Aaron Hill and Ross Bulman will be flying the Irish flag in Sheffield at the World Snooker qualifiers for the 2020 World Snooker Championships.
Report by Derek Kiely
Hill will play China’s Chen Fielong, currently ranked 94, and Bulman takes on Rod Lawler from England, who is ranked 112, in his opener.
The qualifying event runs from July 21 to July 28 at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
It will be played behind closed doors, featuring 128 players, all battling for one of 16 coveted spots at the Crucible Theatre.
Only the top 16 seeds have earned an automatic place in the final stages at the Crucible, which start on July 31st.
In a new qualifying format, players seeded 81-144 contest the opening round, in round two those 32 winners will face players seeded 49-80.
In round three, those 32 winners will face players seeded 17-48 and in round four those 32 winners play each other, with the 16 winners going through to the Crucible.
Cork’s newest professional Aaron Hill said:
“I am happy enough with the draw, to be honest, I really didn’t care who I got in the draw, if I am playing well I feel I can give them all a good match.
“It is great that Ross and myself are going over not only representing our families, friends and our clubs, but also our county and our country.
“I am flying from Dublin to Manchester on the 20th and then we are tested and have to go into a 12-hour quarantine before we can move ahead and play.
“It is every player’s dream to play at the Crucible in the World Championships and to get there we will have to win four matches which won’t be easy, but I am not going over to Sheffield to make up the numbers that is for sure.”
Alexander Urenbacher from Switzerland ranked 87 in the World will play the winner of the Hill versus Fielong match, with Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien awaiting the winner of the Bulman and Lawlor tie.
There is no doubt that both of these players are capable of defeating any player on their day as they demonstrated in the WST Shootout in Watford earlier this year with both Hill and Bulman getting to the last 32 of that event.
A reproduction of that standard of play could see them over the line to qualification to the biggest tournament of them all.