Second Day at the WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Snooker Championship

The first round at the WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Snooker Championship concluded yesterday.

Here are the results …

And what we have in store for today …

QFDraw

Those match-ups promise to deliver of an excellent day of snooker!

Here is the report by WPBSA on yesterday’s action:

The last eight line-up at the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is now complete following another action-packed day at the Crucible Theatre that saw seven-times world professional champion Stephen Hendry produce a vintage comeback win.

A quarter of a century on from their world final meeting here, Hendry and Nigel Bond dished up an entertaining first round encounter that went all the way.

It was 1996 British Open champion Bond who started the better as he established a 2-0 lead before the Scot responded with a classy 71 break to cut the deficit in half. Hendry then looked like levelling the match up, but a 37 clearance from Bond – featuring a fluke on the pink – put him one away from victory.

The Englishman was in the ascendancy, but an unexpected missed red with the rest when only a few pots away from progression proved to be the start of a momentum shift.

At a venue he made his own throughout his illustrious career, ‘The King of the Crucible’ crafted a determined clearance of 45 to save the match and begin his recovery. With further glimpses of his heyday attributes, Hendry then constructed a run of 77 to force a decider which he came through to set up a date with the 2018 winner of this title, Aaron Canavan.

In an interview with Rob Walker after the match, Hendry admitted to thinking about quitting the tour following a defeat at the UK Seniors Championship in Hull last year. However, he will be encouraged by his performance against Bond, which was arguably his best on the World Seniors circuit to date.

Later in the evening session, one of the pre-tournament favourites Peter Lines comfortably dispatched former world number two Tony Knowles 4-0 to stay on course for a second world seniors crown.

Lines won this competition in 2017 without dropping a single frame and he continued that remarkable sequence here as an effort of 85 helped him book a eye-catching all-professional clash with defending champion Jimmy White.

Earlier in the day reigning UK Seniors champion Michael Judge top scored with 60 as he overcame 1985 world professional champion Dennis Taylor 4-1.

Despite some courageous potting from Taylor – including a fantastic blue that aided him in taking frame four – former world number 24 Judge was relatively untroubled as he kept alive hopes of a unique world and UK double.

Previously in the afternoon session Wayne Cooper made the most of his late call-up to the event as he eventually toppled this season’s Super Seniors number one ranked player Gary Filtness in a meeting of two Crucible debutants.

Playing in his home county, Yorkshireman Cooper registered a high break of 53 and claimed the final two frames to emerge a 4-2 victor. He will face Judge for a place in the final four.

All four quarter-finals will be played on Friday at the Crucible, with the subsequent semis and final bringing the championship to a close on Saturday.

If anyone doubts how much it means for the players to play in this competition, at the Crucible, they should watch the match between Wayne Cooper and Gary Filtness. Both fought with all they had. Wayne is from Yorkshire and this match meant the world to him, Gary had never played at the Crucible and he is one of those players who wear their heart on their sleeve and take you with them on their “journey” through the highs and lows of the match. In the last frame, Gary had battled and battled and had eventually given himself a chance to force a decider… With just four balls still on the table, he was very unlucky to snooker himself on the brown. Of all places on the table, the cue ball stopped behind the blue (that wasn’t on its spot). A couple of rolls more, or less, he was on the brown with a good chance to clear. It was too much for “the Blade” … who ended the match in tears.

Stephen Hendry played as well as he has played for years. He didn’t start well though, and trailed by 3-1. Then something clicked, he started to play faster, the mannerisms of the past were back, the balls were going in. All of a sudden, the dispirited, disgruntled Stephen Hendry we had seen on the WSS tour over the last years, transformed himself  under our very eyes into the Stephen Hendry of the past, the King of the Crucible. It was fascinating to watch. From that moment he always looked the winner of this match and he duly took the three frames he needed. The only thing still missing was a century.

