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Jak may give his rivals lots of flak at Ponds Forge

Welshman Jones made last 16 of English Open

Class act Matthew Stevens has been struggling to bring his best to the baize
1 of 1

Start 10am Wednesday

Most of the eight-player-group favourites are likely to oblige in the race for the Crucible Theatre, which starts in Sheffield on Wednesday, but it may be worth chancing Jak Jones at a whopping 80-1 to qualify for the Betfred World Championship finals.

All matches are over the best of 19 frames and each player needs to win three matches to earn a World Championship finals berth.

Jones has shown all the attributes of becoming a decent player in the near future and if he goes to Ponds Forge with his game in good shape, he could take it to some of his Group B rivals, many of whom may be past their best.

The heroics of German Masters champion Anthony Hamilton have been a joy to behold this season, but even though the Sheriff has been cueing like a dream he’s no certainty to keep on producing the goods.

Matthew Stevens is a class act but has been struggling to bring his best form to the table, while Robin Hull and Lee Walker may have seen better days.

Jones, a 23-year-old from Cwmbran, was crowned European Under-19 champion in 2010 but has only recently begun to show his class on the main tour, making the last 16 of the Coral English Open.

Jones’s compatriot David John looked to be in pretty good nick in the Coral Shoot Out and he is worth an interest at 125-1 to qualify for the Crucible.

Matt Selt will be a difficult opponent to turn over in round one but bigger surprises have happened. And John would be no also-ran in a clash against Hossain Vafaei Ayouri or Hatem Yassen in round two.

Tom Ford or Chris Wakelin would be tough to stop in the decider, but John looks to have a pretty decent temperament and could rattle the cages of his opponents.

Recommendations
Jak Jones to qualify for the Crucible
1pt 80-1 Coral
D John to qualify for the Crucible
0.5pt 125-1 Coral

Coral – to qualify for the Crucible groups – One: 5-6 M Williams, 7-2 A Higginson, 13-2 S Carrington, 9 L Highfield, 10 Zhao Xintong, 66 M Georgiou 100 A Borg, 150 A Petrov; Two: 6-4 T Ford, 2 M Selt, 7-2 H Vafaei Ayouri, 13-2 C Wakelin, 66 E Slessor, 100 J Bodle, 125 D John, 500 H Yassen; Three: Evs A Hamilton, 11-4 R Hull, 7-2 M Stevens, 16 N Saengkham, 28 C Steadman, 33 L Walker, 80 Jak Jones, 300 R Evans; Four: 2-5 S Maguire, 5 Li Hang, 10 N Bond, 16 M Dunn, 25 F Patrick, 40 A Hicks, 50 K Lertsattayathorn, 250 NG On Yee; Five: 11-8 M King, 2 Xiao Guodong, 9-2 Zhang Anda, 6 S Baird, 80 Fang Xiongman, 125 P Davison, 300 T Rees, 400 R Vallance; Six: 11-10 B Woollaston, 5-4 Zhou Yuelong, 15-2 I Burns, 16 K Doherty, 66 C Keogan, 80 I Preece, 250 C Totten, 300 J Weston; Seven: 10-11 Jamie Jones, 7-4 G Dott, 6 A Burden, 25 D Poomjaeng, 28 A Duffy, 50 A Taylor, 80 Chen Zhe, 400 J Curtis-Barrett; Eight: 4-7 D Gilbert, 4 F O’Brien, 6 Tian Pengfei, 14 Rhys Clark, 14 G Greene, 66 Zhang Yong, 500 W Townsend; Nine: 4-6 J Perry, 5-2 M Joyce, 8 Mei Xiwen, 14 D Grace, 33 A Songserm­sawad, 80 T Chuan Leong, 150 Z Richardson, 500 J Brown.

Jones has shown all the attributes of becoming a decent player in the near future
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