Who will qualify for the Crucible? WST asked experts’ opinion.

The fitters are busy installing the tables at the EIS…

And WST asked experts who they think will qualify.

With Betfred World Championship qualifying just days away, we’ve consulted four of snooker’s top broadcasters and journalists to find out which players they think will clinch a place at the Crucible.

The notoriously intense qualifying event will take place behind closed doors at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from July 21st to 28th. There will be 128 players battling it out for just 16 spots and our experts have named the players they think are most likely to emerge from each section of the draw.

To view the draw click here.

Neal Foulds, Former World Number Three and TV Pundit
  1. Sunny Akani
  2. Hossein Vafaei
  3. Luo Honghao
  4. Michael Holt
  5. Graeme Dott
  6. Matthew Stevens
  7. Anthony McGill
  8. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
  9. Gary Wilson
  10. Martin O’Donnell
  11. Noppon Sangkham
  12. Scott Donaldson
  13. Si Jiahui
  14. Joe O’Connor
  15. Luca Brecel
  16. Alan McManus

This year’s World Championship is likely to be the most unpredictable ever, it is a tough call to say who will take home the trophy. The qualifying event will be fascinating and while many think there will be shocks galore, I see things a little differently. I’ve tipped stalwarts like Graeme Dott, Matthew Stevens and my old pal Alan McManus to make the cut. I expect a nice blend of old and new faces to be in the draw for the last 32. Whatever happens, it is a great triumph that the event is going ahead. Good luck to everyone involved!

David Hendon, Snooker Commentator and Journalist

  1. Joe Perry
  2. Hossein Vafaei
  3. Tom Ford
  4. Michael Holt
  5. Graeme Dott
  6. Mark Joyce
  7. Jak Jones
  8. Thepchaiya Un Nooh
  9. Alexander Ursenbacher
  10. Martin O’Donnell
  11. Michael White
  12. Scott Donaldson
  13. Robert Milkins
  14. Matt Selt
  15. Liang Wenbo
  16. Alan McManus

It’s always great to see a mix of recognisable faces and some debutants qualifying, and that is what I have gone for. I’m predicting debuts for Joyce, Vafaei, Jones, Ursenbacher and O’Donnell. Anyone who qualifies has done well because the qualifying competition is a brutal test of nerve in its own right.

Hector Nunns, Snooker Correspondent for Daily Mirror and Others
  1. Joe Perry
  2. Ryan Day
  3. Tom Ford
  4. Michael Holt
  5. Graeme Dott
  6. Mark Joyce
  7. Anthony McGill
  8. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
  9. Gary Wilson
  10. Ben Woollaston
  11. Noppon Saengkham
  12. Scott Donaldson
  13. Jimmy Robertson
  14. Kurt Maflin
  15. Luca Brecel
  16. Ali Carter

If the final nerve-shredding round of play-offs did adhere to seedings, this could throw up epic battles between Brecel and Liang Wenbo, Carter and Alan McManus, Maflin and Matt Selt, and Day and Hossein Vafaei. I’ll also be watching out for Sunny Akani in Perry’s section, Luo Honghao in Ford’s, Ukrainian wonder-kid Iulian Boiko in Holt’s, Irish teenager Aaron Hill in Wilson’s, and Joe O’Connor in Maflin’s.

Phil Yates, Snooker Commentator and Journalist

  1. Joe Perry
  2. Hossein Vafaei
  3. Tom Ford
  4. Michael Holt
  5. Martin Gould
  6. Ricky Walden
  7. James Cahill
  8. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
  9. Gary Wilson
  10. Ben Woollaston
  11. Lyu Haotian
  12. Sam Craigie
  13. Jimmy Robertson
  14. Kurt Maflin
  15. Luca Brecel
  16. Ali Carter

Most of my selections are top 32 players but given their respective performances in the Championship League, Ben Woollaston and Sam Craigie, have got every reason to be confident of securing a Crucible place.

In addition, James Cahill pulled up trees in Sheffield last year and will be highly motivated to return.

Ryan Day is a class act, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hossein Vafaei got the nod in that section.

And here are mine:

  1. Joe Perry
  2. Ryan Day
  3. Tom Ford
  4. Michael Holt
  5. Graeme Dott
  6. Ricky Walden
  7. Mark Davis
  8. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
  9. Gary Wilson
  10. Ben Woollaston
  11. Lyu Haotian
  12. Scott Donaldson
  13. Jimmy Robertson
  14. Matthew Selt
  15. Luca Brecel
  16. Ali Carter

One thought on “Who will qualify for the Crucible? WST asked experts’ opinion.

  1. I almost completely agree with you!

    But I do think that the Asian players will struggle, as they have had many disruptions. Unfortunately there was an outbreak near Lyu Haotian’s home in eastern Beijing, which led to another severe lockdown. I don’t know what shape the Thai players must be in, as with Hossein Vafaei. For all these players, just making it back to the UK is an achievement.

    That opens it up for Dominic Dale and Michael White, who has a golden opportunity to put his career back on track. Other seeded players like Carrington, Wakelin, McGill, Milkins and Maflin have good chances, but I slightly favour your choices.

    The only first-round players who I think could progress are Igor Figueiredo and James Cahill if they play their best, which they rarely do.

    Some of Neal Foulds’ picks are almost preposterous. I would ask, how many times has he actually seen Si Jiahui play? I think Si is a great potter who could beat anyone in a match, but not 4 matches….

    Even so, we are probably looking at the oldest line-up for several decades.

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