And here is the link the Photo Album (Photography by Andy Chubb)

 

 

First Day at the WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2020 World Championship

The Door” opened  to welcome the senior players at the theatre of dreams

TheDoor

It was a very long day at the Crucible … and it produced this:

Here is WPBA report on the day:

Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, Darren Morgan and Aaron Canavan all advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship during the tournament’s opening day at the Crucible Theatre.

Reigning champion White began his title defence with a 4-1 victory over 1986 world professional champion Joe Johnson in the evening session.

Johnson defeated White here on his way to winning last year’s Seniors Masters, and the Yorkshireman briefly threatened a replay when he claimed a scrappy first frame of the match on the pink. However, ‘The Whirlwind’ managed to relax, making a 90 break to get on the board himself before racking up further contributions of 73, 41 and 71 to run out a 4-1 victor with an impressive 92% pot success rate.

In the competition’s curtain-raiser, 1997 world professional champion Ken Doherty survived a mid-match blip and a deciding frame climax to oust fellow Irishman Rodney Goggins 4-3.

‘The Darling of Dublin’ pounced on his opponent’s nervy start to take a 2-0 lead, but looking like going one frame away from progression, an unexpected miss from Doherty seemed to turn the match. Crucible debutant Goggins – who started the frame with a 41 – finished it with a 58 clearance to open his account and settle down. The former professional from Wexford continued to grow in confidence, winning the next two frames to go one away from producing an upset.

Well known for his determination when behind – especially at this venue – Doherty bounced back with a 68 to force a decider and then crafted a gutsy match-clinching break of 48 to ultimately go through.

“For a couple of frames there I was gone. I just tried to dig myself out of it and I was delighted with the 60 break in frame six and some of the pots at the end.” said Doherty to Rob Walker after the match.

Doherty is seeking to create history later this week by becoming the first person to win the world junior, amateur, professional and seniors championships.

After enduring a slow start to his match with Northern Ireland’s Patrick Wallace, 2011 winner and a further two-time finalist Darren Morgan found his groove with a string of soul boosting breaks to come through 4-2.

The former world number eight fashioned efforts of 73, 75 (twice) and a 70 in a frame that the Welshman lost on the black despite his opponent needing penalty points. Morgan – who will face Doherty in the quarter-finals – said “from nowhere it clicked”.

The final player to book a last eight berth was 2018 winner Canavan, who once again showed his baize battling qualities to overcome Leo Fernandez in a post-midnight finish.

Having started in the afternoon but pushed into an unscheduled second session, Fernandez led the match on three occasions but the Jersey cueist pegged him back each time, assisted by breaks of 69, 53 and a match-saving break of 30 to pink in frame six to take it all the way.

Canavan then scored first in the decider with a 48, and after his rival missed a routine red later on, he held his nerve to complete a dramatic recovery and avenge his loss to Fernandez here last year.

And here is the link the Photo Album (Photography by Andy Chubb)

RobAndyatWork
Andy and Rob at work

The commentary was provided by Dennis Taylor, Mike Dunn, Peter Lines, Tony Knowles and … Rob Walker. It was the first time I heard Mike and Tony in commentary. Mike was excellent, particularly when it came to analyse the players’ shot choices. Tony has a vast knowledge of the game. Rob was everywhere with infectious enthusisasm and great professionalism.

Regarding the matches …

I really enjoyed the opening match between Ken Doherty and Rodney Goggins. It’s a cliché, but it’s a shame that there had to be a loser. Rodney’s game perfectly illustrates what the players who grew up playing on the very competitive amateur scene some 25-35 years ago have got that is lacking to most of the young players armoury nowadays: that tactical awareness and the mindset that makes a “hard match player”. It’s easy to forget that the game was only “opened” in 1991. Up to that year you had the likes of Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon playing as “amateurs” despite being better than the vast majority of pros at the time. Nowadays, the amateur scene has shrinked. Also, the constant media focus on “centuries” isn’t helping. There is more to snooker than just potting.

Jimmy White looked very nervous at the start. It’s obvious that he badly wants to defend his crown here. Will he beat the curse? He will probably need to improve to “beat” the snooker gods.

