Championship League Snooker 2009: Defending champion through to winner’s group

Joe Perry becomes the third man into the 2009 Championship League winners group, click below to read how the day unfolded…

Firstly here is a reminder that you can read my tournament preview here, which includes details on how you can watch the action live on the internet.

You can also view the schedule for group three over the next to days over at Matchroom Sport by clicking here.

Scroll down past my updates for a link to the latest scores.


This morning’s first match saw John Higgins come back from 2-0 down against Ding Junhui to secure a draw and a valuable point that keeps his slim hopes of survival alive, but the real story was in Joe Perry’s 3-1 defeat of Neil Robertson.

In fact Neil actually had to forfeit the first two frames because according to the Global Snooker Centre, he got lost on the way to the venue and arrived 22 minutes late! It remains to be seen whether this proves to be costly but it will be a blow for Neil if he finishes in the bottom two and loses his place in the competition because of something like this.


Things don’t look to be getting any better for Neil as he goes 1-0 down to Ali Carter in his next match following a well-taken 93 from the world number seven. Ali has also been presented with a chance in the second, but a missed pink to the green pocket brings his break to an end at 12 and you feel that Neil really must take advantage of this opportunity to level the match…

On the other table meanwhile, Hawkins needed a snooker in the first frame against Mark Williams but he got it and cleared up from the last red to take a surprising 1-0 lead.

Robertson’s break comes to an end at 48 when he hits the yellow when attempting to play through baulk, but he soon gets back in again and does enough to secure the frame and bring himself level. Mark Williams looks to be doing similar on the other table too, a break of 59 proving to be enough.

Another good frame from Robertson and he leads 2-1 with one more frame to come…Ali gets in first but does not get position on the red and can only play a snooker. It pays off though as he is soon in with a much better chance and he will be disappointed if he does not take the frame and a point now…but he has broken down on just 10, all is still to play for…

Looks like Williams will move 2-1 ahead now as Hawkins needs a snooker, but that did not stop Barry from coming back to win the first frame…

Great stuff from Robertson, a break of 64 secures a deserved 3-1 victory and sends him to the top of the group. Carter looked good in the opening frame with that 93 but from then on Neil was definitely the better player.

Mark Williams now does lead 2-1 against Hawkins…and a 61 break in frame four secures another win for the Welshman, and crucially a spot in the semi-final play-offs.


This afternoon I will be watching Ding Junhui take on Barry Hawkins in a match that both players could really do with winning. In the other match meanwhile Joe Perry has the chance to knock John Higgins out of the competition, just as he did in the Premier League earlier on in the season.

Good start for Ding but a missed blue to a corner pocket brings his break to an end on 27 and a poor safety shot from him a few shots later gives Hawkins a reasonable chance to score heavily…but he can only make 12 and the chance falls to Ding…and a 45 break is enough to give him the lead.

A scrappy second frame goes to Hawkins as he urgently seeks to keep his hopes alive, while the match on the other table is also level at 1-1 following breaks of 64 from Perry and then 72 from Higgins. If John is to stand any chance of surviving then the next two frames are simply must-win.

The third frame between Ding and Hawkins sees Hawkins in with the first chance following a poor shot from Ding. It has been a scrappy match for one reason or another, one of which I suspect is the tables which appear to be very slow. Still it doesn’t stop Hawkins who makes a very nice break of 59 to move 2-1 ahead.

John Higgins meanwhile finds himself 2-1 down against Joe Perry and it looks very much like he will be heading home now as the best he can do is make five points which surely will not be enough to lift him from the bottom of the table.

Ding has had three clear scoring opportunities in frame four but having twice ran out of position and missed a red on the other occasion, has given Hawkins a chance to get right back into it…and that’s what he does, taking an 11 point lead with just the colours remaining, before ending a safety exchange with a terrific long yellow and going on to secure an important 3-1 win.

