Tag Archives: snooker

WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP 2013: Barry Hearn complains to BBC over Ronnie O"Sullivan coverage

We deserve better than this, BBC! Hearn complains after coverage of O'Sullivan ends… for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

15:04 GMT, 21 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:18 GMT, 21 April 2013

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn has complained to the BBC, after they left the climax of Ronnie O'Sullivan's first round match at the World Championship to show a 1970s comedy.

O'Sullivan, making his return to snooker after pulling out of virtually the whole season, was about to complete a 10-4 win over Marcus Campbell on Saturday night when BBC2 switched to the Michael Crawford sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

On the black: Ronnie O'Sulivan impressed during his snooker return at the Crucible

There were various complaints made by fans on social networking sites, and Hearn responded on Sunday by writing on Twitter: 'Sorry to all snooker fans for the poor BBC coverage last night. Letter of complaint sent to BBC today.'

The complaint from Hearn is surprising when you consider how much praise he has heaped on the BBC in recent times for their coverage of the sport.

The corporation, which has covered snooker for decades, has recently signed up as host broadcaster of the World Championship, UK Championship and Masters tournaments until 2017.

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Having his say: Barry Hearn with Ronnie O'Sullivan at a special media event ahead of the World Championship

Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, welcomed the public response to the BBC's scheduling decision, saying on Twitter: 'Snooker Fans, World Snooker letter of complaint has been filed with the BBC over yesterdays coverage, thanks everyone for your comments.'

The BBC hasn't yet responded to Hearn's comments. They are almost certain to point towards their coverage on the 'red button' service, which showed the end of O'Sullivan's match.

Some fans of the sport might speculate on the timing of Hearn's complaints. The BBC have regularly left their coverage of more significant matches, at later stages of the tournament, in years gone by.

The overall picture on the opening weekend of the tournament is a positive one, with plenty of column inches accompanying O'Sullivan's win, as snooker fights its corner among other sporting attractions like key football matches, the London Marathon and Bahrain Grand Prix.

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Some mothers do 'ave 'em

Classic comedy: Millions of viewers watched Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em on the BBC when it was first screened between 1973 and 1978

Watch a classic clip from Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em…

Ronnie O"Sullivan will return to defend his World Snooker Championship at The Crucible in April

Ronnie's return! O'Sullivan confirms he will defend World Championship in April

: 18-11 – Ali Carter

He has until the end of tomorrow to
submit paperwork to World Snooker to register for the tournament and,
although he has dropped out of the top 16, will be a top seed as
reigning champion and will not have to qualify.

O'Sullivan said: 'I was a bit bored.
It was nice to have a year out, I had a lot of fun and needed the rest.
But I thought it was time to get back to doing what I've done for a lot
of my life.

'I have a different perspective now and thought it was worth giving it another whirl.

Favourites: O'Sullivan with Jimmy White at his press conference

Favourites: O'Sullivan with Jimmy White at his press conference

Decorated: O'Sullivan won his fourth world title in 2012 when he beat Ali Carter in the final

Decorated: O'Sullivan won his fourth world title in 2012 when he beat Ali Carter in the final

CAN RONNIE WIN IT YOU BET!

Ronnie O'Sullivan is now priced by at 8/1 to successfully defend his World Championship:

Judd Trump 11/2Mark Selby 11/2John Higgins 11/2Neil Robertson 11/2Ronnie O'Sullivan 8/1Ding Junhui 12/1Shaun Murphy 12/1

Odds supplied by Ladbrokes

'I certainly feel refreshed. I was never out of juice anyway. I could've kept going in snooker.

'I wasn't mentally exhausted I just needed to take time out.'

O'Sullivan hopes to play on for at
least two or three years, but did not rule out continuing beyond that
for another seven or eight. He said it depends on how he copes mentally
with the demands of the game.

He added: 'Even in my darkest moments of snooker, I'd probably take them back now.

'I just need to get back to potting some balls and getting back to winning.

