Hendry, Davis make UK Championship
Snooker legends Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis both came through the final qualifying round of the UK Championship to book their place in the televised stages in York next month.
Seven-times world champion Hendry is out of the top 16 for the first time since 1988 but safely negotiated the qualifiers at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester with a 6-2 defeat of Gerard Greene.
Davis, meanwhile, beat Andrew Higginson 6-2 to earn a showpiece clash with Ronnie O'Sullivan in York.
Hendry made a break of 72 to go 2-0 up before world number 36 Greene recovered to 2-2 with a 104. A 63 from Hendry saw him regain the lead, and he took a scrappy sixth frame for 4-2. Another 63, from an unpromising position, extended his advantage, and he sealed victory by potting brown and blue in the eighth.
"I played solid snooker, nothing special apart from the break to go 5-2 up which was one of the best I've ever made," said 42-year-old Hendry, who has won the UK title five times.
"It's a very good result and I'm delighted to get through. The UK Championship is a massive tournament, and although I'll be there working for the BBC, to go there without being in the draw would have been very hard.
"Playing in the qualifiers is a different kind of pressure for me, but my position in the rankings is self-inflicted and that's why I'm here. I'm not used to it and I want to get back into the top 16 as soon as possible. I just tried to concentrate on the match today and put in as much effort as I could."
Hendry will face fellow Scot Stephen Maguire in the first round in York on December 3. He added: "I'm the qualifier so I have to expect a tough draw. Stephen knows what I'm capable of."
Six-times world and UK champion Davis enjoyed breaks of 52 and 63 in a comfortable win over Higginson to set up his meeting with fellow Essex cueman O'Sullivan.
Davis said: "You can't ask for more than a match against Ronnie at the UK. It's what we play for. Plus it gives me a day when I don't have to sit next to John Parrott!
"It was nervy and horrible today, I was all over the place, but Andrew was even worse. You just want to get to the venue. It's enjoyable grafting away and I don't get upset when I'm playing rubbish stuff.
"When I first dropped into the qualifiers, I just got stuck in and didn't say 'I'm not supposed to be here' - and I think Stephen (Hendry) will be the same. He's got nothing to worry about as long as he's optimistic and gets his attitude right. He’s bound to win some and lose some."
Qualification round 4 results:
Rory McLeod 6-2 Barry Hawkins
Stephen Hendry 6-2 Gerard Greene
Steve Davis 6-2 Andrew Higginson
Dominic Dale 6-2 Nigel Bond
Mark Davis 6-2 Michael White
Marcus Campbell 5-3 Ben Woollaston
Matthew Selt 6-4 Mark King
Tom Ford 6-0 Xiao Guodong
Jamie Cope 3-6 Joe Jogia
Ricky Walden 6-2 Jamie Jones
Fergal O'Brien 2-6 Li Yan
Peter Ebdon 3-6 Robert Milkins
Joe Perry 4-6 Adrian Gunnell
Ryan Day 6-0 Jamie Burnett
Marco Fu 6-5 Anthony Hamilton
Ken Doherty 5-6 Peter Lines