Who has qualified for the World Championship?

They’ve all come through three fiercely tough matches to play at snooker’s biggest event of the season.

Thursday will see these 16 players drawn against one of snooker’s elite stars for the opening round of this year’s World Championship.

But who are they?

Here, The Old Green Baize introduces you to this year’s lucky Crucible qualifiers


RYAN DAY

Winner of THREE events this season, Ryan Day is in the form of his life – and nobody will want to face him.

Day is enjoying his best season ever winning the Riga Open, the Gibraltar Open and the Romanian Masters. He is without doubt the most dangerous qualifier on the circuit.

Ryan Day. Picture by Monique Limbos

STEPHEN MAGUIRE

Another dangerous qualifier who the top seeds will want to avoid. When the Scot is on form he is very hard to stop.

Last year saw Maguire reach the quarter-finals of the World Championship after he blitzed through the early rounds in convincing style.

RICKY WALDEN

After a couple of quiet years with a back injury, Ricky Walden means business again on the snooker table.

A former World Championship semi-finalist, Walden will be delighted to be playing on snooker’s biggest stage again.  Should one of their seeds not find their A game, Walden has the ability to take advantage and go on a decent run.

GRAEME DOTT

The 2006 world champion returns to the Crucible this year on the back of some serious form which includes a recent ranking final appearance at the German Masters – losing to Mark Williams, the second best player of the season.

Not many of the top 16 will be happy to face him given the determined and gritty match player he is, as he has shown on the biggest stage 12 years ago.

LYU HAOTIAN

One of four Crucible debutants this year and there is genuine excitement about this lad’s future. Just 20-years-old (even though he looks like a 12-year-old), Lyu has the makings of a great career in prospect.

He reached the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open earlier this season and aged just 14 made the quarter-finals of the International Championship. Lyu will be interesting to watch that is for sure.

Lyu Haotian. Picture by Monique Limbos

MATTHEW STEVENS

Recent years have been hard work for Matthew Stevens who makes his first Crucible appearance since 2015. On his day he can be a handful but in recent years the day’s when he’s be on his day have been rare.

But lets not forget the Crucible has seen Stevens play in two World Championship finals. Will this latest visit spark him back into his best form?

JACK LISOWSKI

Jack Lisowski’s best season ever as a professional just gets better and better. The Englishman will make just his second visit to the Crucible after a solid win against Alan McManus.

Two ranking quarter-finals and a semi-final appearance this season, Lisowski enters the Crucible second time around a much improved player than on the first occasion five years ago. A player who may thrive on the big occasion – one to keep a close eye on.

JAMIE JONES

Another high-flying Welshman who booked his place in the Crucible with one of the season’s most surprising scorelines – beating Liang Wenbo 10-0.

A former quarter-finalist at the Crucible, Jones has good memories of the famous venue. It’s fair to say he never built from that successful World Championship campaign in 2012 but now he has another chance to make a name for himself.

JOE PERRY

With lots of Crucible experience to the table, Joe Perry is a name that the top seeds will not feel comfortable playing.

On his day he has the ability to beat anyone. Ten years ago saw Perry reach the semi-finals before losing an epic battle to Ali Carter – could the pair meet again in the first round?

Joe Perry. Picture by Monique Limbos

CHRIS WAKELIN 

Chris Wakelin will make his Crucible debut and he’s a player who has deserved success after a solid start to his professional career.

Not many of the top seeds will have played him much before which makes him a mystery opponent. But how will Wakelin cope with the Crucible atmosphere, only time will tell.

JIMMY ROBERTSON

Can Jimmy deliver the goods for the fourth time of asking?

Robertson has reached the Crucible three times only to lose his first round match every time. A tough match player, as he proved by beating Michael White to secure his place, Robertson will have to be his best to avoid history repeating itself again.

STUART CARRINGTON

For years Staurt Carrington has been a gifted player but has never quite shown it consistently.

Consistency has been the Grimsby potter’s problem for several years but another crack at the Crucible may just be what he needs to deliver the potential which many associated with the game know he’s got.

THEPCHAIYA UN-NOOH

The world of snooker gets to see a talent from Thailand once again on the biggest stage of them all.

James Wattana delivered at the Crucible and to some extent so did Dechawat Poomjaeng (for different reasons) but Un-Nooh certainly has the game to cause an upset here.

Well known for missing the black ball for a 147 TWICE, Un-Nooh could be the surprise package this year. Great player to watch when he is in the balls.

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. Picture – World Snooker

ROBERT MILKINS

It’s another shot at the Crucible for the Gloucestershire based potter who once knocked out Neil Robertson in the first round of this wonderful event.

Not many will bet on Milkins to win – he’s still yet to win a ranking event after 23 seasons. But if a top player is not at their best, Milkins could pounce just like he has done before.

XIAO GUODONG

Saying China is a snooker hot bed at the moment, there will only be two players from the country in this year’s World Championship.

And there’s a tiny chance they could play both each other in the opening round. Xiao Guodong is a player who can delight but can also frustrate.

Bags of talent on his day but so far unproven as a big game player. He will need to change to have big success here.

LIAM HIGHFIELD

Liam Highfield has just achieved the biggest moment of his career in reaching the Crucible for the first time so his confidence will be sky high.

This makes him a dangerous opponent but like every one else, Highfield will soon learn that playing at the home of snooker is a different ball game. No matter what happens, Highfield is finally at the place he’s wanted to be all along.

 

 

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