More drama this afternoon on the road to the Crucible.
The fight to make it to the World Championship rumbles on, but three more have secured their places...
A long-awaited return to
snooker's holy grail for the former Masters champion and two-time World
Championship semi-finalist. McManus hasn't played at the Crucible for
seven years. His last appearance came in 2006 and it's great to see him
back. In a year when it looks as if the qualifiers will be dominated by
new faces and young promise, McManus' passage is on behalf of the old
guard. This week, he's beaten Aditya Mehta 10-9, Nigel Bond 10-8 and
finished off his run beating Tom Ford 10-5. The Scot appears to have
maintained his commitment and love for playing the game. He's showed
some resurgence this season and will get a big cheer on his return. He's
one of the real veterans.
Some will say that justice has been served here. Davis has had an incredible season and only missed out on automatic seeding for the World Championship because of Ronnie O'Sullivan's late announcement to defend his world title. The 40 year old has found the form of his life this season. He'd never been to a major ranking event semi-final before the start of the campaign. He's now been to three, including one in York at the UK Championship. He'll remember this season forever. He's had great highs. Something would have been missing if he'd not found his way to the Crucible, though. His 10-6 win against Liang Wenbo has secured his place. He had a slight lead throughout, guarded it well and then as the winning post came in sight motored to victory. This was a very experienced performance against a dangerous opponent who has been involved in some great Crucible moments in recent years.
Another debutant at this year's World Championship. Selt is ready to fight out it out at the Crucible after beating 1997 world champion Ken Doherty 10-9 in dramatic fashion. He led the Irishman 9-4 and was on the cusp of victory before being pegged back and eventually snatching the match in the deciding frame. He showed great bottle in the end after having to weather an almighty fightback. Selt will win many admirers after this pressure-fuelled win. His game is built on a sound safety foundation. He is a bit of an
old-school player. He isn't reckless and doesn't try to force the issue.
Instead, he shows great discipline and waits patiently for his chances.
When they come, he proved he can attack. This was nearly a match Selt would remember for all the wrong reasons but now he can be relieved. Reaching the Crucible is a great way for him to finish a season which overall has been a
bit disappointing. He has had little joy in the PTCs and hasn't reached
a major venue since progressing to the Australian Open quarter-finals
last summer. It will be interesting to see how Selt fares on the biggest
stage. He has a solid game.
He is confident and resolute.