Kyren and Harvey set for a competitive return

Northamptonshire snooker stars Kyren Wilson and Harvey Chandler will be back in competitive action next week.

By Jon Dunham
Friday, 29th May 2020, 7:30 am
Kyren Wilson will be back in competitive action in the Championship League Snooker in Milton Keynes next week
Kyren Wilson will be back in competitive action in the Championship League Snooker in Milton Keynes next week

Both players will be part of the field of 64 for the Championship League Snooker, which will mark the return of live snooker to television screens on Monday.

The event, which is being staged at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, will take place behind closed doors with strict rules on social distancing, Covid testing and hygiene in place in line with government guidelines.

The 64 players have been split into round-robin groups with the 16 group winners then being split into four further groups of four before the four Phase Two winners battle it out in one final group to determine the winner.

The eventual winner will receive £30,000 and a place in November’s Champion of Champions event while each player competing is guaranteed at least £1,000.

For Kettering’s Wilson, the world number eight, it is his first competitive action since he was beaten 4-3 by Judd Trump in the final of the Gibraltar Open in March, which was the last tournament played before sport was suspended.

And, with the World Championship set to take place at the end of July, Wilson is looking forward to getting back into action and re-capturing the good form he was showing before the enforced break.

“It’s a little bit of normality for me I suppose and it’s as close as we are going to get at the moment,” Wilson, who is in a group alongside Ryan Day, Alfie Burden and Chen Feilong, said.

Raunds' Harvey Chandler is part of the 64-player field for the Championship League Snooker

“It’s a different format and it’s behind closed doors with no crowd but it’s just great to be getting back into competition.

“Barry Hearn and his team have really made this work. We arrive 24 hours before we are due to play, we get tested at MK Arena and there is a hotel on site which is just purely for the players and officials.

“We will isolate for 24 hours and if we have tested negative we will come into contact with nobody so you can really see how it will work.

“I had a table put into my house which I have hardly used to be honest.

“The weather has been good so it’s been nice to play with the boys in the garden and go on family walks and we have got a puppy as well so he has kept us busy.

“The club have allowed us back in to practice and I have been getting back to it in the last week or so.

“I feel I am starting to play quite well and I am just trying to find the form again.

“The World Championships are still in the background but you want to find your form ready for that.”

Raunds’ Chandler, who won the ESBA European Snooker Championship in 2018 to earn his place on the World Snooker Tour, admitted he “hasn’t hit a ball for three or four months” but is delighted to be part of the field.

He said: “I am really looking forward to it. Hopefully I can be on one of the TV tables as well, that would be great.

“I hadn’t hit a ball for three or four months before this week but I’ve now been able to do a bit.

“It may well mean it’s a bit hit and miss next week but we’ll see how it is when we get there.

“I was chuffed when I got the email to say I would be part of the field, I was over the moon. And it gives me the chance to get out of the house, which is great!”

Chandler is in a group with Joe Perry, Mark King and Sam Baird and both he and Wilson will be in action on Wednesday next week.

The event, which runs from next Monday until June 11, will be screened live on ITV.