/ Snooker

Mark Allen through in UK Championship in York as big names win

Updated: Sunday, 01 Dec 2013 23:15 | Comments

World number nine Mark Allen beat Dave Harold 6-3 Stephen Maguire will face Liang Wenbo in his next match
World number nine Mark Allen beat Dave Harold 6-3 Stephen Maguire will face Liang Wenbo in his next match

Ulsterman Mark Allen won his match as snooker's big names came through a difficult first Sunday of the UK Championship largely unscathed. 

Judd Trump and Ding Junhui led the way with emphatic wins, though world number five Stephen Maguire was one of several players who had to fight through and Mark Davis was the one major casualty.

Trump hammered the popular Thai player Dechawat Poomjaeng 6-0 and almost gave the Barbican Centre crowd the chance to celebrate snooker's 100th maximum break, only to stall on the 13th black.

The 2011 champion said afterwards: "I wanted to be pushed a bit more. Apart from the 147 attempt, it was too easy." Asked at what point he felt the maximum bid was on, he said. "Before the frame started. Every frame, I'm going for a 147, I've not done one on TV so that's my main aim.

"It was a good attempt. I had a kick and got back into position and I just took my eye off the black."

Ding overcame his boyhood hero James Wattana 6-1, though the match was low on quality.

Ding is yet to reproduce the form which has brought him three successive ranking events and Wattana, the first Asian to win a ranking event, was first on the board as a 60 break clinched the opener.

Ding levelled and then won a bizarre third frame, Wattana's missed blue the last of a string of mistakes by both players on the colours.

An 84 sent the Chinese player into the interval 3-1 up and he closed the game out, finishing with a 66 break in the last.

Ding, who will play Ireland's Fergal O'Brien in round three, said: "It didn't feel like playing a match today, just a practice game. We know each other very well so it's very hard playing James.

"I'm happy to get through, not happy with how I played today.

"I still found it hard with position, always losing control of the white ball, but this one felt better than the first game."

World number nine Allen beat Dave Harold 6-3 and will face Michael Holt next. 

Allen made eight breaks over 50 to win the match but he had to overcome some good safety from the Stoke veteran - as well as an unusual problem later in the game.

He said: "I actually got something in my eye at the interval and couldn't get it out, and it annoyed me.

"I just thought 'get on with it, win this easy and then go and get your eye sorted out' but I just kept missing easy shot after easy shot.

"I tried to speed up to get it over and done with and the more I sped up, the more balls I missed. I just took my time in the last frame and got over the line."

Three-time champion John Higgins beat Rod Lawler 6-1 with breaks of 77, 128 and 72 and said: "I managed to nick the first frame when it was pretty close and I think that set the tone.

"I got a couple of frames quite quickly after that so that got me in control of the game."

Maguire made 99, 68, 50 and a closing 91 to recover from 4-1 and 5-2 down and beat Belgian prodigy Luca Brecel 6-5.

"I didn't fancy that at all at 5-2, didn't fancy spinning off four," he said. "I'm just very relieved."

He and Higgins led a wave of Scottish success as Scott Donaldson upset world number 13 Davis 6-5, Jamie Burnett beat Chris Wakelin by the same scoreline and Antony McGill rounded off a 6-0 win over Chris Norbury with a 103.

An emotional Donaldson was delighted to triumph in front of his father and even Higgins admitted: "I was on a break to go 5-1 up and I was actually more concerned about wee Scott's game at the far end of the room. That's a great win for him."

Welsh veterans Matthew Stevens and Mark Williams had to dig deep, with Stevens' final pink to clinch a 6-5 win over Yu Delu one of the shots of the tournament.

Williams stepped up a gear after his mid-session interval against Rory McLeod to win 6-3 but said: "I'm glad I won but not really glad of the way I played.

"I don't think either of us won one-visit frames, it was always 40s, 50s and 20 minutes of safety... not a great match."

Ricky Walden, a 6-2 winner over Peter Lines, awaits Williams while Stevens and his opponent Robert Milkins will be able to compare final-frame wins after the Gloucester player edged past Liu Chuang.

Stuart Bingham put aside the distraction of a minor car accident involving his wife Michelle to beat a disappointed Jimmy White 6-2.

Joe Perry was impressive in a 6-3 win over Daniel Wells which keeps his bid for Masters qualification alive. The Cambridge man's opening 94 was followed by five more breaks over 50.

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