Stevens Speeds to Premier League Win

Matthew Stevens found top gear as he secured two 3-0 victories on route to claiming the spoils on the first night of the 2011 Premier League in Skegness.

Under the new format, players secure points for each frame won which means the Welshman sits on top of the standings with six points.

Championship League champion Stevens reached the final with a whitewash over Neil Robertson while Higgins secured a same scoreline victory over veteran Jimmy White.

However, the defending world champion had little to offer against Stevens in the final as the 33 year-old rallied with breaks of 91 and 95.

The third frame was a closer affair with both cueists missing easy chances but Stevens had the last of those, which he duly took to claim a confidence-boosting triumph.

Earlier, the Welsh Dragon had similarly outplayed Australian World Open champion Robertson – who has openly stated that he is not fond of short formats and the use of a shot clock.

In the opening last four encounter, Higgins beat fan favourite White 3-0 with the help of a 105 century break in frame two – enough to give him the highest break prize for the night of £1,000.

However, the Whirlwind was the subject of a significant portion of bad luck in the final frame when, having potted the last black to seemingly get himself back into the match, the cueball went in-off handing victory to the Scotsman.

The new system with the use of 20 second shot clock was put into effect tonight but it is still early days to decide whether it or the four man mini-tournament format works.

Stevens will not mind, though, and, with only three nights left to play for the former Masters champion, he will begin to fancy his chances of a top four finish and a play-off place later in the year.

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