'Snooker is a means to an end. You only get one life, want to make the most of it.'

O'SULLIVAN FACTFILE

1975: Born Wordsley, West Midlands, December 5.

1987: Wins his first pro-am tournament at the age of 12.

1991: Scores his first 147 aged 15.

1992: Turns professional.

1993: Becomes youngest winner of ranking tournament at 17, beating Stephen Hendry to win UK Championship.

1994: Wins British Open.

1995: Wins the Masters.

1996: Wins
Asian Classic and German Open. Found guilty by snooker's governing body
of assaulting an official at the World Championship and handed a
two-year suspended sentence, a 20,000 fine and advised to donate
10,000 to charity.

1997:
Wins UK Championship for second time. Compiles the fastest 147 on
record in just five minutes 20 seconds during World Championship win
over Mick Price.

1998: Wins Scottish Masters. Tests positive for marijuana after winning the Irish Masters and is later stripped of the title.

2001:
Wins Champions Cup, Masters, China Open, Irish Masters and his first
World Championship – beating John Higgins 18-14 – before crushing Ken
Doherty 10-1 in UK Championship final in York.

2004: May – Beats Graeme Dott 18-8 at the Crucible to take second World Championship.

2005:
After winning the Masters, Welsh Open and Irish Masters, fails to
defend his World Championship title when losing to Peter Ebdon in
quarter-finals after being 8-2 ahead. Claims in his post-match press
conference that he will take a year off from the sport. But he plays in
every tournament of the 2005-06 campaign except the Malta Cup.

December – Loses 9-8 to Mark King
in first round of the UK Championship, sitting with a towel on his head
while his opponent is at the table.

2006:
April – Loses 17-11 to eventual champion Graeme Dott in World
Championship semi-finals and hands his cue to a member of the audience
straight afterwards.

December 14 – Walks out of his UK
Championship quarter-final with Hendry in York mid-frame when 4-1 down.
He is later fined 20,000 and docked 900 ranking points.

2008:
March – In a China Open press conference, O'Sullivan makes lewd
comments and brandishes a microphone suggestively. He later apologises
for his behaviour but is fined and docked ranking points.

May 5 – Beats Ali Carter 18-8 to win his third World Championship.

2009:
January 12 – Accuses snooker of being on a downward spiral, but wins
the Masters despite smashing up his cue the day before the tournament.

September 20 – Pots red against
Mark King at the World Open and then asks referee Jan Verhaas what the
maximum break prize is. The answer is nothing and O`Sullivan duly clears
to 140 before having to be persuaded to pot the final black.

2011: August – Records the 11th 147 of his career – a snooker record – at the Paul Hunter classic.

October: Courts controversy by
claiming he is being 'raped' and 'blackmailed' by the sport, comments
which he later apologises for.

2012:
May 7 – Wins his fourth World Championship title with an 18-11 win over
Ali Carter at Sheffield's Crucible. Announces he is to take a break
from the sport.

November 6 – Reveals he has
abandoned plans to return to the snooker tour and will miss the rest of
the season because of 'personal issues which he needs to resolve'.

2013: February 26 – Announces at a press conference that he will defend his world title in April after all.

FIVE MEMORABLE O'SULLIVAN MOMENTS

1997: Fastest-ever 147

O'Sullivan's promise had already been brought to the nation's attention by a 147 break at the age of 15 and a UK Championship title success at 17. It was at the Crucible that he really won the nation's hearts, though, effortlessly posting a maximum break in his first-round clash with Mick Price in the astonishing time of five minutes and 20 seconds.

2001: First world title win

O'Sullivan finally cashed in his potential to win the game's biggest prize by beating John Higgins 18-14. A number of near misses left some wondering if the crowd favourite would ever win in Sheffield, but he dispelled all those doubts before dedicating the win to his father, Ronnie Sr, who was then serving a life sentence for murder.

