Championship League Snooker 2009: Group Seven, Day Two News

The final matches of day two are now underway and already both Steve Davis and Ricky Walden have picked up from where they left off yesterday…

To view the latest scores and group standings, please click here to visit Matchroom Sport.

I will provide some updates on the play throughout the day but I will not be at the computer for the full day so not all matches will be covered.


Both Matthew Stevens and Liang Wenbo came into this morning at the foot of the table and desperately needing a win to give themselves a chance of making the semi-finals. As it turned out however, their poor form continued as they were both whitewashed by Ricky Walden and Steve Davis respectively.

Having handed out 4-0 beatings to both Wenbo and Judd Trump now, it just shows you the value of Steve’s experience and why he is a real contender this week. Ricky Walden too continued his excellent form and like Davis put himself in an excellent position to progress to the semi-finals.


In the second matches, Graeme Dott and Judd Trump face off while Liang Wenbo and Joe Swail renew their rivalry in the other match. With both matches currently standing at 1-1, the next hour or so could be crucial as in Joe’s case in particular he urgently needs a win to give his hopes a boost, while Graeme Dott could also do with both points to keep ahead of him…

Joe moved 2-1 ahead but an excellent 133 from Liang gives him his second point of the campaign, though it does little to help his league position. He could have actually had a 140 but he did not land nicely on the final black and missed a tough shot to the right-centre.

Judd Trump meanwhile completes an excellent win over Judd Trump in what was probably the match of the week. Judd started well with an 81 before the pair traded 114’s to set up an important fourth frame. It was Judd who managed to get the job done though and move to the top of the leaderboard with eight points. Without working out the maths I think it is safe to say that he will be involved in the play-offs this evening while Graeme Dott and Joe Swail are now dead level in their scrap for the final qualifying place.


Steve Davis and Ricky Walden is the match of real interest now as on the other table everything is pretty much decided with table-topping Judd Trump facing Matthew Stevens who is all but out of the competition.

Interestingly Steve Davis appears to have copied the break-off shot employed by Stephen Hendry at the Wembley Masters this year, adding a little bit of power to the shot so that the reds leaving the pack travel quickly enough to bounce off the cushion and land back in the pack again. Davis was commentating as Hendry played Robertson and it was obvious to me that he was impressed and would look to try the same himself and that’s exactly what seems to have happened.

Both these players should be pretty safe now for the semi-finals but a draw would make sure for both as Steve is in with the first big chance…he establishes a 39-1 lead as Ricky is at the table facing a tough safety…he actually takes on an even tougher long-red but it does not go in and Steve puts him in an even tougher position, right behind the green.

Steve is tying Ricky up in knots here, every time he comes to the table he seems to be in a snooker and now Steve has the frame-winning opportunity that he needs…and he takes it. Judd Trump meanwhile makes a break of 104 to bring himself level with Matthew Stevens who took the opener there.

The second frame between Steve and Ricky looks to be a real scrap, many of the reds finding their way to the bottom cushion. We could be here for quite some time…though having potted a good opening red, Steve has missed the green and given Ricky the chance to pick off the five loose reds and give himself a nice lead. With seven reds still awkward though, he would do well to win the frame here…

With a lead of 43-4, Ricky misses a pink off the spot to bring the break to an end but with six of those seven awkward reds still safe, he is in a strong position to level the match now. Judd Trump meanwhile now leads 2-1 and in doing so ensures that Matthew Stevens now cannot qualify for the semi-finals.

Ricky eventually finishes off the frame to level the match at 1-1, while Judd completes his fifth win from six group matches to cement his place at the top of the leaderboard. He looks to be a real threat now, though having lost 4-0 to Steve Davis in his first match it would be interesting to see whether he could do any better if they were to meet again.

Disaster for Ricky at the start of frame three, he’s potted a long-red, smashed into the pack and almost kept position on the black, but it did not quite come off and his subsequent safety shot was a shocker, leaving Steve an easy starter over the left-centre…and Steve takes full advantage to lead 2-1.

Ricky comes back strongly though and takes the last frame to secure a draw, confirming both his and Steve’s place in the semi-finals.

It is all between Dott and Swail now for the final spot, both having one match to play…


Liang Wenbo is off to a flying start against Stevens in the match between the bottom two, making a break of 62 before being denied a chance at a century with a horrible kick on the black…or not! He’s recovered with a typically adventurous shot and the break goes on…and now it does come to an end on 83, but it is more than enough to secure the opening frame.

It is the other match however that is of real interest as Joe Swail needs to secure at least a point if he is to stand any chance of reaching the semi-finals. It is Ricky though who has made the stronger start, securing a 31 point lead early on…but Swail has responded and leads by a single point with just blue, pink and black on the table…and eventually Walden goes for a long blue, misses and leaves Swail in with an easy opportunity and it’s 1-0…

While I have been away however, it has all turned around and it is Ricky Walden who leads by two frames to one, as well as being in a commanding position in the next. If he does go on to complete a 3-1 victory then Graeme Dott’s place in the semi-finals will be confirmed so long as he can win at least one frame against Steve Davis in the final matche of the league to be completed…and Ricky does take victory.

