Shaun Murphy
Finals, Main News, Ranking

‘Achieving number one in world rankings is on the list of goals’ – Shaun Murphy

Shaun Murphy emerged with the title as Championship League Snooker concluded on Friday at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

The Magician beat fellow former world champion Mark Williams in the final 3-0 to capture the silverware.

In addition to pocketing £33,000, victory for Murphy represents the 12th of his career in a ranking event and the third of this calendar year alone.

It’s a brilliant start to the new 2023/24 season for the 40 year-old as he continues the formidable form he demonstrated at the tale end of last term.

Aside from a disappointing World Snooker Championship effort in which he unexpectedly bowed out in the first round, it has been a tremendous few months for the Englishman.

After reaching the Welsh Open final in February, Murphy won back-to-back tournaments at the prestigious Players and Tour Championships.

He has now got this season off to a perfect start, one in which he will be expected to rise from his current world ranking of number seven.

Murphy has considerably fewer points to defend compared to the players around him in the official standings.

“I’m delighted. My team and I have been working really hard and we knew it was coming,” Shaun Murphy said after winning Championship League Snooker.

“I think that’s three of the last four events I’ve been to the final and won. I am not sure what the secret is, but I am doing something right.”

“I shared at the end of last season my season goals for last season. I would be very keen on making goals and setting targets.

“Achieving number one on the world rankings is something I’ve never achieved, but it is on the list of goals I would like to hit this season, and this has been the best possible start.”

Murphy, who had been among the betting favourites at the outset, started his day off in the final round-robin phase with a 2-2 draw against Xiao Guodong.

A subsequent 3-1 victory over Chris Wakelin provided him with a modicum of control in what was a tight group.

The point he then garnered from his last fixture against Robert Milkins proved to be enough to see him finish in first and qualify for the final.

In the title decider, Murphy faced Williams who had emerged from his last group stage with an undefeated record of two wins and a draw.

But the sprint final proved to be a one-side affair, with Murphy snatching the opening frame on the colours before adding runs of 73 and 69 to seal glory.

For Williams, the Welshman missed out on the opportunity to land a 25th career ranking title and a first since the 2021 British Open.

And so then finally ends another very long edition of Championship League Snooker.

It’s peculiar that this tournament has seemingly nestled into its slot as the first on a new season’s calendar.

An elongated and uninspiring format, a relatively low total prize fund, and a behind-closed-doors setting hardly makes for an exciting launch.

Still, Murphy won’t mind too much, and victory for Luca Brecel this time last year in the same competition certainly didn’t do him any harm – ending the last campaign, of course, as the world champion.

Featured photo credit: CLSnooker

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