Sussex snooker star Davis prepares to take his Crucible chance
Sussex potter Mark Davis arrived in Sheffield with his tour status hanging by a thread but held his nerve in superb style to reach the World Snooker Championship. And his big chance to shine arrives today as he takes on former champ Shaun Murphy.
Davis needed at least one qualifying win to keep his place in the top 64 but went one further to book his place at the Crucible and the main draw at the home of snooker.
Wins over Stuart Carrington and Jamie Clarke leave the Hastings potter to battle another day but his season isn’t done there, with a first-round clash with 2005 world champion Murphy to come, live on Eurosport, due to start at 10am today (Wednesday).
He had to do it the hard way too, trailing Clarke 7-2 at halfway before coming back to win 10-8 at the English Institute of Sport. "It's number one of my comebacks, I don't remember having many like that before, certainly not in this tournament,” he said.
"Against such a good player as well. I played really well and I don't think Jamie even did that much wrong. I started scoring pretty heavily and every time I got the chance. It's still quite unbelievable.
"I've been playing well for a long time, even this season. I haven't had a great season but haven't done that much wrong in the matches I've played in. In the first session, I wasn't quite with it and just struggled a little bit, it's the way it goes sometimes.
"It's an honour to get to the Crucible, it was the first time when I qualified and it was two years ago when I played John Higgins. 7-2 is a long way. I knew I was playing well and that I could turn it around, that first session came out of nowhere.”
Ending his season at the Crucible – in front of fans – will be the perfect way to bring the curtain down on a tough campaign for Davis. The Sussex cueman had felt in good form despite results eluding him across the year, needing him to pull something special out of the bag in the qualifying campaign.
But with the threat of tour relegation now safely in the past, it’s back to doing what he does best for a man who first reached the World Championship back in 1994.
"If I hadn't have beat Stuart, that could have been me off the tour – that was the reality,” added the 48-year-old from St Leonards. "When you're relying on other results, that is not a good place to be. I was proud of the way I played against Stuart because he's such a good player.
"I've been taking it one season at a time for the past six or seven years. Once you're in your mid-40s, anything can happen. If I'd have fallen off the tour this year, I would have gone to Q School because I know I'm playing well. This season has been a lot shorter than most, a couple of bad results and you can be in a bit of trouble.
"If I was playing terribly, I probably wouldn't but I have been playing well. I've gone at least one more season, but I might change my mind in the future.”
Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from now to May 3
- ROSS LAWSON