Snooker: Leeds starlet eyes family affair on Tour

Oliver Lines.
Oliver Lines.
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Leeds snooker starlet Oliver Lines is a man on a mission – and so is his dad.

Bidding to become the sport’s first successful father and son act, a 2013 place on the sport’s main Tour is the holy grail for both.

Lines, 17, is the son of former UK Championship quarter-finalist Peter – currently ranked 55 in the world.

That ranking would be good enough to maintain his position on the elite Tour next season, and now his teenage son is ready to join him.

Former Wetherby High School student Oliver had initially chased his footballing dreams but upon turning 14 the Seacroft-born youngster realised his best chances of sporting success would come in following his dad.

Four years on, with his education completed he has begun his assault on the open Players Tour Championship in which a top-eight amateur finish would see Oliver move up to main Tour alongside his old man.

Just so long as his dad can stay there too!

“It would be great if I could get on the main Tour and one of the highlights would be being the first father and son to get there,” Oliver told LS1 this week.

“That would be really good and everybody would notice who we were.

“That’s what pushes him to keep going as well – he wants to still be on when I get on!”

The teenager’s father – now 42 – is on course to retain his place but Lines has work to do in order to fulfil his dream of joining his dad on the main Tour in 2013.

Lines is currently ranked the joint-20th best amateur with a top-eight finish needed to seal promotion to the elite Tour.

There is, though, no denying the abundant promise possessed by former Grange Farm Primary pupil Lines who enjoyed one of the best successes of his career when defeating former world number 12 Joe Perry 4-3 in a PTC Event in Gloucester last month.

That success earned Lines vital ranking points – and new sponsorship from Essential Life Advice.

“Beating Joe Perry was one of the best wins I’ve had and it was a good feeling,” said Lines, who lives in Beeston with his dad and step-mum Sarah.

“After beating Joe I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole day!

“Then Essential Life Advice, who are new sponsors on the circuit, heard about that victory as Mark King and Shaun Murphy are advising them.

“They sponsor Mark King but they said they wanted an up-and-coming amateur as well and they chose me, which makes me feel pretty proud.”

With fellow sponsors the Northern Snooker Centre also on board, young Lines now hopes the only way is up with this week’s PTC event in Belgium followed by tournaments in England, Bulgaria, Scotland and Germany.

The teenager – who has two sisters Lucy (22) and Penny (15) – also hopes to qualify for next year’s Under-21s World Championships with the Leeds ace having been beaten in the last 16 in this year’s renewal.

Giant strides are being made considering the youngster, whose highest break is 140, only pledged his full commitment to snooker back in 2009.

“I used to just play football for Seacroft Colts but then I decided that I wanted to give snooker a go so I quit football when I was 14 and gave snooker a proper go,” said Lines, who then quickly became England Under-14s champion.

“It’s the best decision I’ve made.

“I’ve finished my education and I’m giving snooker a proper go full time with my dad backing me up really.

“I’m enjoying it.”

Not that competing on the PTC is any sort of holiday – Lines determined to work as hard as possible to follow in the footsteps of his ultimate snooker idol – his dad.

Asked who his favourite player in the professional game is, the 17-year-old admitted: “I’d have to say my dad because he’s just everything I want to be.

“We are like brothers really – we look alike and everyone says he doesn’t look old enough to be my dad.

“He’s 42 but he looks young!

“My dad does such a lot for me and I need to do well to repay him as he spends a lot of money on helping me trying to make it.

“I give him it back by putting loads of hours in as he says I’ll be better than him if I keep putting in the hard work like I do. Hopefully I can be.

“There’s not much time for anything else other than snooker really.

“I play five a side football on a Thursday at Goals on Kirkstall Road but that’s about it.”

Indeed, even the youngster’s love life is on hold with complete priority given to his main Tour snooker dream.

Lines laughed: “I did have a girlfriend but my dad wasn’t happy because my snooker was going down.

“I’d rather not have a girlfriend and turn pro before I get one!”