CRAIG Steadman came back from the brink of defeat to win a thrilling opening World Championship qualifier against David Grace.
The Cheshire man seemed to have thrown away an 8-5 lead when Grace won four frames on the bounce to go just one away from victory.
But a 57 break from Steadman in the 18th frame forced the match into a decider – the first of this season’s qualifying competition. The world number 81 then dominated it to clinch a second round encounter against Norway’s Kurt Maflin.
Thailand’s Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon fought back from 8-6 down to end Jamie O’Neill dreams of reaching the Crucible with a 10-6 win.
Thirapongpaiboon will face Mike Dunn in the second round after he won the last four frames to clinch a hard-fought win.
A strong second session from Michael Wasley earned him a place in the next round after he beat London’s Sean O’Sullivan 10-6.
Wasley went into tonight’s final session trailing 5-4 but fought back winning six of the next seven frames with a top break of 69. Victory for the Gloucester man set up a second round clash against former World Championship semi-finalist James Wattana.
Tian Pengfei will play the People’s Champion Jimmy White in the next qualification round after he cruised to a comfortable 10-5 win over Martin O’Donnell and made four 50+ breaks during the process.
This afternoon saw Belgian star Luca Brecel, who last year became the youngest ever player to reach the Crucible, recover from 4-0 down to trail just by a single a frame at 5-4 against Fraser Patrick. The match concludes on Sunday afternoon.
Elsewhere Thepchaiya Un-Nooh recorded a 10-6 win against Scotland’s Scott Donaldson and Zhang Anda beat Passakorn Suwannawat by the same scoreline.
Other matches in today’s middle session saw Tony Drago and Li Yan enjoy overnight 6-3 leads against Mohamed Khairy and Robbie Williams respectively. Welshman Daniel Wells had the better of India’s Aditya Mehta taking a slender 5-4 lead at the close of their first session.