James Cahill creates history as the first amateur to reach the Crucible
Cahill has defeated the likes of Ding Junhui during his relatively short career (photo: Getty Images)

James Cahill creates history as the first amateur to reach the Crucible

The 23-year old has plenty of pedigree when it comes to beating top players.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

Blackpool's James Cahill will enter next week's World Championships as the first ever amateur to compete in the event, rewriting the history of an event almost a century old.

Cahill defeated the likes of Andrew Higginson, Michael Holt and fellow amateur Michael Judge on his way to the memorable victory after a season that included the scalps of Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Liang Wenbo and Michael White.

And with an auntie who used to be married to the greatest of them all, Stephen Hendry, it wouldn't be a surprise if Cahill also made a name for himself at the Crucible.

A rocky start

Cahill was formerly a professional, taking the acclaim six years ago at the tender age of 17 following his victory in the European Under-21 Snooker Championships. Yet he won just three of his 23 matches that season, although he did see off veteran Nigel Bond, then a top 20 player.

The 2014/15 campaign was much more enjoyable for the young hopeful. Martin Gould and John Higgins were both defeated before Cahill reached the fourth round of the UK Championship, seeing off third seed Ding Junhui in the process.

The same tournament also involved the first of two victories that year against Higginson, a pre-cursor to this week's greatest few days of his career.

Inconsistencies continue as tour card is lost

Wins were hard to come by again the following season, although Cahill did take the scalps of Tom Ford and Neil Robertson during a year that encompassed just five victories.

2016/17 proved to be Cahill's last season as a professional for two years, falling just short of earning a tour card after reaching the quarter-finals of Q School. However, he did reach the third round of the Paul Hunter Classic, defeating Ryan Day before falling just short against Mark Selby.

Cahill barely featured last year, only entering the Shoot-Out and qualifying for the Gibraltar Open but he came back with a bang this season. 

A 5-1 victory against Liang in World Open qualification put him on the radar before also qualifying for the Indian Open after seeing off Alan McManus. It was there that he defeated White and progressed to the third round but it has been on British soil that Cahill has really impressed.

An upturn in fortunes

He stunned then world number one Mark Selby in the UK Championship with a resounding 6-3 victory before only losing a final frame decider against Akani Songsermsawad in the second round.

Only two months ago, Cahill also reached the third round of the Welsh Open, easing past Shaun Murphy in the round previous. It gave the amateur momentum going into this week's World Championship qualification.

At 9-8 down against Higginson in the opening contest, Cahill was on the ropes but he fought hard to find a way through. He then showed his heart and stamina in the first to ten contests, recording the 17th and 18th centuries of his career to see off Holt and Judge respectively.

Time to progress

Despite creating history, Cahill will not be a walkover at the Crucible after previously defeating several players in the top sixteen.

With a place back on the tour next season, could the World Championships be the tournament when Cahill propels his career into life?

 

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