In the other match Matthew Stevens and Liang Wenbo have split the frames as the match finishes 2-2.


So here we are, the final match and the situation is simple, Graeme must win one frame against Steve Davis to book his place in the last four, or else Joe Swail will go through in his place.

Good start for Graeme, he is first in and already on a break of 39…and it ends on 63 as he misses the frame ball red with the rest to leave his semi-final place just slightly in doubt. He does have a lead of 71 points though so it will take something special from Steve to deny him…

What an incredible finish to the frame! Steve looks to be clearing up with no trouble to steal the frame but dramatically miscues on the final pink to the right-centre. Even more dramatically however, he manages to somehow fluke the pink into the yellow pocket and finish perfectly on the black! A 73 break it is and Dott still needs one more frame for that semi-final place…

And that is 2-0 Davis, worrying times for Graeme Dott fans now as he still needs to win one of the remaining two frames…

He’s getting chances in the third but as Dave Hendon says, the nerves are definitely growing and he is really struggling to see this one through after what happened in the first frame…Davis though has given him another chance, can he take it? No, though he does have a 36 point lead with 51 on…but Davis is in and he has freed the one difficult red from the side-cushion, really worrying times for Graeme now…though Davis can only make five from that opportunity.

And Graeme has done it, a failed long red from Davis was left over the right-centre pocket and a visibly relieved Graeme Dott is through to this evening’s semi-finals. He’s taken the final frame too and takes a point as a result.

The semi-final line up is now:

Judd Trump v Graeme Dott
Steve Davis v Ricky Walden


Having drawn 2-2 earlier on, Steve Davis and Ricky Walden meet again as the semi-finals get underway and it looks like Ricky is going to move 1-0 ahead early on. A poor positional shot at 46-1 however means that he will need another chance to be sure.

A bizarre incident on the other table while this is going on, Graeme Dott was touching the green, nominates brown and tries to rest on it, falls short and gives away a foul and a free ball! Surely it would have been much easier to nominate green and play the shot that way? In any case it is Trump with the advantage and Graeme who is faced with a tough safety…and that’s 1-0 Trump. A nervy start as you might to both matches!

Having trailed for much of the frame, Steve Davis has brought himself right back into it and it is now a black ball frame as the points difference stands at just five…Ricky takes on a double and in missing it has left it unmissable for Steve into the yellow pocket, what a steal that is.

Ricky is in first in the second frame as he looks to make amends but he’s struggling to keep position at the moment and breaks down with just a 26 point lead. He needs to start taking his chances because Steve is playing well enough to punish him…

After an enforced absence I am back to see Ricky on the brink as Steve leads 2-1 and there are just five balls left in the fourth frame. Over on the other table Judd Trump has completed a demolition job on Graeme Dott, winning 3-0 and continuing the excellent form he has shown ever since that 4-0 whitewash at the hands of Steve Davis yesterday morning.

Steve pots up to the pink but can’t land nicely on it…Ricky then gets it but misses a long black into the corner. For the second time in the match we have a black ball frame…and what a brilliant long black that is from Ricky, with the match on the line and the white tight on the baulk cushion, he’s drilled it in and we have a deciding frame in store…

Which Ricky Walden wins with a break of 62! Hard luck on Steve but it was a good break to win from Walden and it should be a great final between for me, the best two players there this week in Ricky and Judd Trump.


So the final place in tomorrow’s winners group will go to either Ricky Walden or Judd Trump in what should be a cracking final this evening. Judd won their league match 3-1 last night but it was a really high quality affair, one-visit snooker in almost every frame and I would not like to say who will be the winner…

Good start to the match, big breaks from each making it 1-1 after barely 20 minutes…

First chance to Ricky in the third but he overcuts a brown and the chance falls to Judd who immediately sets about freeing the black, which he does successfully…but can only make 17 as he misses a red to the left-centre…

After an amusing exchange involving the players and referee Brendan Moore when the balls were being replaced following a foul, the next opportunity has fallen to Trump who looks set to go back into the lead at 2-1. With an excellent 76 highlighted by some exhibition shots towards the end he does exactly that.

In frame four it is Ricky who again has the first chance, though having attempted to move some reds on 23 he has not had a great result. An excellent recovery shot to the yellow pocket keeps the break alive however and he moves on to 41 before having to play safe. He now leads by 37 with eight reds remaining…

Trump has managed to work an opportunity but on 56 has failed to get from yellow to green and with an 18 point lead, needs to find a good safety shot…and he does.

Unfortunately for Judd though, he soon finds himself in a snooker and though he managed to escape from it, he left the green on and Ricky managed to clear the table to force a deciding frame.

Straight away though Judd is in with a fabulous chance to take the match in one visit, already up to 52… and in the words of Clive Everton he finishes off the group in style with a flawless break of 111.

Well done to Judd, he has clearly been the best player in the group for me and deserves his place in the winners group where he has every chance of doing well. If he is to win though he will have to handle strong safety play from the likes of Mark Selby and John Higgins better than he did when he lost 4-0 to Steve Davis yesterday…