Monday, 14 March 2011

Crucible line-up complete

I'm still relatively new to this blogging lark, but yesterday I realised there won't be many busier or more exciting days in the the year than than the final day of the world qualifiers.

The final ten players made it through to the Crucible yesterday, and if you were following my Facebook page, you would have seen the action unfold nicely.

The story of the day was qualification for both Andrew Pagett and Jimmy Robertson, who will now be making their Crucible debut next month.

No matter what success these players on to enjoy in the snooker careers, this is a great moment they will always remember.

For Welshman Pagett, the prospect of a first round draw against his practice partner and close friend Mark Williams will I'm sure already have gone through his mind.

He booked his place with an impressive 10-6 win over Andrew Higginson , which was the last of his four victories throughout the week.

For Robertson, this is a significant milestone in his career.

After first breaking onto the professional tour some eight years ago as a talented 16-year-old with a fantastic amateur record, he's finally made it to Sheffield in his third spell on the circuit and now as a member of the world's top 64.

The early days of his career haven't been easy battling against medical problems that were affecting his cue action. Last night though, he played like a man possessed taking all seven frames in the evening session to defeat Ken Doherty 10-6.

A fantastic experience now awaits them both.

Some of the qualifiers will be expecting bigger things at the Crucible this year than just a glamour first round tie.

Stephen Lee and Stuart Bingham are among them, as they both chalked up impressive 10-2 wins against veterans Steve Davis and Alan McManus respectively. Both these players have enjoyed good seasons and sit on the fringes of a top 16 place. A run in Sheffield might push them into the elite.

Welsh duo Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens are in the same boat and both progressed as well.

Day scurried past Liu Chuang 10-7, who put up a good account of himself, and I'm sure will be back.

Stevens was made to fight even harder for his place though. He eventually came through a thrilling match on the final black in a 10-9 win against dogged Fergal O'Brien.

It looked at one stage like the two-time world finalist might suffer the same fate as last season where he missed out on his spot with a 10-9 defeat to Marcus Campbell, but he just about turned the screw this time.

Campbell is back at the Crucible again, this time in slightly easier fashion. He knocked out Matt Selt 10-6.

Other winners included Barry Hawkins who beat Anthony Hamilton 10-5, Judd Trump who beat Dave Gilbert 10-4 to make the venue for the first time since 2007 and Dave Harold who was the last man to make it through with a late-night 10-9 win over Gerard Greene.

So here's the full list of qualifiers for the World Championship 2011:

  • Martin Gould
  • Joe Perry
  • Dominic Dale
  • Rory McLeod
  • Jamie Burnett
  • Mark King
  • Judd Trump
  • Ryan Day
  • Matthew Stevens
  • Marcus Campbell
  • Stephen Lee
  • Stuart Bingham
  • Dave Harold
  • Barry Hawkins
  • Andrew Pagett
  • Jimmy Robertson
For the record, that means I predicted  nine out of the 16 qualifiers correctly. Not bad, but I was hoping for 10. Better luck next year!

The draw for the Crucible will be made on Monday 21 March. I'll be there at Wembley Stadium and updating Facebook as the names come out of the hat, plus more in depth reaction later in the day.

I hope you'll be back to enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to see Ryan back at the Crucible :). Great article Gazza :). It's nice to see that some great names will be there his year :).