Jimmy Robertson and Stephen Maguire are into Winners’ Week of the 2022 BetVictor Championship League Snooker at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live.
Robertson’s Group 22 was one of the toughest groups of Stage 1 on paper with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Marco Fu, and Ian Martin all vying for a spot in Winners’ Week. Robertson got off to the best of starts as the former European Masters winner stroked off Martin 3-0 in under an hour before Un-Nooh got his first action of the season in a draw with Fu after taking an inital 2-1 lead including a break of 118.
The previous Snooker Shoot Out winner then went straight back on to beat Martin 3-1 thanks to breaks of 55, 69, and 51 to sit at the top of the group heading into the evening action.
Robertson came into the evening with eyes on wrapping up the group early doors but Fu had other ideas. Fu’s 95 in the first gave him the initial advantage before taking a 2-0 lead to put him right in the picture for progression. Robertson came back through thanks to a classy break of 133 before salvaging a point in the final frame to all but end Fu’s hopes and put himself level with Un-Nooh.
Martin beat Fu in a 3-0 win to secure third spot and prize money to leave a group decider between Robertson and Un-Nooh to determine the next player into the Last 32.
Robertson knew a point against Un-Nooh would put him into Winners’ Week whilst Un-Nooh needed to win due to the frame difference between the pair. It didn’t take Robertson too long to secure his spot in the next phase coming from 1-0 down to get the two frames required thanks to breaks of 45 and 66. The last frame was irrelevant by this point as Un-Nooh ensured he remained unbeaten despite not making it through the group.
“I was delighted. It was tough. Tough conditions with it being so hot. I knew I needed two frames at the end. I am delighted. It was massive to get the point against Marco (Fu). He didn’t look like he’d been away. I made the 133 and it was important to win the last frame. It was left in my own hands. I was a little bit rusty, it was a tough group. I am really happy to come through.” – Robertson speaking to David Hendon.
“I hope for similar and even better than last season. It was a consistent season last season. Hopefully I can kick on from this and win more matches this season,” added Robertson.
Over on Table 2, there was pedigree aplenty again as Stephen Maguire, Matthew Stevens, Mitchell Mann, and Si Jiahui did battle. After two matches, it was even after back-to-back draws but Si stole the march going into the break after beating former Masters winner Stevens 3-1. Stevens had taken the 1-0 lead before Si came back with several short breaks to get it over the line.
The evening began with another draw to keep things open this time between Maguire and Mann. Mann followed that up with a further draw with Si which put the latter top of the group on five points from three. Si was left to wait for his fate to be decided, Maguire needed a 3-0 win to top the group whilst 3-1 would see him top the group as long as he took the high break (93) from Si.
Maguire was aware of the equation to secure top spot and he took the opening two in a tight opening exchange, 56-32 and 69-41 respectively. The final frame was far from plain sailing though, Maguire on the winning break got the wrong side of the blue and made contact with the yellow to leave him in a tough position to make the next red to push him closer to the line. The Scotsman was gutsy though and he made the red from distance before potting the black to secure a 3-0 win.
Group 20 headlines Table 1 tomorrow live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live with Zhou Yuelong, Mark King, Chang Bingyu, and Fergal O’Brien with Group 18 live on YouTube from midday with Matthew Selt, Dominic Dale, Daniel Wells, and Duane Jones.