Fen Potter Joe Perry beats nerves to book place in Snooker World Championships

RELIEVED snooker star Joe Perry survived the most nerve-wracking match of his season to book his place at the Crucible for this year’s World Championships.

The Fen Potter battled back from going 3-0 down to Chinese star Liu Song to claim a vital 10-6 victory in Saturday’s final qualifying round in Sheffield.

Perry, currently ranked 30th in the world, said: “It’s probably the most nerve-wracking match of the season. There’s a lot at stake because you always want to finish your season at the Crucible.

“I was very edgy. I had felt very nervous all week building up to it and I got off to a shaky start. Once I’d got my nose in front I started to relax and play better.

“I want to start steadily climbing the rankings now and there’s no reason why I can’t get back into the top 16. There’s people in there that I’m perfectly capable of competing with. The ultimate aim is still to win a big tournament.”

The win means Perry will join 32 rivals at the Crucible next month to vie for the biggest prize in snooker. It is a venue the Chatteris star is fond of, having made his debut there in 1999 - beating Steve Davis 10-9 on the final black.

He said: “I don’t know how many times I’ve played there but it’s the greatest test and you never get sick of it. I have had some horror shows but some of my greatest achievements have been there.”

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The 36-year-old will find out who he will play in the first round on Monday - when the random draw takes place.

“I would really like to avoid Neil Robertson,” he said “We play at the same club and we will practice together throughout the tournament.

“But I’m not afraid of playing anyone.”