2007: Semi-final maximum

O'Sullivan's UK Championship semi-final with Mark Selby was not high on quality but nonetheless went to a 17th-frame decider. Rather than playing cagey snooker, though, O'Sullivan thumped in a breathtaking 147 and then admitted: 'I cheated a bit really. I had been counting the dots on a spoon to keep focused.' He beat Stephen Maguire in the final.

2009: New cue, same result.

Forever trying to set himself new challenges to recover his old self, O'Sullivan resorted to smashing up his cue on the eve of the 2009 Masters and set about trying to win the tournament – one of his favourite events – with a brand new cue. 'It was fun, I really went to town on it. I wanted an excuse not to play,' he said. He achieved his mission, though, beating Selby in the final.

2012: Fourth world title

O'Sullivan entered the year under something of a cloud, with further talk of retirement combined with his ever-sliding ranking. Needing a positive result at the German Masters to avoid having to qualify for the World Championship, he came back from the brink in his first-round clash with Andrew Higginson before going on to win the title with a final win over Maguire. He then maintained his form through to the Worlds, making light work of stellar names such as Mark Williams and Neil Robertson before dismantling Ali Carter in the final.

Stephen Hendry backs Ronnie O"Sullivan to defend World Championship … if he wants to

Hendry backs O'Sullivan to defend World Championship … if he wants to

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

23:50 GMT, 23 February 2013

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UPDATED:

23:50 GMT, 23 February 2013

Stephen Hendry is convinced Ronnie
O'Sullivan would be a serious Crucible contender if he decides to cut
short his break from the sport to defend the World Championship title.

O'Sullivan, 37, will make a statement regarding his future in the sport at a press conference in London at midday on Tuesday.

He has played only one low-profile
match in competition this season, and announced in November he would be
skipping the rest of the campaign for personal reasons.

Title holder: Ronnie O'Sullivan

Title holder: Ronnie O'Sullivan

But there has been speculation almost ever since that O'Sullivan would be unable to resist the temptation to make a bid for a fifth world title.

He has apparently reached a decision, and Hendry expects it to be that O'Sullivan will make a dramatic comeback.

The entry deadline for the World Championship is the end of February, and the scheduling of his press conference for Tuesday – two days before the deadline – has only heightened speculation O'Sullivan will play.

'I would presume that's what it's for but you never know with Ronnie,' Hendry told talkSPORT.

'When I spoke to him last year, I said, “All you'll need is three or four weeks of really good practice … and you'll be well capable of winning it”.

'Maybe play a couple of best-of-19s against some top players and he'll be ready.'

Hendry says it would be positive news for snooker if the Chigwell cueman was ready to return.

Backing Ronnie: Retired snooker legend Stephen Hendry

Backing Ronnie: Retired snooker legend Stephen Hendry

'Absolutely, especially for the other players because you don't want to win the World Championship with the best player not there,' Scotland's seven-time world champion said.

Hendry retired last May, and it remains a possibility that O'Sullivan will say he too is bowing out of snooker on Tuesday.

Jimmy White, who wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he thought O'Sullivan was planning not to play, is now not so sure what to expect.

'Looking at the time frame, probably he will play,' White said. 'Who says he hasn't been practising, who knows that

'He may be saying he's never going to play again, who knows'

White promised: 'If Ronnie does decide to play, I'll go over there and give him some practice games.'

Stephen Lee being investigated over match-fixing allegations

Lee has 'case to answer' as World Snooker Association investigate match-fixing allegations

is ongoing.'

The rules that Lee will face a hearing over relate to betting, specifically providing information that 'is not publicly available” and deliberately influencing “the outcome or conduct of a game or frame'.

FULL WPBSA STATEMENT

As a result of the referral by the Gambling Commission on 5th October 2012, Nigel Mawer the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the WPBSA, launched an investigation into alleged match fixing by Stephen Lee in relation to matches at the Malta Cup 2008, the UK Championship 2008, the China Open in 2009 and the World Championship 2009.

