Lines best of rising young British talent

World No 1 Mark Selby believes Leeds rookie Oliver Lines is a potential future champion.

The 19-year-old has impressed in his first season on the professional Tour, reaching the final of an Asian Players Tour Championship in Haining, China.

He beat six players on his way to the final, bwhere he lost to world No 9 Stuart Bingham.

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That qualified Lines to reach last month’s PTC Grand Finals in Thailand, joining the world’s top 32 players as they competed for a £100,000 prize.

Next for the European Under-21 champion is the qualifiers for the World Championship, which take place at Ponds Forge in Sheffield between April 8-15.

Competition will be fierce with every player outside the top 16 forced to compete, needing to win three qualifying matches simply to earn a coveted spot at the Crucible on April 18.

World champion Selby knows all about Lines, having lost 6-4 to him from 4-0 ahead in the International Championship qualifiers this season.

“In England, the UK, there is not a huge amount of talent coming through. Michael White (from Wales) and Oliver Lines are the two outstanding ones.

“Oliver is good. I played him in the International tournament earlier this season, and his results speak for themselves.

“He got to the final in one of the Asian PTCs, and has had a good season for his first year on Tour.

“You want to try and establish yourself in your first year, make a name for himself. The good thing is, he is a nice kid, too, which is always good. If he carries on like he is, he obviously has a great future.”

Selby believes Lines will benefit from his father, Peter, also being a professional snooker player. The 45-year-old is also competing alongside his son at Ponds Forge.