STUART BINGHAM is looking forward to his latest battle with Ronnie O’Sullivan during the next stage of snooker’s Championship League tomorrow (June 8).
Ball-Run progressed after topping Group 1 following a 3-0 win over Jamie Clarke, and two 2-2 draws with Jordan Brown and Ricky Walden.
The world No 13 is now through to a winners’ Group C on Tuesday where he will face O’Sullivan, Harvey Chandler and yet-to-be-confirmed winner of Group 6, which will be concluded today (June 8).
O’Sullivan has not lost a frame so far in a non-ranking event being played behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes due to the Covid-19 measures.
Bingham said: “It all still feels a little bit odd because I am one of these players who would normally always play in every event I can to keep my sharpness up.
“Playing the first three matches will help – after being in certain situations – and I’ve been practicing the past couple of days, but it does still feel a bit alien.
“I think it is different for everyone but you just have to try and find your feet when the matches start.
“Some players have been practicing throughout the lockdown and some might have only had a week or two since we learned about this tournament.
“You can put in all the hours on your own but when it comes to a match it is a bit different.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow now and I was lucky enough to commentate on Ronnie’s last match. It looks like he is striking the ball well and he is a match for anyone, at any time.
“And when you are not sharp and you are playing someone like Ronnie it is going to be an uphill battle from the start.
“But you just have to keep your focus on your own game and play the shot in front of you.
“It got a bit twitchy at the end in my first group but hopefully I can avoid that again and put on a good show.”
The venue has an on-site hotel, allowing players and staff to be contained on the complex without having to leave, and everyone involved gets Covid-19 testing everyday.
Bingham added: “I came up last Tuesday to do some commentary work and it was a bit surreal.
“I was isolated and did the test – which wasn’t pleasant. I didn’t realise they could put something that far up your nose!
“You have to have it done when you come into the building, and that more or less made up my mind about staying here and not going home.
“Michele brought me up some more clothes and dropped it at the front door at the hotel, and they put it in an airlock and made sure it was all safe.
“And we are in what they call a bubble here. It means you are not allowed out of certain barriers and it is sign-posted where we can and can’t go.
“So there is a bit of cabin fever setting in. Especially after you have your test because after you are marched to your hotel room and you are not allowed out until you get the all-clear. You get the test done around 3-4pm and get the results between 11am and midday the next day.
“Luckily I signed up for Netflix a couple of weeks ago and it is just about keeping me sane. I’ve been watching The Last Dance and After Life, and I’d recommend both if people haven’t seen them.”