Neil Robertson was the major casualty from the Championship League this weekend after the Aussie was sent packing from Group 16.
Robertson was the number two seed in the event, behind Judd Trump, and started the section as the 2/7 favourite but things started poorly for the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ after he was beaten 3-1 by world number 83 Ashley Carty.
Robertson could only manage a 2-2 draw with veteran Ken Doherty in his next contest, and with Carty grabbing a point against Kurt Maflin, the Aussie was up against it.
A 3-1 win over Maflin wasn’t enough for Robertson as
14/1* shot Carty held himself together to claim three points against Doherty and book his place in Wednesday’s Winners Group A alongside Gary Wilson, Luca Brecel and Mark Joyce.
Wilson and Brecel head the betting in that section but Carty will no doubt believe he can cause another upset.
Top Seed Glides Through Group 7
Elsewhere, Barry Hawkins lived up to his billing as top seed at the weekend gliding through Group 7. ‘The Hawk’ got underway with two 3-0 wins over Hammad Miah and Craig Steadman and the Kent cueman only needed a point in his final group game against Anthony McGill after the Scot could only draw against Steadman.
Hawkins and McGill took a point each and that was enough for the former World Championship runner-up to top the group and complete a mouthwatering table-toppers section of Judd Trump, Ryan Day and Dave Gilbert.
Trump, who started the event as the
5/2 overall favourite, will be fancied to progress from Winners Group B on Wednesday, but it looks a classy quartet and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of the four cuemen progress.
Competition Heating Up
Stuart Bignham and Ricky Walden finished tied on all measures in Group 1 on Saturday but it was Bingham who narrowly progressed courtesy of having a higher break than his rival.
Bingham and Walden battled it out in a tough section with Jordan Brown and Jamie Clarke and it remained difficult to call who would progress down to the final frame of the day.
‘Ball Run’ joins Ronnie O’Sullivan and Harvey Chandler in the next round and the 2015 World Champion will be hoping for a smoother passage to the final.
Group 8 looked one of the most competitive on paper with Jimmy Roobertson, Ben Woollaston, Liam Highfield and Thor Chuan Leong clashing on Saturday. That proved to be true with just three points separating Woollaston, Robertson and Highfield at the top of the section. It was Woollaston who prevailed to land a spot with Tom Ford and Liang Wenbo in Tuesday’s Winners Group D and that has all the makings of another competitive contest.
*All odds correct at time of writing