News June 20th, 2024

Scott Donaldson and Hossein Vafaei remained undefeated as they topped their respective groups at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker, Mattioli Arena, Leicester.


In a group that saw the return of newly crowned world champion Kyren Wilson, and former winner of the Championship League, Donaldson got off to the perfect start with a 3-0 whitewash over Thailand’s Baipat Siripaporn with breaks of 68 and 48.

The Scottish potter then faced Daniel Womersley in his second match of the day, and once again emerged the victor, this time with a scoreline of 3-1. A break of 61 in the second frame the highlight of the match.

It set up a group decider against The Warrior in the final match of the evening, with Wilson needing a win to top the group, and Donaldson requiring just a point.

What unfolded turned out to be arguably the match of the group, with Wilson taking the first thanks to a break of 79 before Donaldson responded with an 88 to level.

Wilson got in first in a must-win frame for the world champ, but breaking down on 28 before the Scot stepped up and cleared the table with a fantastic 101, securing group qualification in the process. Wilson wrapped up the day with a 111 in the fourth and final frame of the day to share the points with the group one topper.

On table two, group 14′ top seed Hossein Vafaei cruised to stage two qualification dropping just a single frame across his three matches of the new snooker season.

The Iranian star opened his campaign with a 3-0 win over Joshua Mulholland, a break of 89 in the first frame the highest of the match.

Vafaei then faced Baipat Siripaporn’s boyfriend Manasawin Phetmalaikul in his second match, and completed the 3-1 victory with breaks of 64, 43, and 42.

Taking on the number two seed of group 14, Louis Heathctoe, in the deciding match, the world number 21 needed just a draw whereas Heathcote needed all three points on offer to qualify.

Vafaei made quick work of Heathcote, completing a 3-0 whitewash victory in little over 30 minutes with breaks of 59 and 50 enough to get the job done.

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 tomorrow (21st June), with German Masters finalist Si Jiahui and 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham entering as top seeds of their respective groups 13 and 18. For details on how to watch, click here.

(Photo by Zheng Zhai)

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