Selby Gets Off The Mark At BetVictor Northern Ireland Open

Yan Secures Crucible Debut

China’s Yan Bingtao will become the first player to be born in the year 2000 to play at the Crucible as he beat Alexander Ursenbacher 10-4 in the final qualifying round of the Betfred World Championship.

Yan will be aged 17 years and 58 days when the tournament proper starts on Saturday and he’ll be the second youngest player to compete at the Crucible, after Luca Brecel who was 15 days younger in 2012.

Yan – based in Sheffield – is playing his rookie season on the tour and has already shown the extent of his talent by climbing into the top 64 of the world rankings. And he could be a dangerous opponent for one of the top 16 seeds, with the draw to be made on Thursday morning.

“It feels wonderful to reach the Crucible, it’s the best day of my life,” said Yan, who led 6-3 overnight and added the four frames he needed today with top breaks of 55 and 72. “I believe I can win more matches against the top players. I have passed by the Crucible many times but never been inside. It doesn’t matter who I play in the first round, I will try my best. My family will be very proud.”

Belgium’s Brecel secured his first appearance at the Crucible since that 2012 debut by beating Dominic Dale 10-5 with a top break of 87.

Yorkshireman David Grace earned his debut at Sheffield’s Theatre of Dreams thanks to a 10-3 victory over Akani Songsermsawad. Leeds cueman Grace, a semi-finalist at the UK Championship last season, made a top break of 81.

Gary Wilson was the third player of the session to secure his first Crucible trip as he thrashed Michael White 10-3. It has been a superb week for Wilson as he made a 147 in the opening round, and easily beat White with a top break of 130.

“It is always in the back of your mind during the match that this might be the first time you get to the Crucible, so I was delighted and relieved to get over the line,” said world number 59 Wilson.

“It is a dream to get there, it has been niggling that I should have done it years ago. It is the biggest achievement of my career, even though I got to the China Open final a couple of years ago.

“This was the biggest session of my career today, there was huge tension but I handled it okay. There have been moments where you think you will never get there.

“I have played well in qualifying, got the centuries and the 147 – heavy scoring is my strength.”

Peter Ebdon edged out Michael Holt 10-9 in a dramatic finish to book his 24th Crucible appearance. Holt had match-ball blue in the last frame but went in-off, and Ebdon converted excellent pots on the blue, pink and black.

Martin Gould is through to the final stages for the eighth time thanks to a 10-7 win over Yu Delu. His top runs were 136 and 129.

Jimmy Robertson booked his third Crucible appearance by beating Rod Lawler 10-6 with a top break of 106.

China’s Xiao Guodong saw off Mark King 10-4 with a top run of 128.