Mark Williams misses out on World Championship

South Wales Argus: BLOW: Mark Williams will miss out on the Crucible after defeat in qualifying BLOW: Mark Williams will miss out on the Crucible after defeat in qualifying

GWENT snooker star Mark Williams will miss the World Championship for the first time since 1996 after he lost 10-8 to Alan McManus in the final qualifying round at the Ponds Forge Arena.

The 39-year-old from Cwm, who won the trophy in 2000 and 2003, edged into an 8-7 lead during the evening session but McManus hit back to win three frames in a row and reach the main draw.

Defeat is a major blow for Williams, a winner of 18 ranking tournaments during an illustrious career, who has now lost his place in the coveted top 16.

Another Welshman, Matthew Stevens, also crashed out before the tournament starts in Sheffield on Saturday.

Carmarthen's Stevens, beaten by Williams in the 2000 final and defeated by Shaun Murphy five years later, went down 10-8 to Tom Ford.

The 36-year-old was 8-4 down to his 39th-ranked opponent before taking four of the next five frames.

But Ford hung on to reach the Crucible for the first time since 2010.

Neath's Jamie Jones also failed to qualify after losing 10-6 to Michael Holt but Dominic Dale will be at the Crucible after he defeated Andrew Higginson 10-6.

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