Ireland's former world champion Ken Doherty tonight suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the final round of qualifying for the Crucible.

The 43-year-old Dubliner recovered from 9-4 behind and then 9-7 and 55-0 adrift to level his tussle with Matthew Selt at 9-9, forcing a deciding frame.

But that was where 1997 champion Doherty's fightback ended, with Romford man Selt turning the screw to seal a 10-9 victory and a debut at the Betfair World Championship, a tournament that starts next Saturday.

Selt, 28, knew defeat would have been hard to take, saying: "It would have been catastrophic. Ken started playing well.

"I started to get a little edgy. But I knew if it went to a decider I would be calm because the pressure would reverse. I felt calmer than when I was 9-4.

"Now it feels very, very good. I'm really looking forward to it. It's massive for me."

Jimmy White missed out on a fairytale return to the game’s ultimate arena when the six-time runner-up lost in the final qualifying round.

The 50-year-old 'Whirlwind' was beaten 10-5 by fellow Englishman Robert Milkins as he attempted to reach the main draw for the first time since 2006.

It was a crushing blow to White and his legion of fans, who packed out Sheffield's English Institute of Sport badminton hall in the hope the ever-popular Londoner would book a place in tomorrow's draw.

White had won two qualifiers to reach the final-round stage, but the player who made his debut in the World Championship in 1981 produced little of the old magic when it mattered most.

White said: "It is very disappointing after finding some form recently. We both struggled with the table, and there were a tremendous amount of kicks.

"I didn't play well at all out there - if I had got to 9-7 I might have had a chance but I got a kick on 66 or so, my highest break of the match.”

Sam Baird qualified for the first time, the 24-year-old beating Joe Perry, a former World Championship semi-finalist, 10-3.

"I'm pleased and I'd have beaten a lot of players out there playing like that tonight," Baird said.

Scotland's two-time former semi-finalist Alan McManus ended his seven-year wait for a Crucible return.

The 42-year-old Glasgow potter beat Tom Ford 10-5 and would love to be paired with defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round.

He said: "Masochistically I would quite like to play Ronnie, to get that centre-stage thing."

Mark Davis booked his place with a 10-6 win over Chinese left-hander Liang Wenbo, Marcus Campbell joined him with a 10-4 victory over Liam Highfield, and Welshman Dominic Dale was a 10-5 winner against Alfie Burden.