The competition enters its fourth week.
The Stage Two draw for the lengthy Championship League is finally confirmed with the first groups to take place on Monday in Leicester.
After three weeks of action at the Morningside Arena already, the season-opening ranking event finally moves on to the next phase with 32 players still left in the hunt for glory.
Each group winner from Stage One has progressed, and the remaining contenders have been placed into another eight groups of four.
Once again, the top ranked competitor after the round-robin phase will advance, meaning eight players will move forward to feature in Stage Three at the end of the week.
Among those still in the mix are reigning champion Kyren Wilson, world number one Judd Trump, and six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
UPDATE: O’Sullivan withdrew on the morning of his Stage Two group and will be replaced by Group 32 runner-up Mark Joyce.
Wilson, who is bidding to win a version of the Championship League for the third time on the trot, is involved in a group alongside Ken Doherty, Matthew Stevens, and Oliver Lines, while Trump will face fellow English trio Tom Ford, Stuart Carrington, and Jimmy Robertson.
Meanwhile recent World Championship runner-up Shaun Murphy and Masters winner Yan Bingtao are a couple of the other high-profile names hoping to continue their decent openings to this new campaign.
The latter is involved in Monday’s Group G alongside Barry Hawkins, Matthew Selt, and Cao Yupeng, while O’Sullivan’s replacement Joyce will be in action in Group H with David Gilbert, Chang Bingyu, and Craig Steadman.
Every player has guaranteed themselves £4,000 in prize money by reaching this point, but there are more monetary gains to be made if they can negotiate the remaining hurdles of the Championship League draw.
On Friday, the champion will be determined from a match between the two final group winners, with the overall victor set to pocket £33,000.
All matches in the groups stages up until that point will continue to be played under the very short best-of-four frames format.
The Championship League Draw – Stage Two
|Group A (Thurs, Aug 12th)||Group B (Thurs, Aug 12th)|
|Judd Trump||Mark Allen|
|Tom Ford||Ricky Walden|
|Stuart Carrington||Fergal O’Brien|
|Jimmy Robertson||Peter Lines|
|Group C (Wed, Aug 11th)||Group D (Wed, Aug 11th)|
|Noppon Saengkham||Kyren Wilson|
|Mark Davis||Matthew Stevens|
|Bai Langning||Oliver Lines|
|David Lilley||Ken Doherty|
|Group E (Tues, Aug 10th)||Group F (Tues, Aug 10th)|
|Shaun Murphy||Stuart Bingham|
|Graeme Dott||Ryan Day|
|Ali Carter||Alexander Ursenbacher|
|Gerard Greene||Ashley Hugill|
|Group G (Mon, Aug 9th)||Group H (Mon, Aug 9th)|
|Barry Hawkins||David Gilbert|
|Matthew Selt||Craig Steadman|
|Cao Yupeng||Chang Bingyu|
What is CLS?
Championship League Snooker 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.
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Where to Watch
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