Championship League Snooker Day Nine Preview and Order of Play: Winners’ Groups commence in Milton Keynes

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New-look Ronnie O’Sullivan romps through opening Championship League group

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Stuart Bingham sees off Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Championship League

Ronnie O’Sullivan takes centre stage (Photo by PA Images)

The second phase of Championship League Snooker gets underway in Milton Keynes on Tuesday with the opening two Winners’ Groups taking place.

The opening eight days of the behind-closed-doors invitational featured 64 players battling it out across 16 groups for the right to progress to the Winners’ Group phase.

Now, the remaining 16 hopefuls collide in a quest to reach Thursday’s Champions Group and remain in contention for the overall title and £20,000 top prize.

While the first competitive tournament in three months has naturally witnessed a number of unexpected results, a host of star names have come through their groups.

The most notable of which includes five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan – who blitzed through his group last week without dropping a frame.

Sporting a moustache, a new-look O’Sullivan showed little sign of ring-rust as he swept aside Chris Wakelin, Kishan Hirani and Michael Georgiou with the aid of two trademark century breaks.

O’Sullivan now aims to pick up from where he left off when he enters Winners Group Group C alongside a fellow Essex ace and former World Champion.

The last match of the group could potentially prove decisive in the race for qualification as ‘The Rocket’ faces Stuart Bingham – who narrowly topped Group One by virtue of the highest break.

O’Sullivan’s first test comes in the form of rank outsider Harvey Chandler – the world number 84 who tore up the form guide to top Group Four ahead of Sam Baird, Joe Perry and Mark King.

O’Sullivan then faces emerging star Sam Craigie, who was highly impressive in coming through Group Six on Monday with seven points, dropping just two frames in the process.

Craigie fired in a brace of centuries in his 3-0 win over Dominic Dale and will look to replicate that scoring power from the off against one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Meanwhile, Table Two plays host to Group D as Liang Wenbo and Tom Ford put their unbeaten records on the line.

Ford dropped just one frame on his way to topping Group 15 on Friday, while Liang matched that feat in topping Group Five with a notable 3-0 win over Mark Selby en route.

Group D also featured Leicester’s Ben Woollaston and Londoner Martin O’Donnell, ranked world number 38 and 33 respectively.

The action gets underway from 3pm BST, with all matches contested over the best of four frames, with three points awarded for a win and one point for a draw.

Strict social distancing measures are in place, with no crowd or players’ guests permitted and COVID testing and hygiene measures also taken, including players using separate rests and extensions housed at the back of the playing area.

WATCH CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE SNOOKER STREAMED LIVE HERE (18+)

Championship League Snooker 2020 Match Schedule

Tuesday June 9

Winners’ Groups

3pm
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Harvey Chandler (C)
Tom Ford v Liang Wenbo (D)

4pm
Stuart Bingham v Sam Craigie (C)
Martin O’Donnell v Ben Woollaston (D)

5pm
Stuart Bingham v Harvey Chandler (C)
Martin O’Donnell v Liang Wenbo (D)

6pm
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Sam Craigie (C)
Tom Ford v Ben Woollaston (D)

7pm
Sam Craigie v Harvey Chandler (C)
Martin O’Donnell v Tom Ford (D)

8pm
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham (C)
Liang Wenbo v Ben Woollaston (D)