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Page last updated at 22:42 GMT, Sunday, 7 March 2010

Steve Davis wins qualifier for World Championship

Steve Davis in action at the 2009 World Championship
Davis will play at the Crucible for a 30th time

Six-time champion Steve Davis will make a 30th appearance at the Crucible after beating Adrian Gunnell 10-4 in final qualifying for the World Championship.

Davis, 52, led 6-1 before two centuries saw Gunnell take the last two frames of the opening session, but 'The Nugget' kept his opponent at bay to progress.

"I'm delighted. I felt like a player today. I was really fired up and played half decent," he said.

But two-time former finalist Matthew Stevens lost 10-9 to Marcus Campbell.

It is the second successive year that the Welshman, who reached the decider in 2000 and 2005, has failed to qualify for the televised stages.

Elsewhere, Liang Wenbo crushed Rod Lawler 10-2 while Mark Davis defeated Dave Harold 10-7 and Ireland's Fergal O'Brien beat Scot Alan McManus for the first time in his career, prevailing 10-4.

Davis revealed he and Stephen Hendry are in competition over who can be the oldest to appear at the Crucible but Hendry, 41, has a long way to go.

"It's my competition and Stephen knows about it. If he wants to carry on playing he's got to beat me turning up at the Crucible," Davis said.

"He's now got to be there at 53. He's the best player there's ever been in my opinion but I've still got one record he's going to find hard to beat.


"That's my driving force and I've put another year on it now."

"Every appearance is special. No-one can guarantee you'll ever be there again. It's massive, so exciting."

Ken Doherty, the 1997 champion, plays Joe Swail on Monday, while 2006 winner Graeme Dott plays Jimmy Michie on Tuesday.

After beating Jimmy White in the second stage of qualifying, Doherty is desperate to return to the scene of his greatest triumph.

"I'm just as hungry to go back there and do it again," Doherty told BBC Sport.

"Everybody wants to play there. Everybody dreams of it. It's the carrot that dangles for us all.

"You look forward to to it every year. I missed out last year and it was very bleak. When you don't qualify and have to watch it on TV, it really hurts."

Doherty is the only non-British player other than Cliff Thorburn to win the World Championship but lost in last year's qualifiers to end a 15-year run at Sheffield's famous snooker venue.

After slipping to 44 in the rankings, the Dubliner is determined to return to the world's top 16 and now has to overcome two-time world semi-finalist Swail to guarantee his spot in the televised stages.

The qualifiers began a week ago at Sheffield's English Institute of Sport (EIS) Arena with 108 hopefuls now having been whittled down to 32.

The qualification process has already seen the exit of 1991 world champion John Parrott, whose loss to China's Anda Zhang means he will drop out of the top 64, and a place on the main tour, next season.

As well as Doherty, Monday's matches also feature 1995 runner-up Nigel Bond taking on part-time croupier Martin Gould and Judd Trump facing Tom Ford.

Tuesday's final day of qualifying also sees 18-year-old Zhang, who has already won three qualifying matches, take on Ricky Walden, Jamie Cope face Mark Joyce and Stephen Lee, currently bailed following an investigation into suspicious betting patterns, playing Mike Dunn.

The draw for the World Championship takes place on Thursday 11 March, with the tournament running between 17 April and 3 May.

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see also
World Championship qualifying results
09 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Doherty ends White's Crucible bid
04 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Parrott looks set to quit snooker
04 Mar 10 |  Snooker
Snooker's bruising battleground
04 Mar 10 |  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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