Championship League Winners' Group: O'Sullivan trumped by Judd

It was double trouble for Ronnie O'Sullivan as he lost his first and second games of 2016 at Crondon Park Golf Club.

Championship League Winners' Group: O'Sullivan trumped by Judd
O'Sullivan is left pondering what could have been (photo: Guardian)

The Championship League is not one of snooker's most famous competitions but it certainly attracted the interest of some big names. After seven groups each with seven players, the winners of each group met on 2nd and 3rd March to contest the Winners' Group.

A tight group stage between some of the sport's top players

Intriguingly the first match of the competition was contested between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump, the eventual finalists, with The Rocket sealing a comfortable 3-0 victory. O'Sullivan's next game was not quite so comfortable as he found himself 58-0 down in the deciding frame against world number one Mark Selby, only to make a 71 break to win the contest. Selby himself was out of sorts, losing 3-0 to Matthew Selt who made the highest break of the competition with a 141 in the process. The Gdynia Open champion was also the only man to lose to Scotland's Stephen Maguire as he finished 6th in the group. 

Meanwhile, Mark Williams was in top form as he won four of his six matches, defeated only by Trump and Selby. The real battle was for 3rd, 4th and 5th as Selt, Ali Carter and Trump finished level on points, with Carter being the unfortunate man to miss out on frame difference, just one behind the surprise package Selt who sealed his place with a 3-2 victory over Trump in the penultimate game of the group stage. The drama of the group did not end there though, as Mark Williams cemented his 2nd place with a 3-0 victory over O'Sullivan, subjecting him to his first defeat of 2016 after 24 wins on the bounce.

Trump was resilient in the final (photo: Express)
Trump was resilient in the final (photo: Express)

Trump found another level

The semi-finals saw O'Sullivan play Selt and Trump meet Williams. The Rocket soon refound his form, easing past Selt 3-0 with a 76 break in the first frame the highlight. Trump had a much closer encounter with Williams, a man he beat 3-0 in the group stage, as the pair exchanged blows with a century break apiece. Trump eventually closed the contest with a 92 break in the deciding frame to set up a final with O'Sullivan.

Trump was the first man off the mark in the final, as a break of 86 gave him the lead. O'Sullivan found another gear to put himself within one frame of winning the tournament, as he put together a 134 and 119 break in the second and third frames. Yet Trump showed his resilience as he edged the fourth frame 61-35, before a 73 break in the decider won him the title.