Barry Pinches defeated Lee Walker 4-1 in a high-quality final to win the second LLP Solicitors World Seniors Snooker Championship qualifying event of the season and therefore secure a return to the Crucible Theatre for the final stages in May.
The experienced cueman from Norwich – who has previously played at snooker’s most iconic venue in both the professional and seniors world championships – joins last month’s event one winner Andrew Norman on the list of confirmed qualifiers.
Held at the North East Snooker Centre in North Sheilds, 53-year-old Pinches began his campaign with victories against Ant Parsons (3-0) and Gareth Edwards (3-1) before he defeated multiple-time World Seniors Snooker Tour major event finalist Johnathan Bagley 4-1 in the last eight along with breaks of 90 and 81.
In the semi-finals Pinches went behind early on to opponent James McGouran but he strung together the next four frames for a 4-1 win.
Coming through the other side of the draw was 2022 world seniors champion Walker. The Welshman recovered from 2-0 down to deny former qualifier Rodney Goggins 4-2 in the quarter-finals and then registered runs of 126 – the highest break of the event – and 78 during a 4-0 success against 2018 champion Aaron Canavan in the last four.
A decorated final did not disappoint. Walker deposited the opening frame with a 103 clearance although Pinches responded with efforts of 87, 83 and 68 in the next three frames as he went 3-1 up. Professional PTC event winner Pinches then claimed a low-scoring fifth frame to complete victory and book a ticket to Sheffield for the spring.
The third qualifying event of the season is set to take place across the Irish Sea at the Snooker & Billiards Ireland Academy in Carlow between February 23-25.