London (AFP) – Former snooker World Championship winner Ken Doherty missed out on a Crucible return when he lost to Matthew Stevens in the final qualifying round on Wednesday.
The 1997 champion was beaten 10-2 by Stevens at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Welsh cueman Stevens, who has twice lost in world finals, led 7-2 overnight and swiftly wrapped up victory over the 48-year-old Irishman.
“I think a lot of people would have liked to have seen us both there,” said Doherty. “There were a few players you wouldn’t like to play in that last match and he was definitely one, because of his pedigree, his class and his experience.”
Graeme Dott, the 2006 world champion, came through the qualifying rounds for a fourth straight year as he won 10-7 against Mike Dunn.
The Scot wants to avoid in-form Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round after a run of heavy defeats to the five-time Crucible winner.
“You’ve got to be brutally honest and I don’t think anybody wants to play Ronnie because he’s playing awesome, and I’ve probably won about one frame in our last five meetings, so there’s easier games than playing Ronnie,” said Dott.
English players Joe Perry, Ricky Walden, Robert Milkins and Stuart Carrington joined those heading to the main draw, along with Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-nooh, on his 33rd birthday.