The WPBSA has gathered a large amount of material from the Gambling Commission, West Midlands police and third parties in relation to these allegations. This has been a complex investigation where the material has had to be traced, recovered and re-evaluated with regard to the WPBSA rules.

The available evidence has now been considered and in accordance with the Disciplinary Rules, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee has decided that there is a case for Stephen Lee to answer in relation to a breach of the WPBSA Members Rules. These alleged breaches relate to four matches at the Malta Cup 2008, two matches at the UK Championship 2008, one match at the China Open 2009 and one match at the World Championship 2009.

The case will be heard at a formal independent hearing arranged by Sport Resolutions UK at a date to be arranged.

Stephen Lee is currently suspended from competition and Jason Ferguson, the Chairman of the WPBSA, has decided that the suspension will remain in force until the conclusion of the hearing or hearings and the determination of this matter.

The investigation into the suspicious betting in relation to Stephen Lee's Premier League match with John Higgins on 11th October 2012 is ongoing.

1. WPBSA Members Rules and Regulations (2008-9): Section II

2.8 A Member shall not provide to any other person any information relating to snooker or billiards which that Member has by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available with the intention that it be used by the other person for or in relation to betting.

2.9 A Member shall not directly or indirectly:

2.9.1 solicit or attempt to solicit any person (whether a Member or not) to enter into any arrangement (whether or not in return for payment or any other form of remuneration or benefit);

2.9.2 agree or attempt to agree any arrangement (whether or not in return for payment or any other form of remuneration or benefit); or

2.9.3 accept or receive or offer to receive or give or offer to give, payment or any other form of remuneration or benefit, in connection with influencing (in any way) the outcome or conduct of a game or frame (or any other part thereof) of snooker or billiards.

Judd Trump wear spiky shoes at snooker – that cost 845!

Trumped in the fashion stakes Judd sends snooker loopy with crazy spiky shoes… and they'll cost you more than 800 (if you'd actually want them, that is!)

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

16:47 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 15 January 2013

Snooker isn’t the sort of game where you let your feet do the talking but Judd Trump has sure made a decent effort to try to change that.

The 23-year-old has caught the attention of many in the game, with his quick playing style already making him world No 1 last year, but it is his footwear that is now the talk of the baize.

Spiky competitor: Judd Trump's loafers caught the attention at Alexandra Palace

Spiky competitor: Judd Trump's loafers caught the attention at Alexandra Palace

Talk of the baize: Judd Trump's spiked loafers caught the attention at Alexandra Palace

Playing in the Masters tournament at Alexandra Palace, the current world No 2 took to the table in his last 16 clash win over Barry Hawkins wearing a pair of spiked loafers.

Being snooker, they are unlikely to have any impact on his performance at the famous event which is contested by 16 of the game’s top ranked players.

But fans hoping to snap up a similar pair to practice in may want to double check the price tag before doing so.

The Juddernaut’s loafers are a bold
fashion statement as they are a pair of Christian Louboutin’s Rollerboy
Spikes that would set you back 845.

Those
still interested in following in the footsteps of the 2011 World
Championship runner-up may instead want to save their spikes for a
mid-week six-reds tournament down the local snooker club.

Ace of baize: Trump plays a shot in his last 16 Masters match with Barry Hawkins

Ace of baize: Trump plays a shot in his last 16 Masters match with Barry Hawkins (below)

Full focus: Trump plays a shot in his last 16 Masters match with Barry Hawkins

Trump survived a huge scare to seal his spot in the quarter-finals of the Betfair Masters with a nail-biting 6-5 victory over Hawkins, claiming the win with a superb century.

The 23-year-old, who was last year's semi-finalist and widely fancied to go all the way at Alexandra Palace this time, looked destined for an early exit after Hawkins rattled off three successive frames from 3-2 down to leave himself within sight of the win.

However, Trump battled back with a 105 break before edging a tension-filled 10th frame – where Hawkins missed a couple of a straightforward-looking pots with victory within his grasp – to send the match to a decider.

