James Cahill

James Cahill Becomes First Amateur Qualifier for Crucible

James Cahill has beaten Michael Judge 10-6 on Judgement Day to become the first amateur player to ever qualify for the World Snooker Championship.

History was guaranteed as Judge is also an amateur competitor, having come through his opening two tests at the English Institute of Sport via dramatic 10-9 scorelines.

But it was the young Englishman who managed to write his name into the record books after securing a memorable victory in Sheffield on Wednesday.

Cahill, who generated headlines earlier in the season when he stunned then world number one Mark Selby in the opening round of the UK Championship, began the more confidently and led 6-1 thanks to breaks of 103, 96, 82, and 50.

Irish national champion Judge, who qualified for the Crucible three times as a professional before dropping off the circuit in 2011, fought back to trail by only one frame at 6-5.

From here, the more experienced player might have become favourite but Cahill maintained a cool head on young shoulders and never wilted from the challenge.

A series of close frames ensued as the pressure began to intensify and Cahill extended his cushion to 8-5 at the last mid-session interval.

Judge responded by taking the next frame and could have got back to within one again but Cahill potted a terrific long black in the penultimate frame before winning the last to book his place in the last 32.

The 23 year-old, nephew of seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, is guaranteed at least £20,000 for his enormous achievement.

Cahill, who will regain his pro status next season, said shortly after his victory: “This is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, to play at the Crucible.”

“I’m not really sure what to say. At the end, I felt everything was missable. I’m so pleased to get through that match.

“It’s nice to get it out of the way to qualify and hopefully next time it’ll be a lot easier to get over the line.

“I’ve been working with a new coach, Chris Henry, which has helped me massively and I’m starting to show what I’m capable of.

“I’ve relished in the past playing against the big names and playing under the big occasions and hopefully that will stand me in good stead when I play at the Crucible.”

Mark Davis, meanwhile, at the other end of his career created a little bit of history of his own as he emerged from the qualifiers for a record tenth occasion.

The Englishman, twice the age of James Cahill overcame Lyu Haotian 10-7 while Gary Wilson will also return to the Crucible after a 10-6 victory over Liang Wenbo.

There was some early joy for the Chinese contingent on Judgement Day, though, as Zhou Yuelong overcame Eden Sharav 10-6.

The day’s first qualifier was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the fastest player on the tour after Thepchaiya Un-Nooh triumphed over Joe O’Connor in an entertaining battle.

Michael Georgiou later became the first Cypriot to ever qualify after pipping Yan Bingtao 10-8 while Martin Gould edged Daniel Wells by the same margin.

Judgement Day is ongoing throughout Wednesday with 16 places in total up for grabs in Thursday’s first round draw.

Watch Judgement Day

YouTube link (Refresh the page once the session starts)
Facebook link (Refresh the page once the session starts)

Click here to view the full draw. (Times: CET)


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