There is one thing that bitterly disappointed me: outside UK and China, the event is available via Matchroom.live, but contrary to what I expected, and to what was done for the CLS in Milton Keynes, it’s not free. Come on, Barry Hearn! The Seniors’ snooker needs and deserves to be further promoted. In the UK, it’s available to watch on the BBC. In mainland Europe there are many fans who didn’t really “live” through the 80th and early 90th of snooker and who are keen to watch and learn. Many, like me, pay to for the right to watch the BBC – via a third party – but still don’t have access to the BBC “digital plaform” nor to the BBC player. We also pay for Eurosport and its player, and now we should pay for this as well? I have seen the reactions online from fellow mainland European and they won’t.

Also well worth reading: here is the link to Nigel Slater’s interview with Jason Francis

 

BBC coverage for the 2020 Seniors World Champiomship

BBC has published the full schedule for their coverage of the 2020 Seniors World Championship:

World Seniors Snooker Championship 2020: BBC Coverage and schedule

Jimmy White - Getty
Jimmy White won the 2019 tournament
2020 World Seniors Snooker Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 19-22 August
Coverage: Watch live coverage on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app from 19 August.

The 2020 World Seniors Snooker Championship takes place from 19-22 August, with coverage of the action broadcast live on the BBC.

Defending champion Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry will headline this year’s tournament, which is being held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

White, seven-time world champion Hendry, 1997 world champion Ken Doherty and UK Seniors champion Michael Judge are the four seeded players. Notable names including 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor, 1986 winner Joe Johnson and Malta’s Tony Drago are also in the draw.

Schedule

Wednesday, 19 August

13:00

Ken Doherty (Ire) v Rodney Goggins (Ire)

Aaron Canavan (Jer) v Leo Fernandez (Eng)

19:00

Jimmy White (Eng) v Joe Johnson (Eng)

Patrick Wallace (Jer) v Darren Morgan (Wal)

Thursday, 20 August

13:00

Wayne Cooper (Eng) v Gary Filtness (Eng)

Michael Judge (Ire) v Dennis Taylor (Jer)

19:00

Stephen Hendry (Sco) v Nigel Bond (Eng)

Tony Knowles (Eng) v Peter Lines (Eng)

Friday, 21 August

13:00

Stephen Hendry (Sco)/Nigel Bond (Eng) v Aaron Canavan (Jer)/Leo Fernandez (Eng)

Wayne Cooper (Eng)/Gary Filtness (Eng) v Michael Judge (Ire)/Dennis Taylor (Jer)

19:00

Ken Doherty (Ire)/Rodney Goggins (Ire) v Patrick Wallace (Jer)/Darren Morgan (Wal)

Jimmy White (Eng)/Joe Johnson (Eng) v Tony Knowles (Eng)/Peter Lines (Eng)

Saturday, 22 August

13:00

Semi-finals

19:00

Final

Coverage

Wednesday, 19 August

13:00-16:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer

Thursday, 20 August

13:00-16:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer

Friday, 21 August

13:00-16:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer

Saturday, 22 August

12:00-15:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer

National and regional variations

National and regional variations have been included in this list where possible, but please check your local listings for more detailed information.

A preview of the WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2020 World Championship

Crucible Preps for WWS World
The fitters are at work at the Crucible, preparing the arena for the WSS ROKiT Phones 2020 World Championship.

It will start in just two days.

Players will be tested for covid-19 prior of the tournament. Should one of them fail the test – which of course nobody wishes to any of them – they will be replaced in the draw by Ronnie O’Sullivan, the new reigning snooker World Champion.

Well, that’s what Jason Francis announced on twitter anyway …

 

 

So here goes for the preview as published on WPBSA website

Several of the sport’s all-time greats will be aiming to make more memories at the Crucible Theatre at the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship which gets underway on Wednesday.

Played behind closed doors, for the first time the 16-player event will be broadcast live on BBC digital platforms with selected matches available on the ‘Red Button’. Coverage in China will be shown on major digital TV platforms and across the USA via the Matchroom.Live network.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on major sporting schedules all over the globe and although the World Seniors Snooker Tour (WSST) has not been immune either, it is able to stage its annual flagship tournament, building on the success of recent editions.

