World Snooker Championship draw reaction: 'Absolute belter' or 'Stinker'

April 14, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Three
Ding Junhui was a qualifier to avoid for the seeded stars (Picture: Getty Images)

The draw for the World Snooker Championship has been made and there are some blockbuster ties to look forward to in the very first round at the Crucible, although the players involved are not necessarily thrilled.

The action gets underway on Saturday morning when Mark Selby will begin the defence of his title against dangerous Welshman Jamie Jones and UK champion Zhao Xintong meets Jamie Clarke, who can be described in the same terms as Jones.

Saturday evening sees the start of one of the ties of the round as Shaun Murphy meets Stephen Maguire, with the Scot having to come through qualifying after dropping down the rankings.

Murphy, who reached last year’s final in spectacular style, knew he could have been handed a much more favourable draw than Maguire and simply tweeted: ‘Stinker.’

Before the draw was made, Murphy’s pal Mark Allen warned: ‘The one to avoid for me personally is Maguire. All tough games nowadays…. No byes to quarter finals in this era.’

Ronnie O’Sullivan also begins his campaign on the opening day in a tasty clash with Dave Gilbert, which former world champ John Parrott described as ‘one to watch’ but quickly turned his attention to arguably the tie of the round.

Ding Junhui had to qualify for the Crucible after a quiet couple of years and no one wanted to draw the 14-time ranking event winner, but someone had to and that someone was Kyren Wilson.

The Warrior reached the final in 2020 and has an excellent record in Sheffield, now Parrott cannot wait to see the clash between him and the Chinese superstar.

‘It’s a great start on the first afternoon, it’s going to be one to watch,’ JP said of O’Sullivan vs Gilbert.

‘But it’s remiss not to mention the other one…Kyren Wilson against Ding Junhui, that is an absolute belting first round match as well.

‘Ding’s come through there, he’s capable of winning a World Championship, it’s not quite happened, but he’s got a real tough start with Kyren Wilson.’

World Snooker Championship draw

Mark Selby vs Jamie Jones

Yan Bingtao vs Chris Wakelin

Barry Hawkins vs Jackson Page

Mark Williams vs Michael White

Kyren Wilson vs Ding Junhui

Stuart Bingham vs Lyu Haotian

Anthony McGill vs Liam Highfield

Judd Trump vs Hossein Vafaei

World Snooker Championship - Day 17
Judd Trump is bidding for a second world title this year (Picture: Getty Images)

Neil Robertson vs Ashley Hugill

Jack Lisowski vs Matthew Stevens

Luca Brecel vs Noppon Saengkham

John Higgins vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Zhao Xintong vs Jamie Clarke

Shaun Murphy vs Stephen Maguire

Mark Allen vs Scott Donaldson

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs David Gilbert

The Gilbert vs O’Sullivan match is somewhat ironic as the Farmer was open on Wednesday night that he wanted to avoid the Rocket.

A former semi-finalist, Gilbert was not a player any of the seeds would want to play, but he was honest in his assessment that there were stars he did not want to see twinkling across from him at the Crucible.

‘All these players saying they want Judd, Ronnie, they’re talking rubbish,’ Gilbert told WST after beating Anthony Hamilton in qualifying. ‘I want to avoid Judd, Ronnie, Robbo and Selby. They’re the big four.

‘One of them is likely to win it. If I can avoid one of them four…I ain’t taking anything away from any of the other guys, but I’ll be honest and say it how it is.’

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