Mark Allen has backed Barry Hearn's bid to clamp down on slow play after cruising through to the second round of the UK Championships in York.

The 32-year-old Allen was certainly no slouch as he rattled in two centuries on his way to a 6-2 win over Egypt's Basem Eltahhan.

But World Snooker chairman Hearn had earlier described slow play during the first-round match between Rod Lawler and Anthony Hamilton - in which only six of nine frames could be played in their allotted session -  as "diabolical".

And while Allen expressed sympathy for the eventual winner Lawler, whose shot time hovered around the 40-second mark, he insisted others should face sanction for "deliberate" slow play.

Allen said: "I really felt for them both out there today, only getting six frames in and Barry slaughtering them on Twitter.

"Rod is probably the only player who always plays that way so I don't think it would be be fair if he was punished for it.

"With others I think it's gamesmanship and I think it should be stamped out. You've got too many players down at the bottom end that do it deliberately - but they're not winning tournaments so who really cares."

Allen shrugged off his disappointing early exit at last week's Northern Ireland Open and showed glimpses of the form which swept him to the International Championship title last month.

And Allen is confident he is beginning to establish the kind of momentum which took him to his only previous UK final in 2011.

"I feel like I'm one of the contenders this year," added Allen. "I've probably come here in recent years and not been a name on people's lips, but I feel like my recent performances have changed that."

Former champion Shaun Murphy suffered a shock 6-3 defeat to China's world number 124 Chen Feilong.

Murphy, who won the tournament in 2008 and was also runner-up in 2012 and 2017, surrendered a 3-1 lead in the match as his poor start to the season continued.

Murphy said: "I didn't see that coming because I have been practising so hard, and my preparations for this event have been fantastic.

"I have had a terrible season so far but that has left me a lot of time to practice and I feel my game is in such good shape - but I'm still waiting for that to come through."

Another former winner, Jimmy White, saw his hopes of a run in the tournament brought to an end in a 6-3 defeat to Thailand's Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

White, 56, now ranked 77 in the world, put up an encouraging performance against Un-Nooh, scoring three breaks over 50 including a 97 to temporarily threaten a comeback before his opponent finished the job.

World number 12 Ryan Day was another surprise loser as he went down 6-2 to world number 121 Joe O'Connor, while former world champion Stuart Bingham swept through with a 6-0 thrashing of James Wattana.

Three-times UK champion John Higgins suffered a mighty scare before edging into round two with a 6-5 win over Dechawat Poomjaeng.

Higgins struggled desperately as the Thai, who dropped off the main tour last year, battled back from 5-3 down to force a decider.

But at gone half past midnight, Higgins seized on a second chance after a missed yellow to rack up a 60 break and wrap up a wholly unconvincing win.

Higgins said: "It's the way I've been playing all year - it's no surprise to me how I played out there and I'm really lucky to get through."