With certain international competitors unable to travel and qualifying events cancelled, this year’s qualification process has changed, but there is no substitute for the drama, entertainment and quality we expect throughout the four days in Sheffield.

THE TOP HALF

Defending champion Jimmy White has been the dominant force on the seniors scene in recent years having collected several titles including the big one last summer at the Crucible after a tense 5-3 victory over Darren Morgan in the final. Aiming for a hat-trick of world seniors crowns – he also won it in 2010 – White begins against fellow Eurosport colleague Joe Johnson.

The pair last met here in 2019 during the Seniors Masters where Johnson won via a black ball tiebreaker. Like his 1986 world professional triumph, the Yorkshireman went on to defy the odds by lifting the trophy on that occasion too.

Former world number two Tony Knowles will strut his stuff on snooker’s grandest stage again when he faces Peter Lines. In a recent change to tour eligibility, world number 120 Lines earns his spot here by virtue of claiming this accolade in Scunthorpe in 2017 when he didn’t drop a frame en route.

Aaron Canavan was the somewhat unexpected victor in 2018 following a memorable comeback in the final. The Jersey cueist will be out for revenge when he faces Leo Fernandez in the first round. Attempting to retain the title here 12 months ago, Canavan was dethroned by former professional and English amateur champion Fernandez in the last eight.

Another duo with Crucible history are seven-time world professional champion Stephen Hendry and Nigel Bond, who is the fourth person in this half to have this title already on his resume.

Known as the ‘King of the Crucible’, Hendry owned this venue in the 1990s, denying Bond in the 1995 final and also getting the better of him in the semi-finals the subsequent year. Despite being a WSST regular, Hendry has yet to reach a final on it and there would be no better time to end that run than here.

World Seniors champion in 2012, 54-year-old Bond is still enjoying the sport’s top tier – an unbroken 31 years on since his debut debut – and will have fond memories of their last Crucible clash in 2006 when he memorably won 10-9 on a dramatic re-spotted black.

THE BOTTOM HALF

The first match in a distinctly Irish themed bottom half of the draw is an all-Republic clash between Ken Doherty and former main tour exponent Rodney Goggins.

Doherty – winner of the UK Seniors Championship in 2018 – will be looking to add a fourth segment to his world junior, amateur and professional championships portfolio. Second in the world seniors rankings, Goggins will be making his Crucible debut.

In yet another hard-to-call opening round affair, Wales’ 2011 champion and last year’s runner-up Darren Morgan will be seeking to go one further here but first has to negotiate 2018 defeated finalist Patrick Wallace. The Northern Irishman will be setting foot back in the arena for the first time since his run to the world professional quarter-finals over 19 years ago – his only previous appearance.

Two players ready for a big opportunity and their maiden Crucible berths are this season’s Super Seniors number one ranked player Gary Filtness and Sheffield’s own Wayne Cooper, who recently replaced Tony Drago after the Maltese legend made the difficult decision not to travel on health grounds.

Number two seed for this event, but number one in the world seniors rankings, Michael Judge will be a serious contender for this crown having won the UK Seniors Championship at the Bonus Arena in Hull back in October. Judge’s bid to complete a unique world and UK double starts with a meeting against 1985 world professional champion Dennis Taylor.

All matches throughout the championship are the best of seven frames, except for the final which will be the best of nine.

Follow updates here at wpbsa.com, or view tournament information online via WPBSA SnookerScores.

Article by Michael Day.

Tony Drago withdraws from the WSS World Championship and is replaced by Wayne Cooper

Unfortunately, Tony Drago, following his doctor advice, had to withdraw from the WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Championship. He is replaced by Sheffield’s very own Wayne Cooper.

