Stephen Hendry squeezed into the semi-finals of the World Seniors Championship after a tense 3-2 victory over qualifier Aidan Owens on Thursday.
There was much anticipation inside The Bath Halls and indeed from the fans watching from afar as the seven-time Crucible world champion made his long-awaited competitive return to the baize.
Despite the fact that the Scot has been retired for the best part of five years, expectations were still high and he was labeled as one of the favourites to capture glory this week and with it a possible ticket to the World Championship qualifiers in Ponds Forge in April.
It wasn’t an easy opener for Hendry, though, who twice fell behind to Owens in what was looking more like a fleeting visit rather than a triumphant comeback.
However, the 48 year-old dug deep to force the decider, which was settled as the format permits by a re-spotted black.
Hendry moves into the last four where he’ll play Peter Lines, who represents many people’s overall favourite to capture the trophy and the £10,000 winner’s cheque.
Leeds’ Lines made light enough work of 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor, taking all three frames in what transpired into being a one-sided affair.
The other two quarter-final ties went a similar avenue, with John Parrott ousting Joe Johnson 3-0 and Jonathan Bagley defeating Cliff Thorburn by a whitewash scoreline too.
It all means that two seeds will play a pair of qualifiers in the last four as the 2017 World Seniors reaches its conclusion on Friday.