Professional Snooker - 2017 Championship League Snooker (Group 1)
2nd & 3rd January 2017 / Ricoh Arena, Coventry, England
VICTORIOUS GILBERT ENJOYS A GREAT START TO THE NEW YEAR
David Gilbert advanced to the tournament ending Winners Group in March after emerging as the last man standing from the opening group of 2017 Championship League Snooker.
The first professional action of the new calendar year took seven players to a new home at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for the tenth successive edition of this unique (and somewhat quirky) internet streamed event.
With all the players who were competing in Group 1 being ranked fairly close together, the Round Robin stage was predictably close. Come the conclusion of the first day, the entire field was separated by just one point.
The Top 4 play-off picture didn't become much clearer as Tuesday afternoon unfolded, but it was eventually Anthony McGill, Mark Davis, Gilbert and Ryan Day who all progressed to the Semi-Final Knockouts.
Being the bottom two of the group, Ben Woollaston and Robert Milkins were both relegated out of this year's competition, whilst fifth placed Matthew Selt lived to fight another day and will re-join in Group 2.
The Semi-Finals produced a terrific standard of play.
Table topper McGill led Day 2-1 after losing the opener, but it was the Welshman, who made breaks of 135, 69 and 79, booking his place in the Group Final.
Davis constructed a 90 to take the front in his clash with Gilbert, but that would be the only points he scored as the former International Championship finalist rattled in runs of 103, 60 and 102 without reply.
Day, who had beaten Gilbert 3-0 during the group, continued his streak when banking the first two frames of the final.
However, efforts of 121 and 52 would see the Englishman force a decider, before completing the counter attack in a low scoring fifth frame.
With all the frame and group bonuses up for grabs too, Gilbert guaranteed himself £6,200 for his work, with much more earning potential in the bigger money Winners Group.
The overall grand champion will also be assured of a Champion of Champions place.
Day, McGill, Davis and Selt will be joined by new players Mark Williams, Neil Robertson and Michael White tomorrow.
For more information, and the full results, please visit the Championship League Snooker website here.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 3rd January 2017