Snooker in January
News, World Seniors Tour

Snooker in January

It didn’t take long for snooker in January to get under way as the action broke off on New Year’s Day with the start of the Championship League.

Championship League

Back on the calendar for the twelfth consecutive season, the annual invitational event follows the usual format.

Snooker in January
Australia’s Robertson got engaged on Christmas Day. Photo credit: World Snooker

Seven groups consisting of seven players will take place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry between now and March before a final Winners’ Group determines the overall champion.

As always, each group will comprise a round-robin phase before the top four competitors advance to the semi-finals and the knockout phase produces a group winner.

The beaten runner-up in each group, as well as the two semi-finalists, and the player finishing fifth in the league, will have the opportunity to try again in each subsequent group – with the bottom two players from the round-robin phase eliminated.

All matches will be contested over a speedy best of five frames, with prize money awarded for frames won and bonuses given to the players who reach the latter stages.

The Championship League, which is always played behind closed doors, is streamed online and is primarily aimed at the betting market.

It also acts as a neat calendar filler and offers a chance for some of the players to earn a little extra dosh while honing their games ahead of the most important section of the campaign.

Group One began on Tuesday with Mark King topping the standings at the halfway point with three wins from three.

Neil Robertson – who on day one became only the fourth person to compile 600 career century breaks – Ricky Walden, Anthony Hamilton, Robert Milkins, Jack Lisowski, and Jimmy Robertson make up the septet.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

The Masters

The first four groups of the Championship League will take place over the next week or so but snooker in January will, of course, centre around the Masters.

From the 13th to the 20th at the Alexandra Palace in London, the top 16 on the world rankings list will compete for the sport’s most prestigious invitational prize.

Mark Allen will return as the defending champion after brilliantly capturing a maiden Triple Crown title twelve months ago.

The Northern Irishman is one of the in-form cueists at present following a brace of ranking event victories at the conclusion of 2018.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, who beat Allen to lift the UK Championship trophy in December, will naturally be the favourite as he bids to raise the silverware aloft for a record eighth time.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

Seniors Irish Masters

Before that, there’s some World Seniors snooker in January to look forward to with the return of the Seniors Irish Masters at Goffs this weekend.

Steve Davis emerged victorious a year ago and, although the “Nugget” isn’t in the line-up this time, the field should still provide a couple of good nights of entertainment.

Home hero Ken Doherty, the winner of the UK Seniors Championship earlier in this campaign, faces countryman Rodney Goggins in the quarter-finals of the eight-man event.

Arguably the tie of the opening stage pits Jimmy White against the ever-popular Willie Thorne, who’ll make his debut in an official World Seniors tournament.

Former world champions Dennis Taylor and Joe Johnson clash while world seniors champion Aaron Canavan faces Patrick Wallace in the remaining fixture.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

More Snooker in January

Somewhat unusually in what is an otherwise hectic schedule, there isn’t a single ranking event completed in the first month of 2019.

However, the eagerly anticipated German Masters does get going on January 30th at the Tempodrom in Berlin.

Finally, the inaugural Challenge Tour season resumes with the ninth event out of ten being played on the final weekend of the month in Sheffield.

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