Phil Haigh ✍️
Judd Trump had a disappointing start to the season on Tuesday as he failed to progress through his first Championship League group, finishing second behind Jamie Clarke.
The world number two beat Sean O’Sullivan in his group stage, but draws with Clarke and rookie Peng Yisong meant that he finished behind the Welshman.
It was the Ace’s first matches since finishing runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the World Championship and he was a long way from his brilliant best after a summer break.
Clarke was delighted to make the most of the opportunity, though, and progress to the second group stage.
The Welshman told Dave Hendon for Matchroom: ‘I feel really good, obviously when you’ve got Judd 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.’
The other group on Tuesday saw Shaun Murphy progress, edging past Belgian teenager Ben Mertens, who is new on the tour.
‘Well, didn’t see that coming, really, really pleased with today actually,’ Murphy said in a video posted to Instagram.
‘Started a bit tough against Ben Mertens, thought he played very well and was good value for the 2-2 draw. Played well against Xu Si and then finished well against Liam there in the last match.
‘Didn’t see it coming, really enjoyed the off season so came here to Championship League just trying to find my feet and see where I am for the season. Really, really pleased with the start.’
The first stage of Championship League Snooker comes to an end on Thursday, before Stage Two groups run from 25-28 July with all 32 winners of the first groups.
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