David Gilbert became the first man through to the Winners' Group in the 2017 Championship League after recovering from 2-0 down to beat Ryan Day 3-2 in the Group One Final in Coventry on Tuesday.
The Tamworth cueist made five centuries in eight matches played over two days at the Ricoh Arena and collected a total of £6,200 in that time, as he came out on top in the opening group of the internet-streamed invitational event.
Having finished third in the round-robin section after winning four of his six games, Gilbert made two centuries of 105 and 102 as he put the in-form Mark Davis to the sword in the semi-finals to book a showdown with Day, who hit a top break of 135 as he scraped past table-topper Anthony McGill 3-2.
The former International Championship finalist got off to the worst possible start, as the Welshman dominated the opening frame before taking a close second on the black to move one away from victory.
However, despite trailing 38-0 in the next, Gilbert responded in style with a magnificent clearance of 121 to keep his hopes alive, before a further run of 52 forced a decider.
Following a lengthy tactical battle with neither player wanting to show their cards first, a good escape from a tricky snooker gave the world number 20 the upper hand after Day subsequently played a poor safety shot.
Thereon, a break of 45 proved to be enough for Gilbert, who puts himself in with a chance of qualifying for this year's Champion of Champions.
Day will return tomorrow along with beaten semi-finalists Davis and McGill, as will fifth-placed Matthew Selt, while bottom two Ben Woollaston and Robert Milkins were eliminated at the first hurdle.
Championship League 2017 Results
Tuesday January 3
Anthony McGill 3-1 Robert Milkins
David Gilbert 2-3 Mark Davis
Ryan Day 3-1 Robert Milkins
Matthew Selt 3-2 Ben Woollaston
Anthony McGill 1-3 Mark Davis
David Gilbert 3-2 Ben Woollaston
Ryan Day 2-3 Mark Davis
David Gilbert 3-0 Robert Milkins
Anthony McGill 3-2 Matthew Selt
Anthony McGill 2-3 Ryan Day
Mark Davis 1-3 David Gilbert
Ryan Day 2-3 David Gilbert