Here is the announcement that was published on social media by Jason Francis:

YORKSHIRES WAYNE COOPER GET CRUCIBLE CHANCE…
Following a consultation in Malta with his doctor, and with the current COVID situation, the Tornado Tony Drago has made the heartbreaking decision to withdraw from the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship.
Former Professional Wayne Cooper who is next highest placed on the World Seniors Ranking list will replace him. Cooper was due to attend the testing next Tuesday in case any positive tests were returned, he will now take Tony’s place in the event and plays Gary Filtness next Thursday at 1pm in the Last 16 of the Event
Wayne Cooper
Wayne said “I feel terribly sorry for Tony but one phone call last night has changed my life, its up to me now to make the most of it”
Tony said “Nobody is more disappointed than me. I love playing seniors events but my health have to come first. I’m healthy again thank god but because of Covid 19 I decide to pull out thank you all for your understanding”
The ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship begins on Wednesday 19th and will be shown across the BBC Digital Platforms.

 

A very important message from Jason Francis regarding the Seniors World Championship line-up

This message was share by Jason on Facebook yesterday. It explains how the line-up for the 2020 Seniors World Championship was decided.

As I did read some criticisms about this line-up myself, I thought it’s important to share Jason’s explanation on this blog as well.

Dear all,
I was made aware of a thread started on Facebook last night around the validity of the 16 players who received invitations to the Rokit world seniors snooker championship and although no one has asked me directly, choosing rather to jump to incorrect conclusions, I am happy to explain the rationale.
I don’t expect everyone to agree, the game is all about opinions, but to claim any personal friendships played any part in selections is quite frankly very disappointing to see.
The criteria of our world championship has always been very transparent. A minimum 25% of the field to come from qualifiers, 50% to come from invited legends of the game who bring Commercial value to the event (this ensuring ticket sales and broadcast interest, and 25% to be used by the WSF to extend continental invitations to the senior champions of the continents.
Of course if this season had been fully played there would of been 6 spots for qualifiers, exceeding our pledge, as we all know covid has wrecked our season as well as much of many other sports.
It would have been very easy to cancel the world seniors championships, with no audience the tour is deprived of its major income stream of course. But we didn’t give up and we not only decided to stage an event but also secured the BBC as our broadcast partner.
These two important victories came as a result of brilliant work by the new additions to the board. These people were put in place by Jason Ferguson and I to ensure the tour is able to be sustainable in years to come.
I am disappointed to still see this referred to as the legends tour or snooker legends tour, it’s quite clearly the WPBSA World Seniors Tour so that’s very misleading.
Also misleading is that only one player qualified by right, our event in Toronto was won by bob chaperon who because of covid travel restrictions was unable to take up his place. People seem to have forgotten that.
Again because of Covid the WSF were unable to extend continental invitations this year, denying the champions of other continents the chance to send their nominations
So in a landmark deal, which helps secure the future sustainability of the tour, current professionals over 40 ranked 65-128 can choose to enter qualifying events from next season.
This season the continental places have been awarded to 4 Former world seniors champions. No member of our tour has lost out because of this.
Some players won their right to a final stage TV event in Coleraine to see it cancelled. They earn their right and are rewarded with their place.
8 spots are taken by the commercially selected legends, all multiple ranking event winners or former world professional champions. Without these, with all due respect to the rest of the tour there would be no TV, no crucible and no prize money.
None of these invited legends have taken a place of a tour player.
The last three places were made up from our official ranking list, top ups in exactly the same way world snooker do. Complete transparency. We put emphasis on our ranking list and if we had ignored it that would have been an insult to those who had consistently performed to get where they are.
If after Reading this then you still think the board have made mistakes then that’s a personal opinion but to start a thread full of inaccuracies is quite frankly disrespectful to those who have been invited on merit.
So in conclusion
1, it’s not a legends tour
2, the selection criteria given the position covid put us in is transparent even if you don’t personally agree with it
3, no one person is making these decisions
4, all those selected will do our event proud.
So can I ask the tour as a whole now gets behind the event and uses social media to promote it rather than criticise the 16 who in my opinion are the deserving ones on Merit
And spare a thought for bob chaperon
Thanks
Jason

The 2020 Seniors World Championship – first round format and schedule

The schedule and format for the 2020 WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Championship is now available. The matches will be best of 7. The setup is just one table.

