Mark Davis produced the goods when it mattered most by beating Anthony McGill to book his place in Stage Two of the Championship League on Friday.
The 48-year-old was launching his 31st consecutive season on the main tour at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, and was doing so at an event where he has been generally successful through the years.
Davis was runner-up to Stuart Bingham in 2015 and reached the Winners’ Group in 2017 – the year that he produced two 147s during the competition against Neil Robertson and John Higgins.
Although, he had to dig deep during his opening Group 12 match against rising Chinese star Yuan SiJun; twice coming from behind to ensure a share of the spoils.
The world number 49 endured no such difficulties against former English Amateur champion Billy Joe Castle, with a top break of 66 earning a commanding 3-0 win.
Elsewhere in Group 12, Yuan went into overdrive as he fired in breaks of 103, 111 and 93 in a 3-0 demolition of world number 16 Anthony McGill, before runs of 65 and 72 helped him to a 3-1 success over Castle.
That meant only a 3-0 victory over the already eliminated McGill would be enough for Davis to top the group.
And the Battler from Hastings held himself together to reel off three frames without reply and secure his place in Stage Two.
Joining him is Chinese teenager Chang Bingyu, who topped Group 31 after defeating former champion Luca Brecel along the way.
The 18-year-old hit a top break of 127 in a 2-2 draw with compatriot Pang Junxu, before runs of 125 and 73 helped him come from behind to see off Brecel 3-1.
Pang’s subsequent 3-0 victory over the Belgian meant Chang needed to match that scoreline against new professional Dean Young, which he duly did to take first place.
Championship league Snooker 2021 Results
Friday July 23
Anthony McGill 1-3 Billy Joe Castle
Mark Davis 2-2 Yuan SiJun
Mark Davis 3-0 Billy Joe Castle
Anthony McGill 0-3 Yuan SiJun
Yuan SiJun 3-1 Billy Joe Castle
Anthony McGill 0-3 Mark Davis
Pang Junxu 2-2 Chang Bingyu
Luca Brecel 3-1 Dean Young
Luca Brecel 1-3 Chang Bingyu
Pang Junxu 2-2 Dean Young
Luca Brecel 0-3 Pang Junxu
Chang Bingyu 3-0 Dean Young