SNOOKER Baird, Likowski & Milkins in world frame

Devon's Sam Baird and Gloucester's Jack Lisowski will be among 10 professionals bidding for a debut appearance at snooker's most famous venue.

Baird and Lisowski have battled through to the final qualifying round of the 2013 World Championships and are one win away from a trip to Sheffield's iconic Crucible Theatre.

Uffculme-born Baird, part of the On Q Promotions stable based at Gloucester's South West Snooker Academy, has done it the hard way – winning three gruelling matches to get this far, the last two in final-frame deciders.

Baird beat China's Chen Zhe 10-7, then edged out the experienced Peter Lines 10-9, and repeated the dose against the dogged Rory McLeod, coming back from 9-7 down to win the decider.

Ranked 81 in the world, the Devonian is now the lowest-ranked player left in the tournament, and faces On Q stablemate Joe Perry over 19 frames, in two sessions, tomorrow for a Crucible place.

Teenager Lisowski, ranked 35, plays Irishman Fergal O'Brien today after winning his one qualifying match comfortably, 10-4 against Thailand's James Wattana.

Another Gloucester man, Rob Milkins, the world number 18, is aiming for his first Crucible visit since 2005 but has to beat six-times runner-up Jimmy White in his qualifying match tomorrow.

Milkins reached Sheffield four years running from 2002 to 2005, and on his last appearance lost 10-1 to Mark Williams, who finished that match with a 147 maximum.

• Update All three South West snooker stars have won through to the Crucible - Baird and Lisowski for the first time.

Baird beat Perry 10-3, Lisowski overcame O'Brien 10-4 and Milkins beat White 10-5 to qualify for the championships, which start next Saturday.

 

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