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Maguire Tops Group 4

Stephen Maguire dominated Group 4 of the Championship League at Crondon Park to book his place in the Winner’s Group in March.

The Scot raced through his group fixtures, winning all six, to easily top the group and advance to the semi-finals.

There, he overcame Ryan Day in a tight affair 3-2 before whitewashing the world no.1 Neil Robertson 3-0.

Maguire’s nickname is ‘On-Fire’ but, in truth, he rarely displays that kind of form these days.

The 32 year-old remains one of the toughest players on the circuit to beat but his menacing demeanor around the table and fearsome scoring power of around a decade ago when he first burst onto the scene by winning the European Open and UK Championship have long since subsided.

At times here and there we are briefly treated to his magic but he can’t seem to produce it as automatically as he did in the past, much, I’m sure, to his own frustration.

However, this high level of play is in there somewhere – everybody is well aware of the ability he possesses – so there is always the opportunity that it could reappear at any given moment.

Up to this point in his career, Maguire has recorded five ranking event victories, which isn’t a bad tally all things considered.

But with his talent, especially given his immediate success as a youngster, many would have expected him to be closer to the likes of Ding and Robertson in the record books.

He’s young enough for that to still come right.

Years ago he admitted that he wanted to win the World Championship by the time he was 30.

That date has long since elapsed and these days there are many names that would appear ahead of the Glaswegian in the favourites list.

But a couple of wins here and there could spark a bit of that old fire in the belly.

The Championship League may not be a ranking event played in the pressurised cauldrons of TV camera and crowd-filled venues, but it is a tournament contested between most of the world’s elite.

Should he go on to win it, and of course therefore book his place in the lucrative Champion of Champions next season, it could be the catalyst for greater success.

Next stop, Blackpool for the Snooker Shoot-Out.



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the British Open – won by Mark Williams.

1. Mark Selby
2. Judd Trump
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Kyren Wilson
6. Shaun Murphy
7. John Higgins
8. Mark Williams
9. Stephen Maguire
10. Ding Junhui
11. Mark Allen
12. Barry Hawkins
13. Stuart Bingham
14. Jack Lisowski
15. Yan Bingtao
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy