SNOOKER star Stuart Bingham has battled his way through to another World Championship at the Crucible.

But the Basildon based 47-year-old admits it could be time for the sport’s showpiece event to move away from Sheffield.

Bingham – who memorably won the world title back in 2015- will face Gary Wilson in the first round on Monday after working his way through two tough matches in qualifying.

And, despite his love of the venue, Bingham knows it could soon be time for a change.

“I’m a purist and the World Championships are Sheffield but as someone said to me history doesn’t pay the bills,” said Bingham.

“The contract is up in 2027 and I think the Crucible holds 980 people but you could sell that at least five times over.

“It probably does need a bigger place to showcase the biggest event on our circuit.

“It is one of those decisions in the history of our sport but I suppose things need to move on to bigger and better places.”

That said, Bingham remains a fan of the Crucible which has hosted the World Championship since 1977.

But he was made to work hard for his place in the draw after securing two hard fought victories against Stuart Carrington and Louis Heathcote.

“Both matches were tough,” said Bingham.

“I was 7-3 down against Stuart before getting it back to 7-7.

“I was 9-7 after that but played flawless snooker after that.

“It was similar against Luke too and it was a good match.

“I could have gone 9-7 down but he missed a pink so it went 8-8 and from there I scored 135 and 70 to win.

“It’s great to qualify and to finish the year at the Crucible before going into next season.”

Bingham – who is ranked 29 in the world – faces world number 10 in the first round.

And it will be the first time the duo have met in such a high calibre tournament.

“I don’t think we’ve ever played in a ranking event before,” said Bingham.

“We’ve played in Championship League but he’s one of the players of the season and has won two events.”

Bingham’s form has been less consistent this season but he remains confident of performing well when it most matters.

“It’s not too bad,” said Bingham on his season so far. “I feel like I’m playing a little bit better but missing a few balls.

“I’m a five,six,seven eight out of 10 and compared to 2015 I’m 21 points down but I can produce it when the pressure is on.”

The World Championship gets underway tomorrow morning and finishes on Monday May 6.