Jamie Jones: Welshman books Crucible return after 'long road back' from ban

Jamie Jones reached the Crucible quarter-finals in 2012
Jamie Jones reached the Crucible quarter-finals in 2012

Jamie Jones capped an impressive return from a one-year suspension by booking his place at the World Championship.

The Welshman beat China's Li Hang 10-5 in the final round of Crucible qualifiers in Sheffield.

Jones, 33, nearly gave up snooker after losing his Tour card after he was banned for failing to report a corrupt approach, but cleared of match-fixing.

"At the start of the year I would have taken earning a few quid and getting back on my feet," Jones said.

Jones, who reached the quarter-finals on his Crucible debut in 2012 and made two subsequent appearances prior to his ban, regained his Tour card via Q school in 2020 and believes his game has benefited from the experience.

"I had resigned myself to never playing again, but when Q school was getting closer I thought, 'I'm no good at anything else, so I might as well give it a go'," Jones said.

"I thought I would take a year or two, but I got to the semi-finals of the Scottish Open and did okay at the UK Championship, and now I've got to the Crucible.

"Starting at the bottom again, the road back just seemed so long, but I just took one step at a time.

"My attitude is a lot more laid-back and I'm playing with freedom, which is something I've been trying to do for 15 years. I feel like I can still be a match for anyone out there."

Last year's surprise quarter-finalist Kurt Maflin also booked an immediate return to the Crucible as he swept to a 10-4 victory over Robert Milkins, while Matthew Selt sealed a third career appearance with a 10-3 win over Scott Donaldson.

Veteran Mark Davis came from 7-2 down to beat Jamie Clarke 10-8 and reach the Crucible for the 12th time in his career.

The qualifying competition's top seed, Zhou Yuelong, crashed 10-7 to Liam Highfield, but three Chinese players - Lyu Haotian, Liang Wenbo and Tian Pengfei - all made it through

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