Amateur James Cahill pulls out plum Crucible draw against Ronnie O’Sullivan

James Cahill has already made history by becoming the first ever amateur to compete at the Crucible.

Ding Junhui

Now the 23-year-old from Blackpool is hoping to cause a huge upset after landing a first-round tie with world No 1 Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Betfred World Championship.

Cahill had to come through three tough qualifying matches simply to earn his coveted place at the Crucible.

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He was one of 16 qualifiers pitted against the top 16 seeds in Thursday’s draw, but Cahill - who has previously beaten the likes of Mark Selby and Ding Junhui at the UK Championship in York, and previously played on the pro tour - has his sights set high.

“To be the first amateur at the Crucible is not something I’m proud of as I see myself as a professional,” he said.

“It is a record though and I am happy to break records if I can.

“It is nice just to get through this year and now hopefully it will now get easier for the rest of my career and eventually I can get into the world’s top 16 and won’t even have to qualify.”

Cahill’s match against the five-times world champion O’Sullivan will start on Monday, before finishing on Tuesday.

Defending champion Mark Williams faces Martin Gould in the opening match on Saturday.

While Sheffield has not produced a Crucible competitor, six Chinese players – all based in the Steel City – are in the 32-man field.

World No 10 Ding Junhui has lived in Sheffield since moving from China as a teenager.

And he has been followed to South Yorkshire by the likes of Zhao Xintong, Zhou Yuelong and Li Hang - who all train at Sheffield’s Vic Snooker Academy - plus Tian Pengfei and Luo Honghao, who play at the city’s Star Snooker Academy.

All six were in yesterday’s draw, meaning a record six Chinese players at the Crucible this year, beating the previous best of five in 2017.

First-round draw: Mark Williams v Martin Gould, David Gilbert v Joe Perry, Barry Hawkins v Li Hang, Kyren Wilson v Scott Donaldson, John Higgins v Mark Davis, Stuart Bingham v Graeme Dott, Shaun Murphy v Luo Honghao, Neil Robertson v Michael Georgiou, Mark Selby v Zhao Xintong, Luca Brecel v Gary Wilson, Jack Lisowski v Ali Carter, Mark Allen v Zhou Yuelong, Judd Trump v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Ding Junhui v Anthony McGill, Stephen Maguire v Tian Pengfei, Ronnie O’Sullivan v James Cahill.