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Ronnie O’Sullivan withdraws from 2021 Championship League Snooker

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Championship League Snooker 2021 Preview and Order of Play – Monday August 9

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Dominant David Gilbert glides through to Championship League final eight

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

O’Sullivan has opted out of a return to Leicester (John Walton/PA Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from the Championship League, with Mark Joyce taking his place in Stage Two of the competition.

The Rocket was due to face David Gilbert, Chang Bingyu and Craig Steadman in Group H as the second stage got underway in Leicester on Monday.

O’Sullivan had opened his 30th season on the main tour by topping Group 32 at the Morningside Arena last month with seven points from three matches.

However, he has opted to pull out ahead of Stage Two on health grounds, with group runner-up Joyce replacing him.

It is already the second tournament of the season from which O’Sullivan has chosen to withdraw, having also pulled out of next week’s British Open.

When he does return to action, the six-time World champion will be looking to add to his record-breaking 37 ranking titles.

The 45-year-old failed to land any silverware during the 2020-21 campaign, despite reaching five finals.