2016 World Snooker Championship draw: Bingham begins defence in Carter clash
Lee Gormley | April 14, 2016
World Championship draw completed
After coming through the gruelling qualifiers at Ponds Forge, 16 successful players have joined the top 16 seeds to make up the final 2016 World Snooker Championship draw, with plenty of tasty match-ups having been made.
The main event is set to break off on Saturday, April 16th at the famous Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, as 32 players go head-to-head for the green baize sport’s greatest prize, across this magnificent 17-day snooker marathon.
Stuart Bingham will take to the Steel City tables as defending champion, and aims to avoid the long-standing Crucible curse, though faces a truly tough opener against two-time finalist Ali Carter.
The Captain secured his 14th successive appearance at this prestigious venue by overcoming Dominic Dale 10-6 in the final qualifying round, and Carter is 66/1 with Coral to go all the way this time around, while Bingham enters at 25/1 to become maiden first time winner to successfully defend his crown in Sheffield.
Favourable draws for the Rocket and Selby
World number one Mark Selby took home his first world title in 2014 and the Jester from Leicester is 10/1 to add another this year, as he prepares to take on Robert Milkins in his opening baize battle, while 2005 champion Shaun Murphy (11/1) faces last season’s surprise quarter-finalist Anthony McGill (100/1).
The most successful non-British player of all time, Neil Robertson, starts his hopeful campaign against the talented Michael Holt, with the Australian contender 6/1 second-favourite to add to his victory back in 2010.
An intriguing meeting between 2011 finalist Judd Trump and recent UK Championship runner-up Liang Wenbo also takes place, with the Bristol-born cueist entering proceedings at 13/2 (from 6/1 following tyhe draw). Can Trump end his wait for a maiden World Championship coup?
Snooker’s leading light Ronnie O’Sullivan, a five-time Crucible king, will begin his latest quest for glory against Dave Gilbert in what should be a lively opener, with the Rocket taking his place as the 7/4 front runner for a sixth success.
O’Sullivan has been handed a promising route to the final, with a potential quarters encounter with Murphy or semis showdown against Selby being his main possible stumbling blocks, so backing the Rocket before his odds shorten further may be wise.
Allen meets debutant Mann
Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen will be seeking a strong run in this year’s event, having recently prevailed in the Players Championship Grand Final, and his odds shortened from 25/1 to 20/1 after being paired with Crucible debutant Mitchell Mann.
Although, the Sheffield newcomer will take hope from the Magician Murphy’s victory over a decade ago, as he also entered as a fresh face but went on to clinch a stunning title triumph, something this 24-year-old is the biggest 250/1 outsider to do.
Four-time winner John Higgins knows all about the Crucible and has enjoyed a career renaissance of late, making him 16/1 to equal O’Sullivan’s tally of world wins, though he first must overcome dangerous Welshman Ryan Day, who toppled Dubliner Ken Doherty in his final qualifier.
Meanwhile, former Crucible semi-finalist Ricky Walden will look to put his earlier China Open final defeat to Trump behind him, as he contests Robbie Williams, with experienced Cambridgeshire cueist Joe Perry battling an in-form Kyren Wilson and the Hawk Barry Hawkins hoping to soar past China’s Zhang Anda.
McManus contest fellow Scot Maguire
Martin Gould (66/1) was dealt the unfortunate blow of having to face 11-time ranking event winner Ding Junhui in his opening match-up, though the latter Chinese break builder’s price leapt from 16/1 to 18/1 following the draw.
One of the picks of the first round is surely Mark Williams against Graeme Dott, in a clash between two former world champions. Williams, the 2000 and 2003 Crucible victor, is 66/1 for a third trophy, while 2006 winner Dott is 100/1 to complete a double of world wins.
The man Pocket Dynamo Dott toppled in that 2006 final, Peter Ebdon, will return to the Crucible for the first time since 2013 after successfully negotiating through qualifying, and he will meet Hong Kong potter Marco Fu.
Michael is the youngest player currently in the top 16, and the Welshman is 80/1 for Sheffield success, as he prepares to take on Sam Baird, who makes only his second World Championship outing.
A mouth-watering match-up between two Scots is completes the line-up, as circuit veteran Alan McManus contests fellow Glaswegian and close friend Stephen Maguire, who is 40/1 to end his wait for a world title this year.
2016 World Snooker Championship draw in full
Stuart Bingham v Ali Carter
Mark Selby v Robert Milkins
Shaun Murphy v Anthony McGill
Neil Robertson v Michael Holt
Judd Trump v Liang Wenbo
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Dave Gilbert
Mark Allen v Mitchell Mann
John Higgins v Ryan Day
Ricky Walden v Robbie Williams
Joe Perry v Kyren Wilson
Barry Hawkins v Zhang Anda
Martin Gould v Ding Junhui
Mark Williams v Graeme Dott
Marco Fu v Peter Ebdon
Michael White v Sam Baird
Stephen Maguire v Alan McManus