14 february 2021 publish date
Ali Carter won all three of his matches on the first day of Group Six of BetVictor Championship League Snooker, continuing his fine run of form since entering the event at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes earlier this week.
Carter topped the league standings in Group Five before losing out to Mark Williams in Thursday evening’s play-offs. However, the Essex man rolled his momentum into the next group, beating Mark Williams and Joe Perry 3-0 before a 3-1 success over Li Hang.
Anthony McGill tops the table having won one frame more than Carter, but the Scot has also played a match more.
David Gilbert and Mark Williams both have two points to their name, while Liang Wenbo and Li Hang have one win each, having already played four of their six group matches.
Joe Perry is bottom of the overnight group table having suffered three defeats on Friday, but with three more matches to play.
Sixth Group leaders Ali Carter and Anthony McGill were not going to give up, and with five wins each, they took first and second place, respectively, at the end of the second day.
David Gilbert was able to get two wins on the second day of play and took third place in the group, securing a place in the playoffs.
Mark Williams and Joe Perry fought for the place of the fourth semifinalist until the last frame of group matches. The three-time world champion Williams openly missed the second day of the group stage, not winning a single game before the final match of the group. Instead, Joe Perry caught up with him by points, winning both of his matches up to this stage.
Having an advantage over Mark in personal meetings, Joe had to win the final match of the group stage, but he lost to Liang Wenbo in the deciding frame and Williams reached the playoffs, defeating David Gilbert.
Chinese players Liang Wenbo and Li Han leave the competition, taking the last places in the group.
Anthony McGill confidently started the semifinal by winning the first two frames from David Gilbert. Feeling that the opponent was "on the move", Gilbert openly began to play safe to slowing down McGill, eventually made the opponent make a mistake, which allowed to reduce the gap to one frame. That's all David managed to do against Anthony tonight - after Gilbert's mistake, McGill won the fourth frame with one break and reached a place in the final.
After winning the first frame in the second semifinal, Ali Carter sat in the chair for the next two, watching Mark Williams win with two great breaks of 103 and 63. Being on the verge of defeat, Ali managed to reverse the course of the match and transfer it to the decisive frame, in which he won the series in two series and reached the final.
Not for the first time in this year's tournament, the players who took the first places in the group met in the final, which promised a tense confrontation. Anthony McGill won the first frame with one break after Ali Carter's error on the blue ball. In the second frame, after another Carter's mistake, McGill spent the series 56 and scored 2:0. For the third time, without scoring the required number of points to win, Ali stopped at 40 in the third frame, giving the position to the Scotsman. Anthony went ahead by 19 points, but stopped when there were still 35 on the table and the game turned into a tactical fight on the last red ball. Subsequently, McGill dropped a white ball into the pocket after a failed exit from snooker and, given the opportunity, Carter "rushed" to attack, but made a mistake on a long shot and once again gave the initiative to the opponent. The Scot started the series and scored a match-ball, but failed to get on the blue ball and played back when Carter already needed snooker. Ali potted the blue and put snooker on pink for black, from which Anthony came out with a foul. After unlucky safety shot, McGill leaved the pink and Carter scored the last two balls with great shots, winning a dramatic third frame.
Feeling the opponent's "weak spot", Ali Carter began to play safely and securely, which eventually led to his victory in the fourth frame. Confidence returned to the "The Captain" and he "on courage" won the decisive frame, completing his incredible comeback with a wonderful century!
So Ali Carter joins the Winners Group, and Anthony McGill, Mark Williams, David Gilbert and Joe Perry move to Group Seven, where they'll play with Neil Robertson, Kurt Mufflin and a third new player, whose name will be announced later.
The article is based on WST.TV