Snooker fans to get a taste of the action as countdown to World Championship in Sheffield continues

Sheffield will well and truly be going snooker loopy nuts next week as the countdown to the World Championship continues.

The world’s top 32 players will battle it out at the Crucible Theatre from April 20 to May 6 but fans will be able to get a taste of the action as soon as next week as qualifiers for the tournament get underway and former greats of the game battle it out in the Sheffield Masters.

Cliff Thorburn in action at the Crucible in 1977

Cliff Thorburn in action at the Crucible in 1977

Qualifiers will run at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield between Wednesday, April 10 and 17 while the Sheffield Masters tournament, celebrating the achievements of former world champion Cliff Thorburn, from Canada, will take place at the Crucible on Thursday, April 11.

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It will also include a visit from Sarah Fountain Smith, the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner to the UK as well as a champions’ dinner the night before.

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, said: “It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Mark Williams and John Higgins in the final of 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Mark Williams and John Higgins in the final of 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

“The Sheffield Masters is a World Seniors Snooker tour event that’s been put together to bring all of our past masters back and to bring some of the sport’s great characters back.

“We have got a great passion towards Sheffield – we love the place, we love the Crucible and we love the people. It’s just a great place to be.

“We spend a lot of time there during the year, I hold a lot of meetings there and it’s just a wonderful city and it’s great to see it developing and we have seen our sport grow with it.”

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The draw for the tournament has now been made and it will see Cliff Thorburn take on Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty will face qualifier Barry Pinches, Jimmy White will be up against Joe Johnson and Aaron Canavan lines up against John Parrott.

The event will be split between two sessions – at 2pm and 7pm – and tickets are still available for both.

As part of the programme, there will also be a golf day at Dore and Totley Golf Club on Wednesday, April 10 and a champions’ dinner and auction 10 at The Kenwood Hall Hotel and Spa taking place on the evening of April 10.

There will be a raffle and auction with all proceeds being donated to the Sheffield charity Eden Dora Trust for Children with Encephalitis.

The tournament will also be broadcast live on national TV – on FreeSports.

For more information on the Sheffield Masters tournament or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 2496000.

Or for more information on the World Championship qualifiers visit www.worldsnooker.com