Jamie Clarke and Shaun Murphy are the latest two players to book their places in winners’ week at the BetVictor Championship League in Leicester, topping Groups two and seven respectively.
Clarke was made to work hard for his first victory, but ultimately did enough with breaks of 50 and 62 enough to register a 3-0 whitewash against Sean O’Sullivan.
The Welshman could only manage a point against China’s Peng Yisong in his next match, leaving a group decider against Judd Trump. Clarke headed into it needing just a point against the 2019 World Champion, with Trump chasing a victory.
Clarke was able to hold off the usually dominant Trump, a hard-fought third frame went the way of Clarke thanks to a fluked red. Trump took the last but a 2-2 draw was enough for Clarke to top the group.
Speaking with Dave Hendon afterwards, he said: “I feel really good, obviously when you’ve got Judd [Trump] and a couple of other good players in your group, you know it is going to be difficult.
“Preparation has been good, I’ve had about five or six sessions in the past 10 days, I came to Leicester yesterday and had a game against Joe O’Connor too. I wasn’t playing my best but I’m just glad to get through.
“I’m 49th on the rankings at the start of this year, I’ve not got any real aims this season other than to win as many games as possible and go as deep at events as I can, and who knows; maybe even win a tournament.”
Murphy had a tough start to his day and required the final frame to secure a 2-2 draw against the impressive Ben Mertens.
The Magician showed his class in his next match against China’s Xu Si. He recorded a 3-0 victory, which was capped off with a century break of 109 to set up a must-win match against Liam Highfield.
Murphy romped to victory over Highfield, a 3-0 win with breaks of 45, 144, and 103 was more than enough to book his place in winners’ week.
Group 16 headlines table one on Wednesday, 20 July live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live with Dave Gilbert, Joe O’Connor, Zak Surety, and Florian Nuessle with Group 19 live on YouTube from midday with Jordan Brown, Jimmy White, Mark Davis, and Ross Muir.
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