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Qualifier Jak Jones on brink of 200/1 World Snooker Championships miracle

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MARATHON MAN Jak Jones will try to become the third qualifier in Crucible history to lift the World Snooker Championship.

The Welshman, 30, knocked out former world champ Stuart Bingham with a 17-12 victory in the second semi-final, which lasted more than twelve hours.

Jak Jones is into the final of the World Snooker Championship

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Jak Jones is into the final of the World Snooker Championship

Remarkably this is first-ever ranking tournament final on the World Snooker Tour.

The Silent Assassin secured his place in the main draw this spring with two qualifying wins at the English Institute of Sport.

And he is the ninth qualifier to appear in the two-day finale in South Yorkshire.

He joins list that includes Canadian Cliff Thorburn (1977), South African Perrie Mans (1978), Welshman Terry Griffiths (1979), England’s Shaun Murphy (2005) and Mark Selby (2007), Scotsman Graeme Dott (2010), Bristol-born Judd Trump (2011) and China’s Ding Junhui (2016).

Griffiths, 76, and Murphy, 41, are the only two people to go all the way despite not being a top-16 seed.

That is the challenge that awaits Jones – who is appearing for just the second year in the hallowed arena of the sport – when he battles Kyren Wilson over the best of 35 frames.

Bingham, 47, had been trying become the oldest world champion in history but he will look back in horror at the fourth session on Saturday evening.

In frame 25, he made a strange decision on the final green, playing a safety shot that Jones cleaned up from when it would have been far simpler to try and pot the colour in the first instance.

Then in frame 26, Bingham broke off and the cue ball went into a baulk cushion – a disaster for any professional cueist.

And in frame 27, Ball Run knocked in the black by mistake when he was going for a long red.

Even when he tried to trap Jones in nots with a complicated safety position, the world No.44 managed to escape the drama.

At least Basildon baize star Bingham can now prepare for the UK Open pool competition when he focuses on nine ball.

Jones is a notoriously slow player and there were times when there were empty seats in the front rows.

Probably because punters needed the loo after watching long safety battles between two qualifiers, especially following frame 28 that took around 28 minutes.

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After the match, Jones said: “I can’t believe it. When I watch the world final every year, what an unbelievable occasion it is. It doesn’t feel real that I am in it. I couldn’t be any happier.

“It has not been easy, there are a lot of players on Tour.

“I haven’t made a quarter-final all season. I didn’t come here with any confidence or sharper.

“I am not playing well, I am winning, I am not doing any exceptional, I am not scoring heavy. But I didn’t feel nervous out there.”

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