PAUL DAVISON must overcome one of snooker’s up-and-coming stars to qualify for the final stages of the Welsh Open.
After the thrills of the Blackpool Tower Circus Arena and the Snooker Shoot-Out, it’s back to the bread and butter for the Pickering potter this week when he returns to the World Snooker Academy, in Sheffield, for qualifying for the season’s next ranking event.
Awaiting him in the first round is Neath youngster Michael White, who has been making rapid progress up the rankings in the last couple of years.
Having won through to his first ranking event venue at the Wuxi Classic at the start of the season, the 21-year-old then qualified for the final stages of the UK Championship where he was beaten by eventual winner Mark Selby 6-3 in the first round.
But the pair were locked together at 3-3 at one point and White is quickly gaining a reputation as a fluent break builder.
He holds no fear for Davison, however, with the 41-year-old determined to get a win as he continues his project to force his way into the top 64 of the rankings.
“He’s a good young player and qualified for the Barbican in December,” Davison said.
“I’ve played him a few times and it is probably pretty even on wins and losses. He’s a great player. He doesn’t lose many matches in the qualifiers at all.”
The quick-playing Robert Milkins awaits the winner with the victor of this match qualifying for the latter stages of the event, which is being held at the Newport Centre from February 11 to 17.
“I’ve played him quite a few times,” Davison added of Milkins. “I played him last season in a PTC and I beat him 4-0. I played really well and had a chance of a 147 but missed the last red. He’s a great player and is the type of player that gets on with it.
“His natural game is ‘cue it once and hit it’.”