Former world champion Ken Doherty has been drawn against English woman Reanne Evans in the first round of qualifying for the World Championships at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre at Pond's Forge in Sheffield on Thursday.

Twenty-nine-year-old Evans, who has won 10 women’s world titles, is aiming to become the first woman to qualify for a World Championship.

Although an amateur, Evans accepted an invitation to attempt to qualify for the main event.

Dubliner Doherty lifted the world title crown in 1997 champion and will need to win three qualifying rounds to progress to the main draw.

Fergal O'Brien, David Morris, Martin McCrudden, Gerard Greene and Joe Swail are the other Irish competitors in contention for qualifier places.

Six-time Crucible champion Steve Davis faces Jamie Cope, while six-time runner-up Jimmy White meets Thailand's James Wattana. 

The World Championship qualifying rounds run from 8 to 15 April, followed by the final stages from 18 April 18 to 4 May.