Robert Milkins and Sam Craigie progressed to the second stage of BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on Viaplay Xtra in the UK, and with broadcasters worldwide including Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland, and the Netherlands and Table 2 live on Matchroom.Live globally.
Click here for the results and schedule
Milkins, who finished top of the BetVictor Series rankings last season and scooped the huge £150,000 bonus, got the new campaign underway in his group alongside Dominic Dale, Muhammad Asif and Alex Taubman.
Dale proved to be the biggest threat to Milkins, winning his first first two matches against Asif and Taubman which meant he needed only a draw in the final match against Milkins, who had beaten Taubman 3-0 but drawn 2-2 with Asif. It was Gloucester’s Milkins who secured top spot with a 3-0 victory over Dale.
He said: “I am pleased to get through at the start of the season. I am bewildered by my game. I thought I was playing ok but I miscued 12 times today. I think that’s lack of practice, I’ve not put enough time in. Last season was amazing, I couldn’t have wished for anything better.”
Sam Craigie progressed through Group 23, finishing ahead of Fan Zhengyi, Fergal O’Brien and debutant Ahmed Aly Elsayed. Having beaten O’Brien and Elsayed 3-0, Craigie needed only a draw in his last match against Fan, and the 2-2 scoreline was enough.
Craigie said: “I had a few good breaks, but I have to find some more consistency going forwards. I should have got into the top 32 last season, but after the UK Championship (where he reached the quarter-finals), I fell away. I am not sure why that is but I have a chance to put it right.”
World Championship semi-finalist Si Jiahui begins his season in Group 25 ton Saturday with Mark Joyce, Mohamed Ibrahim, and Haydon Pinhey live on Table 1. Matthew Selt enters in Group 20 alongside James Cahill, Andres Petrov, and Sydney Wilson live on Table 2.
Watch BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition on Viaplay Xtra – FreeView in the UK and Ireland. Those in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland can watch live on Viaplay whilst Matchroom.Live is available to those without a broadcaster. See where to watch here.
The BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition carries a first prize of £33,000. Former world champions Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy are all due to play next week, with the event concluding on July 21.