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Page last updated at 20:12 GMT, Sunday, 13 March 2011

Dominic Dale secures World Championship qualification

Dominic Dale
Dominic Dale won the 1997 Grand Prix and the 2007 Shanghai Masters

Dominic Dale has qualified for the World Snooker Championship final stages for the first time since 2004.

The Welshman beat England's Michael Holt 10-6 in Sheffield to secure his passage into the Crucible showpiece.

Compatriots Matthew Stevens, Ryan Day and Andrew Pagett also clinched qualification with dramatic wins.

Stevens, a two-time Crucible finalist, beat Fergal O'Brien 10-9 on the final black, while Day came through 10-7 against China's Liu Chuang.

Pagett, a practice partner of former world champion Mark Williams, saw off England's Andrew Higginson 10-6.

Dale won seven consecutive frames, including breaks of 108 and 101, to progress.

"I've had a great season and it will be wonderful to finish it at the Crucible," said the 39-year-old.

Stevens, whose strong form has boosted him up to 18th in the world rankings, led 5-4 after the first session but Irishman O'Brien scored the bigger breaks in the second session as 100, 70, 85 and 82 put him 9-8 ahead.

Stevens levelled with a 129 but then found himself 59-1 down in the decider. Stevens had a chance to clear but lost position on the last black on 52. But after a brief safety exchange, he potted the black for victory.

Meanwhile, Day led Liu 5-2 after breaks of 127 and 122 and later went 8-4 up. Liu recovered to 8-7 before Day won the last two frames to secure his place in Sheffield.

Dale, Stevens and Day will be joined at the Crucible by Martin Gould, Joe Perry, Jamie Burnett, Rory McLeod and Mark King.

Englishman Gould, who came close to knocking eventual champion Neil Robertson out of last year's Championship, booked his third consecutive appearance at Sheffield with a 10-6 defeat of Robert Milkins.

He's like an extrovert mosquito - all arms and legs. His gestures can annoy you if things aren't going well. But if you are winning it doesn't bother you

Dominic Dale on Michael Holt

Joe Perry, a former Crucible semi-finalist who has slipped to number 30 in the rankings, also qualified by beating Liu Song 10-6 while Shanghai Masters finalist Jamie Burnett also made it after defeating Chinese player Liang Wenbo 10-7.

Rory McLeod beat fellow English player Mark Davis 10-5 to qualify, while Mark King also progressed to the televised stages with a 10-5 win over Mike Dunn.

But Dale, winner of the 1997 Grand Prix and the 2007 Shanghai Masters, was impressive in beating Nottingham's Holt to avenge his World Championship qualifying defeat by the same player last year.

Holt was stronger in the opening session and a break of 123 put him 6-3 ahead. But Dale dominated the closing stages with a couple of century breaks.

"Michael has beaten me a couple of times before and he is a dangerous player," said Dale. "He handled the pressure much better than me in the first session.

"He's like an extrovert mosquito - all arms and legs. His gestures can annoy you if things aren't going well. But if you are winning it doesn't bother you.

"I was a bit tentative going into the evening session, but he started missing a few vital balls, and as I caught him up I played much better.

"I made a great 65 clearance to get back to 6-6 and never looked back.

"So often I have ended the season badly, but hopefully not this time."

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see also
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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