The 2023 World Snooker Championship Qualifiers – Day 8

And here we are at the “Judgement Days” … at the end of today, we will know the names of eight of the Crucible qualifiers. Hereafter, you will find the reports by WST on what happened yesterday.

You will find all the detailed and accurate results on

Afternoon outcome

Perry Set For Judgement Day

Joe Perry won his first Cazoo World Championship match in four years, after edging to a 10-8 victory against world number 102 Sanderson Lam to make Judgement Day at Crucible qualifying.

The last time Perry appeared at the Theatre of Dreams was at the 2019 World Championship. In the years that followed he has been forced to watch from the sidelines, working as a pundit and commentator for the BBC, after losing at the first qualifying hurdle on three successive occasions.

The former Crucible semi-finalist now faces close friend Mark Davis for a place in the final stages. Davis earned his place with a 10-8 victory against Lyu Haotian. It will be an emotionally charged affair, with Perry knowing his opponent needs to qualify in order to retain his professional status.

Perry came into this afternoon’s session facing a 5-4 deficit. He turned the match on its head, with breaks of 68, 90, 132 and 72 on his way to establishing a 9-5 advantage. Lam dug in to keep in contention by taking three on the bounce to make it 9-8, but Perry got over the line to seal victory.

It’s the first game I’ve won at the World Championship for quite a few years. It is important to win your first round at this event as we all know, with so many ranking points on the line. I thought I played well all match and stepped it up today. Sanderson gave a really good account of himself,” said 48-year-old Perry.

I think the punditry has made it less of a pressurised thing for me to get back there. I really enjoy the work in the media side of the World Championship. I don’t feel that I’ve missed out on the Crucible if I lose.

The best thing about playing Mark is that if I lose, even though I would be disappointed, I would be delighted for him. I will give everything and try to beat him 10-0 if we play. It would be horrible to be the one to push him off tour though.

It won’t seep into my mentality, although it could with Mark if it could be his last ever match on tour. He is so good he can get back through Q School no problem I think, but it will be a different match for Mark than it is for me. It is another snooker match for me and it will be a tough one.

World number 23 Hossein Vafaei scored a comfortable 10-4 win over Welshman Andrew Higginson to earn his place in the final round.

Vafaei made his Crucible debut 12 months ago, but exited at the first round with a 10-4 loss at the hands of Judd Trump. If he is to return there this year he must win an intriguing final round clash with Jackson Page, who also made his debut last year and beat Barry Hawkins in the first round. Page beat Martin Gould 10-6 today.

Iran’s Vafaei crafted breaks of 64 and 95 on his way to wrapping up the win this afternoon. He is in a confident mood, but isn’t looking beyond his next assignment against Page.

Vafaei said: “I have to qualify first. You see so many players say they will do this or that and they disappear all of a sudden. If I qualify for the Crucible then I will try my best to go far and make my people happy.

It was a tough match against Judd Trump last year. It was my first time and I didn’t handle the situation very well. This year is completely different and I think I would play better if I qualified.

David Gilbert booked his progression thanks to a comfortable 10-3 win over Barry Pinches. He now faces Matthew Stevens, who beat Jamie Clarke by the same scoreline.

I don’t know who writes those report for WST but only too often there are mistakes in them and bad ones at that. Vafaei didn’t beat Higginson, he beat Andrew Pagett. And Andrew Higginson who plays here as an amateur, is English, not Welsh and actually won his match, beating Joe O’Connor by 10-8.

Evening outcome

Day Down But Not Out

Ryan Day cut a frustrated figure, despite battling to a 10-8 win over Ashley Hugill at Cazoo World Championship Qualifying, raising the possibility of retirement in the near future.

The Welshman arrived in Sheffield as the 17th seed, missing out on automatic qualification to the Crucible by just one place. He was narrowly edged out of the top 16 by Ding Junhui following the recent Tour Championship.

It was only this season that Day scored the biggest title win of his career, beating Mark Allen in the final of the British Open last October.

However, he was left infuriated by his performance this evening and over the course of recent tournaments. Day has suffered seven first round exits since the turn of the year.

Day had led this encounter 8-4, before world number 89 Hugill pegged him back to 8-7. The next two frames were traded to leave the tie in the balance at 9-8, but it was Day who crucially claimed the 18th frame in 30 minutes to get over the line.

Next up for 43-year-old Day is a final round clash with Scott Donaldson, where a Crucible spot will be on the line. Donaldson defeated Yuan Sijun 10-7, with the clock approaching 12:30am.

I’ve been saying it for a long time. I don’t know how much more I’ve got left. I’m fed up of playing like that. The odd good match, or tournament, is few and far between. I’m probably 30 or 40 points worse than when I felt like I could compete on a regular basis,” said a despondent Day.

This season is nearly done and dusted. Next year, with my ranking, I would probably be in a couple of events that would be worth my while turning up. If it was to carry on like that it could be my last season.

The Crucible is the kind of place you either thrive and get amongst it or crumble. That is a long way off at the moment. I will focus on Wednesday and take it from there.