No doubt relieved to still be in contention, the Bristolian made no mistake in the final frame as he rattled off a break of 107 to claim the win and set up a quarter-final meeting with Graeme Dott.

LIVE World Darts Final: Scott Waites v Tony O"Shea at Lakeside

BDO World Darts Championship final: All the live news from Waites v O'Shea

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

17:59 GMT, 13 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:18 GMT, 13 January 2013

LATEST SCORE
O'Shea 0 Waites 1 Have your say here

18.18: Waites with the darts in the third leg of the second set, and he's always too far ahead to be under any pressure. Waites goes 2-1 up.

18.16: O'Shea levels it up in the second set, with a double 10 finishing it off.

18.15: The Chelsea pensioners are in attendance. No personalities so far, from what I can see. You used to be able to rely on a few snooker players to make it, but with the Masters starting today, I'm not so sure any will be here.

18.14: Best leg of the match so far, with successive 180s in the middle of it. Waites misses a couple of doubles, but makes no mistake with double four and goes one leg up in the second set.

18.12: Scott Waites wins the opening set.

O'Shea is not at the races in this fourth leg of the match, leaving Waites with six darts to make 42. He doesn't make the first three count, but with his fourth he hits double 16 and puts the first set on the board. He really does look determined here, does Waites.

18.10: O'Shea misses a chance with bullseye, and Waites takes full advantage, with a treble 16 and double eight finish seeing him break the darts.

18.09: This is bringing back nice memories of my own days at the Lakeside. It's always a fun night out, I remember when it was seen as really raucous in Frimley Green, but with the antics of the crowd up at Ally Pally these days, it seems positively innocent in Surrey.

18.07: Waites hits the first 180 of the final in the second leg, and is on a finish in no time. He misses a few doubles, before eventually nailing double six and levelling the scores.

18.05: Waites has a chance to win the first leg with a 170, but falls well short, O'Shea misses a chance with double 16, Waites then can't hit double 20, before O'Shea holds his nerve to pick off a double eight and make sure he holds with the darts.

18.03: We're under way, so we are. Both these men are going for their first title. Who will be picking up the famous old trophy in a couple of hours

Into the final: O'Shea celebrates his semi-final match win over Wesley Harms

Into the final: O'Shea celebrates his semi-final match win over Wesley Harms

18.02: It's been some month for us darts fans, has it not All the thrills of the PDC event at Alexandra Palace, with a 16th world title for Phil Taylor. And after a week of BDO action, here comes the climax to it all. All eyes on the oche.

18.00: The atmosphere at the Lakeside is terrific, as the players make their entrance for this final. Plenty of fancy dress on display at what the commentators remind us is 'the spiritual home of darts'.

Welcome to our live coverage of the world darts final. Let's hope for a thriller between Scott Waites and Tony O'Shea.

Looking good: Scott Waites celebrates reaching his first final

Looking good: Scott Waites celebrates reaching his first final

Mark Selby reaches williamhill.com UK Championship final

Selby on top of the world after reaching UK Championship final

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UPDATED:

22:03 GMT, 8 December 2012

Mark Selby reached the top of the snooker world for a second time on Saturday night and pledged to take the pressure off himself this time around, starting with Sunday's williamhill.com UK Championship final.

Selby held the game's number-one ranking for 14 months between September last year and November this, losing it to Judd Trump when the Bristol potter landed the International Championship.

No pressure: Mark Selby at the table

No pressure: Mark Selby at the table

But with Trump falling at the first
hurdle in his defence of this title in York, Selby knew reaching the
final would put him back at the top of the ladder and he ticked that
achievement off on Saturday, completing a 9-4 victory over rugged
veteran Mark Davis.

He now meets long-time friend Shaun
Murphy in a final which will be his first ever UK showpiece, and he is
determined to learn from his previous reign at number one in order to
try and lift the trophy.

He achieved top billing last time with a win at the Shanghai Masters, but that was his last significant success.

His time in power was barren and he wants to avoid that happening again.

