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Pagett thanks Mark Williams after qualifying success

Andrew Pagett
Welsh snooker player Andrew Pagett turned professional in 2003

Andrew Pagett has toasted practice partner Mark Williams after the rookie qualified for snooker's showpiece World Championship for the first time.

The 28-year-old and his double world champion training rival will be two of the five Welshmen at the Crucible.

Pagett shocked world number 23 Andrew Higginson in the World qualifiers.

"If it wasn't for Mark I would never be as good as I am now," said Pagget. "He would keep on hammering me in practice if I was not on top of my game."

The Welsh amateur champion and world number 78, enjoying the first year on the professional tour, won four successive matches to secure a spot among snooker's elite at the Crucible.

In fact, Pagett's "life-changing" appearance at the World Championships is the first time he has qualified for a main ranking tournament.

And he wants to face his friend and training foe Williams, the current world number two, when the first round draw is made on Monday for the tournament which starts on 16 April.

"That would be a dream come true," said the Blackwood potter.

"He has been texting me saying I've been lucky and now I'm going to text that I'm coming to get him."

Qualifying for a first World Championships is a life-changing experience for any snooker player with the prize-money and everything else that goes with it. It is quite mind-boggling

World number 78 Andrew Pagett

But joking aside, he added: "I owe a lot to Mark.

"I can go to practice some days and I can be picking the balls out of the pockets."

The potting brilliance of Williams, world champion in 2000 and 2003, has raised Pagett's standards and transformed him from amateur wannabe to a genuine World Championship player.

And the former World Amateur quarter-finalist and European Championship runner-up fought back from 6-4 down to beat England's Andrew Higginson 10-6 to qualify for the Crucible.

He joins Williams and fellow qualifiers Matthew Stevens, Ryan Day and Dominic Dale in the World Championships as the record number of Welsh players at the Crucible is again equalled.

Wales last had five players at the prestigious end-of-season tournament in 2004 when Lee Walker instead Pagett made up the Crucible quintet.

"The Crucible is where everyone aims to get to in their career," said Pagett,

"It will be a big ask for me but I feel so confident that if I play like I did on the weekend then I will take some stopping.

"I have won every Welsh tournament as an amateur but feel I have under-achieved.

"But I have been practising hard and playing well with Mark, it just hasn't shown on the match table until now. It is nice that the hard work is paying off.

"Qualifying for a first World Championships is a life-changing experience for any snooker player with the prize-money and everything else that goes with it. It is quite mind-boggling."

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see also
Welsh pair await Crucible opener
13 Apr 11 |  Snooker
Dale secures World qualification
13 Mar 11 |  Snooker
Veteran Davis edges past Lisowski
11 Mar 11 |  Snooker
Liu ends White's Crucible hopes
09 Mar 11 |  Snooker
Robertson beats Dott to win title
04 May 10 |  Snooker
Robertson comeback denies Gould
24 Apr 10 |  Snooker
Grand Prix draw
17 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Grand Prix final scores
19 Oct 08 |  Snooker
Resurgent Dale wins in Shanghai
12 Aug 07 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker

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