Extension of a different kind can help new dad Selby stay on top

Mark Selby

Mark Selby

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World champion Mark Selby is determined fatherhood will not stop him from landing more snooker silverware.

Wife Vicky gave birth to baby daughter Sofia this week, ending fears that world No 1 Selby would have to pull out of this month’s UK Championship in York to be at the birth of his first child.

But the Crucible champion is determined to juggle his new role with staying on top of his game, so is having an extension built on his family home to house a practice snooker table.

“We’ve got everything ready at home, everything pink,” said Selby. “We’re building an extension at the moment for me to put my table in.

“That will give me the chance to practice more at home and spend more time with the family.

“Obviously, I don’t want to miss any part of Sofia growing up, but at the same time it’s up to me to provide for my family and I can only do that by playing in tournaments and winning.”

He scooped £300,000 for his World Championship triumph in May, and joked: “If every year is like that we’ll be okay!”

Selby heads to York – where he will play 20-year-old Oliver Brown, from Dronfield, near Sheffield – admitting to having a “few disappointing results” in the main ranking events this season.

But he has fond memories of playing at York’s Barbican, having won the UK title in 2012 before slipping to defeat in the final to Australian Neil Robertson last year.

“This season I’ve played well in the European Tour but had a few disappointing results in the main ranking events,” said Selby. “I feel happy with my game and I know the results will follow.

“We’ve got a lot of big events now with the UK Championship followed by The Masters.

“I love playing in York and I’ve got happy memories there having won the title two years ago so hopefully I can have another run.”

Ticket sales for York are up nearly 20 per cent on last year, with the evening session of the final a sell-out.

The tournament will run from November 25 to December 7, with all 128 players contesting the opening round over the first three days.

“About a week ago, we sold our 5,000th ticket for York, that’s the earliest we have ever done that,” said World Snooker spokesperson Ivan Hirschowitz.

“This time last year, it was about 4,300, so we are between 15-20 per cent up on last year which is really good. Ticket sales are going really well and we are very pleased.”

With increased ticket sales, year on year, since the UK Championship returned to York, the future looks bright for the Barbican event.

World Snooker are currently in talks to sign up a tournament sponsor. “It’s a difficult market for every sport, a lot of sports are struggling, but we are working hard on it and, hopefully, within the next few weeks we will able to announce something,” said Hirschowitz.

Tickets for the UK Championship start at just £8 (concessions £4). For details call 0844 854 2757 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets

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