The Chronicle

Vic­to­ri­ous El­liot Keyne on UK venue

- Sports · United Kingdom · Championship · Isle of Man · Milton Keynes · Gateshead · Gateshead F.C. · Shaun Murphy · Eurosport

EL­LIOT Slessor reck­ons the UK Cham­pi­onship be­ing moved away from a venue he ‘ab­so­lutely hates’ is a sur­prise shot in the arm to his rank­ing event chances.

The Gateshead pot­ter reached the sec­ond round of the tour­na­ment for the first time in seven at­tempts as a 6-3 win against Mitchell Mann booked a clash against 2005 world cham­pion Shaun Murphy to­mor­row.

The UK Cham­pi­onship has been moved al­most 150 miles south from its usual York venue to Mil­ton Keynes’ Mar­shall Arena.

World No.56 Slessor de­tested the dingy back ta­bles at the Bar­bican and says the four-hour drive from the North East is a bless­ing in dis­guise.

“I don’t like the venue at all at York. Un­less you are play­ing in the main room, I hate it,” said Slessor,

26.

“I love the main room but the sports hall I ab­so­lutely hate. I just don’t like it at all, but the main room is ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful if you are lucky enough to play in there.

“In a weird sort of way, I was quite glad it was not in York.

“I would rather drive the ex­tra three hours in the car just to play some­where dif­fer­ent!

“I have not re­ally en­joyed the four-hour drives con­stantly but to be hon­est I did not want it on at York.

“Un­less you’re play­ing a top player or you are do­ing quite well in the tour­na­ment, that is the only way you’re go­ing to play in the main room.

“Most of the time you are go­ing to be in the back room, where I can­not stand play­ing. To me, it was a win-win re­ally!”

Slessor added: “I have not had the best mem­ory from this tour­na­ment and I gen­er­ally al­ways do very badly in it, so to get the win was all I was af­ter.”

Slessor has fallen at the first UK Cham­pi­onship hur­dle ev­ery year since 2013 but breaks of 105 and 57 helped haul him over the line against world No.73 Mann.

2008 UK cham­pion Murphy is ly­ing next in wait, who top­pled Lee Walker 6-5 in a late-night epic.

The pair have met just once be­fore, Slessor win­ning in the last 16 of the 2017 In­dian Open.

Slessor said: “I love play­ing the top play­ers and I love test­ing my game to see where I am.

“I have quite a good record against top play­ers.”

■ ■ Watch the UK Cham­pi­onship LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport app. Fol­low all the lat­est tour­na­ment news on Eurosport. co.uk.

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