Honeymoon incentive as Grace aims to clean up at York

Leeds cueman David Grace knows he needs to find some consistency if he is to make it into the big time (Picture: PA).
Leeds cueman David Grace knows he needs to find some consistency if he is to make it into the big time (Picture: PA).
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Money is tight for Leeds snooker player David Grace, but he could yet find himself able to splash out on an exotic honeymoon.

That is because the 30-year-old plays Robert Milkins tomorrow night at the Betway UK Championship in a second-round match.

Grace, who admits he has just about broken even each season since turning professional in 2008, has already banked £4,000 for his 6-1 first-round win over Andrew Higginson.

This will help foot the bill for his wedding to fiancee Gemma next April.

But with an extra £5,000 on offer to tomorrow’s winner, Grace is dreaming of a sunshine honeymoon.

“We are getting married in April,” he said. “We still have quite a few things to pay off, so this run will help, and maybe get us a little honeymoon out of it.

“The further we go in the tournament, the further we can go on honeymoon.

“As it stands, we have made South Yorkshire. Whenever I jet off to China, she always jokes she never gets invited there, just places like Barnsley and Sheffield.”

Grace helps pay the bills by cleaning tables at the Northern Snooker Centre, in Leeds, and returned to work for his early morning shift just hours after beating Higginson at the York Barbican.

He grafts Monday to Friday, turning up for work at 7.30 each morning, finishing at 10am, before picking up his cue to practise.

“I work part-time cleaning the snooker tables,” he said. “I was in the morning after winning at York, cleaning the tables.

“I had the day off for my match, so couldn’t ask for any more time off. I have always looked at it as a good thing; it gets me out of bed in the morning.

“I am at the club, so once I have finished the tables at 10am, I then have all day to play.

“You have to work hard to earn your money, so when I have a big win like Tuesday, the money’s unbelievable. I probably break even, I have never really made any money out of the Tour. Every match you are playing in, you are playing for really good money.

“No one can turn round and say the opportunities aren’t there, because they are; you just have to do the business.”

Having reached the last 16 of this season’s Shanghai Masters – he won four qualifying games just to reach the main tournament, including beating Ali Carter – there is little doubting Grace’s talent.

But having fallen off the main Tour already, playing as an amateur for two seasons, he admits his lack of consistency has been an issue.

“I still need to find that consistency, that’s the key,” said Grace, originally from Leeds but now living in Bradford. “If you can win your first-round match in all the tournaments, it adds up to a lot of money.

“I was delighted to get through to the second round.

“I have been playing a lot better this season, so knew my form was there.

“It’s just helped getting a couple of wins under my belt.

“Going into the qualifiers for Shanghai, I was just happy to win my first-round game and get a bit of money in the bank.

“Once I had done that, I was a lot more relaxed.

“If you can get on a roll you can go deep into a tournament. The pressure lifts and you haven’t got anything to lose.

“The way I played (on Tuesday) I feel like I can take anybody on, but it’s about repeating that form on a consistent basis.

“That’s one thing I never seem to have done throughout my career. I beat Ali Carter earlier in the season, so know I can beat the top players.”

Joining Grace in the second round at York is fellow Leeds potter Oliver Lines and Sheffield amateur Adam Duffy.

Lines, 20, plays world No 1 Mark Selby tomorrow, and 26-year-old Duffy takes on Joe Swail this evening.