City pair are aim­ing to pot world spots

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Sports - By BOB FRANK @Et­bobfrank

CITY pot­ters Beckie Watkins and Liz Dis­ney are pre­par­ing for their big­gest ever week­ends in the sport as they chase se­lec­tion for the World Cham­pi­onships.

They con­test the Eng­land squad qual­i­fiers at Le­ices­ter on Satur­day with Watkins then mak­ing her UK Ladies Tour de­but at the same Club 147 venue on Sun­day, and also Mon­day if all goes well.

It’s al­ready been a great year for the pair, who pro­gressed to this stage from Eng­land tri­als at Great Yar­mouth in March.

The pair have been prac­tis­ing to­gether since then to en­sure they are at their best in Le­ices­ter and they will face each other dur­ing the tri­als which are run on a best of five frames roundrobin ba­sis.

“The pre­vi­ous round of tri­als was my big­gest event prior to this and, hav­ing got this far, I’m de­ter­mined not to throw it away in Le­ices­ter,” ad­mit­ted Watkins.

“Liz and me have been prac­tis­ing all the time and it will be strange play­ing her in the tri­als but I’m also look­ing for­ward to it. We are both at­tack­ing play­ers and we know each other’s game re­ally well and I hope we both make it through. Ob­vi­ously I’ll be giv­ing it my all to en­sure I qual­ify but even if I fail I’ll be very happy if Liz makes the team.

“I played well at Yar­mouth to get this chance and now I hope to make the most if it.”

Dis­ney is get­ting bet­ter all the time but in­sists she is not set­ting her­self any spe­cific tar­gets for this week­end.

“I’ll just go there and take each shot at a time,” she said. “I feel I’m play­ing much bet­ter than I used to and I now find it eas­ier to pot balls that I had to con­cen­trate on in the past. I’m learn­ing all the time but I don’t have any ex­pec­ta­tions, I’ll just go there and do my best.”

A dozen play­ers will chase Eng­land se­lec­tion for the World Cham­pi­onships in Black­pool from June 24 to July 4.

The best two play­ers in Le­ices­ter will join re­tained Eng­land team mem­bers such as Hamp­ton pot­ter Carly Smith in the team as well as the sin­gles tour­na­ment while the third high­est-scor­ing player will be named as re­serve for the team but will play in the sin­gles.

For­mer Evening Tele­graph Sportswoman of the Year Smith will be in­volved in the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the qual­i­fiers and the two-time Euro­pean cham­pion would love to see Watkins and Dis­ney join her in the team for Black­pool.

She said: “It’s go­ing to be a tough week­end but Beckie and Liz have as good a chance as any of mak­ing it into the team.

“It’s all about who plays well on the day but it’s drain­ing men­tally and phys­i­cally as you play from 9am to pos­si­bly 9pm.

“Be­cause Eng­land have such a strong team it’s tough get­ting through these tri­als. Liz and Beckie are new to it but I wish them all the luck in the world and it would be great if they made the team. What­ever hap­pens they will get to play in Black­pool as they are as­sured a place at the World Mas­ters Cham­pi­onships.”

Watkins will re­main in Le­ices­ter af­ter the tri­als to con­test the sec­ond round of the UK Ladies Tour, hav­ing re­ceived spon­sor­ship to join the event. She is be­ing backed by VP Weld­ing, where her fa­ther works as a welder.

Watkins missed the first Tour event at Derby but with num­bers down she has been able to sign up for Le­ices­ter and the three re­main­ing events af­ter that.

She does not yet know who she will play but Smith, the num­ber three seed, takes on 36th seed Lynn Black­shaw with the win­ner tak­ing on 19th seed Emma Se­nior at the Last 32 stage.

Smith de­feated Black­shaw on their only pre­vi­ous meet­ing and will be hop­ing to again per­form well as she seeks her first ever UK Ladies Tour suc­cess.

She has reached five fi­nals but has yet to taste vic­tory although she ad­mits work com­mit­ments have pre­vented her from prac­tis­ing as much as she would have liked.

“I’ll just try to win my first game and take it from there,” ad­mit­ted the for­mer na­tional cham­pion.

PRAC­TIS­ING HARD: Beckie Watkins and Liz Dis­ney ahead of their World Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fiers.

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