Lines chasing lure of O’Sullivan prize

Leeds snooker star Peter Lines hopes to pocket the biggest match of his career when he cues off at the UK Championship tomorrow.

Leeds snooker player Peter Lines.

For if the 44-year-old work No 61 can beat Joe Swail in his first-round match at the Barbican, he is due to face five-time World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in front of the BBC cameras in a primetime slot on Sunday evening.

Lines reached the UK quarter-finals back in 2009, arguably his best finish in a major tournament in over 20 years as a professional.

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But to face O’Sullivan - one of snooker’s all-time greats - would surpass even that feat, believes Lines.

“I am looking forward to playing in York, it’s such a good venue, I have got a very tough draw though,” he said.

“We will both be really desperate to try and win, the prize being playing Ronnie on TV on Sunday night. I would love to play in that match.

“Some players would dread it, but to play Ronnie on the BBC would be fantastic.

“I played in the quarter-finals of the UK finals a few years ago, when I played Stephen Maguire. I have played all the top players, but this would be the biggest match of my career.

“Ronnie is playing so well at the moment. Anybody that loves snooker, loves Ronnie. If you don’t like watching Ronnie, you don’t like snooker.”

Lines will be joined in York by teenage son Oliver, who is swiftly climbing the rankings on his first season on the professional Tour.

“Oliver has a tough draw too (he plays China’s Yu Delu), but his reward for winning would be Maguire,” said Lines. “We both have tough games, but great rewards if we can win.

“I will definitely watch his, but he doesn’t watch me. My matches take too long, he gets bored easy.

It’s like ‘dad, come on’. His evening match will probably finish before me, and I start at 2.30.”

Lines is ranked 61 in the world, but his 19-year-old son is quickly closing the gap, at No 78, thanks to wins over the likes of world champion Mark Selby in the International Championship qualifiers.

Not that Lines is worried about being overtaken by Oliver in the rankings.

“It’s only a matter of time, the sooner the better,” accepted Lines, with the pair based at Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.

“I have always said he was going to be good - but people are always a bit sceptical because I’m his dad - but a lot of the top players have sat up and taken notice too. When he beat Selby, he was so complimentary to him.

“Oliver has had a great season, but he’s working hard. He’s beaten top players and wants to emulate them.

“He’s already beaten the likes of Mark Selby and Mark Williams, been in a PTC final. He’s really buzzing, and he’s only been on the Tour a couple of months.

“Even before the season started, we practiced together - we don’t practice together a lot - and he he has improved so much. He’s beating me now more times than I am beating him.”

Fellow Leeds potter David Grace is also in action tomorrow, when he takes on China’s Liang Wenbo.

Keighley’s Chris Melling - the former world pool champion - plays Jack Lisowski in his first round match tomorrow.

Today, sees Dronfield’s Oliver Brown, 20, play Selby, while Doncaster’s Ian Glover tackles Xiao Guodong.