The draw for the qualifying rounds of this year’s Betfred World Snooker Championship was released today with several EPSB players featuring in the opening round.
A total of six English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards members are set to take part early next month at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield with each of them four wins away from stepping out at the Crucible Theatre down the road in the sport’s blue riband event.
EPSB Under-21 Premier Development Tour regular Hayden Staniland will return to the qualifiers for a second consecutive season having reached round two last summer. The 2020 ESBA European Under-21 Championship finalist will face Duane Jones first up.
South coast pair Mark Lloyd and Connor Benzey – first and second in the final rankings on the last EPSB Under-21 Premier Development Tour – will also make the trip to the EIS.
Lloyd, who is also the current English under-21 champion, crosses cues with the experienced Peter Lines. Benzey, a first round winner in both this season’s English Open and Shoot Out, will aim for a third ranking event match victory against former English amateur champion Billy Joe Castle.
A fourth EPSB youngster in the form of Hamim Hussain will play fellow teenager Si Jiahui. Last month, Hussain reached the last 32 of the Shoot Out.
Rebecca Kenna is one of two women competitors in the draw and the 2020 EPSB English Women’s Snooker Championship finalist will make her world championship debut against another former English amateur champion, Brandon Sargeant.
Leo Fernandez will begin his campaign for a Crucible Theatre return when he meets Fraser Patrick in Yorkshire. Former professional Fernandez qualified for snooker’s biggest stage in 1999 where he played Ronnie O’Sullivan.
First Round Schedule
Match 5) Fraser Patrick v Leo Fernandez | Monday 5th April 14.30
Match 10) Billy Joe Castle v Connor Benzey | Monday 5th April 19.30
Match 12) Brandon Sargeant v Rebecca Kenna | Monday 5th April 19.30
Match 20) Peter Lines v Mark Lloyd | Tuesday 6th April 14.30
Match 22) Duane Jones v Hayden Staniland | Tuesday 6th April 19.30
Match 25) Si Jiahui v Hamim Hussain | Tuesday 6th April 19.30
The opening three qualifying rounds are the best of 11 frames with the final qualifying round being the best of 19 frames over two sessions.
All ten days of qualifying will be covered on the Eurosport App, with commentary throughout Europe, plus our partners in the People’s Republic of China – Youku, Zhibo.tv, Migu, Kuaishou and Huya – and Matchroom.Live throughout the rest of the world.