Qualifier Stuart Bingham secures Crucible return in World Championship

Former world champion Stuart Bingham is heading back to the Crucible after navigating through the qualifiers at the Betfred World Champioship.

Stuart Bingham celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2015 Betfred World Championship. Picture: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The 2015 champion was forced to take part in the qualifying rounds at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield – for the first time since 2011 – after falling out of the world’s top 16. But the 44-year-old clinched his place in this morning’s Crucible draw by beating Belgium’s Luca Brecel 

Bingham will be joined in the draw by two-time finalist Ali Carter, who beat Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher 10-4.

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Former Crucible semi-finalist Ricky Walden edged out Ryan Day 10-5, the same scoreline which saw Martin Gould account for Bai Langning, while Chris Wakelin beat Xiao Guodong 10-7.

Mark Joyce will make his Crucible debut, after beating Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo 10-7.

Tickets are now on sale for the World Championship, which cues off in Sheffield on Saturday.

Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to the Steel City to defend his trophy this weekend and fans will be allowed into the Crucible Theatre as part of the government’s Event Research Programme.

Capacity for the opening rounds will start at 33 per cent, with fans in bubble groups, rising to 100 per cent capacity for the final on May 2-3.

But fans must take a Covid-19 test before their visit and fill out a consent form.

WST chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are so excited to be heading back to the Crucible and to welcome fans to our events for the first time since we were in Sheffield las year.

“We are proud to be part of the Event Research Programme which will help us all on the roadmap towards doing the things we love.”

Fans can go to www.cruciblesnooker.com to buy tickets.

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