World Seniors Snooker Championship 2024 Preview: Defending champion Jimmy White aiming for fifth title

Credit: Andy Chubb/World Seniors Snooker TourCredit: Andy Chubb/World Seniors Snooker Tour
Credit: Andy Chubb/World Seniors Snooker Tour | Credit: Andy Chubb/World Seniors Snooker Tour
The premier prize on the seniors circuit will be decided in Sheffield in the coming days

Action at the Crucible Theatre will continue, as several of the sport’s legendary names are set to cue up for the 2024 World Seniors Snooker Championship that takes place between May 8-12.

Now a regular and established annual fixture on the calendar, the Championship is the blue riband event of the World Seniors Snooker Tour. This year, 16 players representing seven different countries - and four continents - have made it through to the main draw.

For details on the event including format, prize money and how to watch, please visit here.

We preview the draw and action coming up, below:

Top Half

  • Jimmy White v Andrew Norman
  • Igor Figueiredo v Tessa Davidson
  • Tony Knowles v Stuart Watson
  • Tony Drago v Michael Judge

Reigning four-time world seniors champion Jimmy White has practically made this tournament his own in recent years. Since the event moved to the Crucible in 2019, White has reached the final every year, lifting the trophy three times (2019, 2020, 2023). He initially won the accolade in 2010.

The 62-year-old has had a disappointing season on the professional circuit, but in seniors competition he reached the finals of the 900 events in both Epsom and Goffs.

White has a tricky opening assignment against ex-pro Andrew Norman, who booked his place here by winning the opening qualifying event back in September. The former world number 43 was English seniors champion in 2022.

The two met three times in professional play, with White coming out on top on each occasion.

Igor Figueiredo made the semi-finals here in 2021 on debut. The Brazilian won the Pan American seniors title in Rio de Janeiro in October to book a return. Elsewhere on the seniors scene, Figueiredo was runner-up at the 2018 UK Seniors Championship.

The experienced Tessa Davidson has enjoyed multiple successes on the world women’s snooker circuit having returned to the sport a couple of years ago following a hiatus of over two decades. Davidson was invited to this event having regained the world women’s seniors title in China in March.

Former world number two Tony Knowles is no stranger to the one-table set-up in Sheffield having been a three-time world semi-finalist in his heyday in the 1980s. Still active on the amateur scene, the 68-year-old hasn’t won a match in the world seniors championship since 2012.

The two-time ranking event champion will face Stuart Watson, who is a late replacement for Egypt’s Mohamed Khairy who was unable to obtain a visa. Watson is the number one on the seniors ranking list and has played here twice before; in 2019 he lost to White in a deciding frame in the quarter-finals.

Tony Drago looked in very good nick last year as he made the semi-finals. The 58-year-old - still known for his speed around the table - could favour the introduction of a shot-clock to this year’s installment.

It will be Malta versus Ireland as Michael Judge - UK seniors champion in 2019 and a member of the professional circuit not so long ago - takes centre stage again. He won a qualifying event on home soil in February.

Bottom Half

  • Joe Johnson v Barry Pinches
  • James Wattana v Rodney Goggins
  • Darren Morgan v Dechawat Poomjaeng
  • Ken Doherty v Tyson Crinis

Now aged 71, Joe Johnson is the oldest player in this year’s main draw. One of two former world professional champions competing, Johnson previously tasted glory here in a seniors event in 2019 at the Sheffield Masters, although he is looking for his first match victory in this event since 2017.

Johnson will face the player he defeated in the final of that aforementioned title win; Barry Pinches. A player with good Crucible experience, Pinches returns to the main draw for the first time since 2021 when he reached the quarters. The Norwich cueist - who defeated Shaun Murphy as a top-up player in this season’s Welsh Open - won qualifying event two in October to get here.

Thai hero James Wattana made the semi-finals during his only previous world seniors appearance in 2019. The three-time ranking event champion will duel with Ireland’s Rodney Goggins who won this season’s final qualifying event that took place in Jersey in March.

Darren Morgan - who celebrated his 58th birthday a few days ago - is the only other player in this year’s competition besides White to have won the world seniors crown when he triumphed in 2011. The Welshman has also twice been the runner-up (2016, 2019). He secured a place in the draw following victory at the European Masters Championship in Bulgaria last summer.

In the opposite corner to Morgan will be Thai showman Dechawat Poomjaeng, who memorably lit up the Crucible stage in the 2013 professional championship.

At the bottom of the draw is number two seed Ken Doherty, who is still looking to become the first player in snooker history to win the world junior, amateur, professional and seniors championships. Runner-up in 2020 when he lost 5-4 to White having been 4-0 up, Doherty won the recent Seniors 900 event on home soil at Goffs.

Australia's Tyson Crinis said “it’s a dream come true” after guaranteeing his place in the spectacle by virtue of winning the 2024 Asia-Pacific Seniors Championship.

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