Former champions Mark Williams and Graeme Dott both lost in the final qualifying round of the Dafabet World Championship.
Kyren Wilson (pic) scored a superb 10-7 victory over 2006 winner Dott to qualify for the final stages at the Crucible for the first time. Kettering’s 22-year-old Wilson has shown promise this season, particularly in a run to the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters, and will now finish it in the perfect place having secured a debut at snooker’s Theatre of Dreams.
Scotland’s Dott led 4-1 early on, but Wilson fought back to trail just 5-4 at the end of the first session. And he grew stronger in the evening session, coming from 7-6 down to win the last four frames with top breaks of 76, 64 and 58.
“A lot of people wrote me off against Graeme, even family,” said world number 89 Wilson. “I just wanted to enjoy it because he’s such a class player. I’m glad I held my nerve. I can’t wait, it’s a dream come true.
“I’m going to have a drive past the Crucible now and have a look at it. I’ve been there to watch my friend Peter Ebdon in the past but it’s going to be a bit different playing there.
“I want to draw Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round proper. I’m young, it’s my first time, he brings in the crowd and everyone wants to watch him on TV. I want to play him before he retires and you never know when he’s going to retire. He could absolutely batter me but at least I’ll enjoy watching him.”
Dott said: “If Kyren plays to that standard he can beat anybody. I don’t feel I played that badly. I’m sure when the tournament starts on Saturday I will be devastated.”
Welshman Williams, the 2000 and 2003 champion, fell to a 10-8 defeat against Alan McManus and will miss the Crucible for the first time since 1996. McManus led 5-4 after the first session with a top break of 130. Williams recovered to lead 8-7 but couldn’t take his chances as former Masters champion McManus won the last three frames.
“It’s a good scalp to beat Mark, although he didn’t play well,” said 43-year-old McManus. “I missed a few balls less than him and that was the difference. That’s two years in a row I’ve got to the Crucible and it’s always good to be back. I actually went there yesterday and just sat in the arena for five minutes thinking about today’s game. It was a bit different to see it with no tables. I’ve got some history at the place and it’s the best arena to play in. Every year I play there is a bonus.”
Matthew Stevens, runner-up in 2000 and 2005, will also miss out as he lost 10-8 to Tom Ford. Leicester’s Ford, whose only previous appearance at the Crucible was in 2010, came from 2-0 down to lead 6-3 with a top run of 111. Stevens later recovered from 9-6 down to 9-8 before Ford secured victory in frame 18.
Ireland’s Ken Doherty, the 1997 champion, beat Dechawat Poomjaeng 10-5 to book his place in the random draw, which will be streamed live on YouTube at 12pm on Thursday. Doherty was 4-2 down but won eight of the last nine frames with a top break of 100.
“This match is the hardest to play, it’s so nerve-racking,” said Doherty. “Once you’ve got to the Crucible there is less pressure because at least you’ve made it and you are part of the tournament. You see the likes of Williams and Dott struggling because it means so much. We have been there for a long time and we just want to be part of it. I lost to Jimmy Robertson a few years ago and to Matt Selt last year so I know what it’s like to lose in this round.
“I’ll be the oldest player at the Crucible and I never thought I would say that. I love the game and nothing beats playing. I’m not going to retire like Stephen Hendry, I’m much more like Steve Davis and Jimmy White who just love playing.”
Jamie Cope came from 6-4 down to beat Mark King 10-7 and top scored with 125, while Shoot-Out champion Dominic Dale earned a 10-6 win over Andrew Higginson.
Michael Holt was a 10-6 winner against Jamie Jones and David Gilbert saw off Jimmy Robertson by the same scoreline.