News June 19th, 2024

Alexander Ursenbacher and David Lilley remained undefeated as they topped their respective groups at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker, Mattioli Arena, Leicester.


Swiss potter Alexander Ursenbacher started his 2024/25 snooker campaign as the number three seed in group 26, facing 2006 world champion Graeme Dott in their season opener.

The points were shared in a thrilling 2-2 draw, the highlight of the day coming in the second frame when Ursenbacher made a remarkable 121 total clearance, after Dott had missed an earlier brown.

The world number 108 then faced top seed Matt Selt in his second match of the day, and once again the points were shared in the group’s fourth successive 2-2 draw. Selt, looking for his first win of the day, could have snatched the group high break from Ursenbacher in the third frame had he not missed the final red at 110.

Draws were not just the theme of the day at the snooker, as Ursenbacher’s Switzerland also played out a 1-1 draw against Scotland in the European Championship.

Looking to break that trend in his final match, the Swiss snooker star managed to dispatch close friend Florian Nuessle 3-0 to move into the driving seat for group qualification, with Matt Selt and Graeme Dott still able to qualify with victories and a high break of 122 in their final match.

The pair, however, played out a 2-2 draw, not before Dott missed a routine yellow off the spot at 106 to go 2-0 up, meaning qualification for the Scot if he had got down to the pink and won one more frame. Selt knocked in a 119 break in the fourth and final frame to confirm Ursenbacher’s spot at the top of group 26.

Elsewhere on table two, former World Seniors Champion David Lilley cruised to the qualification in group 27, dropping just one frame across all three of his matches on his opening day of the 2024/25 season.

The Pride of the Tyne took down Liam Graham 3-0 in his opener with a match-high break of 85 in the second frame.

Lilley then followed up with his second 3-0 whitewash win of the day, this time coming against Paul Deaville with breaks of 49, 53, and 48.

Taking on Yuan Sijun in the group decider in the final match of the evening, a must-win match was needed for the Chinese player whereas Lilley required just a point. However, Lilley went one better and defeated the world number 38 3-1, a match-high break of 82 coming in the third frame to confirm his place at the top of group 27.

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 (20th June), with newly crowned world champion Kyren Wilson set to open his new campaign in group one. For details on how to watch, click here.

(Photo by Zheng Zhai)

Watch Live at Matchroom.Live

sign up now
Matchroom Live