Adam Duffy wants to be the first Sheffield snooker player to compete at the Crucible as the World Championship celebrates 40 years at the theatre venue this week.
The 27-year-old joins qualifiers battling it out at the city’s Ponds Forge International Centre tomorrow.
Each of the 128 qualifiers will have to win three best-of-19 frame matches just to secure a prized place at the Crucible on April 15.
Duffy, from Eckington, came through Q School last season to regain his tour card and is ranked 108th in the world.
He opens up against 40-year-old Londoner Alfie Burden, the world No 65, tomorrow.
The closest Sheffield has come to having a home-grown representative at the Crucible is referee Brendan Moore, the former city bus driver.
“I would just love to get to the Crucible, because I’m a local lad and I know how much the people of Sheffield would get behind me if I made it,” said Duffy.
“It’s strange that there has never been a player from Sheffield who has got there.
“I go there every year anyway to watch (close friend) Judd Trump and I always think to myself how great it would be to walk out there myself.
“The first match of the qualifiers is going to be massive because the winners get £8,000, which counts towards your ranking, and the losers get nothing.
“If I can get past that first round then the pressure will be off and I believe I can have a good run and make it to the Crucible. Everyone wants to get there.
“My season could have been a lot better. I have lost a few matches in deciding frames, when a bit of luck here or there could have turned those into wins and made the difference to my season. Things can change very quickly in snooker – look at Anthony Hamilton who has come from nowhere this year to win a ranking event.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing and looking forward to the challenge.”
Two years ago, Duffy came within two frames of the Crucible. He knocked out Martin Gould and Sam Baird but then lost 10-8 to Jamie Jones in the final round.
“I remember how gutted I was after the match,” he said. “I played really well to come from 8-5 down to 8-8, then Jamie made two good breaks in the last two frames. But I took the positives out of it because I had got so close.”
New World Seniors champion Peter Lines faces Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in his opening qualifier on Thursday.
Lines’s son Oliver, 21, follows his father into the qualifiers, opening up against Duane Jones on Friday.