Jamie Clarke stunned top seed Mark Allen on Tuesday by booking his place into the second round of the 2020 BetFred World Snooker Championship.
Qualifier Clarke, who was making his debut at the Theatre of Dreams, joins three others who so far have qualified for the next stage of the event in Sheffield’s Home of Snooker.
He followed Thailand’s Noppon, who knocked out 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy, as well as Kurt Maflin and Anthony McGill also qualifying for the next phase.
Today saw the remaining matches of the first round played to a close with qualifier Martin Gould defeating Tour Championship winner Stephen Maguire 10 – 3, leading 7 – 2.
frustrated Maguire was on for a maximum in one of the four frames he won to keep his hopes alive at 9 – 2 but broke down on 96.
it was the first time since 2011 that Gould had reached the second round of the main event.
Barry Hawkins also knocked out another Crucible debutant, Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher.
The young Swiss player started off well by making a break of 54 from his first shot and won the first frame, but we soon saw the 24-year-old was a very attacking player and went for too many shots as the Hawk pounced on his inexperience.
Clarke, 25, nicknamed the Welsh Whirlwind, told WST: “Never in a million years could I have dreamed of this,” said the Welshman. “I went into the qualifiers without a lot of confidence, just hoping to win one match. After that, I got on a roll. I am in shock at the moment. I went out there today to enjoy every minute and I was loving the experience.”
He added: “Mark was playing well and I was just trying to hang on to him, until the end when I had a chance to win. I will keep the same attitude in the next round and my belief is growing..”
Mark Allen said Clarke played out of his skin – despite the Northern Irishman racking up five tons.
He added: “For a debutant, Jamie played out of his skin. With no crowd there, it was difficult to put him under pressure. I made too many mistakes on the safety side.”