Champion Hendry ready for emotional return

Stephen Hendry.

Stephen Hendry.

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Stephen Hendry returns to the scene of his greatest triumphs when he returns to the Crucible tomorrow night.

The 45-year-old dominated snooker in the Nineties, collecting seven world titles in Sheffield, as he steamrollered the opposition.

He chose the famous theatre to announce his retirement in 2012 - following his quarter-final exit to Stephen Maguire - unhappy at his decline in standards.

Now though Hendry will be back playing on the Crucible green baize, alongside former world champions Joe Johnson and John Parrott on the Snooker Legends tour.

“The Legends tour is good fun, I really enjoy it,” he said. “We are all trying to win - you never lose that competitiveness but they are very relaxed and we always have a laugh.

“They are good fun to play in, well-organised, and playing at places like the Crucible is fantastic.

“Through the Nineties, the Crucible was like my living room. I was probably as comfortable there as I was in my own house.

“I have great memories of Sheffield, my favourite place to play snooker without a doubt.”

It will be the fifth year the Legends tour has returned to Sheffield with John Virgo and top referee Michaela Tabb running the show.

Yesterday, four Yorkshire players cued off the World Championship qualifying rounds at Sheffield’s Ponds Forge to try and reach the Crucible this month.

Leeds potter Sanderson Lam lost 10-8 to Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon, while Pickering’s Paul Davison edged out Chris Wakelin 10-9.

Sheffield’s Joel Walker resumes his match with Allan Taylor this afternoon, leading 5-4, while Middlesbrough’s Antony Parsons trails Chen Zhe by same scoreline.

Also today, it’s the turn of Sheffield duo Adam Duffy and Mitchell Travis, Redcar’s Mike Dunn and Leeds’s David Grace. They have to win a gruelling four matches to reach the Crucible.

Tickets for the Snooker Legends night are available on 0114 249 6000. Tickets for the qualifiers cost £10 per day, available on 0844 6565147.

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