Stephen Maguire books Crucible return but admits doubts over his game

Stephen Maguire is trying to work his way back to the top of the game (Picture: Getty Images)

Stephen Maguire has secured a Crucible return after coming through World Snooker Championship qualifying, but is not exactly talking up his form.

It will be the 20th time the Scot has appeared at the iconic theatre but his first since 2022 after missing out in qualifying last year.

A 10-7 win over Ashley Hugill booked his spot at Judgement Day and he ousted Yuan Sijun 10-6 to secure passage through qualifying pretty comfortably.

The 43-year-old knocked in three centuries in his win over Yuan, but when it was put to him that he was still pretty handy at snooker he said: ‘No, just everybody else isn’t improving much.’

Maguire has had a very quiet couple of years on tour, which is why he is in qualifying, ranked at number 28 in the world.

He has been open about returning to qualifying venues being a drain on motivation and inspiration to play and his form has suffered.

‘You don’t want to get beat any day no matter where it is, but losing in this place, you don’t want to be here for a start, when you do lose it’s hard to take,’ he said.

Maguire has had a difficult couple of years after a long time in the world’s top 16 (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Every day is different with me, I can play well one day then look as if I’ve never played the game. Play well Monday, Tuesday is just a different day. We’ll just see what happens down at The Crucible.’

Maguire will learn who he plays at The Crucible when the draw is made early on Thursday morning and while the twice semi-finalist fears no one, he doesn’t want to draw his practice partner John Higgins.

On the prospect of playing the Wizard in round one he said: ‘No. I’m going to go back up [to Glasgow], I imagine John’s in practicing. I want games with John.

‘He’s not playing till Wednesday. If by chance I avoid him and don’t play till Sunday or Monday we can get a few games in. If I draw him I doubt we’ll be playing each other. There’ll be a bit of banter but it’ll just be a nightmare.’


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