Jimmy White is the defending Champion.

Wednesday 19th of August – 1pm

Ken Doherty v Rodney Goggins

Aaron Canavan v Leo Frenandez

Wednesday 19th of August – 7pm

Jimmy White v Joe Johnson

Patrick Wallace v Darren Morgan

Thursday 20th of August – 1pm

Tony Drago  v Gary Filtness

Michael Judge v Dennis Taylor

Thursday 20th of August – 7pm

Stephen Hendry v Nigel Bond

Tony Knowles v Peter Lines

 

The 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is ON !!!

This was announced today by WPBSA

ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker (WSS) is today delighted to announce that the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship will once again be held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from 19-22 August.

Won a year ago by the ever-popular ‘People’s Champion’ Jimmy White, the tournament will see a distinguished line-up of 16 players including ‘King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry and 1997 champion of the world Ken Doherty, battle it out to lift the trophy at the home of snooker.

For the first time the tournament will be broadcast live on BBC digital platforms with selected matches available on the ‘Red Button.’ Coverage in China will be shown on major digital TV platforms and across the USA via the Matchroom.Live.

ROKiT Phones – pioneers of the glasses-free 3D phone with onboard Value Added Services – will once again be the title sponsor to the event, continuing a partnership which saw the telecommunications company become the naming rights partner of the WSS Tour in 2019.

The event will be held behind closed doors with no tickets available for spectators due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALL-STAR LINE-UP

An international field of 16 players will be led by defending champion Jimmy White, who will be joined by seven-time world professional champion Stephen Hendry, the ‘Darlin of Dublin’ Ken Doherty and reigning UK Seniors champion Michael Judge as the four seeded players kept apart until the semi-finals

The remaining 12 players will be randomly placed in the draw, including former world champions Dennis Taylor and Joe Johnson, as well as former top 10 duo Tony Knowles and Tony Drago. Also set to compete at the Crucible are former World Seniors Snooker champions Peter Lines, Nigel Bond, Aaron Canavan and Darren Morgan.

The draw will be completed by WSS Tour players Leo Fernandez, Patrick Wallace, Rodney Goggins and Gary Filtness.

The inclusion of current professional players has been made possible following a landmark new agreement between WSS and World Snooker Tour which will now allow lower ranked tour players over 40 to compete at WSS eventsPlayers not automatically invited to tournaments will be eligible to enter future qualifying events.

Jason Francis, WSS Chairman said: “The ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Tour has gone from strength to strength and despite these difficult times globally we are delighted to be able to deliver a truly world class event live on the BBC and around the world. I would like to thank our title sponsor ROKiT Phones for their continued support and look forward to seeing some fantastic snooker played later this month.”

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “It is always such a treat to see snooker’s grand masters reappear at the Crucible Theatre. Few could forget the great sporting moments and entertainment   these former champions have given us.

“The WPBSA strategy is to grow a sport for all, from aspiring juniors, elite amateurs, professional tour players through to the incredible entertainment of the ROKiT World Seniors Tour. Snooker is a sport for life, and I would like to thank ROKiT Phones, our broadcasters, and partners for the opportunity to add this great event and tour to our group.”

Michael Coombes, ROKiT Phones CEO UK said: “We are delighted to continue our sponsorship to play a part in the Championship, and what will be without doubt, tension filled matches between prestigious players. To celebrate, all our viewers will also be able to benefit from an exclusive offer that will be shared on our website Partners page.”

Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT Chairman said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with World Seniors Snooker, its great fans will be able to enjoy the action live on their ROKiT Phones for the very first time.”

The 2020 ROKIT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship takes place from 19-22 August at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.

This is absolutely fantastic news!

The bold highlight has been added by me.

Note that “lower ranked players” mean “not in the top 64”. This is also great news and only right, allowing players reaching the end of their career to smoothly make the transition to the seniors circuit.

