Ken Doherty endured a disastrous first session in his World Snooker Championship third-round qualifier against fellow veteran Mark Davis as the English cueman claimed an emphatic 8-1 overnight lead against the 1997 world champion at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

Davis had accrued a 4-1 advantaged by the mid-session interval and won another four frames on the trot to leave the Dubliner in dire straits ahead of the conclusion of their best-of-19 frames match on Wednesday.

Doherty, who laboured to a 10-8 victory over perennial women’s world champion Reanne Evans in his first-round qualifier, looked more assured in his 10-6 second round success over Lee Walker but faces a colossal challenge if he is to feature at the Crucible for the 20th time in his career.

Joe Swail, who produced a courageous comeback to edge out Dominic Dale in a final-frame decider on Monday, trails former world number four Matthew Stevens by a single frame after their first session.

The Belfast potter led Stevens 3-2 at the mid-session interval, but lost three of the following four frames to ensure that his Welsh opponent would lead 5-4 overnight.

Fergal O'Brien took on Kurt Maflin, who routed six-time champion Steve Davis in the last round, in the evening session.

The Dubliner and his English-Norwegian opponent shared the opening four frames, but O’Brien enjoyed the upper hand when the action resumed after the break. 

The world number 26 won the final three frames to establish a 6-3 lead ahead of Wednesday’s final session.