World Snooker Championship field set after tension-filled Judgement Days

Dave Gilbert looked good in two qualifying wins (Picture: Getty Images)

The 16 qualifiers for the World Snooker Championship have been decided after two brilliantly tense Judgement Days at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Big names are already out of the competition and none bigger than Neil Robertson who was stunned 10-9 by Jamie Jones and will not be at The Crucible for the first time since 2004.

‘Well that hurts,’ Robertson posted on social media. ‘Fair play to Jamie though from 8-5 up I barely had a chance he played brilliant.

‘Tough season all round and some time off needed for sure. Thanks everyone for the continued support I’ll be back much stronger next season I can guarantee that.’

Hossein Vafaei was the first player through on Wednesday night after beating impressive 18-year-old Jiang Jun 10-5 to book a Crucible spot for the third year on the spin.

The Iranian provided plenty of entertainment last year as he and Ronnie O’Sullivan traded barbs before their second round match and he is looking forward to step into the spotlight again.

‘I love to put myself in the big events and stay in the big events as much as I can, to show a good performance, I just love it,’ he said. ‘This is the reason I love to be in the big events, with a big crowd. I just love to be centre of attention.’

SNOOKER-WORLD-CHAMPIONSHIP-QUALIFIERS

Hossein Vafaei has qualified for the third straight year (Picture: Getty Images)

On who he fancies drawing in the opening round, the Prince of Persia said: ‘I don’t care. Any opponent, just put me there in the Crucible, I will play anyone. I don’t care.’

Star of last year’s World Championship, Si Jiahui, won 10 frames on the spin to beat his countryman Wu Yize 10-4 and have another crack at Crucible glory.

The 21-year-old was immense last year, coming through qualifying and beating Shaun Murphy, Rob Milkins and Anthony McGill to reach the semis where he was edged out by Luca Brecel.

Since that brilliant run Si made it to the final of the German Masters this season, losing out to Judd Trump in February, and he wants to see the Ace again in Sheffield.

‘I want to learn from the best and I would like a rematch with Judd Trump after losing the final in Berlin. I want another best of 19 match to learn more from him.’

Si Jiahui wants another crack at Judd Trump (Picture: Getty Images)

Another former semi-finalist Dave Gilbert also looked good in qualifying, beating Xiao Guodong 10-6 after thrashing David Lilley 10-4 in his first outing.

‘I’ve put a lot of work in the last four weeks,’ said Gilbert. ‘I’ve just practiced or been in the gym and I’ve hardly played for two years but I thought I may as well try for Sheffield.

‘[Friend and fellow player] Andy Lee has been with me every day helping me out, so I’ve been playing a lot better than I was. I’ve been doing 4-5 hours, hitting the gym hard, watching what I eat. I’ve missed two big events this year where I’ve just pulled out, bombed out in the UK [Championship], so to be in the 20s on the one-year list is remarkable for the lack of effort I’ve had.

‘I’ve kind of saved my season and possibly my ranking going forward. If you win matches at the Crucible you can soon get back to where you want to be.’

2024 Huading Nylon World Open - Day 5

Jackson Page made a great century to win his Judgement Day battle (Picture: Getty Images)

22-year-old Jackson Page secured his second Crucible trip with a 10-9 win over Noppon Saengkham, knocking in a great break of 107 in the decider.

After a difficult season the Welshman has burst into life with a semi-final run at the World Open, beating the likes of John Higgins and Mark Selby along the way.

After another two good wins over Graeme Dott and Saengkham, he doesn’t fear any of the top 16.

‘Oh no, give me anyone, I ain’t bothered,’ said Page. ‘I showed that in China I think, I’m just ready to go.’

Another Welshman Ryan Day is through after beating Scott Donaldson 10-9 in a match he described as ‘a game of two halves’.

Ryan Day is back for a 15th Crucible trip (Picture: Getty Images)

Day took a 7-2 lead and the Scot stormed back in the evening sessions, winning six frames on the spin including a break of 143, but it was Dynamite who claimed the win in the decider.

Pang Junxu also booked a second trip to The Crucible after beating compatriot Cao Yupeng 10-8, while the latest match of the night saw Joe O’Connor edge out Matt Selt 10-8.

On the first of the Judgement Days, Dominic Dale secured a first Crucible trip for 10 years at 52 years old.

Jack Lisowski, Stephen Maguire, Jak Jones, Stuart Bingham, Lyu Haotian, Robbie Williams and Ricky Walden joined the veteran Spaceman with wins on Tuesday.

2024 World Snooker Championship seeds

  1. Luca Brecel
  2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
  3. Judd Trump
  4. Mark Allen
  5. Mark Selby
  6. Mark Williams
  7. Ding Junhui
  8. Shaun Murphy
  9. Ali Carter
  10. Gary Wilson
  11. Zhang Anda
  12. Kyren Wilson
  13. John Higgins
  14. Tom Ford
  15. Barry Hawkins
  16. Robert Milkins


MORE : Neil Robertson stunned in dramatic World Snooker Championship qualifying defeat


MORE : Hossein Vafaei back in Crucible spotlight: ‘I love to be centre of attention’

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