Chris Wakelin and Mark Williams have reached the final day of the BetVictor Championship League Snooker by winning their respective groups during stage two at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on Viaplay Xtra in the UK, Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland and broadcasters worldwide.
Kyren Wilson headed into the group in fine fettle having come through the opening group in good shape and he continued on his way with back-to-back 3-0 wins over Sanderson Lam and Anthony Hamilton racking up his fifth century in four matches in the former to sit top of the standings heading into the evening session with some breathing space over closest rival Chris Wakelin who had won his opening match by the same scoreline over Hamilton.
Wakelin followed up his opening win with the first draw of the group with Lam leaving him with four points making it a clear-cut scenario if he was to top the group and Wilson still to come in the final match of the session. Hamilton took third in the standings after a 3-0 win over Lam leaving Wakelin and Wilson to close things up for the day.
Wilson knew he needed just a point to continue to the final day of action on Friday in a tournament he last won the Ranking Edition of in 2021 whilst Wakelin needed all three points to progress to the next stage at a venue where in January he claimed his first-ever ranking event title. Wakelin took the opener but Wilson hit back with a century in the second to level up at one apiece with one more required for his spot in the next phase. A stealthy break in the third put Wakelin in control before a brilliant clearance to black of 114 gave the Shoot Out winner a spot in the final eight.
Wakelin said: “It’s a tough format. You have to get results in every single game. It’s feasible that two wins and a draw aren’t enough in this format. Playing a good friend of mine in Kyren, and I have learned a lot from him but out on the match table you’re out there to win and finish with a century, there is no better way to win. Last year was a big breakthrough year for me, knowing that I did it in this very arena (win a ranking event) has given me the belief when the moment comes, like it has today, to go out there and do it against Kyren when it really matters, that’s where the experience from the shoot out has helped me grow.”
Williams’ passage through to the next stage was plain sailing through the morning with whitewash wins over Barry Pinches and Martin O’Donnell to start out the day with the latter salvaging a draw against Robbie Williams to complete the morning action.
In the evening session, Robbie beat Pinches 3-0 before O’Donnell compounded the misery of Pinches’ day with a 3-1 win to take the third spot leaving it to be the clash of the Williams’ to secure top spot in the group with Mark only needing two frames to take top spot. It was Mark who got off to a flyer though and didn’t look back from there to take the opening frame and soon the second and third with Robbie left frozen in his chair with little to do as his opponent flew around the table for a quick 3-0 win.
Mark Williams said: “I got off to a flyer in the last match, I don’t think he potted a ball. You have to keep your discipline. I played a few good frames. The first four or five frames, they could have gone the opposite way. It just went my way today.”
Watch BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition on Viaplay Xtra – FreeView in the UK and Ireland. Those in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland can watch live on Viaplay whilst Matchroom.Live is available to those without a broadcaster. See where to watch here.
The BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition carries a first prize of £33,000 and the winner also secures a spot in the 2023 Champion of Champions set to take place in Bolton from November 13-19 live on ITV.