Snooker veteran Paul Davison will complete a professional dream next week when he makes his playing debut at the York Barbican.
The 42-year-old potter, who first turned professional 21 years ago, hails from Pickering in North Yorkshire and trains in York.
The world No 75 passes the Barbican each day on his way to practice at his sponsors Quickslide Windows, and on Thursday will finally end his long wait to play at the venue in the first round of the williamhill.com UK Championship.
He faces Gerard Greene in his opening game, when victory would likely set up a meeting with 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy.
That would represent the biggest match of Davison’s long career. “In front of my home crowd as well,” he said. “I can walk to the venue. It is a massive incentive to beat Gerard and play Murphy.
“It’s a winnable game, he’s a good player and will be favourite, but it’s a first-round match.
“I have never qualified for the UK finals before, so playing at the Barbican is a bit of a dream anyway for me.
“I have always gone and watched snooker in York, it will be amazing to play there.
“I pass the Barbican every day on my way to practice.”
Davison will carry local hopes on his shoulders and is hoping for support from the York crowd. “I should have a lot of support for that first-round match, and even more if I win and face Shaun Murphy on TV in the next round,” he said. “That would be fantastic.
“I turned pro in ‘92, have fallen off the Tour a couple of times, but am back on now.
“I feel like I am playing the best snooker of my life at the moment. You have your good and bad days, you sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it. It’s hard to get motivated sometimes.”
Davison enjoyed a run to the last 32 of the Australian Open earlier this season, where he was unlucky to lose to Mark Davis.
Leading 4-3, Davison was in control with Davis needing a snooker with one red left. But his opponent managed to scrape through. “I played really well, a couple of centuries and 50s,” recalled Scarborough-born Davison, who has also played in India and China this season. “If I played like that every game I would be in the top 10.”