Snooker in 2016 got under way on Monday as this season’s Championship League began at Crondon Park.
The tournament follows a similar format to recent years with seven groups comprising seven players contested over a period of several weeks before each of the group champions compete in one final league for the trophy.
The Championship League basically serves two purposes; it’s an opportunity for a lot of the top players to earn a little extra dosh in a less pressurised environment – there’s no crowd – while it’s a format that pleases the many online bookmakers who back the sport.
It also provides a chance for some of the players to hone their skills ahead of the big tournaments that are on the horizon.
This is certainly the case for Ronnie O’Sullivan, who has entered from Group 1 in an attempt to dust off the cobwebs ahead of The Masters at Alexandra Palace, which commences on Sunday.
O’Sullivan had only played in two matches during this campaign, losing to Stuart Carrington in the German Masters qualifiers last month, but won all three of his opening ties in Crondon Park to sit atop the table after the first day of action.
Barry Hawkins, Mark Williams, Robert Milkins, Ricky Walden, John Higgins and Ryan Day chase the ‘Rocket’, with four players going through to the semi-finals following the round-robin phase’s conclusion on day two.
The Championship League isn’t televised but a lot of the online bookies stream the matches live if you need your fix ahead of next week’s prestigious event in London.