Snooker - Higgins roars into Championship League lead

John Higgins burst out of the blocks to record three wins out of three on the opening day of the 2013 Championship League Snooker season at Crondon Park Golf Club.

The former world number one went straight to the top of the group following his perfect start in Essex, comprising wins over Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter.

Mark Davis is a point behind after he won two of his three opening matches.

Scot Higgins hit a 126 break against Shaun Murphy, who endured a miserable day, to lead the way in the race for the highest break.

Murphy lost his opening three matches 3-0, but his hopes are still alive after he recovered to beat Martin Gould in his final match.

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:

Shaun Murphy 3 - 2 Martin Gould

Mark Davis 3 - 0 Allister Carter

John Higgins 3 - 2 Allister Carter

Martin Gould 3 - 0 Matthew Stevens

Judd Trump 3 - 0 Shaun Murphy

Mark Davis 3 - 0 Martin Gould

Allister Carter 3 - 0 Matthew Stevens

John Higgins 3 - 0 Shaun Murphy

Matthew Stevens 3 - 2 Mark Davis

Martin Gould 3 - 0 Judd Trump

Allister Carter 3 - 0 Shaun Murphy

John Higgins 3 - 1 Judd Trump

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 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