The new snooker season got underway in style as Ryan Day made a 147 in the opening match of BetVictor Championship League Snooker before going on to top Group 2, while Judd Trump also won all three of his matches to earn progression from Group 1.
Trump opened play on Table 1 with a 3-1 success over Fan Zhengyi, the young Chinese player who regained his tour card at Q School last month. Alan McManus then suffered a 3-1 defeat to David Lilley before drawing 2-2 with Fan Zhengyi.
That put Trump in pole position and the World No.1 knew a 3-0 win over Lilley would see him crowned group champion with a match to spare. It may not have been vintage Trump, but the man who won six ranking events last season had little difficulty in securing the whitewash, leaving the final two matches as battles for position in the table, and the valuable ranking points attached.
“A few of the players gave me the games and I didn’t have to work that hard to get over the line,” admitted Trump.
“I made a few good breaks and some good one-visits. I knew coming that I’d barely practiced so I was looking to get through the group. There are a lot of tournaments coming up, it will be a strange old season and a lot of time spent in Milton Keynes.
“You have to appreciate every tournament at the moment and even though I haven’t practiced that hard I’m still trying hard and trying my best to get through.”
Group 1 concluded with Fan earning £2,000 in second, Lilley took £1,000 for third while bottom-of-the-group McManus left empty handed.
On table two, Day advanced just as smoothly as Trump had. A maximum break in the fourth frame of his group opener against Rod Lawler saw him seal a 3-1 win before Matthew Stevens was involved in 2-2 draws against Paul Davison and Lawler.
That meant a win against Davison would be see Day progress, and he saw out a 3-0 victory in just 40 minutes to join Trump in Group 1 of the Stage Two.
“I didn’t start thinking about it until I was on about 48, and then I thought; they’re perfect really,” said Day of his 147. “The last shot on the pink was a bit touch and go but then the black was a lot higher on the black than you want to be. It’s nice to do a 147, so it’s nice to do one, it’s been a while since my last one in China six years ago.
“Championship League has been good to me over the years and to come here with limited practice and make a 147 in the first match of the new season is surprising and hopefully a sign of things to come.”
Stevens won his final match 3-1 over Day to take second, while Lawler scored a 3-0 victory over Davison to ensure third place.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker continues with Group 3 and Group 4 on Monday, with players including Barry Hawkins and Gary Wilson in action. Coverage of both tables is available at Matchroom.Live.
Live scoring can be found at www.wst.tv. Group fixtures, results, standings and details of how to watch can be found at http://www.championshipleaguesnooker.co.uk/.