Mark Selby secured his passage into the Championship League Snooker Invitational Winners’ Group in Leicester, defeating defending champion John Higgins on a day Kyren Wilson marked his own piece of history.
Four-time world champion Selby ran out a 3-0 winner against the Wizard of Wishaw, with a high break of 123 helping take him to March’s Winner’s group alongside Stuart Bingham and Chris Wakelin.
Higgins, who was previously scheduled to join the competition in Group 6, was a late replacement for Ali Carter following a deep run at the German Masters, didn’t show any signs of rust across the two days in topping the group table with four victories in six matches.
In topping the group, he faced a buoyant Neil Robertson, who arrived in the final four motivated after sending Scottish Open champion Gary Wilson home from the competition. The Thunder from Down Under however waned against Scotsman Higgins who reserved his spot in the final with a 3-0 win.
Selby’s road to the final was set against Kyren Wilson, who earned 3rd position in the group with a win over Leicester’s finest in their final group fixture. Wilson, who earlier in the day had secured a 5th career maximum break, and in turn Snooker’s 197th 147, continued to display his impressive form across all three groups at this year’s Championship League Snooker Invitational.
But the Jester proved two strong, motivated by the desire to reach Winners’ Group back in his home city across the opening weekend in March. After falling to defeat four weeks ago in the Group 2 final to Chris Wakelin, 40-year-old Selby’s wins against Wilson and Higgins sees him into a chance at silverware.
“I felt like over the two days I’ve played, scored well when I’ve taken my chances. The Championship League is great practice – I feel like I’ve been struggling lately to get results. To have a lot of matches, even though it’s a short format, it keeps you on tour toes.
“Even if I hadn’t have won the group, I wouldn’t have been too disappointed as we’d have had another couple of days, but it’s nice to get to the Winners’ Group.”
Group 4 gets underway from 11am on Wednesday, with Barry Hawkins, Ricky Walden and Jimmy Robertson joining the competition. Fans are able to view the action on Matchroom.live in the United Kingdom.