Ebdon edges into snooker World Championship

Peter Ebdon of England plays a shot during a first round match of the World Championship Snooker tournament against Ronnie O'Sullivan of England at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England April 24, 2012

Former title-winner Peter Ebdon just did enough to gain a place in this year's snooker World Championship with a 10-9 win over Michael Holt in the final qualifying round on Wednesday.

The 2002 world champion prevailed in the all-English contest at Sheffield's Ponds Forge and will now be in the main draw when the World Championship gets underway at the northern English city's Crucible Theatre.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Crucible's first staging of snooker's most important tournament and Ebdon said: "It means everything. It's always great to be introduced as a former world champion, it's really, really special."

Ebdon had a 6-3 overnight lead but Holt fought back in a match that went all the way to the last black.

"I felt I let myself down," said Ebdon. "I just didn't handle it which is disappointing and Michael deserved to win. I genuinely feel gutted for him.

"I'm delighted but I must admit I feel a bit numb."

The 46-year-old Ebdon has not won a match at the World Championship since 2008 but the manner of his victory over Holt left him cautiously optimistic.

"The one positive coming out of this week was that I've felt more like the old me: I was really determined and very focused," Ebdon said.

"If I turn up and play then I've got every chance. I've certainly found some resolve from somewhere, some determination to succeed again and get back to the Crucible."

Meanwhile Scotland's Graeme Dott, the 2006 world champion, recovered from 4-0 behind to beat Jamie Jones of Wales 10-8.

Dott is due to take part in a parade of past Crucible winners at Friday's pre-tournament 40th anniversary celebrations, and the 39-year-old said: "If I had lost I don't know if I could bear it, being there when you're not in the tournament. It would have been so brutal."

Another Scot, Stephen Maguire, will also be in the main draw after the two-time former semi-finalist defeated China's Li Hang 10-5.