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Championship League Snooker 2021: Day Three preview and order of play – The Rocket launches his campaign

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Ali Carter cruises into Championship League second stage as Ursenbacher breezes through

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Unbeaten Barry Hawkins battles through in Championship League

Ronnie O’Sullivan in action (Photo by ChinaImages/SIPA USA/PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan launches his 2021-22 snooker season on day three of the Championship League at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

The Rocket begins his 30th consecutive campaign on the main tour on Tuesday, when he is joined by Mark Joyce, Ian Burns and Saqib Nasir in Group 32.

A 37-time ranking event winner, O’Sullivan has appeared sporadically in the Championship League since the inaugural event in 2008.

His best-ever run saw him reach the 2016 final, when he was pipped to the title by Judd Trump at Crondon Park.

The 45-year-old is searching for his first ranking event triumph since landing that sixth World title at the Crucible in August 2020, and he will be eager to build some momentum here at the very least.

His closest challenger in Group 32 is likely to be former Riga Masters finalist Joyce, who launches his 15th season as a professional.

Meanwhile, two-time ranking event quarter-finalist Ian Burns will be hoping for a more successful campaign, having been forced to regain his place on the tour via Q School.

And former England Under-21s runner-up Nasir, who beat six-time Crucible finalist Jimmy White at the 2015 Australian Open qualifiers, would love to claim another notable scalp here.

Elsewhere, 2020 Shoot-Out champion Michael Holt is the highest-ranked player in Group 6.

The world number 31 failed to progress beyond the last 16 of any ranking event last season, and will be desperately hoping for an upturn in fortune this time around.

The same can be said of Andrew Higginson and Fergal O’Brien, who join the Hitman in Group 6.

For O’Brien, who begins his 31st straight season on the tour, the Championship League holds special memories, with the former British Open champion compiling the first – and only – 147 of his professional career against Mark Davis in the event five years ago.

Completing the group is Gosport amateur Mark Lloyd. The former English Under-21s champion, who narrowly missed out on turning professional via Q School, will look to embrace the opportunity to perform in a televised event.

The players face each other once in the group with all matches contested over the best of four frames.

Each player will receive three points for a win and one for a draw; the one with the most will top the group and secure a place in Stage Two of the competition.


Championship league Snooker 2021 Schedule

Tuesday July 20

Group 32 & Group 6

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ian Burns (Group 32)
Andrew Higginson v Fergal O’Brien (Group 6)

Mark Joyce v Saqib Nasir (Group 32)
Michael Holt v Mark Lloyd (Group 6)

Mark Joyce v Ian Burns (Group 32)
Michael Holt v Fergal O’Brien (Group 6)

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Saqib Nasir (Group 32)
Andrew Higginson v Mark Lloyd (Group 6)

Saqib Nasir v Ian Burns (Group 32)
Michael Holt v Andrew Higginson (Group 6)

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Joyce (Group 32)
Fergal O’Brien v Mark Lloyd (Group 6)