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World snooker: Dott battles Bingham in second round Crucible clash

‘The Pocket Dynamo’ Graeme Dott is set to face Stuart ‘Ball-run’ Bingham in the second round of the World Championship, in what will be a repeat of last year’s thrilling UK Championship quarter-final between this prolific potting pair.

Deadly Dott, the 2006 world champion, was edged out in a deciding frame by Essex-born Bingham at a sell-out Barbican Centre in York before the turn of the New Year, adding further fuel to this tasty Crucible clash.

Scotland has been well represented already at this year’s competition, with gritty Glasgow native Dott (11/8 with Coral to win) running out a 10-8 winner over Ricky Walden in his first round match-up, despite arriving at the event unseeded.

Crucible class act Dott has endured a stuttering season so far but has sprung to life in Sheffield, and the competitive Scot has put his recent improvement down to the longer formatted games in the Worlds, with many other events throughout snooker’s calendar becoming increasingly quick-fire.

Snooker - 2015 Dafabet Masters - Day One - Alexandra Palace

“It’s got to suit me. If you compare it to horse racing, I’m a Grand National horse but all I’m ever running is seven furlongs, it’s just not long enough,” said Dott.

The two-time Crucible runner-up came from 7-6 down against ‘the Walnut’ to win four of the final five frames and set up a second round meeting with 38-year-old Bingham, who is odds-on 4/7 favourite to triumph, proving he still has the drive and quality to compete for a second world title.

“I played well and I’m delighted to win. At the start of the match, if you’d have told me that I was going to win after I was 3-1 down, I wouldn’t have fancied it. I wasn’t playing well at all,” Dott continued.

“It was a kind of typical performance for me. I just hang in and hang in, and then eventually when the pressure is on I feel okay.”

The world number 19 faces a stern test against brilliant break builder Bingham, who is also a two-time ranking event winner, having actually fallen behind in their head-to-head record. World number 10 Bingham has toppled Dott on six occasions in competitive meetings, compared to the Scot’s three triumphs, including four consecutive victories since 2013.

Snooker - 2015 Dafabet Masters - Day Seven - Alexandra Palace

Elsewhere, ‘the Pistol’ Mark Allen will be aiming to build upon his impressive first round 10-3 dismantling of Welshman Ryan Day with a second round coup over ‘the Hawk’ Barry Hawkins.

The attacking Antrim-born potter, who reached the 2009 semi-finals, is 10/1 to secure a 13-10 winning margin, while 2013 finalist Hawkins is available at 6/5 to cause an upset.