Jimmy White’s long wait for a return to the Crucible Theatre will have to go on for another year at least after he suffered a 10-5 defeat to Joe Perry in the penultimate World Championship qualifying round on Sunday in Sheffield.
The Whirlwind, who hasn’t reached the venue stages since 2006, trailed his fellow Englishman by only one frame after a tight and tense opening session but Perry’s break building improved when the match resumed and he won the first four frames of the evening’s play to establish a 9-4 advantage.
White briefly rallied with a run of 81, his highest of the match, but Perry wrapped up the success in the following frame to move into the final qualifying round, where he’ll meet Mark Davis.
Davis recorded a quite unbelievable whitewash victory over Snooker Shoot Out champion Michael Georgiou, winning a series of close frames in an unusually one-sided affair, and the former 6 Red world champion has, in fact, only lost a single frame in qualifying from his two encounters so far.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Ken Doherty advanced to the final hurdle, with a 10-4 defeat of Gerard Greene improving his chances of a return to the Crucible for the first time since 2014.
Standing in the 1997 world champion’s way will be Matthew Stevens after the two-time finalist fought back from 9-7 down to clinch a deciding frame triumph against Chinese teenager Yuan Sijun.
In an all-Chinese battle that also went the distance, Tian Pengfei got the better of countryman Yan Bingtao 10-9 to improve his chances of making a debut appearance at the Crucible.
Yan, who some thought could even threaten for the title this year, led 6-1 but could do little as his compatriot came back brilliantly with a succession of big breaks, including a terrific 127 in the 19th frame.
Elsewhere, former world champion Graeme Dott was barely tested as he emerged with a comprehensive 10-2 thrashing of Akani Songsermsawad while three-time ranking event winner Ricky Walden edged Lee Walker 10-7 in a late finish.
That tie wasn’t the last to conclude, though, with Alfie Burden managing to fend off David Gilbert 10-9 in a match that finished after midnight.
Burden, who is fighting for his tour survival, led 8-3 before Gilbert appeared to grab control of the contest with a six-frame surge, only for Burden to bag the last two frames for a dramatic win.
Among the others to progress one round further were English quintet Mike Dunn, Robbie Williams, Mitchell Mann, Andrew Higginson, and Chris Wakelin.
Several other games reached the halfway point in their clashes on another busy day of action at the English Institute of Sport.
Chinese trio Liang Wenbo, Xiao Guodong, and Zhang Anda enjoy comfortable overnight leads – the latter with a surprise 7-2 advantage over former German Masters champion Martin Gould.
Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh boasts a 6-3 cushion over Adam Stefanow, the last remaining amateur in the draw, while there are narrow advantages for Michael Holt, Stuart Carrington, Scott Donaldson, and Rory McLeod.