ACCRINGTON snooker star Chris Norbury begins his battle for a place at the Crucible today.
The world number 111 is in action at Ponds Forge in Sheffield in the opening round of qualifiers for the World Championships which begin on April 17.
Norbury faces Kyren Wilson, ranked 21 places higher in today’s opening round with the best of 19 match beginning at 10am and concluding in an evening session from 7pm.
And Norbury is optimistic about his chances of progressing today, insisting he is coming into form at the right time.
He said: “I am going into the game looking forward to it and I believe I can get a result.
“In the last few weeks I have felt really, really good.
“It is the best of 19 frames all the way through the qualifiers and that helps take the pressure of a little bit. You don’t feel like you need to get off to a flying start.
“Lately I have not done well in the longer format but I am due a run now and hopefully it can start this week.
“I have played quite well this season and have run Marco Fu, Mark Williams and Mark King close so I know I can compete.”
Of his round one opponent, Norbury added: “I have known Kyren a long time and he is a very good player. He is still a long lad and he can go a long way in the game but I still have the belief that on my day I can beat him.”
And Norbury admits the possibility of a place in the main draw, still four wins away, and a clash with a top 16 player is a huge carrot for him.
He said: “It’s the biggest event in snooker. I am desperate to play there.
“I haven’t looked too far ahead at the draw and am just concentrating on trying to get a win in the first round.”
Should Norbury find a way past Wilson he then faces world number 42 Rod Lawler in round two on Thursday with possibles matches against Alfie Burden in round three and Graeme Dott in round four to negotiate before the main draw.