DUBLIN potter Ken Doherty is desperate to avoid the “devastating” feeling of failing to qualify for the World Championship again.
Doherty, a regular media pundit for the BBC, lost 10-6 to Jimmy Robertson in the final qualifying round last year despite leading six frames to three.
Now the 42-year-old, who lifted the title in 1997, is eager to make amends in 2012.
He told The Star: “Everyone wants to get to the Crucible. If you don’t make it, your season is not worth talking about.
“I’ve been around for a long time and played in World Championship finals, I’ve tasted the success of lifting the trophy and there is no better feeling than that. I’ve had good and bad times at the Crucible. But to lose in the final qualifying round is horrible.
“Last year I was 6-3 up on Jimmy Robertson and dominating the match, then in the final session the wheels fell off and I lost. It was devastating. I knew I was playing well enough to qualify and then maybe to do well at the Crucible, so to miss out was horrendous.
“I was still at the tournament working for the BBC so it was nice to be involved in some way, but I found it very difficult to be at the Crucible and not to be playing.”
If Doherty is to qualify for the Crucible in Sheffield, which starts on April 21, he will probably have to overcome the challenge of Anthony Hamilton a week before snooker’s premier competition.
“It’s tough playing in the qualifiers, there are a lot of very good players,” he acknowledged.
“I could play Anthony Hamilton; I’m number 32 in the rankings and he’s number 33 so it’s the hardest draw I could have got.”
Snooker greats Jimmy White, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry are also in the World Championship qualifiers, which run from April 5-15 at the English Institute of Sport. For more information, ring 0114 256 5567 or log on to www.arenaticketshop.co.uk