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Dominant David Gilbert glides through to Championship League final eight

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O'Sullivan last missed The Masters in 2013 (credit:John Walton/PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan withdraws from 2021 Championship League Snooker

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Championship League Snooker 2021 Preview and Order of Play – Tuesday August 10

David Gilbert celebrates (Photo by PA Images)

David Gilbert continued his hugely impressive start to this season’s Championship League by topping Group H with a 100 per cent record to book his place in the final eight in Leicester.

The four-time ranking event finalist has fond memories of this tournament. He is one of only two players to compile multiple maximum breaks – doing so in 2015 and 2019 – along with Mark Davis.

World number 23 Gilbert, who slipped out of the top 16 following a disappointing 2020-21 season, dropped just a single frame in Stage One at the Morningside Arena as he headed Group 30 with nine points from nine.

And the 40-year-old followed suit as the second stage of the competition commenced on Monday.

This time, Gilbert reeled off nine frames without reply en route to recording 3-0 victories over Chang Bingyu, Craig Steadman and Group 32 runner-up Mark Joyce, who was handed a last-minute entry following the withdrawal of Ronnie O’Sullivan.

He did in style, too; producing stunning total clearances of 143 and 131 along the way, as well as further breaks of 87, 80 and 68.

Joining him in Friday’s finale is Cao Yupeng, who is also yet to taste defeat in the tournament after heading Group G with seven points from nine.

The two-time ranking event finalist marked his return to the tour following a two-and-a-half-year ban for match-fixing offences by dropping just a single frame on the way to topping Group 26 in Stage One.

Although, he faced stiff competition in the second stage in reigning Masters champion Yan Bingtao and former Crucible finalist Barry Hawkins.

Nevertheless, Cao began with a 2-2 draw against Yan, despite leading his compatriot 2-0 after breaks of 88 and 51.

He then recovered from losing the opening frame with runs of 72, 117 and 84 helping him put two-time semi-finalist Hawkins to the sword 3-1.

Yan, who drew 2-2 with Matthew Selt, followed suit against the Hawk to take his points tally to five, meaning Cao required victory over Selt to prevail.

And he did not disappoint with contributions of 51 and 49 paving the way for a dominant 3-0 success.


Championship league Snooker 2021 Results

Monday August 9

Mark Joyce 1-3 Craig Steadman (Group H)
Barry Hawkins 2-2 Matthew Selt (Group G)

David Gilbert 3-0 Chang Bingyu (Group H)
Yan Bingtao 2-2 Cao Yupeng (Group G)

David Gilbert 3-0 Craig Steadman (Group H)
Yan Bingtao 2-2 Matthew Selt (Group G)

Mark Joyce 2-2 Chang Bingyu (Group H)
Barry Hawkins 1-3 Cao Yupeng (Group G)

Chang Bingyu 3-1 Craig Steadman (Group H)
Yan Bingtao 3-1 Barry Hawkins (Group G)

Mark Joyce 0-3 David Gilbert (Group H)
Matthew Selt 0-3 Cao Yupeng (Group G)

David Gilbert 3 3 0 9 0 9
Chang Bingyu 3 1 0 5 6 4
Craig Steadman 3 1 2 4 7 3
Mark Joyce 3 0 2 3 8 1
Cao Yupeng 3 2 0 8 3 7
Yan Bingtao 3 1 0 7 5 5
Matthew Selt 3 0 1 4 7 2
Barry Hawkins 3 0 2 4 8 1