Michael Wasley toasted the biggest win of his fledgling career last night as he secured qualification for this year’s Dafabet World Championship in Sheffield on a dramatic black ball decider.
The world No 73 stunned fellow Gloucester potter Robert Milkins, a player 57 places about him in the world rankings, with a battling 10-9 win in the final round of qualifying at Ponds Forge.
And with victory the 24-year-old, who hit back from 4-2 down to triumph on a re-spotted black in the deciding frame of the pair’s best-of-19 frame clash, guaranteed himself a place in today’s first round draw at noon for snooker’s most prestigious tournament, which runs from Saturday to May 5at T he Crucible.
“I’ve grown up with Rob and this was the biggest match of my career,” admitted Wasley.
“It couldn’t have been any closer and I’m just delighted to get through. I just thought if I had any shot I’d go for it. I’d just hit it.
“I’m delighted to pot such a good black in the end.”
China’s Xiao Guodong will also make his Crucible debut this year after he thrashed fellow countryman Li Yan 10-1.
Xiao has had the best season of his career, having reached the Shanghai Masters final where he lost to compatriot Ding Junhui. Breaks of 68, 71 and 85 helped him power into a commanding 7-0 lead and, after losing the eighth frame, he won the last three with a top run of 119.
“I have never even been inside the Crucible.” said 25-year-old Xiao.
Welshman Michael White, a quarter-finalist last year, booked his return by coming from 6-3 down to beat Romford’s Matthew Selt 10-7, while compatriot Ryan Day knocked in a top break of 106 in his 10-5 win over Grimsby’s Stuart Carrington.
Pinner potter Martin Gould pocketed breaks of 137 and 114 in a 10-7 win over China’s Liang Wenbo.Glaswegian Jamie Burnett held his nerve to beat Leicester cueman Ben Woollaston 10-8.
Former world champion Peter Ebdon, the world No 30, crashed to a shock 10-8 defeat to Finland’s Robin Hull.
Ebdon, the 2002 world champion, had no answer to 39-year-old Hull, the world No 122, who qualified for the Crucible for only the third time in his career.