Stuart Bingham makes his return to competitive snooker when he takes on the legendary Jimmy White in the Qualifying Round of the China Open in Barnsley on Sunday evening.
Bingham was handed a six-month suspension from professional snooker last October after being found guilty of betting on matches involving himself and other players.
Half of the ban was suspended, meaning the 2015 World Champion is now eligible to return to action, starting in the China Open qualifiers as he bids to reach the main event in Beijing.
Having been forced to sit out seven tournaments, including the International Championship, Champion of Champions, Shanghai Masters, UK Championship and Masters, ‘Ball Run’ will be desperate to make up for lost time.
The Basildon cueist has consequently slipped to twelfth spot on the Order of Merit and is just £11,000 clear of Neil Robertson in 15th position.
He has been handed a box office show-down with six-time world finalist White upon his return as they vie for a place in the richest ranking event outside of the World Championship, which will offer a £1 million prize fund this year.
The main stages of the China Open take place in Beijing from April 2-8, with players required to win one qualifying round match in order to book their place in the lucrative final stages.
A strong end to 2017 saw people’s champion White climb back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since regaining his tour card via an honourary wildcard last May.
At 55, White is the oldest player still competing on the main tour, and his recent performances have proved he still has what it takes to mix it with the sport’s elite.
White reached the Last 32 of last November’s Northern Ireland Open, before going on to defeat Ali Carter in the opening round of the UK Championship and see off Akani Songsermsawad in the Scottish Open.
This will be the seventh meeting between these two players, with both having won three apiece since the turn of the millennium – when White defeated Bingham 13-9 in the Last 16 of the 2000 World Championship.
Bingham has won their last two encounters (2013 UK Championship and 2014 Riga Masters), with this the first in four years.
The match gets underway from 7.30pm GMT and will be contested over the best of 11 frames at the Barnsley Metrodome.