Invitational February 10th, 2024

John Higgins scored a 13th career maximum break in Group Five of the BetVictor Championship League Snooker Invitational en-route to reaching March’s Winners’ Group.

The Wizard of Wishaw, who joined the competition earlier in the week, came back from two-frames down in a final encounter with Ricky Walden to take the winner’s prize in Group Five.

Barry Hawkins had been the star of the group stage, winning all six of his matches to sit clear at the top of the table, having qualified for the play-offs on Friday evening.

The Hawk’s run came to an end at the hands of Walden, who secured his playoff place in a repeat 3-2 defeat to John Higgins, by virtue of Frames Won ahead of Kyren Wilson.

It was a week to forget to Joe Perry, who’s only win came in his last fixture against Wilson. Dave Gilbert also heads home after two victories, but his loss to the Warrior Wilson means the head-to-head record is forced into effect.

For Higgins, having joined the tournament on Monday in Group three, the week has presented much needed practice ahead of a busy end to the season.

“I played some good stuff earlier on in the week but felt like I was beginning to wilt in the last day, he said. “It’s been a long six days, so I’m delighted to come through this group.

“I got very lucky at the end against Ricky. I got some big pieces of lucky which is what you need in a Best of 5.”

In making a 13th 147, the Wizard of Wishaw officially became the oldest player to make a maximum break in a professional tournament, beating Mark Williams’ record.

“I felt good throughout the whole break and fancied getting it from the get go,” he added. “It’s always a good feeling when that happens.

“I’ve done well in this event before and it’s been good practice to get ready for the Welsh Open and hopefully the Players’ Championship. That was the aim coming down here – to get some match practice.”

Ali Carter will re-enter the competition having been replaced earlier in the week by Higgins, with Hossein Vafaei and Jack Lisowski entering the tournament in Group Six. They’ll be joined by runner-up Walden, Kyren Wilson, Fan Zhengyi and Barry Hawkins from Monday 26th February.

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