Mark Williams coasted through to Stage Three of Championship League Snooker on Monday at the Morningside Arena.
The three-time world champion won all three of his round-robin fixtures in Group F of Stage Two to comfortably progress in the competition.
Williams first overcame veteran Barry Pinches with a 3-0 scoreline and then repeated the trick against both Martin O’Donnell and Robbie Williams.
The 48 year-old has now won all six of his fixtures in the season-opening ranking event, having also emerged from Stage One with a hat-trick of victories and just one frame lost.
“In the last match, I knew I needed a draw. So I got off to a flyer and I don’t think he potted a ball then,” Mark Williams said upon qualifying for Stage Three.
“You’ve got to (keep your discipline). If stuff happens, you’ve just got to get on with it and try your best.”
“That’s what I done. I played a few good frames, but the first four or five frames could have gone to my opponents easily. It just went my way today.
Williams hasn’t captured a ranking title since the British Open about two years ago, but he will be starting to fancy the job here in Leicester.
Should the Welshman go on and lift the trophy, he would be the second-oldest player ever to land ranking success after countryman Ray Reardon, who was 50 when he won the Players Professional Tournament in 1982.
“I’d rather not be that old to be honest. I’m nearly 50 and I’m still going – let’s see how far I can go.”
Meanwhile, Chris Wakelin topped Group F with an undefeated record of two wins and a draw.
The reigning Snooker Shoot Out champion beat Anthony Hamilton 3-0 in his first match before drawing 2-2 with Sanderson Lam.
It led to a crunch tie with former Championship League winner Kyren Wilson, who had won both of his games up until that point.
Wakelin, though, was able to muster the triumph he needed, orchestrating a 3-1 victory to advance to the next phase at Wilson’s expense.
Both Mark Williams and Chris Wakelin will continue their Championship League Snooker campaigns on Friday when the final group stages will take place.
On Tuesday, there will be two more round-robin groups from Stage Two.
Si Jiahui and Robert Milkins are in Group H alongside Pang Junxu and John Astley, while Group C comprises Noppon Saengkham, Daniel Wells, Ashley Carty, and Liu Hongyu.
Championship League Snooker
Stage Two draw
|Group A (July 19)
|Group B (July 20)
|Group C (July 18)
|Group D (July 19)
|Group E (July 17)
|Group F (July 17)
|Group G (July 20)
|Group H (July 18)
Featured photo credit: WST