Ryan Day and Harvey Chandler both triumphed in winner-takes-all final group matches to book their place in the next stage of Matchroom.Live Championship League.
Day beat Kyren Wilson 3-1 on table one to top Group 12, while Chandler recorded the same result against Sam Baird in the decisive fixture of Group 4 on table two.
Immediately prior to the start of the day’s opening match, Alfie Burden took a knee to express his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. “It was very important,” he said after the match. “I stand behind the fight against racism. It’s a disgraceful thing, the well-documented death of George Floyd in America.”
On table one, Group 12 went down to the very final frame between Day and Wilson. Both had already drawn 2-2 with Chen Feilong and beaten Burden 3-0, meaning the winner of the final round-robin match would advance. In the event of a draw, Kyren Wilson held the highest break of the pair ahead of the match, an 88 made against Burden.
Day took the first two frames, and a 91 break in the second saw him seize the advantage in the case of a draw. However, in the very next frame Wilson bettered the 91 with a 111, meaning a 2-2 tie would see the Kettering man through; the fourth frame was a straight shoot-out for progression.
Though Wilson was the first to make a colour, it was Day who had the first chance to build a meaningful break, and he took it with an 86 to win 3-1 and secure progression to the next phase, where he’ll join Judd Trump and David Gilbert and the winner of Group 7 in Group Winners’ Phase Group B.
“It was a nice break to win it,” said Day. “There were a couple of shots early doors which really opened the balls nicely and it’s a matter of holding yourself together then.
“It looked like it was going to come down to that last game all day long really, and when we were both concentrating and wanting to get through the group you probably saw the best match of the day.
“Kyren made a fantastic break, it is a strange situation to get through with a high break; when Kyren left me a chance in the third frame I wasn’t thinking about winning the match I was thinking about taking five or six reds off the table to stop him getting past 91. In the end it came down to the deciding frame and luckily, I held myself together and got over the line.
“For an event to be played on ITV, with no crowd and all the precautions that are in place, I think I speak for all the players who have played so far, there has been a tremendous amount of work that has gone on to getting this on and it is very professionally run.”
It was a similar story on table two, where Group 4’s top seeds Joe Perry and Mark King were already out when Baird and Chandler headed to the baize for the sixth and final group match. They both began the match on four points and with equal net-frame difference having each drawn with Perry and defeated Mark King 3-1.
Baird had the highest break of the group, an 86, meaning he would progress with a draw unless that break was bettered. It was Chandler who took the first frame before Baird drew level. In the third, Chandler seized control of the situation with a calm 101 clearance under immense pressure. That meant Baird would have to win the final frame, and match Chandler’s 101 in the process, in order to progress.
However, it wasn’t to be for the Devon potter as his opponent took the final frame to win 3-1 and top the group.
Matchroom.Live Championship League continues on Thursday with Mark Selby, Liang Wenbo, Joe O’Connor and Lee Walker in Group 5 action on table one. Gary Wilson, Gerard Grene, John Astley and Mitchell Mann feature on table two in Group 14.
Live scoring can be found at www.wst.tv. Group fixtures, results, standings and details of how to watch can be found at https://championshipleaguesnooker.co.uk/.