session as Perry and Stevens shared the spoils before Cao made it five points overall after levelling with Stevens who fought from behind with a break of 82 to close.
In the final action of the day, Trump knew a victory was required to topple Cao from the top of the standings with the draw not enough to sneak through on high break. Trump set out with an opening 119 to lead Perry 1-0. Trump then stepped up for a 2-0 lead. In the third frame, it looked like Trump would get the job done with just the last red needed for the frame and match but an uncharacteristic miss left Perry at the table to clear up for 2-1 and Cao’s hopes were still alive. Trump got to the table 40 behind Perry and he stepped up with the balls lying well but another missed red saw Perry come to the table to salvage a draw and send Cao through.
Cao said: “I am very happy, I had a good feeling about today. I tried to make myself play quickly and I was more relaxed out there so I managed to put some good breaks together. I was surprised when Judd missed the red, I knew I had to beat Matthew but I drew and from there, I watched on the games and I feel today may well be my lucky day. It would be a dream to win a ranking event. I want to get a title. I’ve never done it before and I hope this year is my season.”
In Group G, Craigie faced off with Jak Jones, Michael White, and tour debutant Zehuang Long and he made light work of White in his opening match 3-0 to set the early pace.
Jones and Zehuang shared an opening point each in a grueling affair before White made it tough for Jones to progress defeating his compatriot 3-1. Craigie started the evening session with a two all draw with Zehuang before it was the same scoreline for White and Zehuang. Those results left the picture clear with Jones still able to qualify if he could defeat Craigie 3-0 but any other result would see the latter progress. Craigie made two high-scoring visits in the opening frame to ensure his passage to the next stage. A quick second frame followed up and by then it was mission accomplished for Craigie.
Tomorrow sees the final day of the BetVictor Campionship League Snooker where Group 1’s Shaun Murphy, Robert Milkins, Xiao Guodong, and Chris Wakelin will battle out on Table 1 live on Viaplay Xtra in the UK, whilst Mark Williams, Noppon Saengkham, Cao and Craigie will all be looking to reach the first ranking event of the 2023/24 season.
After both groups complete tomorrow, the group winners will face off for the 2023 BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition final.
Watch BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition on Viaplay Xtra – FreeView in the UK and Ireland. Those in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland can watch live on Viaplay whilst Matchroom.Live is available to those without a broadcaster. See where to watch here.
The BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition carries a first prize of £33,000 and the winner also secures a spot in the 2023 Champion of Champions set to take place in Bolton from November 13-19 live on ITV.