Name: James McBain
DOB: 22nd June 1978
Turned Pro: 1998
Highest Ranking: #71 (2008/9)
Highest Break: 134 (2004 Pontin’s Holidays Challenge Tour Event Two)
Career Highlights: 2010 World Open last 32, 2003,2007 and 2012 Scottish National Champion
Turning professional in 1998, James McBain eventually managed to qualify for the main tour by taking victory in the third Challenge Tour event of 2004/5. Before this however he did at least win the Scottish National Championship in 2003, a title he would reclaim four years later in 2007.
His début season with the big boys in 2005/6 proved to be a disappointment however as he slipped off the tour at the first attempt. His absence was only to last a season at least as he finished third in the 2006/7 PIOS, winning the final event of the season.
Photo courtesy of Janie Watkins
Back on the main tour, McBain said that he had learned a lot during his first spell, as well as from practising with fellow Scots John Higgins and Graeme Dott. Although he again failed to make a major impact, by reaching the last 64 of the World Championship qualifiers he had done just enough to retain his place on the main tour for 2008/9 as one of the eight best players on the one year list for 2007/8.
James started the 2008/9 season reasonably well and finished it in improved form but unfortunately for the Scot, a mid-season slump which saw him lose three successive opening round matches was ultimately to lead to him losing his main tour place at the end of the season.
Back on the PIOS for 2009/10, James enjoyed a solid if not spectacular season which yielded just one quarter-final and saw him finish up in 21st place in the rankings, a long way off a top eight spot.
James in action during the 2011 World Championship qualifiers
However, in a national play-off arranged at the end of the season against countryman Ian Wells it was James who emerged a comfortable 10-3 victor to earn the season’s Scottish nomination and secure an immediate return to the professional circuit for 2010/11.
James had a tough start to the 2010/11 season as he struggled for wins during the Players Tour Championship but one highlight did come at the World Open where he shocked top 16 player Mark Allen at the Academy in Sheffield to qualify for the television stages of a ranking event for the first time. He did however lose 3-0 to Ricky Walden in Glasgow to see his tournament come to a swift end at the last 32 stage.
As was the case during his previous spell on the main tour, a mid-season slump was to eventually prove costly as he was relegated from the tour at the end of the season despite third qualifying round appearances at both the China Open and World Championship tournaments.
In May 2012, James defeated defending champion Craig MacGilvary 7-4 to capture the Scottish Amateur Championship for the third time in his career.