The area’s two snooker professionals are on course for places in the Betfred World Championship.
St Leonards-based Mark Davis and Jimmy Robertson, from Bexhill, are ahead after the opening session of their respective matches in the final round of the qualifiers today (Tuesday).
World number 18 Davis opened up a commanding 8-1 lead over Ken Doherty this afternoon and needs two of the remaining 10 scheduled frames during the second session from 11am tomorrow to complete victory.
Davis got off to a great start against the 1997 champion Doherty by winning the first three frames. He conceded just 11 points in the first two - and knocked in a 64 break in the second - before edging a tight third.
The 42-year-old Davis then surged ahead in the fourth with a run of 52 only for 46th-ranked Doherty to come back and clinch it. Davis won all five frames after the interval, however, to put himself in a very strong position.
He potted pink and black to edge frame five before a 60 break at the start of frame six helped make it 5-1. Davis also took frame seven and overhauled Doherty’s 63 break at the start of the eighth to go 7-1 up. A 73 in frame nine capped an excellent day’s work.
Robertson, meanwhile, holds a narrow 5-4 advantage over Chinese cueman Xiao Guodong after their first session this evening and will require five more frames when the match resumes from 5pm tomorrow.
The opening six frames were shared, with world number 22 Guodong going ahead on three occasions only to be pegged back each time by 42nd-ranked Robertson, who fashioned breaks of 64 in frame two, 66 in frame four and 54 in frame six.
Guodong didn’t pot a ball in the next two frames as Robertson went 5-3 ahead with runs of 69, 51 and 78. Robertson then knocked in a 51 at the start of frame nine, but Guodong rallied with a 70 to take the frame and halt Robertson’s charge.
The winners of the final qualifying round matches will join the world’s top 16 players in the main draw, which will get underway at The Crucible in Sheffield on Saturday.
Davis and Robertson have already come through two rounds each. Davis beat Oliver Lines 10-7 and Joe O’Connor 10-4, while Robertson saw off Thai player Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 10-6 and Malaysian potter Thor Chuan Leong 10-7.