A top snooker player who won the last major tournament held in Preston has said it is “great” the game is returning to the city.
John Higgins beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-2 in the final at the 2005 Grand Prix.
He made four consecutive century breaks and scored 494 points without reply, both records at the time.
It comes after snooker chiefs announced the Players Championship Grand Final will be held at the Guild Hall next month. Many of the world’s leading players will be at the £300,000 five-day world ranking event which runs from March 25 to 29.
The Guild Hall previously staged the UK Championship from 1978 to 1997 and the Grand Prix in 1998, 1999 and 2001 to 2005.
John said: “It’s great move to take this tournament to Preston.
“The Guild Hall has been sadly missed on the circuit and it was always one of my favourites.
“I know there is a great following for snooker in the area.
“There is so much history at the Guild Hall. It’s a fantastic venue and all of the great players have won big tournaments there.
“I remember seeing the likes of Steve Davis, Alex Higgins and Terry Griffiths play there when I first started watching snooker on TV.
“The UK Championship was there and it was second only to the Crucible in Sheffield.
“It’s great to have a prestigious tournament back at the Guild Hall and I’ll be going there with good memories having done well at the venue in the past.
“I know Lancashire is a hot bed for snooker at amateur and junior level. Most of the young players coming through now are from the Far East or Europe, there are not as many British juniors at the moment.
“Hopefully that will change and having another big tournament in the UK will help.”
Speaking about the win back in 2005, he added: “At the time I didn’t really realise what I was doing.
“I suppose I was in the zone and I was just trying to play one frame at a time.
“I was very aware of the fact that Ronnie could get right back into the match as he can reel off frames very quickly.
“Before I knew it, I had won the match 9-2. I’ve got to consider it one of my best ever wins.
“At the time it was great to have the record for the most consecutive centuries and most unanswered points, although the record for points has since been beaten.”