Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds at heart of county’s recent renaissance

Leeds snooker player Peter Lines who has benefitted from improved surroundings at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
Leeds snooker player Peter Lines who has benefitted from improved surroundings at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
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Ronnie O’Sullivan makes a swift return to action in Yorkshire on Wednesday after the disappointment of being beaten in the final of the Betway UK Championship at the York Barbican.

Just three days after losing 10-7 to world No 1 Mark Selby, five-time world champion O’Sullivan will turn out at the Barnsley Metrodome for the f66.com German Masters qualifiers.

Ronnie OSullivan: Swiftly back in action after UK Championship final defeat.

Ronnie OSullivan: Swiftly back in action after UK Championship final defeat.

The 41-year-old faces Leeds-born Darryl Hill in his opening round match.

Once again there is a healthy contingent from the West Yorkshire city.

Father and son, Peter and Oliver Lines, David Grace and Sanderson Lam all hail from the Northern Snooker Centre, Kirkstall Road, in Leeds.

Oliver, 21, faced a tough opening game on Tuesday against Jamie Jones – losing 5-3 to a player who reached the UK quarter-finals last week – while Peter plays China’s Yu De Lu on Wednesday, the same day Grace meets Jack Lisowski.

Lam, 22, suffered a 5-1 defeat against the experienced Martin Gould on Tuesday night.

Peter Lines believes Leeds’s players are reaping the rewards of investment at Northern Snooker Centre by owner Chris Williamson.

“I think Chris at the snooker centre deserves a lot of credit,” said Lines, who first turned professional in 1991. “He’s done the tables up and really helped us out. He has spent a lot of money on the tables, getting them in a good condition, and really looks after us.

“I think that’s why the standard is getting better here. People like Sanderson (Lam), David (Grace), Oliver, and also we have a few other lads who are coming through. There’s a competitive edge here, nobody wants to lose to anybody else.”

The club has seen some excellent performances from the likes of Grace – UK semi-finalist 12 months ago – while Oliver Lines, 21, went close to emulating him by reaching the last 16 in York last week.

He knocked out world 
No 3 Judd Trump 6-2 before whitewashing Jimmy Robertson, only to lose to veteran Marco Fu.

His father Peter, 46 – who defeated defending champion Neil Robertson – was full of praise for his son’s achievements.

“It was a good week (in York), (although) obviously disappointing the way it finished for Oliver,” said Lines. “But, overall it was a good tournament.

“Oliver is disappointed he didn’t get into the match. He genuinely thought he was going to win, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

“The previous two matches, if he had played anywhere near that form, I think he would have won. He just couldn’t find it.

“He knows he had a good week, proved he can do it on the big stage, he just needs to do it more often now. The more times he can get in that position, the better off he will be.”

Also at Barnsley, Sheffield’s Adam Duffy takes on Mei Xi Wen on Thursday, the same day Pickering’s Paul Davison faces Judd Trump, while Doncaster’s Chris Keogan plays Brandon Sargeant on Wednesday.

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