Barry Hawkins takes Group Two initiative


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Barry Hawkins leads the way in Group Two of the Championship League after winning three of his four matches on Thursday.

The Englishman has endured a tough season to date, as he has only made it through to the third round of one ranking event this term, but he showed no signs of those struggles in Coventry, as he recorded some impressive results.

The world number seven showed great grit and determination to see off Mark Selby and Kyren Wilson in deciding frames before whitewashing Stephen Maguire 3-0 during the final match of the day.

Indeed, Hawkins’ only defeat was a 3-2 reverse at the hands of Neil Robertson and he now looks well placed to secure a top-four finish in the group – a result that would see him through to Friday night’s play-offs.

The 38-year-old, who reached the semi-finals of the Championship League last season, must first negotiate his final group matches against Ryan Day and Anthony Hamilton before he can think about the play-offs.

Selby, Day and Robertson currently hold the other three play-off positions, with only one automatic place in the Winners’ Group up for grabs.

Hawkins, whose last victory of note came at the 2017 World Grand Prix, is priced at 15.00 to go on and win the tournament, although the Winners’ Group will not be contested until the end of March.

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