Alfie Burden is set to appear at the Crucible Theatre this May after he won the latest 2023 World Seniors Snooker Championship Qualifying Event.
Burden ousted fellow main tour professional Peter Lines 4-3 in the final at the Crucible Sports and Social Club in Reading to reach the venue stages of the Championship for the first time in his career, and make up for losing in the final of the first qualifying event in October.
The 46-year-old Londoner made it through to Sunday’s last eight after opening round wins against Minesh Doshi 3-0 (where he made the event’s highest break of 138), Andrew Pagett 3-2, and Philip Williams 3-0. He then came from behind to defeat Rory McLeod 4-2 in the quarter-finals and saw off Luke Simmonds 4-0 in the last four.
On the other side of the draw, former champion Lines advanced to the last eight without dropping a frame before eliminating James McGouran 4-1 and pipping Dharminder Lilly 4-3.
‘The AB of London’ made a statement in the opening frame of what would be a close and compelling final by clearing up with a 59 break to take an early lead, although Lines responded by securing the next two frames – which were also decided on the final black ball.
A pot on the final pink at the end of frame four levelled the match for Burden, but Lines was the first to move one away from qualification as he claimed the fifth to move 3-2 ahead.
Having suffered disappointment in the past being close to returning to the iconic Sheffield venue, Burden stayed resolute, taking the match into a deserved deciding frame where he sank brown, blue and pink – after Lines had missed the brown – to book a place in the main draw.
Victory for Burden means an emotional return to the Crucible Theatre for the first time in what will be over a quarter of a century. His previous appearance in 1998 was a memorable one, where he made two centuries on debut before narrowly losing 10-8 to Tony Drago – another player in this year’s seniors main draw.
Burden is the third qualifying event winner this season after successes for Ben Hancorn and Gerard Greene.