STUART BINGHAM says his solid showing in the Championship League over the past week was the ideal preparation heading into this month's Players Championship in Llandudno (March 6-12).

Ballrun progressed from Group 6 with three wins from six in Coventry and then won six out of six in Group 7 to move into a semi-final with Mark Selby.

And although he missed out on a final with John Higgins and the chance to secure a place in the Winners' Group after a 3-2 defeat to the world No 1, Bingham was happy to get some solid match practice.

He said: "I've gone through the group stage yesterday with six out of six and played some good stuff and against Selby it just came down to one error in the decider and he cleared up.

"But I am not disheartened by it because I already have my place in the Champion of Champions, and that's what it's for.

"And I am taking the positive that I have now got a couple of days off at home to recharge before Llanduno on Monday."

Bingham is not playing at the Gibraltar Open this week so will start on the first night at the Players Championship in Wales alongside Ronnie O'Sullivan. Both are still waiting to find out who they will play after Gibraltar, although at present fourth-seed Bingham would start against 13th-seed Neil Robertson.

Newly-crowned Welsh Open winner Bingham was also in Shoot Out action in February and lost an incredible one-match showdown 53-48 against Pakistani pro Hamza Akbar.

The world No 2 said: "I got in first and missed a pink on 40-odd and I think he missed and I potted red, pink and then missed a red.

"I think he would have been 100-1 against to win the frame from there, I was in such a commanding position.

"But he has potted an unbelievable ball that is probably a one-in-50 shot and then cleared up to one red left and put me in an awkward snooker that would have taken me a while to get out of even if there wasn't a shot-clock.

"And I narrowly missed it and he has cleared up. He has potted some balls that were brilliant under that pressure, so fair play to him.

"But I always treat the Shoot Out as a bit of fun and I have just come up a bit short in the match, it is as simple as that."

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