STUART Bingham is through to the tournament finals of the Championship League after beating Ronnie O’Sullivan for the first time in five years.

Bingham lost 3-1 to Sam Craigie on his opening game in the group before bouncing back to beat Harvey Chandler 3-0.

As a result, Bingham needed a 3-0 victory against O’Sullivan to reach the next stage of the competition in Milton Keynes.

And that is exactly what the Basildon born Bingham did.

“I knew I needed to win 3-0 to top the group and I took my chances,” said Bingham.

“Who would have thought it after my first game between me and Sam?

“We were struggling to pot a ball between us.

“But I got it going when it mattered.

“I’m happy with the performance.

“I have three more games now on Thursday and I’ll have to play like that to have any chance.”

Ben Woollaston has joined Bingham as one of the four finalists after topping Group D.

Woollaston lost 3-1 to Martin O’Donnell in his opening match but emphatically rebounded with successive breaks of 134, 101 and 127 helping him to a 3-0 win over Tom Ford, who failed to register a single point in the encounter.

Ford then did his conqueror a massive favour by overcoming O’Donnell 3-1, which led to Woollaston topping the standings after overcoming Liang Wenbo 3-0.

But Bingham will be hopeful of more success after seeing off O’Sullivan who admitted he had enjoyed taking a break from the game.

“I’ve really been enjoying the lockdown, I’ve had the best three months of my life,” said O’Sullivan.

“Talking about snooker and talking about this and that...I want the lockdown to go on for another five years if it can!”

O’Sullivan had cruised into this phase without dropping a frame and two centuries in a 3-0 win over Chandler augured well.

The world number six said of the win: “It was alright. (Chandler) missed a few balls and let me off the hook a little bit. I got a bit lucky.”

Craigie managed to take one frame off O’Sullivan before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat but a lacklustre performance in the former world number one’s final match was expertly capitalised upon by Bingham.

O’Sullivan settled for third place in his group after Craigie whitewashed Chandler in their dead rubber.