Cue Action – World Championship Preview – By Will Vallely

The draw has been made for the first round of this year’s World snooker Championships.

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Scotsman Marcus Campbell. It will be Ronnie’s first competitive match since September. If O’Sullivan beats Campbell he could have a last 16 tie against old rival Ali Carter. Carter has lost twice to O’Sullivan in World Championship finals, first in 2008 and then again in 2012.

However Carter will firstly have to navigate past Ben Woollaston
Four time World Champion John Higgins will face world number 16 Mark Davis. These two recently met at the UK Championships in the second round. Mark Davis won that time despite a fight back from john Higgins which included a 147.

Another stand out tie is a repeat of the 2006 final as Graeme Dott faces off against 2002 winner Peter Ebdon, who earns his place in the first round this year as a qualifier.

2011 runner up Judd Trump will face veteran Welshman Dominic Dale.
One of the tournament favourites Neil Robertson is matched up against Robert Milkins. Robertson will be much fancied as a former champion as well as recently winning the China Open.
Two time champion Mark Williams is involved in an all welsh clash as he faces off against 21 year old qualifier Michael White.

Chinese sensation Ding Junhui is involved in a first round match against veteran Alan McManus. McManus hasn’t played at the crucible for a number of seasons but boasts an impressive record at the crucible as he is a two time semi-finalist.

One of the hardest ties to call is a matchup between world number 15 Barry Hawkins and the ever improving young qualifier Jack Lisowski. Lisowski is the most improved player on the tour this season and is currently at 37 in the rankings.

The winner of that tie could get a second round match against World number 1 Mark Selby. Selby has yet to win the world championship but was runner up in back in 2007. However, Mark will have to deal with Matthew Selt first.

The world championships begin on Saturday at the Crucible theatre, Sheffield.

Here is the draw in full:
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marcus Campbell
Ali Carter v Ben Woollaston
Stuart Bingham v Sam Baird
John Higgins v Mark Davis
Shaun Murphy v Martin Gould
Graeme Dott v Peter Ebdon
Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu
Judd Trump v Dominic Dale
Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins
Ricky Walden v Michael Holt
Mark Williams v Michael White
Stephen Maguire v Dechawat Poomjaeng
Mark Allen v Mark King
Ding Junhui v Alan McManus
Barry Hawkins v Jack Lisowski
Mark Selby v Matthew Selt

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