English Open qualifiers
Ranking, Snooker Headlines, World Championship

Stephen Maguire Nears Crucible Return

Stephen Maguire is one victory away from the Crucible Theatre after beating Zhang Jiankang 6-3 on Saturday in Sheffield.

The Scot compiled a brace of centuries to advance to Judgement Day at the World Snooker Championship qualifiers.

Maguire has featured at the venue stages of the sport’s blue-riband event every year since 2004 and is a two-time semi-finalist at the Crucible.

After plummeting down the rankings amid a dismal spell of form, Maguire will be hoping to end the 2021/22 campaign on a high.

Zhou Yuelong will be his opponent in the final preliminary stage after the Chinese competitor held off countryman Zhang Anda with a 6-5 display.

Zhang had produced some of the highest scoring snooker of the qualifiers, tallying five tons across his three matches, but just came up short against Zhou.

Two other matches in the third round went the distance with Jordan Brown and Scott Donaldson prevailing in similar fashion.

Northern Ireland’s Brown halted the incredible run of 15 year-old Liam James Davies while Donaldson won the last three frames to deny Li Hang – clinching the decider by a single point.

Brown will encounter two-time former ranking event winner Michael White in the last round, the latter having hammered Mark King 6-1.

One more win for White would guarantee his return to the Main Tour as a professional for next season.

Allan Taylor, meanwhile, stunned the in-form Ricky Walden to set up a last-round encounter with Donaldson.

Ranked just outside the top 16 in 17th, Walden had been the top seed in the qualifiers, but a disappointing performance saw him lose the last four frames in an unexpected 6-4 reverse.

The victory for Taylor could be key in his own fight for tour survival as, although officially ranked outside the top 64, he’s in a good place to benefit from the four tour cards on offer via the one-year rankings.

Lyu Haotian was the day’s other round three winner after overcoming Lu Ning 6-3 to set up a clash against Dominic Dale, who had a bye.

Earlier on day six of the competition, the second round concluded with victories for Jamie Clarke, Simon Lichtenberg, Lei Peifan, and Pang Junxu.

On Sunday, the action continues with Ding Junhui and David Gilbert among the high-profile names entering the fray.

Sunday’s Order of Play

Round 3

(Apr 10, 9:30am)
Matthew Selt vs Lukas Kleckers
Jak Jones vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Tom Ford vs Michael Holt
Jamie Jones vs Mark Joyce

(Apr 10, 2:30pm)
David Gilbert vs Rory McLeod
Anthony Hamilton vs Elliot Slessor
Jimmy Robertson vs Oliver Lines
Fan Zhengyi vs Chris Wakelin

(Apr 10, 7:30pm)
Kurt Maflin vs David Lilley
Ding Junhui vs Tian Pengfei
Ben Woollaston vs Joe O’Connor
Martin Gould vs Ashley Hugill

Live coverage of the World Snooker Championship qualifiers will be available across Europe on the Eurosport App.

Viewer in all other territories – other than China – will have the option to subscribe to Matchroom.Live.

Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. Jamie Brannon

    Walden’s defeat was a big surprise after his best season for years.

    White’s A-game beats Jordan Brown’s best, but I’d worry the Welshman may feel the added pressure of being that close to clinching his tour card.

    The World Championship was a specialist subject during a recent edition of Mastermind.

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