Tuesday April 11, 2017
All eyes will be on the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield when 15th April rolls around. That is the venue for the World Championship event in the world of snooker, and fans will be hoping to get tickets to see their favourites in action.
The event runs from 15th April through until the final, which culminates on 1st May, traditionally the first of two Bank Holidays of the month. This is the most important event in the snooker calendar, bringing with it ranking points and a prize pot worth a total of £1,750,000.
Before the event begins, there will be a week’s worth of qualifying matches at Pond’s Forge, also in Sheffield. This will determine who gets to go through into the main field. The main event was established in 1927, and in recent years there has been a resurgence in the popularity of the game. As such, millions of people regularly tune in throughout the fortnight to watch the progress of the matches.
The current champion is Mark Selby, who won the title for the second time in 2016, defeating Ding Junhui by 18-14 in the final. He reclaimed the title he had first won two years earlier, when he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan (then the defending champion) by the same score. In the intervening year, the Crucible saw the oldest winner of the championship since the late Seventies. Stuart Bingham took the title by beating Shaun Murphy in the final by a score of 18 frames to 15. He was 38 at the time. Unfortunately, Stuart lost in the first round of the following year’s championship, proving that you never know who is going to progress from one round to the next.
So, what will happen in this year’s championship? Will we see Mark Selby make it two years in a row, or will a former winner come back to take the trophy again? Conversely, we could see a brand-new winner take the title, which would spark further interest in the game. With a real mix of winners since 2000, the game has moved on from the earlier domination displayed by Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis. Will this year be the year we see the emergence of another dominating name? Tune in and find out as play begins.