Joel Walker determined to be first Sheffield snooker star to grace the Crucible baize

Joel Walker. Pic: Simon Cooper/PA Wire
Joel Walker. Pic: Simon Cooper/PA Wire
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Joel Walker is desperate to become the first Sheffield player to ever qualify for the World Championships.

The 22-year-old begins his campaign today, taking on Scott Donaldson in the first qualifying round at Pond’s Forge.

For Walker to reach snooker’s Theatre of Dreams, he will have to get through three rounds of qualifying.

“It would mean everything to qualify for the worlds,” Walker, who now practices at the Star Snooker Academy, said. “It would be a step forward in my career and take some of the pressure I put on myself off.

“The reason I took up the game was to play at the Crucible and become world champion.

“The worlds is the pinnacle of our sport. No one from Sheffield has ever played there so it would be great to experience playing at the Crucible.

“When you are there, anything can happen and if you play well.”

It has been a disappointing year for Walker, who is still searching for his first win in 2016 following early exits in the China Open qualifiers, the Welsh Open and the sixth European Tour event.

Walker, sponsored by Tufcot Engineering, a specialist manufacturer of composite materials, said: “I’ve been practicing hard and I’m in a good place now. I have struggled a bit this year. I have had a few things happening off the table but that’s all sorted now.”