Snooker: Legend Davis focused on keeping his tour card after stint in jungle

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From the Australian jungle to Barnsley Metrodome, it’s not a well-worn path for many celebrities except for snooker legend Steve Davis.

Steve Davis is hoping his decision to swap the UK Championship in York for a stint in an Australian jungle will not cost him his tour card for next season.

For the 56-year-old jetted Down Under to take part in this month’s ‘I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here’ and sacrificed competing at the UK finals at the Barbican Centre.

Only the top 64 players, based on prize money, are guaranteed a place on the tour next season.

After York, the six-times world champion had slipped to 61st in the world, just £3,000 above the cut-off mark for the top 64. Such was the seriousness of the task facing Davis he immediately jetted back from Australia and headed straight to Barnsley where he played in the qualifying rounds the next day for ranking events the German Masters and Haikou World Open.

Ignoring jetlag, Davis skipped past Keighley amateur Dylan Mitchell 5-0 to qualify for the last 64 of the German Open in Berlin, which runs from January 29 to February 2.

Then, the Romford potter was back 48 hours later to beat Hammad Miah 5-2 to clinch a last 64 spot at the World Open, to be held on Hainan Island in southern China, from March 10-16.

Davis believes the lack of practice – and pressure – meant he cruised through the potential banana-skin matches.

“I had very little time to think snooker,” he admitted. “I had a bit of time to practice as soon as I got back (from Australia). Part of snooker’s like riding a bike, you remember the feeling, but you are not exactly match-sharp. I missed out on the UK Championship, which was a bit sad in many ways.

“It’s just nice to get a win under your belt in any of these ranking events these days.

“You don’t get upset when you miss a bad shot. You are fresher, and while not positive-thinking, but not negative-thinking. As it was I was pretty pleased I knocked most of the balls in I went for.”

If Davis misses out on the top 64, there is the safety net of winning a place on tour through Q School or the Players Tour Championship Order of Merit.

Not that a laid-back Davis is worrying too much.

“If I drop out of the top 64 there’s a few ways to get back in these days,” he said. “And it’s not going to make a massive difference to my life if I don’t qualify for one year. There’s Q School, the PTCs, that you could then get back in for another year, like Joe Swail did.”

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