Michael Leslie expressed his delight today after securing his place back on World Snooker’s Professional Tour.
The 21-year-old from Bonnyrigg won the battle of the Scots in the final round of Q School Event 2 yesterday to earn a two-year pro card after a nail-biting 4-3 victory over Alloa’s Eden Sharav, who also experienced the agony of losing in the last qualifying round of Event One.
Leslie said “I couldn’t be happier. There was a lot of pressure out there today and a lot at stake for both of us so to get over the line and back on the tour is fantastic for me.”
However, it was Sharav who made the better start winning the opening two frames. The third frame proved pivotal as Leslie potted pink and black to pull one back, before making breaks of 62 and 69 to lead 3-2. Although Sharav fought back to win the sixth frame to force a decider, there was to be no stopping Leslie as he took the last frame 75-16.
“It was a really tough match. I didn’t start well but I held myself together well to pinch the third frame and after that I felt really good.
“One thing I have learned over the last couple of years is that when the finishing line is in sight, you need to take your chances and I felt I did that pretty well today and throughout the week,” added Leslie.
He won the 2012 European Under-21 Championship to earn his first tour card but, after a disappointing first season, and despite some good victories in his second year, Leslie dropped off the tour at the end of last season, forcing him to enter the two Q-school events this month. Both events offering the chance for four players to win a two-year tour card.
Leslie said: “I really wanted to get back on the tour as quickly as possible but I had to put to the back of my mind what was at stake this week. The way I was looking at it was that if I hadn’t got back on then it would not have been the end of the world, otherwise I would have put too much pressure on myself.
“The standard is so high and there are so many good players trying to get on the tour that you can’t take anything for granted. I think that helped me settle and focus on each match at a time and on playing good match snooker.
“Last season I proved that I can beat good players. Now I have a chance to kick on and start qualifying for a few venues.”
Leslie will have little time to celebrate before being back in action, with the pro tour season starting with the Wuxi Classic qualifiers on Saturday.