'It's a great feat to get back to
number one, there have only been nine number ones other than me,' he
said. 'Maybe when I was there before I put too much pressure on myself. I
need to learn from that and try and go out there and enjoy it tomorrow.

Going down: Mark Davis eyes up a shot in defeat

Going down: Mark Davis eyes up a shot in defeat

'I didn't come here this week with the aim of being number one. It's great that I am, but if I don't win tomorrow…'

Murphy and Selby are often off-the-radar players at events, despite their decorated resumes.

Here they have outlasted the more fancied Mark Allen, John Higgins, Neil Robertson and Trump.

As well as being evenly matched on
the baize, the two are good friends off it, and for Selby tomorrow will
be the realisation of a long-held dream.

'Me and Shaun haven't played each
other for a while but we have grown up together through the junior ranks
and always been good friends,' he said.

'I always said to him that it would
be great for us to play in a ranking final and now we are. For whatever
reason before it hasn't happened, so it will be good.'

Selby's top score today was a
second-frame 121, but he looked a little off it at the Barbican, taking a
long time to put his veteran opponent to bed.

He will need to be sharper against
Murphy – a man buzzing from a five-frame comeback against Ali Carter
last night – and he admits he has work to do.

Back on top: Mark Selby relishing a final berth

Back on top: Mark Selby relishing a final berth

'I was missing some easy balls today and I need to work on that tomorrow,' he said.

'I am definitely motivated. I didn't play fantastic and, although it was a good match of snooker, I need to play a lot better.'

Defeat marked the end of the road at
this tournament for Davis, a seasoned pro who at the age of 40 has
finally made a serious impact on the top level of the sport.

This was his third ranking
semi-final of the week but he failed to deliver performances like those
which saw him beat the likes of John Higgins and Matthew Stevens in the
earlier rounds.

'I was a little bit nervous but I
enjoyed it. In the first few I didn't quite get into position, but
getting a 70-odd settled me down. I played poorly tonight, though,' he
said.

'But I'm not going to let it affect me in a bad way. I've had a great week and beaten some top players.

'Even though I've been a pro for 21
years, there have been some new things for me and I know that I will
learn from it next time.'

Mark Williams loses at UK Championship

Williams is latest big name to crash out of UK Championship after 'shocking' defeat

By
Wayne Gardiner, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

22:52 GMT, 3 December 2012

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UPDATED:

22:52 GMT, 3 December 2012

The williamhill.com UK Championship has now lost four of the world's top 10 inside the opening round after a 'shocking' Mark Williams became the latest big name to make an early exit.

The two-time winner looked horribly out of sorts against the granite-like Mark King and duly lost 6-3, joining holder and world No 1 Judd Trump, the well-fancied Mark Allen and former champion Ding Junhui on the list of casualties.

But while the experienced King deserved his win and is no amateur – the experienced Essex cueman improved throughout, knocking in a polished sixth-frame 103 – World Snooker would probably have liked to avoid so many stellar names falling early on.

Heading home: Mark Williams crashed out in York

Heading home: Mark Williams crashed out in York

With Ronnie O'Sullivan taking an extended break from the game, there is a great need for the sport to show it can survive without its biggest draw and, although other stars remain – Neil Robertson was an impressive winner – there is no denying those to have perished are amongst those many expected to carry the baton in his absence.

'I was terrible. Shocking,' Williams, the fifth-best in the world, said.

'I felt all right going in but I couldn't pot three balls on the trot. The table was beautiful, there was a good crowd, everything you could want. It's getting boring for me to say how badly I am playing.'

Williams, who lifted the trophy in 2000 and 2003, jokingly suggested he may retire such is how he rates his form, before adding: 'I couldn't beat a man with no arms at the minute.'

For his part, King, who occupies the last spot in the top 32, was satisfied with his night's work.

'I played pretty solid and you take whatever you can get,” he said. “I made a 50-odd and made a century and I'm happy.'