Having been so impressive in this competition things have really turned around for Ding now as he finds himself sixth in the league and needing to beat Neil Robertson later on if he is to survive in the competition…

A 75 break from Higgins earns him a draw against Perry but it looks like it is too little too late. For Joe however it is a decent point and he just moves into fifth place with one more match to play…


Well it’s now or never for Higgins as he takes on Ali Carter and he has made a good start by taking the opener to lead 1-0. Carter though is in with a good chance in the second and having amassed a 51-9 lead will be disappointed if he loses the frame from here…but he does because a 51 break from Higgins gives him the frame and a 2-0 lead.

Having looked down and out all day, perhaps Higgins might just be able to turn things around when he most needs to because with a win here he would move ahead ahead of not only Ding, but Carter too…

And he has the win, despite Carter having the first chance again, he could not make the most of it and Higgins makes a frame-winning break of 64. Things now get very interesting as far as the group goes and it looks like Ali will be relying on other results this afternoon if he is to stand a chance of surviving in the competition…

Despite a fairly horrid miscue and a punch on the table from Ali, he manages to take the last frame and who knows, that might prove vital later on. That’s a good win for Higgins though and keeps his hopes alive…


A fabulous 4-0 win for Neil Robertson over Ding Junhui earned Neil top spot in the group while it also left the Chinese number 1 bottom of the table and out of the competition.

In the other match taking place at this time Joe Perry took the crucial final frame to earn a 2-2 draw and an all-important sixth point to sneak into the semi-finals in 4th place. What this also means is that John Higgins surprisingly keeps in the competition by finishing fifth, while two of the league’s most impressive players in the first two groups, Ding Junhui and Ali Carter, are eliminated from the competition entirely.

Apologies for the lack of reports here, I unexpectedly had to go out!


So the semi-finals which will take place at 6:30pm now look as follows:

Play-off – first v fourth Neil Robertson 0-0 Joe Perry
Play-off – second v third Mark Williams 0-0 Barry Hawkins

So with Robertson v Perry we have a rematch of the first match of the day, though thankfully no frames docked this time as both players have arrived on time! First chance falls to Joe but he can only make 29 and now Neil has an opportunity to put a break together…and does he ever, he clears the table with a century, 101 to be exact.

Things are not going Joe’s way at the moment, he’s had two decent chances in the second frame again but has only been able to make 11 from them. A dreadful safety from Neil however has given him a third chance, the best yet…and he can only make eight points this time, he needs to find his form and quickly because whenever Neil gets in he looks like making a big break.

In the other semi-final Barry Hawkins has taken the opener against Mark Williams with a run of 48.

Well despite not playing anywhere near his best, Joe Perry taken the second frame to level things against Robertson. As Dave Hendon says it is actually quite encouraging for Joe that he has been able to do that given how he has played so far. Mark Williams has also levelled up the other semi, similarly without a sizeable break.

And it just shows how quickly things can turn around because now it is in Perry who leads the match and at 2-1, needs just one more frame to advance to the final. He is still not playing as fluently as he might but Neil is not looking as strong as he was when he made that century break and is paying the penalty for it. Mark Williams has also turned his match around and now leads Hawins 2-1…

Joe Perry is the first man into the final then as he completes what after a frame and a bit looked like an unlikely victory. There it looks like he will play Mark Williams who has left Barry Hawkins needing two snookers to tie…though he has got them as Williams hits the black instead of the final red! But Williams recovers and takes a 3-1 victory.


What a start it has been from Joe Perry to the final, breaks of 61 and 101 putting him 2-0 ahead in no time. Mark will not give up though and with an excellent long red has earned the first chance if frame three…but he can only make 27 and Perry responds with a 49 before hitting a red much harder than he needed to and giving Williams an unexpected reprieve as Clive Everton put it…but he can’t take it, Perry is the Group Three winner!


For today”s latest results, please click here to visit the Global Snooker Centre.