Saturday, 12 March 2011

Six progress with unfinished business

Six qualifiers booked their place at this year's World Championships tonight.

Martin Gould, Dominic Dale, Jamie Burnett, Rory McLeod, Mark King and Joe Perry now all have their names in the hat for the draw to be made on 21 March.

And there's one thing thing they'll all have on their minds. Unfinished business.

Martin Gould has emerged as one of the game's brightest talents outside of the top 16, but last year in Sheffield he famously surrendered an 11-5 lead to lose 13-12 to eventual champion Neil Robertson.

With the prospect of playing Steve Davis in the quarter-finals, and a place in the last four seemingly at his mercy, it all went horribly wrong. This dramatic defeat hasn't exactly hindered his progress since as he still remains on the fringes of the elite, but he'll be desperate to get back and put it right.

After beating Robert Milkins 10-6 today, he has that chance.

Mark King made it to the Crucible today with the same scoreline victory against Mike Dunn. At the last cut-off point to the rankings the Romford dropped out of the top 16.

He came through the qualifiers and will be eager to prove he' still go it when he meets the big boys.

Joe Perry hasn't hit his heights of form at the World Championships since his trip to the semi-finals in 2008. When he trailed Liu Song 4-1 today, it looked like he might miss out altogether this year. But a stirring comeback saw him run out a 10-6 winner to halt Song who won three matches earlier this week.

He's been in good form for the second half of this season, playing the kind of snooker that could see him spring a surprise

Dominic Dale's wait for a return has been even longer. He hasn't played at the Crucible since way back in 2004. He's desperate to get back and now he can after winning the last seven frames on the spin to beat Michael Holt 10-6.

Two of snooker's grafters booked their place today too. They've also got unfinished business.

Rory McLeod is enjoying a good season but after losing to world champion Robertson in the first round of the UK Championships in December 9-1, he'll want to put his televised form right. He raced into a 9-2 lead over Mark Davis today eventually stumbling over the line as a 10-5 victor. He'll be focussed on giving a better account of himself.

Jamie Burnett gets a fair amount of stick for his style of play, despite having played plenty of attractive snooker this season. He made it to the final of this season's Shanghai Masters but perhaps needs a good run at one of the sport's bigger tournaments to earn some plaudits. A 10-7 win against Liang Wenbo means he has the chance to shine on the biggest stage of them all.

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