Walker eyes up place in Crucible history

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Joel Walker has set his sights on reaching the final stages of the World Championship following his impressive run at the Welsh Open.

The young potter, beaten in the quarter-finals of the Newport world ranking event by Ding Junhui last week, wants to become the first Sheffield player to compete at the Crucible.

“Having a good run in the World Championship is my big target now this season,” said Walker, who is playing his second season on the World Snooker Tour and has climbed to 82nd in the rankings.

“It has been my ambition to play at the Crucible ever since I was a kid. I have been going there to watch year after year, so to play in that arena would be a dream come true. It would be amazing to qualify.”

The 19-year-old, tipped as potential future world champion by Ronnie O’Sullivan three years ago, hopes that with more experience he can become a regular face at the major tournaments.

“Against Ding in Wales, I played really well to go 4-2 up but then missed a couple of half chances to win,” he added. “I felt confident but have to learn to pot those balls under pressure, like the big boys do. Everyone has to start somewhere and climb the rankings.”

The qualifying rounds of the worlds run from April 8 to 16 at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield. Walker will be battling to become one of 16 players to qualify for the Crucible, for the right to meet one of the top 16 seeds in the final stages. Famous names such as Steve Davis, Jimmy White and Ken Doherty will also be in action.

Tickets for the qualifiers are priced at £10 for a full day. For more information, 0114 2233777 or log on to www.sivtickets.com