Defending champion David Gilbert booked his place in winners’ week at BetVictor Championship League Snooker, topping Group 16, and was joined by Jordan Brown who topped Group 19.
Gilbert’s day got off to the perfect start with a 3-0 win over Austria’s Florian Nuessle. He then saw off Zak Surety 3-0 with a top break of 78 to put him in pole position heading into his final match against Joe O’Connor.
Gilbert couldn’t keep his perfect record going against O’Connor, having to settle for a hard-fought 2-2 draw, but breaks of 78 and 100 helped him secure his place in winners’ week.
Speaking with Dave Hendon afterwards, Gilbert said: “It’s a weird one being back, my game isn’t very good at the minute but I’m really happy to get through.
“I’ve not put much preparation in for this season yet, I’ve been playing lots of pool, I just want to buy a pool club if I’m honest with you. The aim for this year, and every year, is to try and get in the Players Championship.”
Northern Ireland’s Brown, starting his season as a new father, opened his 2022/23 campaign with a 2-2 draw against Ross Muir and made two excellent century breaks, 115 and 100. Brown then picked up his first win with a 3-1 victory over Mark Davis.
Group 19 was reduced to three players due to the late withdrawal of Jimmy White, who was unable to get to Leicester due to travel issues. That meant that the fixtures were repeated, and Brown went on to beat Muir 3-0. In the final match of the day between Brown and Davis, the former Welsh Open champion needed just a single frame, and he went one better in drawing 2-2 to maintain his unbeaten record.
Group 12 headlines Table 1 on Thursday, 21 July live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live with Mark Allen, Stuart Carrington, Jenson Kendrick and Himanshu Jain. Group 8 is live on YouTube from midday with Jack Lisowski, Mark Joyce, Michael White and Julien Leclercq.
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