Star duo qualify for Grand Finals

Jimmy Robertson has qualified for the Players Championship Grand Finals for the first time
Jimmy Robertson has qualified for the Players Championship Grand Finals for the first time

The locality’s two professional snooker players have qualified for the Players Championship Grand Finals.

Mark Davis, from St Leonards, and Bexhill-based Jimmy Robertson have booked their places in the prestigious 32-man event by finishing in the top 24 on the European Tour order of merit.

World number 51 Robertson ended 20th on the order of merit after European Tour event eight - the Gdynia Open in Poland - last weekend and 13th-ranked Davis was 22nd after both men lost in the second round.

Robertson scraped through his opening match against 105th-ranked Welsh potter Andrew Pagett on the final ball of the deciding frame. A break of 44 gave Pagett a 60-0 lead in the decider, but Robertson rallied to win it by a point after potting pink and black.

Robertson was beaten 4-1, however, by 44th-ranked Alfie Burden in round two. Burden rattled through the opener with a 133 and an 81 gave him the second after Robertson opened the frame with a 50. Robertson cleared the colours to win a third frame, but Burden took the next two.

Davis hit two century breaks in his first round victory over 114th-ranked Ratchayothin Yotharuck. A run of 100 in the second frame and 50 in the third gave him a 3-0 lead. His 18-year-old Thai opponent clinched the next two with runs of 82 and 65 before Davis sealed a 4-2 win with a break of 121.

Reigning six-reds world champion Davis then suffered a 4-1 loss against 88th-ranked Martin O’Donnell in round two. O’Donnell took the opening frame and was 60 points ahead in the second before Davis came back to clinch it. O’Donnell then reeled off three in a row with a top break of 43.

The Grand Finals, the conclusion to the European and Asian Tour series, will not be staged in Thailand - as originally scheduled - due to political unrest in the country.

The tournament was due to take place in Bangkok from March 25-29, but in the best interests of the safety of players and officials, World Snooker has taken the decision to find an alternative location.

Negotiations are taking place with venues in the UK and Europe, and a new location for the £300,000 event will be announced as soon as possible.

The tournament will feature 24 players qualified from the European Tour order of merit, plus eight players from the Asian Tour order of merit, with the winner to receive £100,000.