Live Snooker on Thursday November 8: Champion of Champions Group Two preview and order of play

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Merciless Mark Allen claims Group Two glory at the Champion of Champions

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Ronnie O’Sullivan v Shaun Murphy: Champion of Champions 2018 preview – Rocket and Magician collide in Semi-Finals

Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins look on (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins look on (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The fourth and final place in the Semi-Finals of the 2018 Champion of Champions is up for grabs on Thursday as Group Two takes centre stage in Coventry.

Shaun Murphy, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson have already booked their place in the Last Four of the ¬£370,000 invitational, leaving the world number one and three decorated left-handers to battle it out for the right to join them.

The afternoon’s opening Semi-Final sees three-time World Champion Mark Selby face 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson for the second time in the space of seven days.

Robertson pulled off a 6-4 victory in the Quarter-Finals of last week’s International Championship en route to finishing runner-up in Daqing.

The Australian ace now makes a swift return to action in an event which he won in 2015 but has since suffered back-to-back group Semi-Final exits.

Robertson took the season’s first silverware at the Riga Masters back in July and has won three of his last four meetings with Selby over the past three years.

Selby saw his two-year unbeaten run in the International Championship ended by Robertson and will be keen to exact his revenge a week later when he makes the 30-mile trip across the midlands from his home in Leicester.

Mark Selby shakes hands with Neil Robertson (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Selby has enjoyed his best results in China over the past 12 months, winning the China Open and China Championship, with his best run in this event coming in the inaugural staging in 2013 – when he reached the Semi-Finals.

The second group Semi-Final features a tasty tussle between newly-crowned International Champion Mark Allen and 2017 World Grand Prix winner Barry Hawkins.

Allen secured his fourth ranking title in Daqing on Sunday, his second major trophy of 2018 to add to January’s Masters triumph.

The Northern Irishman produced a masterclass of break-building throughout the week and will be determined to pick up from where he left off.

Allen was runner-up in this event three years ago, notably commencing his run by defeating Hawkins 4-2 in the group Semi-Final.

Hawkins is making his fifth appearance at the Champion of Champions, having suffered a group Semi-Final exit on three occasions, and secured his return via his world ranking position.

He began the season strongly by reaching the Semi-Finals of the World Open and final of the Shanghai Masters but has failed to progress beyond the Last 32 stage of his last three ranking events.

His most notable win over Allen came in the Last 16 of the 2015 World Championship, where he recorded a 13-11 triumph, though he has lost five of their nine encounters in total.

The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with Group Semi-Finals contested over the best seven frames and the final best of 11.

Champion of Champions 2018 Match Schedule

Thursday November 8

Group Two



Mark Selby v Neil Robertson

Not before 2pm

Barry Hawkins v Mark Allen