The first qualifier for the Crucible this year was Andrew Higginson, who finally made it through to snooker’s theatre of dreams after 14 attempts.
Higginson famously went from the first qualifying round to within a frame of winning the Welsh Open two years ago.
He won many friends along the way. It warms the cockles of even the most cynical of hearts to see a hard working journeyman finally realise his potential.
Andrew’s problem was that as a result of this great run to the final in Newport he put himself under pressure to continue on the up and up, which is far easier said than done in snooker’s hard fought qualifying jungle.
“Getting to the final was unexpected for most people but because I got there I put pressure on myself,” he said.
“I don’t want to be a flash in the pan, getting to the final and then not being seen again.”
Well, he’ll be seen against Shaun Murphy, the 2005 winner, in the first round of the Betfred.com World Championship and is capable of causing a shock.
Murphy, after all, has had a strangely inconsistent season. He won the UK Championship but has done little else.
Higginson, though, is making his Crucible debut and that has to count against him.
He has been to the Sheffield venue before. In fact, he attended two of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s final victories.
It may be going some to imagine this likeable 31 year-old from Widnes in the final himself but he is determined to enjoy his Crucible experience.
“You won’t see me with a sad face at the Crucible,” he told me after qualifying.
After all the years of practising and many disappointments in the qualifiers, his dream is about to come true.
Good luck to him.