Williams is one of the seven players to list the World, UK and Masters titles on his resume, something Australian left-hander Robertson hopes to be able to do come Sunday night.

In form: Neil Robertson kept his hopes alive with a resounding victory

In form: Neil Robertson kept his hopes alive with a resounding victory

He sent out a resounding warning of his intentions too, beating Tom Ford 6-1 and cracking in four centuries in the process.

His only slip came when he missed a routine red when on 45 and going for a whitewash, but he was more than happy to finish up with scores of 129, 112, 100 and 127.

'I felt mega-confident today,' Robertson said.

'Practice has been going very well and I've got a good record against Tom. When I have played him previously I think it's been 6-0 and 6-1 and I knew if I could get on top of him early on then it would be tough for him.'

While one Welsh former winner went home in the shape of Williams, another went through with Matthew Stevens, victorious in 2003, getting the better of fellow countryman Dominic Dale 6-1.

By his own admission Stevens has not been on song this year, but was given a leg-up by Dale's struggle with what he thinks may be an outbreak of shingles.

The 40-year-old was unable to see a doctor before his match started so played on, lost, and then headed off for a diagnosis.

'He doesn't look the best when he's well, but he looked awful!' said Stevens, who now plays Marco Fu.

'It was one of those unfortunate things. I felt for him as he didn't look well but it was nice to get the win.'

UK Championship 2012: Judd Trump rues first round exit to Mark Joyce

You'll never see a world No 1 play as badly as that: Holder Trump rues first round UK Championship exit to qualifier Joyce

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UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 3 December 2012

Judd Trump panned his own performance as the world No 1's title defence at the williamhill.com UK Championship was halted at the first hurdle by qualifier Mark Joyce.

A year after landing the biggest title of his burgeoning career at York's Barbican Centre, Trump was on the painful end of one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history, the world No 1 losing 6-5 to 50th-ranked Joyce after at one stage holding a 5-2 lead.

Trump said: 'I should never play that bad. You’ll never see another world No 1 play as badly as that.'

Staring at defeat: Holder Judd Trump after losing his first round match of the William Hill UK Championships at York Barbican Centre

Staring at defeat: Holder Judd Trump after losing his first round match of the William Hill UK Championships at York Barbican Centre

He had made a 104 break in the second frame and was doing enough, it seemed, to set up a second-round clash with Ali Carter, but Joyce had other ideas and the long road back from the brink of defeat had the biggest victory of his career at its end.

'It’s just a bad performance. It was going to come sooner or later,' said 23-year-old Trump, the man tipped in recent days by many, including Stephen Hendry, to be the dominant force in snooker for the next decade.

'He played all right in the last four frames but he’ll have to raise his game a lot to get close to Ali Carter.'

Over the moon: Qualifier Mark Joyce was delighted after his win

Over the moon: Qualifier Mark Joyce was delighted after his win

Trump’s defeat means Mark Selby can reclaim the number one ranking by reaching next Sunday’s final, while Joyce can target the quarter-finals for the second time in his career.

The Walsall man, now 29, knocked out Carter first and then Trump to reach the last eight in 2010, the last year that Telford staged the UK Championship, and the draw has convinced him he might be fated to do the same again.

'I'm over the moon. It wasn’t a vintage performance by any means,' Joyce said.

'It’s the hardest game in the world when you’re under pressure and every shot looks hard, every shot’s a pint of blood.

'I’ve got Ali Carter now and I beat him two years ago so hopefully I can do him as well.'

Joyce has recently revealed how he sustained the arm injury that sidelined him soon after his run in Telford, setting his career back.

'Just after the UK two years ago I got attacked and had a fractured elbow and a fractured eye socket, which ruined the rest of that season,' he said.

'Physically it cost me four months but mentally it cost me a lot longer.'

Carter was a scrappy winner against Steve Davis, coming through 6-2 against the man who won this tournament six times in the 1980s.

Both men struggled for fluency, Carter’s highest break of 88 and an 85 from Davis in the seventh frame out of keeping with the flow of the match.