China’s Pang Junxu kept his hopes of a Crucible debut alive thanks to a 10-6 win over 1997 Crucible king Ken Doherty.

Irishman Doherty was aiming for a first trip to the Theatre of Dreams since 2014 and had led 4-0. He has at least one more year left on his invitational tour card, so will return next year for another attempt to qualify for snooker’s showpiece event.

Pang turned the tie around and will now face compatriot Xu Si, who beat Jamie Jones 10-7. That means whoever wins there will be a Chinese debutant in the final stages.

Anthony Hamilton scored a thrilling 10-9 win Oliver Lines to make the final round. He now faces Jimmy Robertson, who beat Ben Mertens 10-6.

Elliot Slessor edged a final frame decider with Liam Highfield to win 10-9 and make Judgement Day. His final round opponent will be Zhou Yuelong, who beat James Cahill 10-4.

I watched the Jimmy Robertson v Ben Mertens match. It was very close up to the last MSI. After that, Jimmy ran away with the match. Ben, I feel, ran out of gas. He’s still young and he had never played a professional multi-session match until last week. He did well really to get this far in this event.

Media build- up into the Crucible …

Mark mentioned that he had read some news about Ronnie’s injury. I did some digging, and I can’t be sure that it’s the same article but I found this one:

Ronnie O’Sullivan reduced to tears after going to hospital over recurring injury ahead of World Snooker Championship

Updated: 9:40, 10 Apr 2023

Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he is struggling with an old elbow injury ahead of his Crucible return.

The reigning world snooker champion – whose title defence begins next Saturday – tore a muscle in his right arm lifting weights in the gym two years ago.

O’Sullivan is a seven time snooker world champion Credit: Jamie McPhilimey

The old issue flamed up again last month and it meant he had to pull out of the WST Classic in Leicester.

O’Sullivan, who has not played since March 17, said: “It was a lot worse last weekend. I didn’t think I was going to be able to play at Sheffield as it swelled up.

I had an injection (on March 30) and I literally had tears in my eyes.

That’s how much pain I was in.

The next day, I couldn’t move my arm, I literally had to pick this hand up to put it on the table.

It started swelling up. I had a bad reaction. So I went back to the hospital, they gave me some antibiotics, in case there was an infection.

I’ve iced it. It has calmed down. It still feels a bit sore but it’s playable.

It’s a repetitive strain issue. I got it about two years ago and I tore a muscle. It just wouldn’t go away.

It’s quite funny because up until the last world championship, it was fine, but it was a bit sore. I could play a shot and I wouldn’t wince.

After the world champs, I was doing exhibitions in Wales, around the end of May or June. I was in the gym and normally I’d go for a 10kg weight and it’d be alright.

The other guy was using them and I thought I’ll use the 12kg weight instead. I went like that and it was heavy.

I went to get a cup of tea afterwards and I could only get my arm up here.

That’s when the problem started again.

So, it has been about a year now where I’ve had a really bad problem with it.

I have to admit that I find this pretty worrying. Of course, it probably explains a lot about this season. But the Crucible is an endurance test. Ronnie might be alright during the first week, but from the QFs on, if he gets that far, it’s pretty much playing every day, and more often than not, two sessions in a day. It would be pretty terrible, for him and for the tournament, if he made it that far only to be forced to withdraw.

There is however some good news too, and a clear sign that Ronnie is preparing the best he can for his title defence as he is back working with Steve Feeney:

Steve Feeney explains Ronnie O’Sullivan reunion ahead of World Championship: ‘His game was not where he wanted it to be’

Phil Haigh Monday 10 Apr 2023 1:36 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been putting the work in ahead of the World Championship (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been working with coach Steve Feeney again ahead of the World Snooker Championship, with the man behind SightRight saying: ‘His game was not where he wanted it to be.’

O’Sullivan first worked with Feeney in 2018 but the pair drifted apart during the pandemic, but the Rocket got back in touch earlier this season.

The world champion and world number one has won the Champion of Champions and Hong Kong Masters this season, but has had a very forgettable campaign when it comes to ranking events, not going beyond a quarter-final.

Feeney says the 47-year-old is highly motivated to get to eight World Championship titles, moving past the record of seven he shares with Stephen Hendry, and the target is to achieve that either this year or next.

I’ve seen him several times,’ Feeney told on linking up with the Rocket again. ‘With Ronnie, we put a plan together when we first started and he’s now won two of the three World Championships he needs to break Stephen’s record, so to connect up again really just continues that process.

We worked together from 2018-20, then there was the break with Covid and everything. I’ve grown as a coach, there’s more that I know and can deliver and I think Ronnie’s enjoying that too. He’s enjoying being introduced to shots that even he wouldn’t have thought about before

We’ve got to continue pushing boundaries. For him to win an eighth we’ve got to continue to improve. Some people think he can just walk away with it, but you’ve only got to look at the tour this season, there are far more accurate players than there used to be. He’s got to go and perform.

