Michael Judge and Greg Casey are just two wins away from becoming professional players as Q School heads into its final day of action in Burton on Thursday.
After more than two weeks of intense snooker at the Meodowside Leisure Centre, just 16 players remain in the hunt for the final four coveted positions on the Main Tour.
Judge reached the penultimate round of Q School 2 only to be denied by Dechawat Poomjaeng and, in fact, meets the man who stopped him in Q School 1 a fortnight ago in Welsh potter Kishan Hirani.
That defeat came only a few days after Judge had claimed the Irish National Championship for a second time with victory over Rodney Goggins at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow.
The 43 year-old, a former top 32 ranked professional, is looking to rejoin the elite ranks after seven seasons as a major amateur force on the Irish domestic scene.
Meanwhile, Cork’s Casey conjured up a remarkable comeback triumph to edge the highly-fancied Jamie Cope in a decider to reach the second last hurdle for the first time since 2015.
Casey found himself 3-0 down to the former ranking event runner-up but was able to force a decider, which he prevailed in by sinking the final black to advance by a single point.
Indeed, it was the third round in succession that Casey had lasted the full seven frames and it’s clear that he’ll have to be scraped off the table if he’s going to be denied an unlikely ticket onto the Main Tour.
The 28 year-old, nicknamed the “Big Bang”, will face Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong, who is attempting to regain his place on the Main Tour after dropping off at the conclusion of the last campaign.
Elsewhere, Chinese trio Fang Xiongman, Chen Zhe, and Wang Yuchen are in the mix to immediately rediscover their pro status, while there’s a familiar name with former World Championship semi-finalist Andy Hicks in the running as well.
Consolation for the losers will be a likely place in the inaugural Challenge Tour, a series of ten tournaments throughout the UK and Europe that will feature the top 64 from Q School’s Order of Merit standings.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)