cao snooker ban
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Cao Yupeng Returns From Snooker Ban with Strong Display

The Chinese is competing as a professional for the first time since 2018.

Cao Yupeng comfortably topped Group 26 of Championship League Snooker at the Morningside Arena on Tuesday in what was his first outing on the Main Tour following his ban for betting.

The former Scottish Open and Gibraltar Open runner-up lost only one frame as he scored the maximum nine league points with successive victories against Steven Hallworth, Gary Wilson, and James Cahill.

Cao completed his ban – six years in total but three and a half years of which were suspended – in December last year and qualified to rejoin the professional snooker circuit by graduating from Q School in May.

Meanwhile, Noppon Saengkham sent John Higgins crashing out of the tournament after pipping the two-time former champion to first place in Group 9.

After both had won their opening two round-robin fixtures, Saengkham and Higgins knew that their fates were within their own hands going into the last bout against one another.

The latter, who had beaten Igor Figueiredo and Soheil Vafaei with 3-0 scorelines, enjoyed a superior frame difference so needed just a draw to progress, and he duly won the opening frame against Saengkham.

But the Thai responded in terrific fashion, winning the remaining three frames with the help of 108 and 114 century breaks.

On Wednesday, the Championship League action continues with Group 18, which features Robert Milkins, Zhao Jianbo, Gerard Greene, and amateur Haydon Pinhey.

Group 29 also takes place with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Martin O’Donnell, Craig Steadman, and Zhang Jiankang set to enter the fray.

What is the Championship League?

The Championship League has been on the calendar in some way, shape, or form since 2008, but it’s only in the last couple of years that it has been intermittently staged as a ranking event.

On this occasion, there are three stages to the month-long competition with 128 players initially split into 32 round-robin groups comprising four players in each.

The 32 group winners advance to Stage Two, before the next eight group winners determine the competitors who feature in Stage Three, with all matches lasting just four frames.

The two players who win their third and final groups will subsequently contest the outright final, with the winner set to earn £33,000 from the total prize fund.

Where to Watch the Championship League

There will be two tables available to watch on each day of the group stages, with the snooker available across Ireland and the UK on FreeSports in addition to the Matchroom.Live’s snooker streaming service.

There are various other TV broadcast options around the world, which you can view by clicking here.

Click here to view the full draw (Times: CET)

Featured photo credit: WST

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