Snooker news: Peter and Oli Lines relishing prospect of father and son Crucible showdown

Peter Lines and Oliver Lines

A clash between father and son for a Crucible place would be huge for the Lines family (Picture: Getty)

A potential father and son showdown for a place at the Crucible would be one of the stories of the World Snooker Championship this year, and both Peter and Oliver Lines are relishing the prospect of the family affair.

Peter, 50, and Oli, 25, are heading to Sheffield for the World Championship qualifiers this week and find themselves in the same section of the draw.

If Peter can win three matches and Oli pick up two victories then it will be Lines vs Lines in the final qualifier and place at the Crucible on the line.

There is a long way to go before that potential showdown, but both men are excited about the prospect of playing each other as professionals for the very first time.

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The father and son from Leeds have managed to avoid each other on tour thus far and it would be an incredible time to end that run, with a huge prize on the line.

‘I think if we both won and got to the last round it would be pretty exciting because we’d have both won a couple, we’d both be on some money and we could relax and just have a decent game,’ Oli told Metro.co.uk.

‘Obviously we’ve just got to get round the first few rounds first before we can even think about that.

‘But when you see our names close together in the draw it obviously excites you because I would like to play him just one time on the tour, just so people know that we’ve played. Everyone always asks if I’ve played him, so just to get it done would be nice.

‘We’d be taking home a fair chunk of money and one of us guaranteed to be at the Crucible, so it’d be nice.’

2014 Coral UK Championship - Day 6

Peter Lines is aiming for his second ever trip to the Crucible (Picture: Visual China Group via Getty Images)

Peter agrees, and has promised his son that no quarter will be given with a place at snooker’s promised land on the line.

‘I think it’d be good, really good,’ said Lines senior. ‘At least one of us would definitely be at the Crucible then.

‘It would be really enjoyable and plus, the sooner we get it out the way the better. People are always asking and it drives you mad, it’ll be nice to get it out the way.

‘It will be weird, but we both want to get to the Crucible so we’ll both be trying and let the best man win. Obviously I’ll be up against it because he’s used to just hammering me all the time.

‘It would be good, in fact I’d love to play him in the last qualifier, but I’m sure Tom Ford, Stuart Carrington, Gerard Greene and Luo Honghao will have something to say about it.’

There are indeed great players throughout the qualifying draw and a Lines showdown will need both to produce some great performances to get there.

Both have been practicing hard in preparation, and there doesn’t get better training than Oli spending the build-up by going head-to-head on a daily basis with the world number one, world champion and his good pal Judd Trump.

‘I’ve been at Judd’s for the last few weeks now, since we’ve been allowed,’ explained Oli. ‘I thought it would be better for me ahead of the World Championships, and be good for him as well to get some match practice in.

‘You don’t really get a better practice partner, it’s pretty tough.

‘But I feel pretty confident actually, at the minute. I’ve been practicing hard and practicing against the best player in the world and doing alright to be fair. So that can only give you confidence.’

Welsh Open 2020 - Day 1

Oliver Lines is desperate to show his incredible talent on a more regular basis (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)

The family has had to deal with tragedy this year after the death of Peter’s mum, which Oli says impacted him more than he could have imagined and has seen him struggle for motivation and dedication on the table this season.

It has been a family effort to get back on track, but they have managed it and Oli now feels he is ready to start fulfilling his immense potential on the baize.

‘It’s been pretty tough, I’ve had some off-table issues that I haven’t dealt with as well as I probably could have. But everybody’s got problems,’ Oli explained. ‘Obviously my dad and everybody was affected by it and it just hit me a bit harder than expected. But I’m starting to feel better now so hopefully we’ll see a change in my form now.

‘I’ve been working hard, my dad’s been helping me a lot because he obviously doesn’t want to see me keep struggling like I have been. I think that’s probably been why we’ve both been struggling over the last couple of years because he’s been more focused on trying to get me back to normal. He doesn’t want to see me struggle when he knows how good I can be.

‘I’ve beat [Mark] Selby, Judd, Ding [Junhui], Mark Williams, you can’t beat players like that unless you can play. I’ve just got to start doing it on a regular basis and just be happy, really. I think once you’re happy then your best game will come out. It works both ways, if you’re happy off table, you’ll play well on table and vice versa.’

Oli is the higher ranked of the Lines family at #80, but is under more pressure at the qualifiers as his tour card is under threat, while Peter (#120) is in the first year of his two-year card.

Unconcerned by the possibility of falling off tour, Oli is confident of doing what’s necessary in Sheffield, but on the prospect of having to go through Q School to return next season, he was clear: ‘Oh yeah, I definitely would.’

While both men’s focus will entirely be on winning matches this week, Peter added a new string to his bow at the Championship League in June as he took to the commentary box for the first time, where he excelled.

With little notice and no practice, the Yorkshireman jumped in at the deep end but can’t wait for another spell on the mic.

‘I absolutely loved the commentary and if I ever get the chance to do it again I’d bite their hand off, it was really good fun,’ said Peter.

‘They needed a player that wasn’t in the competition to be a reserve if someone failed the [COVID-19] test. Because it was highly unlikely I’d get in the comp they said to come down and instead of coming for nowt we’ll give you some commentary work if you want it.

‘I was a bit nervous because I’d never done it before, but I loved it. I didn’t practice or do anything, I just tried to be myself, add a bit of humour but also not try too much. Basically tried to do what I do when I’m sat at home on the sofa, but I’m not just boring my wife to tears.

Hopefully I get the chance to do it again, I’ve looked into, so fingers crossed.’

Peter has made it to the Crucible once before, qualifying in 1998, while Oli is fighting to make his debut at the iconic South Yorkshire venue.

A tough draw against John Parrott saw Lines fall at the first hurdle 22 years ago, but he only has fond memories of the Crucible and is desperate to return,

‘I loved it, I just remember being so nervous, it’s where everyone wants to play and every pro should hopefully experience that at some point in their career,’ he said.

‘It’s just the best place to play snooker, it would be devastating if it ever moved from there, it’s the home of snooker, it’s like Wembley.’

Oli will get his qualification campaign underway in round two against either Gerard Greene or Brian Ochoiski, while Peter comes in at the first round against European Under-18 Snooker Championship semi-finalist, Connor Benzey.

A relatively unknown commodity, Peter is hoping for the worst, but will be expecting the best from the young Englishman.

‘No, I don’t know him. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I usually like to know my opponents so I know what’s what,’ said Peter.

‘I’m hoping he’s going to be hopeless, but he must be able to play or he wouldn’t be there.’

Peter takes on Benzey on Wednesday afternoon and will return on Friday evening against Luo Honghao if he wins.

Oli begins his campaign against Greene or Ochoiski on the same session, Friday evening, at the English Institute of Sport.

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