Yet Carter was the more consistent of the two, with the 33-year-old from Tiptree too strong for the 55-year-old Brentwood veteran.

Davis, competing in his 33rd UK Championship, lamented his own performance but said: 'Ali’s a potential winner of the tournament so I shouldn’t moan.'

Snooker loopy: Trudd slammed his performance after crashing out in York at the first hurdle

Snooker loopy: Trudd slammed his performance after crashing out in York at the first hurdle

China’s last hope Cao Yupeng became the third player from snooker’s boom nation to make a first-round exit.

Cao tumbled out 6-1 against 40-year-old Hastings potter Mark Davis, completing a casualty list of Chinese players that began with yesterday’s defeats for Liang Wenbo and former UK champion Ding Junhui.

With soaring interest and money flooding into the game from China, there are more major tournaments staged in the country than in the United Kingdom, but on the table there remains a gulf in standards.

Mark Davis plays John Higgins next, on Wednesday evening.

Mum's the word: 2008 winner Shaun Murphy is keen to win more titles

Mum's the word: 2008 winner Shaun Murphy is keen to win more titles

Shaun Murphy was UK champion in 2008 and the Manchester-based 30-year-old began another campaign with a comfortable enough 6-3 win over Gloucester’s Robert Milkins.

Seven years have passed since Murphy made his big breakthrough by winning the World Championship.

He has four major ranking titles in all, and was a beaten finalist at the Masters in January, but the trophy tally should be higher according to the world No 4 – and his mother.

'My mum keeps telling me I should have won more and mums are normally right,' Murphy said.

Marco Fu beats Mark Allen at UK Championship

Fu denies grudge over 'cheat' claim after win against Allen at UK Championship

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UPDATED:

23:51 GMT, 2 December 2012

Mark Allen suffered a sore first-round defeat as Hong Kong's Marco Fu knocked the Northern Irishman out of the williamhill.com UK Championship.

Allen predicted he would win if Fu decided it was a 'grudge match', following comments made by the man from Antrim during the World Championship in April when he claimed tonight's opponent had cheated in the past.

There appeared little animosity between the pair as they shook hands following Fu's 6-3 victory at York's Barbican Centre.

Winner: Marco Fu came through against Mark Allen

Winner: Marco Fu came through against Mark Allen

But on a day when it emerged the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) had written to Allen to ask him to explain his comments of last Wednesday, when he reiterated that he believed Fu had cheated in the past, it was a tough loss for the world No 8.

Allen's timing in repeating his view about Fu was unfortunate, as it came a day before the six-month probationary period on a suspended three-month ban was due to expire.

Fu has denied ever cheating and has never been found guilty of any related offence.

Fu tonight insisted he did not want Allen to be banned and Allen does not expect to face punishment.

Asked whether he anticipated a fresh charge, Allen said: 'No, I don't.'

Allen said he had sought out WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson to discuss the comments he made in an interview last week, believing he had been misrepresented.

Claim: Allen accused Fu of cheating earlier this year

Claim: Allen accused Fu of cheating earlier this year

He added: 'I'm pretty happy where I stand with Jason and Jason's pretty happy with where I stand in the game so I don't think I have any problems.'

Allen said of his loss: 'I'm obviously disappointed to go out of such a tournament so early but I just got completely outplayed.

'Marco started really well and I never really recovered. If he plays like that he's got a chance of winning the tournament.'

Asked about the situation with Fu, and whether there was any 'grudge' aspect, Allen added: 'It was just another match. We've both moved on. People make mistakes and I make mistakes like anyone else. It's just one of those things.'

When asked last Wednesday about his 'cheating' claims, Allen said: “It was a comment that I still stand by.

'I'd never said anything about Marco as a person. Marco as a person is one of the nicest people you'd ever meet.

'Obviously people make mistakes on the table. But aside from that, Marco is a great snooker player.'

A World Snooker spokesman said: ‘His comments have been looked at and he has been asked to explain what he said.’