Teenage snooker professional Michael Leslie faces a tough opener in event two of the Players Tour Championship tomorrow.
The Bonnyrigg ace cues up against former world championship semi-finalist Joe Perry at the South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester, and whilst admitting to be underdog in the match, Leslie believes that drawing a player of Perry’s stature at this stage in his career can only help his development.
He said: “I am not expected to win and hopefully that helps me relax and play some of my best snooker. I have watched him on television a few times and Joe is clearly a top player. You don’t get to the semi-finals of the World Championship if you are not. However, this is a great opportunity for me to learn some things from someone of his calibre but also try and play well and pull off a shock at the same time.
“You want to play the best players in the world. This is what I have been working towards for the last few years where I would get the chance to compete against some of the world’s best players which will help me become a better player.”
Leslie faces a tough few weeks. Next weekend he will he will play Ireland’s 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty, before heading to Germany to face four times World Snooker Champion and fellow Scot, John Higgins.
Leslie added: “I have already noticed the standard on the professional circuit being a step up from what I have been used to but guys like Perry, Doherty and Higgins, with the amount of experience and quality they have, are going to be an even bigger step-up from that. It is going to be difficult but I have been practising hard and will be giving it my best shot.”
Perry, 37, from Cambridgeshire, now ranked 24 in the world rankings, finished last season by qualifying for the televised stages of the World Championship where he scored a thumping 10-1 victory over Scotland’s Graeme Dott before losing out to Scotland’s Stephen Maguire.