Snooker - Higgins books place in Championship League finale

John Higgins booked his place in the final group of Championship League Snooker after beating Ali Carter 3-1 at Crondon Park Golf Club in Essex.

The world number three claimed top spot in Group One of the tournament following the victory over Carter and an earlier 3-1 win over Martin Gould in the play-off semi-final.

Higgins rattled down a break of 131 against Gould but his effort was bettered by a brilliant 141 from Carter in the final, netting the Colchester potter the highest break prize of £500.

With Higgins safely through, it leaves Carter, Gould, Mark Davis and Judd Trump to return on Wednesday to contest Group Two along with Neil Robertson, Stephen Maguire and Stuart Bingham.

Shaun Murphy and Matthew Stevens, who propped up the bottom of the group table, bow out.

"It’s very tough to get through here so I’m very pleased to get through early and get myself into the final group,” Higgins said.

“I scored quite heavily today, got a few nice breaks. Ali got the £500 off me in the end, after I’d been saying I had beaten Shaun (Murphy) to it by one point!

“I’ll be back for the winners’ group and I will try and win that as well. I play Ali again in the Masters so it was good to get some good wins under my belt here before that.”

Twenty-five of the world's top players are competing in the Championship League, the Premier League qualifying event.

Seven groups of seven players produce seven winners who play in one further group in March to determine the winner who will play in the 2013 Premier League.

In each group the top four players from the round robin stage will contest the semi finals and final over the best of five frames.

The players coming sixth and seventh in the group will be relegated and will not feature in any further group matches and therefore three players will leave and be replaced by a further three players.

RESULTS:

Group matches

Judd Trump 3-1 Mark Davis

Ali Carter 2-3 Martin Gould

John Higgins 3-1 Martin Gould

Shaun Murphy 3-0 Matthew Stevens

John Higgins 3-2 Matthew Stevens

Shaun Murphy 2-3 Mark Davis

Judd Trump 3-2 Matthew Stevens

Judd Trump 0-3 Ali Carter

John Higgins 0-3 Mark Davis

Semi-finals

John Higgins 3-1 Martin Gould

Mark Davis 2-3 Ali Carter

Final

John Higgins 3-1 Ali Carter

LINE-UP:

Group 1 - Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Ali Carter, Matthew Stevens, Mark Davis and Martin Gould

Group 2 - Four players from Group 1 (Carter, Gould, Davis and Trump) plus Stephen Maguire, Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham

Group 3 - Four players from Group 2 plus Mark Selby, Mark Williams and Ding Junhui

Group 4 - Four players from Group 3 plus Ricky Walden, Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins

Group 5 - Four players from Group 4 plus Joe Perry, Peter Ebdon and Ryan Day

Group 6 - Four players from Group 5 plus Marcus Campbell, Marco Fu and Dominic Dale

Group 7 - Four players from Group 6 plus three Andrew Higginson, Tom Ford and Robert Milkins

Winners' Group - Winners of groups 1 to 7