Ali Carter wore a rueful smile after losing a third successive final in a deciding frame last night in the Championship League at Crondon Park Golf Club in Essex.

Ali was trying his best against Shaun Murphy - indeed he completed a 143 break - but the blow of losing was cushioned by the knowledge that he is coming back for Group 5 next month.

He has already earned £17,800 from the event and it could well turn into the most successful tournament financially he has ever played in.

This new League has proved hugely popular with the players, who have only seven ranking events to play in during a fragmented season.

Neil Robertson, who originally turned down an invite, has seen the light and will be in Group 5 alongside Stephen Lee, this season's Saga Insurance Masters runner-up.

Jimmy White will play in Group 6, as will Mark Selby, who pulled out of Group 4 due to prior commitments.

White's participation serves as confirmation that, for the first time since it began 21 years ago, he will not be invited to play in the Premier League.

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