The Championship League Snooker event resumes on Monday when the final week of the first stage gets underway inside what could very well be a roasting hot Morningside Arena in Leicester with two more groups being played out.
We’ve seen a number of big players throughout the competition so far but some have been saved for the final week of the first round. Two of them come as the main seeds on Monday’s play and will be eager to make finals week.
Stuart Bingham vs Peter Devlin
Cao Yupeng vs Peter Lines
Cao Yupeng vs Peter Devlin
Stuart Bingham vs Peter Lines
Peter Lines vs Peter Devlin
Stuart Bingham vs Cao Yupeng
The former world champion Stuart Bingham is the headline draw over the course of the day on the main table on Monday. He opened his season with a win over Michael Holt in the European Masters qualifying over the weekend and will want to build on that here. Cao Yupeng is the second seed in this group. Cao made it all the way to the final group in this last season which will give him some confidence. Peter Lines is the third seed in this group and one of the better ones at that while Peter Devlin will be looking to make a good impression here having failed to earn his tour card at Q-School.
Hossein Vafaei vs Ryan Thomerson
Tian Pengfei vs On Yee Ng
Tian Pengfei vs Ryan Thomerson
Hossein Vafaei vs On Yee Ng
On Yee Ng vs Ryan Thomerson
Hossein Vafaei vs Tian Pengfei
Hossein Vafaei is the top seed in the group which will take place over on Table Two on Monday. The Shootout champion has already played his European Masters qualifier and made a 147 in beating Ng On Yee. That will be significant for a couple of ways as not only does it show that the Iranian is in decent nick but the Hong Kong female star is the third seed in this group. The Chinese player Tian Pengfei is the second seed in the section and he’ll be looking to spring a surprise. Ryan Thomerson will be looking to be a rare bottom seed to qualify.
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Stuart Bingham is a favourite to come through Group 11 on the main table on Monday but I’m not convinced he is a good thing. It helps that he has already played his European Masters qualifying match because unlike his biggest rival in this group he has had a competitive match but I just don’t think he’s at his best in these very short formats, not this early in the season anyway. To be fair to Bingham, he had a good win over Michael Holt over the weekend but he just feels a little short to me. I’m far from convinced that Peter Lines or Peter Devlin will be consistent enough over three matches to come through, although the former could easily be a spoiler but even though he hasn’t had a prep run for this group I do like Cao Yupeng here. He has good memories of the event from last year and scores well. He’ll have his plenty of his Chinese counterparts make it through and he’ll want a slice of the action. He’s my idea of the group winner here.
Over on the other table it looked hard to oppose Hossein Vafaei prior to the weekend but the fact he won his European Masters qualifier so convincingly and had the confidence boost of making a maximum as well makes him look even more of a good thing. While I hope On Yee and Thomerson give good accounts of themselves, I don’t see them having the consistency to trouble Vafaei. That only leaves Tian Pengfei and while he is capable on his day I just think the Iranian will be too good. I like Vafaei and think he’s one to watch this season and I expect him to win this group but he’s plenty short enough to do it.
As I highlighted on Thursday, my strategy in these matches is usually to take the third seed in the opening match against the second seed where there is value on offer but neither Peter Lines no Ng On Yee fill me with much confidence so I don’t really like them. That only really leaves the second seed against the top seed but then you are just as well to bet on the group as usually it is that match which decides the section rather than anything else.
There is a part of me that thinks that Ryan Thomerson might be a spot of value to beat Ng On Yee but I don’t really like betting on those third seed vs fourth seed matches because on more occasions than not one or both players are already eliminated by then and while there is prize money to play for the competitive edge can sometimes leave those contests. Weighing it all up there isn’t anything that I like here so I’ll just take my group bet.
Back C.Yupeng to win Group 11 for a 2/10 stake at 2.75 with Coral