Leslie undeterred despite losing start to pro career

Bonnyrigg snooker star Michael Leslie hopes to find some winning form over the next five days as he bids to kick-start his professional career.

The 19-year-old will line up in the first Players Tour Championship event of the season at the Southwest Snooker Academy in Gloucester tomorrow before returning to Sheffield on Tuesday for the qualifying stages of the Shanghai Masters.

Leslie, who lost the opening two matches of his professional career, meets experienced 26-year-old Jimmy Robertson of East Sussex on Friday morning, and is refusing to let that disappointing start to his professional career get him down. He said “I have taken a lot from some of the advice I have been given. Chris Small told me that he lost his first seven matches when he turned professional and he ended up winning a ranking event.”

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Speaking ahead of a final practice session today with fellow Scot and world No. 21 Marcus Campbell, Leslie was under no illusions about the credentials of Robertson who started the season as the No. 55.

He added: “There are no easy games now. I saw Robertson last year playing Jimmy White down in at a tournament in Gloucester and he is a class act, but they are all good at this level.

“I will need to be at the top of my game to beat him. I am practising hard, travelling across the country looking to get games against better players as this is what will sharpen up my game and get me ready for the tournaments.”

Meanwhile, Musselburgh’s Ross Muir is aiming to follow in Leslie’s footsteps on to the professional circuit by winning the World Under-21 Championships in China.

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The young Scot made a solid start and remains on track to finish top of his qualifying group after winning his first three matches.

Muir, 16, has yet to be troubled after whitewashing Nicolas Mortreux (France) and Walid Salem (Egypt) and making breaks of 76, 54 and 51 in a fine performance to run out and score a 4-1 victory over Ryan Thomerson (Australia).

However, Rhys Clark (Stonehouse) is in danger of failing to qualify for the knockout stages, losing three of his first four matches.