LEEDS-based snooker player Peter Lines says Neil Robertson is likely to be a tougher first round opponent than Ronnie O’Sullivan, writes Ian Appleyard.

Lines has qualified for the Betway UK Championship as a leading amateur and meets defending champion Robertson at the Barbican next Thursday night.

“I would rather play Ronnie because sometimes he doesn’t fancy certain matches and he’s there for the taking,” said Lines, who works at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.

“The likes of Neil Robertson and Mark Selby always give 100 per cent and are very tough to beat. If I’m below par I’ll get thrashed,” he added.

Lines beat O’Sullivan twice in three meetings but lost to the five times former world champion at York in 2014. He lost to Robertson in their only previous meeting five years ago.

“I have beaten most of the top players before so I know I’ve got a chance,” he said. “Throughout my career, I’ve had a good mindset against the top guys because I know I have to play really well. I’ve struggled more against those below me in the rankings and that has cost me a lot over the years.”

Although Lines, 46, reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in 2009, he has now dropped off the professional tour. His son Oliver, however, won the game’s Rookie of the Year award in 2015 and is currently 61st in the world rankings.

“I spent the last four or five years just desperately trying to keep my place on the tour and the strain proved too much in the end,” Lines admitted. “I’m enjoying it more now because it doesn’t bother me as much if I lose - I just look forward to the next event. It’s more important to me that Oliver does well.”

The Betway UK Championship starts next Tuesday, November 22 and runs until December 4, with 128 players chasing the famous trophy and a top prize of £170,000.

O’Sullivan, Robertson, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Jimmy White will be among the green baize kings competing in York.

And with the whole of the first round taking place over the first three days, it’s an extraordinary chance for fans to see a wide range of players in action live.

With eight tables in the arena in the early stages, supporters can watch several matches for the price of a single ticket. All-day tickets start at just £11. For details call 0844 854 2757 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets