With the clock just shy of 1am, Martin O’Donnell sealed a 2-2 draw with world number five Mark Allen to reach the Group Winner’s phase of the Matchroom.Live Championship League in Milton Keynes.
The pair faced off in the pivotal match of the group, with Allen knowing only victory would put him through, due to O’Donnell’s superior frame difference.
After O’Donnell moved 1-0 up, Allen hit back with a break of 70 to restore parity. The Northern Irishman then moved 2-1 up by taking the third on the pink. However, a break of 62 in the final frame was enough for O’Donnell to seal the crucial draw.
O’Donnell had already secured wins in his opening two ties of the day. He defeated Michael White 3-0 and sealed a 3-1 victory over Nigel Bond by winning an hour long final frame.
“I am pleased to go through and think I played pretty well all day,” said O’Donnell, who will face Tom Ford, Liang Wenbo and Ben Woollaston in the next phase on Tuesday.
“I should have probably beaten Mark tonight, but I got the job done. I try until the end and have lots of fighting spirit in me. I knew, especially once I won the first frame, that whatever happens I would be in it until the end. I have been working really hard on the mental side of things and I’m pleased I made a good break in the end to finish off there, because two years ago I would have crumbled and he would have beaten me.”
On table two, Sam Craigie topped his group to join Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Bingham and Harvey Chandler in Group C of the winner’s phase, which will play out on table one tomorrow.
Craigie faced Dominic Dale in a winner takes all clash this evening. He powered to an impressive 3-0 win, with breaks of 131, 71 and 123 to beat Dale in under 40 minutes.