The penultimate round of the World Championship qualifying competition ends on Sunday and by the end of the day we will know the 32 players who will battle out for the 16 remaining spots in the main draw at the Crucible Theatre.
We’ve seen an increase in the standard in this round of the competition so far and we have already had a bucket load of drama as well. As the Crucible Theatre gets closer that is only going to intensify from here on in.
It is a 128 player event but this competition should be thought of as 16 eight player tournaments with each tournament winner progressing to take their place in the main draw. The first round sees those ranked 81-128 in the world and the 16 invited players battling it out. The 32 winners then progress to take on players ranked 49-80. Those winners go through to meet someone ranked 17-48 in the third round and the 32 winners from that round meet in the final round with the winners going into the main draw. The first three rounds of the tournament are the best of 11 frames with the final round the traditional best of 19.
We saw a couple of high profile casualties on Saturday and Joe Perry will be looking to avoid being the latest of those when he takes to the TV table to begin his qualifying campaign in the afternoon session. He takes on Jamie Clarke for a place in the final qualifying round. The streamed table sees two other veterans going at it when Mark King meets the former winner of this great tournament in the form of Ken Doherty.
The outside tables are full for this session. There is an all-Asian clash on one of them where Tian Pengfei meets Sunny Akani while Hosein Vafaei plays Jordan Brown on another. Ryan Day looked good in the Championship League and he will set out on his quest to qualify for the Crucible against Barry Pinches. Stuart Carrington takes on Luo Honghao who performed a Houdini like escape in the previous round while the other two matches sees Tom Ford facing Gerard Greene and Michael Holt meeting Ian Burns.
Sign up to VBet to get a FREE £25 bet to use on the World Championship! Click the image below to join. New accounts only. 18+. T&Cs Apply. Gamble Aware.
The evening session will be headlined by another former champion who is on show in the form of Graeme Dott, a man who has actually been to two finals in this competition. He will look to move into the final qualifying round by dispatching of David Grace. That match is on the TV table while on the streamed table the exciting Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will be the centre of attention when he takes on yet another veteran player in the line up on Sunday in Dominic Dale.
There are some tasty looking matches on the outside tables as well. One of those is the one between Chris Wakelin going up against Martin Gould who had a good win in the previous round. Matthew Stevens is twice a finalist in this tournament and he meets his fellow Welsh player Ian Preece while Ricky Walden takes on Mark Joyce. Anthony McGill is a regular at the Crucible at the minute and he starts his quest to get back there against Jak Jones. The other two matches sees Mark Davis facing Sam Baird and Lu Ning meeting Liam Highfield.
Saturday was a disastrous day with the three outsiders we took not really getting close to winning their matches so I’m going to look to steady the ship with the one bet on Sunday ahead of hopefully getting stuck in during the last two days of qualifying when the format increases to the best of 19 when in theory the better bets should come along. The bet I like comes in the afternoon session as Stuart Carrington meets Luo Honghao.
You can get 4/5 on a Carrington win here and that looks a little on the high side to me. Luo Honghao might well feel that he is freewheeling now having come from 5-1 down to Peter Lines in the previous round to win 6-5 but the fact he was 5-1 down in the first place has to be a serious concern. The Chinese player still isn’t safe on the tour so although he has nothing to lose from here in terms of he probably thought he would be out of the competition, he has a lot to lose overall. Carrington is a steady type who doesn’t lose many matches against lower ranked players and if he gets in front of Honghao I don’t see him letting the Chinese ace back in.
WON – Back S.Carrington to beat L.Honghao for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Betfair
Back him here: