Snooker Championship League preview: Can Ronnie O’Sullivan claim first title?
The non-ranking tournament returns next week
Snooker is finally back on Monday as the Championship League returns.
The event is being held at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes for the first time and it will be played behind closed doors.
However, snooker fans will be able to enjoy the 11-day tournament live on ITV4.
Extra measures have been taken to ensure the safety of all players and officials, including regular coronavirus testing, social distancing between players and no handshakes.
And ahead of the competition, we’ve outlined everything you need to know.
How does the tournament work?
All 128 World Snooker Tour card holders were invited to participate in the competition and places were given to the highest-ranking 64 players to accept.
Those players, who include Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson, have been split into 16 groups of four, with every player facing off against each of their group opponents over the best of four frames.
Players are awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw and each group winner will progress into the next phase, where they will again be split into groups of four.
The winner of each of these groups will then face off in the final stage to decide the ultimate winner on Thursday 11th June.
The total prize pot exceeds £200,000, with players earning more for each frame they win. The overall winner will earn an extra £30,000 and a place in November’s Champion of Champions.
Who are the favourites?
Scott Donaldson won last year’s competition but he’ll not be returning to defend his crown this year, leaving Trump as the 5/2 favourite to come out on top. The world No.1 is targeting his fourth Championship League title and he’s just 2/9 to progress from Group 2.
But he’ll face stiff competition from O’Sullivan, who lost in the final to Trump in 2016. The Rocket is targeting his maiden Championship League win and he’s currently priced at 4/1 to go all the way. He’s the 1/4 favourite to progress from Group 10, with Chris Wakelin, who is a 250/1 shot to win the tournament his closest competition.
Elsewhere, World No.2 Neil Robertson is going at 9/2 to lift the trophy, while two-time finalist Mark Selby will be hoping to trouble the favourites at 15/2, and he’s just 15/8 to reach the final group.
Stuart Bingham won the tournament in 2015 and he’s a 22/1 shot for history to repeat itself, while he’s going at 9/2 to reach the final group.
View the latest snooker odds.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication