The area’s two snooker professionals will face the top two players from Asia in the Betfred World Championship.
This morning’s (Thursday’s) first round draw paired St Leonards-based Mark Davis with Chinese star Ding Junhui and Jimmy Robertson, from Bexhill, with Hong Kong ace Marco Fu.
Robertson, in fact, will feature in the opening session of the sport’s blue riband event at The Crucible in Sheffield. The 28-year-old will contest the opening nine frames against Fu from 10am on Saturday morning and the second session of the best of 19 frames affair will start at the same time on Sunday morning.
It will be the third meeting between world number 42 Robertson and 11th-ranked Fu, and Robertson will be hoping it’s third time lucky having narrowly lost the previous two, both of which were best of seven frames encounters in lower profile tournaments.
World number 18 Davis will begin his match against third-ranked Ding from 2.30pm on Monday with the remaining frames to be played from 10am the following morning. Davis beat Ding in the 2012 Wuxi Classic, but was beaten 5-1 when the pair met in the China Open at the start of this month.
Robertson will be making his second appearance at The Crucible and first since 2011 when he was beaten 10-1 by 2014 champion Mark Selby. Davis has been a regular fixture in the main draw during recent years, albeit without ever going beyond the second round.
Both men came through three matches in the qualifiers at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to get there. Davis saw off amateur Joe O’Connor 10-4, rising star Oliver Lines 10-7 and 1997 champion Ken Doherty 10-3, while Robertson defeated Malaysian player Thor Chuan Leong 10-7, Thai potter Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 10-6 and, finally, Xiao Guodong 10-9 last night.
World Championship first round draw: Mark Selby (Eng) v Kurt Maflin (Nor); Stephen Maguire (Sco) v Anthony McGill (Sco); Joe Perry (Eng) v Zhang Anda (Chn); Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Robin Hull (Fin); Barry Hawkins (Eng) v Matthew Selt (Eng); Mark Allen (NI) v Ryan Day (Wal); Ali Carter (Eng) v Alan McManus (Sco); Neil Robertson (Aus) v Jamie Jones (Wal); Ding Junhui (Chn) v MARK DAVIS (Eng); John Higgins (Sco) v Robert Milkins (Eng); Marco Fu (HK) v JIMMY ROBERTSON (Eng); Judd Trump (Eng) v Stuart Carrington (Eng); Ricky Walden (Eng) v Graeme Dott (Sco); Stuart Bingham (Eng) v Robbie Williams (Eng); Mark Williams (Wal) v Matthew Stevens (Wal); Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) v Craig Steadman (Eng).