McGill twice trailed to Gilbert in the group final but a break of 63 in the deciding frame saw him through to the March finale of the event, which is broadcast on a host of betting websites and on zhibo.tv, one of the biggest sports streaming platforms in China.
Gilbert had handed Mark Williams his first defeat of the group in beating him 3-2 in the semi-finals. The Welshman had won all six of his league phase matches, the twelfth time such a feat has been achieved in the competition’s history. In the final game of the group stage, Gilbert beat Graeme Dott in the deciding frame of a match which was effectively a shoot-out to determine which of the two would progress to the play-off stage.
McGill had finished third in the league phase with three wins and overcame Joe Perry 3-2 in his semi-final to set up the group final against Gilbert.
“I don’t think I was the best player in the group, I think Mark was,” admitted McGill. “But I am over the moon to get through the group. It’s about getting into the top four and from there fourth can win it as much as first.
“I’m not playing that well, keep making the same mistakes. I get to 40 and miss some easy shots. I think of all the players in the group I missed the most easy shots and I was lucky to win the final there.
“I got through to Winners’ Group a couple of years ago and it’s nice to be back there. I’ll look forward to coming back in March, it’s always good to be there.”
Perry, Williams, Dott and Gilbert will all return to feature in Group 6 tomorrow, where they will be joined by John Higgins, Judd Trump and Mark King.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker is a venture between Matchroom Sport and Perform where 25 of the game’s elite players compete for their share of a total prize pot of up to £205,000.
Each of the seven players faces each other once in the round-robin group stage, after which the top four players in the league table progress to the play-offs. The eventual group champion advances to Winners’ Group in March with the remaining players who finished in the top five during the league phase continuing to group three later this month, where three new players join the tournament.
The bottom two players in each group phase are eliminated. All matches are best of five.
David Gilbert 2–3 Anthony McGill
63-3, 20-62, 72-20 (71), 33-66, 0-77 (77)
Mark Williams 2–3 David Gilbert
0-91 (91), 85-0 (85), 76-77, 62-7, 24-65 (63)
Anthony McGill 3-2 Joe Perry
64-17, 49-71 (70), 76-0 (65), 19-85 (85), 99-0 (98)