MICHAEL Wasley has spoken of his excitement in competing for a place in the World Championship for the first time.
The Gloucester man, playing in his first season on the main professional tour, faces fellow Sean O’Sullivan today (Saturday) for a place in the second qualification round and a clash with former World Championship semi-finalist James Wattana.
To play in the Crucible for the first time, Wasley must win all of his four qualifiers with potential opponents in rounds three and four including Jack Lisowski and Fergal O’Brien.
And to start claiming his share of the prize pot for snooker’s biggest event which carries a total of more than a million pounds – Wasley must win rounds one and two.
But it is a case of expecting the unexpected for the 23-year-old as it will be his first competitive match of two sessions (best of 19 frames) since earning a place on the main tour last year.
Wasley said: “I’m so excited, I don’t really know what to expect.
“It will be interesting to play in a long match over two sessions. It certainly gives a chance to settle into the match. My goal is to get to 10 frames, that’s all that matters.
“If I do then I’d play James Wattana in the second round. He’s always tough to play against, one of the best players over the years.
“But if I win my opening match then I’ll be confident and it would give me the springboard for the next round.”
And Wasley, who is coached by former world champion Terry Griffiths, says he goes into the qualifiers in good shape having practised with fellow players on the tour at the South West Snooker Academy.
“I think I’ve prepared really well,” he added. “I’ve spent some time with Terry Griffiths, my coach on the final preparation work.
“I’ve also been practising against a number of different players at SWSA, like Sam Baird, Cao Yupeng and Rob Milkins.
“I think I’ve got both my body and mind well-prepared. My body clock alarm is set and ready to ‘tick-tock.”
The full first round draw of the World Championship Qualifiers can be seen by clicking here.