Snooker: Leslie loses out on his pro debut

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Bonnyrigg’s Michael Leslie experienced defeat in his first professional snooker tournament, losing 5-2 to England’s Paul Davison in the first round of the Wuxi Classic Qualifying stage at the Sheffield Snooker Academy.

Leslie lost the opening frame, however, the second frame was much tighter before Davison doubled his lead with the help of a fluked respotted black after a good safety shot from Leslie. Davison, 40, who first turned professional 20 years ago, increased his lead to three frames with a break of 80.

The young Scot rallied to win the next two frames however, despite opening with a 50 break in the sixth frame, a missed long black was punished as Davison cleared the table. The next frame followed a similar pattern when Leslie started with seven reds and blacks, however a missed easy red was to be his last shot as Davison cleared up with a 60 break to win the match.

Leslie said: “It was the fourth frame before I started to feel relaxed and get used to the speed of the table. The second frame was hard to take, however I recovered quite well to close the deficit to 3-2. Then despite getting in first and opening up a lead in the last two frames, I missed two balls I should have potted and it cost me the frames and the match.”

Leslie was supported in Sheffield by former Leith snooker professional, Chris Small, now 38, who was forced to retire due to a spinal condition. Small, who was a professional between 1991 and 2005 and a ranking title winner after his LG cup victory in 2002, said: “Michael was punished in the last two frames for missing just one pot. He could have just as easily won the match but, as he as quickly found out, at the professional level you cannot afford to miss easy pots. However, considering it was Michael’s first professional match, he did well and he will have learned lots from the experience.”

Leslie is in the Australian Open qualifiers next week.

Meanwhile, Granton’s Craig McGillivray got off to a winning start at the round-robin stage of the European Amateur championship in Latvia.

McGillivray, who is joined by James McBain (Glasgow) and Scott Donaldson (Perth), made breaks of 85, 65 and 50 on his way to a 4-1 victory over David Marquez (Spain). The Granton ace will play three more qualifying matches in a bid to win a place in the last 64 of the event.