Anthony McGill and Liam Highfield will face each other in the first round of the World Championship in Sheffield.
Anthony McGill’s season so far
The highlight for Anthony McGill during the 2021/22 campaign was reaching the semi-finals of the Scottish Open in December, when he lost to eventual champion Luca Brecel.
There were a couple of other appearances in ranking event quarter-finals, but other than that he has been missing from the business end of competitions.
Indeed, McGill’s status as a top player is a peculiar one, because he’s done very little overall across the past couple of years to warrant being a member of the elite.
For some reason the Scot appears to find his best form in Sheffield, however, and his top 16 ranking is effectively based on his recent displays at the Crucible.
McGill reached the last eight twelve months ago after dispatching of then defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last 16.
In 2020, he was involved in an epic semi-final with Kyren Wilson that produced one of the most dramatic climaxes in Crucible history.
Liam Highfield’s season so far
Liam Highfield qualified for the World Championship for the third time with close victories over James Cahill and Yuan Sijun.
The 31 year-old Englishman has only once reached a ranking event quarter-final in his career, and this season he has only mustered appearances in the last 32.
Highfield doesn’t really possess the game to threaten for silverware but is carving out an admirable career on the Main Tour as a lower-ranked professional.
On his two previous visits to the Crucible, Highfield has lost on both occasions – including a 10-4 reverse to Judd Trump in 2021.
McGill and Highfield have encountered each other six times in all competitions, but they haven’t faced each other since 2016.
The former leads the head-to-head 4-2 and will be the firm favourite to extend that advantage here.
It’s questionable whether Highfield is capable of the level required to compete with the top players on a more consistent basis.
Against 31 year-old McGill, the qualifier comes up against somebody who is not in especially good form but who does boast pedigree at the Crucible.
Prediction: Anthony McGill 10-6 Liam Highfield
Sunday, April 17th – 10am
Monday, April 18th – 10am
Featured photo credit: WST