PETER Ebdon clinched his place at the Australian Open on Tuesday night – but another former world champion Ken Doherty missed out on a chance to see the in-laws.
The 43-year-old Ebdon, currently ranked 25th in the world on the new prize-money ranking list, came through 5-3 against Barry Pinches in the anticipated hard-fought contest at the Capital Venue in Gloucester.
Bizarrely the pair have crossed swords twice already this season, and Ebdon was able to take some revenge for a 5-4 loss in the first round of the Wuxi Classic.
The 2002 Crucible king has some happy memories of Bendigo and Victoria, having reached the final the last time he made it to the venue two years ago – losing 9-3 to Barry Hawkins.
But that tournament also saw Ebdon face criticism for his pace of play in beating Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals with an average shot-time of 32 seconds in a five-hour, best-of-nine-frames clash.
The 1997 world champion Doherty, 44, never looked like making it four appearances out of four at the tournament venue, going down 5-1 to Rory McLeod.
Ireland’s Doherty, the world No33, has been able to use the trip before to spend time with relatives of his Australian wife Sarah as a handy bonus to qualification.
Marcus Campbell found wins very hard to come by last season so his latest 5-4 success over fellow Scot Michael Leslie was very welcome.
It means Campbell, the world No35 from Dumbarton who looked a forlorn figure at times during the last campaign, has sealed passage to both venues in the first two events of the season, having already got through to the Wuxi Classic.
Elsewhere another Scot, Alan McManus, scraped through with a 5-4 win over another veteran in Joe Swail.
And there were also wins for Martin Gould, who overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Mike Dunn 5-3; Liam Highfield, who beat Ben Woollaston 5-2; Belgian Luca Brecel who came through 5-3 against Rod Lawler, and Fergal O’Brien who knocked out Stuart Carrington with a 5-2 victory.
Photographs by Monique Limbos