In the last season he’s not had the results he would have liked, so I think this is timely, but there is a bit to do. His game was not where he wanted it to be

I also think he continued to be inspired by Mark [Williams] continuing to get good results.’

Feeney coached Williams to his remarkable 2018 World Championship title, with the Welshman still turning in superb performances, including beating O’Sullivan at the Masters this season.

The coach reckons there was naturally going to be a drop off for the Rocket after his immense campaign at the Crucible last year, but now he is refocused he can achieve great things again.

When he won his seventh I was there at the Crucible. His father made me quite emotional by giving me a real big thanks for what I’ve done with Ronnie, so that was quite special,’ he said. 

It’s quite an intense process going through the Crucible. Ronnie took a natural break in different ways. He got in touch with me again just before Christmas, just to say there’s things we need to do.

I’d like to see him pick up the eighth either this year or next year. If he puts the work in then he can accomplish that, but at the same time Ronnie won’t allow things to overtake him. It will be at his pace and in a way that he can manage it

People don’t realise sometimes that for years and years and years he’s had microphones and cameras stuck in his face, he’s lifted all these trophies, any human being would find that difficult at times

Ronnie takes it in his own stride, some people say he’ll win when he wants, maybe that’s right, but I think he focuses when he wants. He eases off the pedal when he needs to and can put it down again when he needs to concentrate. If it happens this year then great, if it doesn’t then I’d like to think we’ll be in a better position next year to do it.

As much as Ronnie would like to keep everything calm and in balance in his life and the way snooker affects his life, you can tell there’s also that inner desire to get the eighth. But he knows he’s got to work for it, people think he can just turn up and take the title, but he’s got to work for it.

4 thoughts on “The 2023 World Snooker Championship Qualifiers – Day 8

  1. Alan McManus said in Dave Hendon’s podcast, that Ronnie didn’t enjoy snooker the past few months or years because of the bad ferrule. So he didn’t knew better either. That’s probably the first time Ronnie spoke about the cause of the elbow issue to anyone in the snooker scene. But Alan also said a new ferrule can inspire a player like Ronnie very quickly, so that could also still work as an “injection” he needs.

  2. Yes, that is the article about Ronnie’s injury that I was referring to. It’s nice to finally get a detailed explanation and update from Ronnie himself, given that the injury is really a big story for snooker but one that we’ve heard almost nothing about.

    It’s also nice to know that Ronnie is working with Steve Feeney again, as their partnership is also something that seemed to have been ignored in the media. We hadn’t heard anything about Ronnie and SightRight for a long time, which left me wondering what was going on there.

    Given Ronnie’s injury, apparent belief that his game hasn’t been in very good shape this season, and poor results over the past 5 months, it’s difficult to be optimistic about his Crucible chances. It doesn’t help that there’s a decent chance he’ll have to beat Ding, Williams, Trump, and Selby to win the title…

  3. We’ll definitely have one Crucible debutant from the top half of the draw, Xu Si/Pang Junxu. But only one, as ALL the other players in the top half have played at the Crucible before.

    There’s four possible debutants from the bottom half, 3 Chinese and 1 Welsh. Si Jiahui, Wu Yize, Fan Zhengyi, and Jak Jones.

  4. As always, the final day of the L80 round was extremely absorbing and tense. In fact, it was the evening session (plus two held-over matches) which was the most compelling – the best session so far.

    I had thought that the close matches would be Tables 3 & 4 (Robertson-Mertens and Doherty-Pang), and that the last match to finish might be Table 2 (Zhou-Cahill), but things went completely differently, and I had to change my plans!

    After a very slow first session, which was suspended at 3-3, the Zhou-Cahill match was actually first to finish! Cahill ‘forgot’ to shake Zhou’s hand before the first frame, and if that spurred on his opponent, then he might have regretted it.

    Xu Si produced an excellent performance to upset Jamie Jones, steadying himself very well after any setback. Yuan Sijun completely lost his head, as he always does. Pang Junxu fought back from a 4-0 defecit to win comfortably. Ken Doherty missed a simple chance to lead 5-0, which might have made things different.

    I avoided Day-Hugill, which was apparently awful. The closest match was Slessor-Highfield, which featured a classic deciding frame, with all the colours on cushions. Ben Mertens, as you say, ran out of steam.

    Some of the afternoon matches were quite one-sided, but two were held-over. Lyu Haotian produced a fine comeback to 8-8, but then choked a simple green to middle which probably cost him the match – more trauma for the young man. Sandy Lam played very well, but Perry used his experience to take control of the second session. Oliver Lines looked hopeful, but got dragged down to his opponent’s pace. Jackson Page looked very good in beating Martin Gould.

    That was my last day in Sheffield, I’ll be watching the multi-table ‘Judgement Days’ online. It’s a style of broadcasting which has potential. Hopefully they will talk about the actual matches, and not get distracted by top players (who aren’t playing today), ‘The Theatre of Dreams’, and all that soppy Crucible nonsense.

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