 

The reigning WSS World Champion, Jimmy White reaches round 3 at the Main Tour 2020 World Championship Qualifiers

The WSS reigning World Champion, Jimmy White, is playing in his 40th professional snooker World Championship. He needs to win four matches to reach the Crucible stage. The last time he reached that stage was in 2006.

Here are the reports by Eurosport on those two matches:

Round 1: Jimmy White 6-3 Ivan Kakovskii

World Snooker Championship: Jimmy White makes winning start to qualifying

Jimmy White - R1 of the 2020 WC quals

Jimmy White made a highest break of only 58, but was still good enough to complete a 6-3 win over Russian amateur Ivan Kakovskii in his opening qualifier in Sheffield.

The six-times world finalist – runner-up in 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 – last played at the Crucible Theatre in 2006, but has not given up hope of returning to the sport’s biggest stage by coming through four qualifying rounds.

“My focus was in and out. I was expecting great things, but it didn’t happen. I’ve been practising hard and producing good stuff, but when you come to a tournament you want to win so bad and make so many unforced errors, it’s mind-blowing sometimes.

“But that’s why the game is so exciting. I’ve got a bit of conjunctivitis and I think that’s because I’m revved up and ready to go.”

White’s 21-year-old opponent was not even born when he lost 18-17 to Stephen Hendry in his last world final appearance 26 years ago, but he still had too much for his young rival at the English Institute of Sport.

Kakovskii made a break of 60 to level at 1-1 and a 76 to close to 4-3 behind, but the 1992 UK champion finished strongly with runs of 54 and 58 seeing him progress to a match with former Shoot-Out champion Michael Georgiou on Thursday afternoon.

“From 4-2 up, I stole a couple of frames, but when it went 4-3 I felt okay then and it is nice to know I have it in the armoury when I’m under pressure to feel okay,” added White.

“I’ve got to stay focused against Michael and can’t get too ahead of myself. Everybody wants to get to the World Championship and show your class over the longer distance.”

This is Jimmy speaking to WST after his first round win:

Round 2: Jimmy White 6-4 Michael Georgiou

World Snooker Championship: Jimmy White keeps dream alive with tense win over Michael Georgiou.

Jimmy White - R2 of the 2020 WC Quals

Jimmy White fought back from trailing 3-1 to complete a 6-4 qualifying victory over world number 62 Michael Georgiou, who is set to lose his tour card after a tense defeat.

The six-times world finalist – runner-up in 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 – used all his matchplay skills to progress to the third qualifying round despite struggling for any fluency in a nervy and often scrappy encounter at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

At the age of 58, White, the oldest player on the professional tour who competes via an invitational tour card, dominated the final frame of the match to secure a meeting with Robert Milkins in the penultimate round of qualifying, but will know he will have to score heavier with a 54 in the fifth frame his best contribution of the day.

“I was in out and out of focus. At 3-1 behind, I was dead and buried the way I played,” said White.

“In the fifth frame, Michael let me off a couple of times. I thought, ‘I’m going to have to make him win this’ and when it went to 3-3 I really fancied the job.

“During lockdown, it’s been really strange times, but about 10 weeks ago I was lucky enough to get into my club and I just practised solid.

“The last two weeks, I’ve played some good players and was competing against them so my game is there.

“Hopefully, I can gain a bit of confidence and get out the traps quickly against Rob Milkins because the standard is getting better and you have to win a lot more frames at one visit.

“I’m very confident in my game. I know it’s there, it is just finding it. When you are younger, it is easy to switch into the zone. I’ve got through today so I’ll kick on from there.”

‘The Whirlwind’ is only two wins away from his first visit to the Crucible Theatre for the first round of the sport’s biggest tournament since 2006 in what is astonishingly his 40th appearance at the World Championship.

It is a bitter pill to swallow for former Shoot Out winner Georgiou, who enjoyed breaks of 70, 53 and 121 yet still fell to defeat as he faces up returning to qualifying school to win back his tour card a year after himself reaching the Crucible.

Here is Jimmy’s interview after beating Michael Georgiou:

Tomorrow, next up for Jimmy is Robert Milkins.