James Cahill makes history by becoming first amateur to qualify for BetFred World Championship

James Cahill
James Cahill

Blackpool’s James Cahill has made history by becoming the first amateur snooker player to qualify for the World Championship.

The Marton-based potter beat fellow amateur Michael Judge 10-6 in his final qualifier, meaning he will line up at the Crucible at the weekend.

Leading 6-3 following the first session, Cahill was instantly put on the back foot when the two players returned to the table this morning.

Judge won the first two frames of the day, only for Cahill to hit back immediately with two frames of his own to make it 8-5.

Judge won a tight 14th frame to reduce the arrears yet again and it looked as though the match was set for a thrilling finale.

But Cahill brushed off any nerves to produce breaks of 64 and 60 respectively to wrap up the final two frames he required to take the win.

Cahill, nephew of seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, said after his victory: “This is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid, to play at the Crucible.

“I’m not really sure what to say. At the end, I felt everything was missable. I’m so pleased to get through that match.

“It’s nice to get it out of the way to qualify and hopefully next time it’ll be a lot easier to get over the line.

“I’ve been working with a new coach, Chris Henry, which has helped me massively and I’m starting to show what I’m capable of.

“I’ve relished in the past playing against the big names and playing under the big occasions and hopefully that will stand me in good stead when I play at the Crucible.”

Cahill earlier beat Andrew Higginson and Michael Holt in the opening two rounds of qualifying, the victory against Holt on Sunday securing him a tour card.

He has also been playing as an amateur Q School top up this week, having been relegated from the tour in 2017.

Victory on Sunday means Cahill, who will make his debut appearance at the BetFred World Championship, can look forward to resuming professional status next season.

Cahill will compete against the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby during the two-week tournament in Sheffield.

The draw for the first round of the BetFred World Championship takes place at 11am on Thursday.