St Leonards snooker star 'disappointed but not surprised' as UK Championships move away from York
Mark Davis says the UK Championship being moved away from York has scuppered his hopes of a northern nostalgia tour.
The St-Leonards-on-Sea potter slipped to a 4-2 defeat against Matthew Stevens in the second round of the Northern Ireland Open and is ramping up preparations for next week’s UK Championship.
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The tournament, one of snooker’s prestigious Triple Crown events, is traditionally held at the historic York Barbican but will this year be in Milton Keynes as the sport continues to adapt to Covid-19 protocols.
World No.44 Davis reached the semi-finals in 2012 and admits not being able to share an apartment with old chum Barry Hawkins this year is a blow.
“I wasn’t surprised when I heard the news,” said the 48-year-old. “Realistically, I know they tried their best to get it in York but it was highly unlikely that was going to happen.
“I love York and it’s a really nice place – I love it, every year I enjoy going there and it’s a really nice city.
“I really enjoy York every year. Me and Barry get an apartment and stay there and I love it there. I got to the semis there one year which was a brilliant week, so I’ve got some good memories there as well.
“It’s disappointing but I’m not surprised and I think the right decision was made. The setup in Milton Keynes is very good so you’ve got to take what it is and get on with it.
“The way things are now, times are different and you can’t have everything you want. We’re lucky to have these tournaments on, let alone where we want to have them. We’ve got to take what we can.”
Davis took the lead with a first frame break of 53 against Stevens but the two-time World Championship finalist made visits of 77, 54, 53 and 51 to advance into round three.
The result scuppered Davis’ hopes of extending his promising run on the busy snooker circuit, having also won both his matches in German Masters qualifiers and reached the third round of the English Open.
The 2018 English Open runner-up will do battle with Robbie Williams in his first round match at the UK Championship and reckons upping his fluency at the table can fire him towards a season-defining run.
“It’s a massive tournament and if you have a good run in that it can make your season,” he added.
“I’m getting a little bit ponderous and want to work that out and go a little bit more fluently – that’s the thing I’d take out from this tournament and [I’ll] hopefully do that next week.
“In general, I’m playing alright – I haven’t played great but in general I’m quite happy with my form.
“It will be a really tough game against Robbie, who’s a top player and should be higher up in the rankings. I’m going to have to play well and that’s what I plan on doing.”
Watch the Northern Ireland Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport app, and stream on discovery+