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Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Monday, 1 March 2010

Former world champions set for Crucible qualifying

Jimmy White
Jimmy White is determined to make a return to the Crucible

Ex-world champions Steve Davis, John Parrott, Ken Doherty and Graeme Dott aim to come through World Championship qualifying and return to the Crucible.

Six-time winner Davis, 52, now 23rd in the rankings, needs a victory on Sunday in the final qualifying round if he is to make a 30th Crucible appearance.

The 11-day event in Sheffield sees six-times finalist Jimmy White needing to come through three matches to progress.

Matthew Stevens and young stars Judd Trump and Liang Wenbo are also playing.

The first day of qualifying last Friday saw a surprise return to the baize for former Crucible semi-finalist David Taylor.

But the 66-year-old, playing his first competitive match for 13 years, was beaten 5-1 by Paul Wykes.

Wykes then became the first of two victims over the weekend for Thailand's former two-time Crucible semi-finalist James Wattana, who also beat Lee Page 10-6 to progress to the second qualifying stage.

Some of the game's biggest names will have to grind out victories at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield if they are to return to the city for snooker's showpiece event in April.

The matches are important for everyone because there is so much riding on it

Ken Doherty

Qualifying climaxes with a final round from 7-9 March and White, who started the season ranked 56th, is confident of getting through, despite his lowly ranking and being in danger of losing his place on the professional tour.

After a poor run of results in the China Open, Welsh Open and Masters, the 'Whirlwind' said: "I'm just concentrating on getting to the Crucible. It's my burning ambition to get there."

The first obstacle for the 47-year-old is on Wednesday, 3 March when he faces Mark Boyle who battled back brilliantly to see off Patrick Wallace 10-7 on Monday.

If White wins that one he will face 1997 world champion Doherty, with two-time Crucible semi-finalist Joe Swail awaiting the winner in the final qualifying round next Monday, 8 March.

Doherty, who has slipped to 44th in the rankings, missed out on playing at the Crucible last year for the first time since 1993, and is desperate to return.

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"I want to qualify this year to relive the memories and to create more for myself, as I know I'm still capable of doing it on the big stage," said the 40-year-old Dubliner, who lost 10-5 to Gerard Greene in last year's qualifiers.

"The whole of last season was a disaster for me and I went there in a bad state with no chance of winning. This time it's different and I'm looking forward to it.

"The matches are important for everyone because there is so much riding on it. If I can win my first match, it could cement my place in the top 32 for next season, which would be an achievement in itself and give me a great stepping stone to getting back up the rankings."

The 1991 world champion Parrot must also win three qualifying matches to reach the Crucible, while the 2006 champion Graeme Dott will come into the final qualifying round along with Stevens, Trump, Wenbo, Jamie Cope, Ricky Walden and Stephen Lee.

The World Championship takes place between 17 April and 3 May at The Crucible.

John Higgins, number one in the provisional world rankings, will be aiming for a fourth world title after beating Shaun Murphy 18-9 in last year's final.



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see also
World Championship qualifying results
09 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Smooth Higgins claims Welsh Open
31 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Hearn looking to conquer Europe
19 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Selby stuns O'Sullivan at Masters
18 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Ding defeats Higgins in UK final
14 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Rampant Robertson sees off Ding
11 Oct 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan seals Shanghai Masters
13 Sep 09 |  Snooker
Higgins earns third world crown
04 May 09 |  Snooker
Veteran Davis still a Crucible draw
17 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker


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