Victorious Elliot Keyne on UK venue
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,
“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.