Two Jersey snooker players are set for a taste of the big time when the World Series gets underway this weekend.
Gary Britton and Aaron Canavan have been called up for the brand new tour, which kicks off at Fort Regent, St. Helier on Saturday (June 21).
Britton, who works in the treasury department of the RBS bank, will provide the first round opposition for Irishman Ken Doherty, the 1997 world champion.
Britton, 34, spent two seasons on the Challenge Tour, the game’s secondary circuit, from 2000-2002 and has won the Channel Islands Snooker Championship on three occasions.
But he admits nothing in his career to date has come close to taking on one of snooker’s all time greats on home turf.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Britton said. “It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever played in and one of the biggest sporting events we’ve ever had in Jersey.
“It’ll be great to play Ken, who has such a good record in the game. I’ve played a few professionals in exhibitions and pro-ams and have fared pretty well, so I’m hoping for the best.”
Canavan, 32, who runs a classic car hire firm, faces twice world champion John Higgins on Saturday night in a match that will be broadcast live on Eurosport.
“It’s just fantastic to be playing John,” he said. “It’s the biggest thing that can happen for an amateur player to draw someone like him. It’s an opportunity you’d never expect to get.
“That’s why this World Series is such a good idea for promoting the sport. It provides chances for players like me to play greats like John.
“It’s also huge for Jersey. Snooker has a high profile and will help to promote the island. It’s a beautiful place, is safe and has a low crime rate. Hopefully, people will enjoy the snooker but also take time out to look at Jersey itself.”
Martyn Desperques, the reigning Guernsey snooker champion, will tackle world no.3 Shaun Murphy in the first round on Saturday.
Rafal Jewtuch, the Polish champion, has also been invited and faces Mark Selby, the reigning Masters and Welsh Open champion.
Other top stars, including Steve Davis, Ding Junhui, Stephen Maguire and Graeme Dott, will take part in the later tournaments.
After the Jersey leg, the World Series will call at Berlin, Moscow and Warsaw before the Grand Finals in Dusseldorf in November.
The overall winner of the Grand Finals will pocket a cheque for €70,000 (£56,000).