John Higgins took the final place in the Championship League Snooker Winners’ Group by defeating Judd Trump 3-2 in the Group Seven final at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Tuesday evening.
The ‘Wizard of Wishaw’ entered the tournament in Group Seven last year before going on to lift the trophy, and remains on course for a repeat this time around.
Trump made a 77 to take the opening frame of the Group Seven final before Higgins hit back with a 105. The Bristolian regained his lead in the third but Higgins again hit back to take the last two frames.
“The way Judd played I fully expected him to get through so it is brilliant to beat him,” said Higgins. “When he plays like that there is nothing you can do sometimes, so I was delighted to get a chance in the final frame.
“I entered Group Seven because I thought it might be a little bit of an omen after last year, and I’ve done the first hurdle and it would be great to go and defend the title.”
Trump had earlier topped the round-robin group stage while Higgins had claimed third place by beating Dominic Dale 3-0 in the final match of the group phase. Trump saw off Ricky Walden 3-1 in his semi-final while Higgins defeated tournament debutant Jimmy Robertson by the same score line in his play-off.
Luca Brecel took the high break prize after making his first career 147 in beating Higgins 3-0, his only win of the group.
Higgins will now join Mark Williams, Ali Carter, Zhou Yuelong, Mark Selby, Kyren Wilson and Martin Gould in the Winners’ Group, which commences on Wednesday morning at 11am.
For live scoring click here and for results and fixtures click here
Judd Trump 2-3 John Higgins
77-0 (Trump 77), 0-105 (Higgins 105), 89-3 (Trump 89), 54-67 (Trump 52), 28-78
Judd Trump 3–1 Ricky Walden
85-16 (Trump 67), 0-137 (Walden 137), 137-0 (Trump 137), 73-18 (Trump 68)
Jimmy Robertson 1–3 John Higgins
60-63, 21-69, 134-0 (Robertson 113), 0-71 (Higgins 66)