Ali Carter and Pang Junxu won their respective groups to reach Winners’ Week of the 2022 BetVictor Championship League Snooker at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live around the world.
Carter was in imperious form as the Championship League Snooker stalwart got down to things with a rapid 3-0 victory over Robbie McGuigan thanks to three breaks of 50 and above including 63 in the last to take all three points. The nearest competition for Carter came from the breakthrough star of last season, Wu Yize who started the day with victory over Louis Heathcote 3-1. Wu’s encounter with Heathcote being a heavy scoring one thanks to a century break from the latter in the opener before Wu came back with 74 in the second. The Chinese cueist rallied from there for maximum points.
McGuigan had a no fear attitude to the group, and it showed in his contest with Wu at the end of the afternoon session. No shot was off the table for either player in the battle of the 18-year-olds and breaks of 77 and 54 saw Wu take a share of the points after McGuigan had led 2-1.
Into the evening session and Carter returned to dispatch another opponent 3-0, this time Heathcote. Carter made 55 in the first before a closer second frame which he edged before finishing the job to all but secure passage to the next stage with 65 in the third.
The Captain knew he needed just a point against Wu who he led by two points thanks to the two earlier wins. The Essex man got what was needed early on with 70 in the first before a fantastic 120 from Wu brought the pair level. Carter’s efforts were rewarded in the third thanks to a break of 50 to take him over the line and secure top spot in the group. Wu did take the last frame but it wasn’t enough with his fate already set.
Carter: “Really good. Two good performances early on today. It’s a long day. I felt a bit tired in the last match. What a great player Wu is. He hits the ball well. He’s just a kid running around potting everything. It’s pleasing to get through and its job done. It’s such a big event now. It’s the first event of the season and David Gilbert won it last year and it got him in everything. It’s a great opportunity to get the season off to a good start.”
Over on Table 2, Ryan Day led proceedings alongside Pang Junxu, Reanne Evans, and Dylan Emery in Group 25. Day started out with 125 in the opener before taking the second in quick time to lead 2-0 but compatriot Emery fought back to take the point and keep the group open early on.
Pang was heavy scoring in his assault on the group and it started out with three points over Evans having gone 1-0 down. The youngster made 81 in the second frame and closed it out with 108 to seal three points and move top of the table. A further three points soon followed over Emery with solid breaks of 136 and 137 to signal his intentions to the rest of the group.
Day got his first three points on the board over Evans to keep hopes alive all be it a tall order thanks to Pang’s opening two wins, but it did mean there would be a group decider with the seed number two to close out the session. Emery drew with Evans in the meantime to take third leaving Pang and Day to fight it out for first and second respectively.
When it came down to it, a point was going to be enough for Pang and he took the opening frame with 53 but Day hit back to win the following two to be one away. In the end, Pang did come good though with a 63 in the final frame to seal his passage.
Group 11 headlines Table 1 on Monday, 18 July live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live with Stuart Bingham, Cao Yupeng, Peter Lines, and Peter Devlin with Group 14 live on YouTube from midday with Hossein Vafaei, Tian Pengfei, On Yee Ng, and Ryan Thomerson.