Doherty Keeps Crucible Dream Alive
Ken Doherty is still in the hunt for a first Crucible appearance since 2014, after beating Hammad Miah 10-6 in Cazoo World Championship Qualifying at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
The Irishman is now two wins away from a return to the Theatre of Dreams. Doherty faces Chinese prospect Pang Junxu on Monday for a Judgement Day spot.
Doherty is in the middle of a two-year tour card, but has struggled to find his form this season. The 1997 World Champion has won just seven matches and is yet to make it beyond the last 64 of a tournament. In light of this, he has admitted retirement is a possibility at the end of next season.
However, the six-time ranking event winner showed a glimpse of his vintage form in yesterday’s opening session, compiling a stunning 137 on his way to emerging with a 5-4 advantage. Further breaks of 65 and 57 helped him to take five of the seven frames this afternoon and pull away for the win.
“There is more pressure on these qualifiers because it is the Crucible. I’ve had such a great affinity with Sheffield over the years that I’ve had some great memories,” said 53-year-old Doherty.
“It would be great to go there, not as a pundit, but as a player. It is the same with the other older lads, where the chances are getting few and far between, as the younger lads who are aspiring to do it for the first time.
“Time is running out and there is no doubt about that. Time waits for no man, but you have to reflect and look at what it has served me over the years. I am just so grateful and so happy. I’ve had a wonderful experience playing snooker and I’m still enjoying it. The fact that I once got my hands on that trophy and had one of the greatest years of my life is amazing. They are memories I will take to the grave.”
Perth’s Scott Donaldson recorded a 10-1 demolition of Welsh 16-year-old Liam Davies to emphatically book his third round slot.
Donaldson has come through these qualifiers and appeared at the Crucible on two previous occasions, in 2019 and 2022. His next opponent this time around is China’s Yuan Sijun.
Ben Mertens defeated fellow Belgian Julien Leclercq 10-6 and set up a third round meeting with Jimmy Robertson. Mertens began the session just 5-4 in front, but breaks of 71, 59, 73, 80 and 57 saw him pull away and clinch the tie.
James Cahill emerged a 10-6 winner against Lei Peifan and plays Zhou Yuelong next, while Elliot Slessor beat Ian Martin 10-3 to set up a clash with Liam Highfield.