Jimmy White defeated Sam Craigie 10-6 in their Betfred World Championship Qualifying clash at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
It was the six-time World Championship finalist’s 100th match in the event and the result sees him move just two wins away from a first appearance at the Crucible Theatre since 2006.
The Whirlwind has reached the final round of qualifying twice since then, most recently in 2013 where he bowed out against Robert Milkins. If White is to secure his spot on Judgement Day this year, he must negotiate a stern test against Joe Perry. However, he is relishing the prospect of a showdown with the world number 22.
White said: “Joe has been watching me since he first started! I’ve been around a bit longer than him. We’ve had some great battles over the years and I’m sure we will have another on Sunday.”
Perry progressed courtesy of a 10-1 demolition of Scotland’s Ross Muir. Afterwards the former Players Champion stated that he felt Craigie could have been overawed by the occasion of facing the Whirlwind.
“I’ve had my eye on their game. I think Sam was struggling with occasion a little bit. That won’t bother me,” said the 43-year-old. “I’ve played Jimmy in all kinds of venues. It’s not going to affect my performance playing Jimmy here. I’ve got a job to do and it is just down to me at the end of the day.”
Dominic Dale battled hard to overcome a resolute 11-time Women’s World Champion Reanne Evans 10-7.
The former Crucible quarter-finalist hasn’t appeared at snooker’s Theatre of Dreams since 2014, but victory today sees him close within two matches of a return.
It was a hard fought performance from Evans, who won her first ever World Championship match at last year’s qualifying against Robin Hull. However, it wasn’t to be this evening for the 32-year-old.
The clash had looked set to end this afternoon, when Evans trailed 9-6 and 54-0. However, she fired in a brilliant clearance of 55 to snatch the frame, before they were pulled off. When they returned this evening Dale clinically got himself over the line with a break of 65 to progress.
“I’m so relieved. I didn’t settle for the whole match and I was a nervous wreck,” said Dale. “Reanne’s performances here over the last couple of years have shown that she is a worthy competitor on the circuit. It’s not like power sports like tennis or cricket, in snooker the power game doesn’t really come into it and men and women can be equal.
“I think Reanne is the best female player I have ever seen. Her safety game and knowledge of the sport really impressed me.”
Liang Wenbo came within inches of snooker history in his 10-2 victory over Rod Lawler.
In extraordinary scenes, he then went on to string together a run of 140 two frames later, before missing the final black for a second 147. It would have seen the 31-year-old become the first player in the history of the sport to make two 147 breaks in an official match.
Rory McLeod kept alive his hopes of tour survival with a 10-8 win over Preston’s Ian Burns. McLeod dramatically claimed victory on a re-spotted black in the 18th frame.
Shoot Out winner Michael Georgiou overcame former World Billiards finalist Matthew Bolton 10-4. Georgiou had trailed 3-1, but won nine out of ten frames to burst to the finish line and book his spot in the second round.
Li Hang defeated Yorkshire’s Ashley Hugill 10-9 thanks to a break of 92 in the deciding frame. While Ricky Walden overcame Joe Swail by a 10-8 scoreline.