UK Championship 2009*

UK Championship

Below is the playing schedule for the UK Championship, which runs from December 5 to 13, 2009.

Saturday 5 December 2009
1.00pm
Match 1 – Shaun Murphy v Gerard Greene - 5-3
Match 6 – Mark Williams v Graeme Dott - 6-2
Match 8 – Stephen Maguire v Michael Holt - 4-4
Match 14 – Mark King v Anthony Hamilton - 6-2

NB 3.00pm
Match 7 – Joe Perry v Stuart Bingham - 2-6
Match 12 – Mark Selby v Jamie Cope - 4-4
Match 13 – Ryan Day v Liang Wenbo - 2-6
Match 15 – Neil Robertson v Tom Ford - 5-3

NB 7.00pm
Match 1* – Shaun Murphy v Gerard Greene - 9-5
Match 6* – Mark Williams v Graeme Dott - 9-2
Match 8* – Stephen Maguire v Michael Holt - 9-6
Match 14* – Mark King v Anthony Hamilton - 9-2

Sunday 6 December 2009
1.00pm
Match 3 – Mark Allen v Stephen Lee - 3-5
Match 10 – Peter Ebdon v Judd Trump - 4-4
Match 11 – Stephen Hendry v Steve Davis - 4-4
Match 16 – John Higgins v Ricky Walden - 4-4

NB3.00pm
Match 7* – Joe Perry v Stuart Bingham - 4-9
Match 12* – Mark Selby v Jamie Cope - 9-8
Match 13* – Ryan Day v Liang Wenbo - 3-9
Match 15* – Neil Robertson v Tom Ford - 9-3

NB 7.00pm
Match 3* – Mark Allen v Stephen Lee - 8-9
Match 10* – Peter Ebdon v Judd Trump - 9-4
Match 11* – Stephen Hendry v Steve Davis - 9-6
Match 16* – John Higgins v Ricky Walden - 9-7

Monday 7 December 2009
1.30pm
Match 2 – Ding Junhui v Mike Dunn - 3-5
Match 4 – Ali Carter v Rory McLeod - 4-4
Match 5 – Marco Fu v Peter Lines - 2-6
Match 9 – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Matthew Stevens - 5-3

NB 3.00pm
Match 20 – Stuart Bingham v Stephen Maguire - 2-6
Match 22 – Stephen Hendry v Mark Selby - 3-5
Match 23 – Liang Wenbo v Mark King - 7-1
Match 24 – Neil Robertson v John Higgins - 3-5

NB 7.00pm
Match 2* – Ding Junhui v Mike Dunn - 9-5
Match 4* – Ali Carter v Rory McLeod - 9-7
Match 5* – Marco Fu v Peter Lines - 3-9
Match 9* – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Matthew Stevens - 9-3 .-)

Tuesday 8 December 2009
1.30pm
Match 17 – Shaun Murphy v Ding Junhui - 2-6
Match 18 – Stephen Lee v Ali Carter - 3-5
Match 19 – Peter Lines v Mark Williams - 3-5
Match 21 – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Peter Ebdon - 6-2

NB 3.00pm
Match 20* – Stuart Bingham v Stephen Maguire - 3-9
Match 22* – Stephen Hendry v Mark Selby - 5-9
Match 23* – Liang Wenbo v Mark King - 9-2
Match 24* – Neil Robertson v John Higgins - 8-9

NB 7.00pm
Match 17* – Shaun Murphy v Ding Junhui - 3-9
Match 18* – Stephen Lee v Ali Carter - 5-9
Match 19* – Peter Lines v Mark Williams - 9-8
Match 21* – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Peter Ebdon - 9-3 :-)

Wednesday 9 December 2009
2.00pm
QF1 – Ding Junhui v Ali Carter - 4-4
QF2 – Peter Lines v Stephen Maguire - 2-6

7.00pm
QF1* – Ding Junhui v Ali Carter - 9-8
QF2* – Peter Lines v Stephen Maguire - 5-9

Thursday 10 December 2009
1.30pm
QF3 – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Selby - 6-2
QF4 – Liang Wenbo v John Higgins - 2-6

7.00pm
QF3* – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Selby - 9-3 :-)
QF4* – Liang Wenbo v John Higgins - 2-9

Friday 11 December 2009
1.30pm
SF1 – Ding Junhui v Stephen Maguire - 5-3

7.00pm
SF1* – Ding Junhui v Stephen Maguire - 9-5

Saturday 12 December 2009
1.00pm
SF2 – Ronnie O’Sullivan v John Higgins - 2-6 :-(

7.00pm
SF2* – Ronnie O’Sullivan v John Higgins - 8-9 :-((

Sunday 13 December 2009
2.00pm
Final – Ding Junhui v John Higgins - 4-4

8.00pm**
Final* – Ding Junhui v John Higgins - 10-8

* denotes final session of match
** due to BBC Sports Personality transmission will not commence until 9.00 pm

From 5-8 December 2009 all matches are played on a roll on/roll off basis. Play will start at the allocated time each day with a 15 minute interval between matches. The 5 th , 6 th , 7 th and 8 th match each day will not start before 3.00 pm. Evening session each day will not start before the time indicated on the format.

Order of play and table numbers for all matches up to the quarter-finals will be determined the day before and published by the Tournament Director.

All matches up to and including Semi Finals – best of 17 frames (8/9), Final – best of 19 frames (8/11).

Higgins Survives O’Sullivan Charge In UK Thriller

www.worldsnooker.com

In one of snooker's all-time classics, John Higgins held his nerve to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-8 and reach the final of the Pukka Pies UK Championship.

Higgins was quoted in this morning's papers saying that he hoped the best two players in the world could "put on a show to beat The X Factor", and there can't have been many viewers switching over from BBC2 as a contest of extraordinary drama developed.

Wizard of Wishaw Higgins seemed to be affected by a contentious incident in the 13th frame as O'Sullivan roared back from 8-2 to 8-8, but the Betfred.com World Champion proved once again his capacity to thrive under pressure as he compiled a fantastic match-winning break in the deciding frame.

Higgins looked set for a repeat of the 9-2 scoreline that he inflicted on O'Sullivan in the 2005 Grand Prix final, but instead the match had echoes of the 1997 Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge final, when O'Sullivan came from 8-2 down to 8-8 against Stephen Hendry, only for his opponent to win the deciding frame with a maximum break.

If O'Sullivan had gone on to complete the job tonight it would have been the best comeback of his career - surpassing his 9-8 win from 8-4 behind against Peter Ebdon in the quarter-finals of this event eight years ago. As it is, he is left waiting for a fifth UK crown, while Higgins goes on to face China's Ding Junhui over 19 frames tomorrow.

He has now reached the final of three of the last five ranking events - and the semis of the other two. The 34-year-old has the chance to become the only player other than Hendry and Steve Davis to win the World and UK double in the same year more than once in his career, having done so for the first time in 1998.

Leading 6-2 after the first session, Higgins got the better of a scrappy opening frame tonight to extend his lead, then moved to the brink of victory with a 109.

With any tension gone from his cue arm, virtually resigned to defeat, O'Sullivan found some rhythm and rattled in breaks 57 and 47 to win the next, then made a brilliant 134 total clearance to close to 8-4 at the mid-session interval.

There was controversy in frame 13 as O'Sullivan, on a break of 14, left himself snookered on all colours after potting a red, and, trying to hit the brown or yellow in baulk, missed six consecutive times. He then accidentally fouled the black with his hand, which ended the sequence of misses, and meant that he did not have to play for a colour. Higgins, having gained 31 penalty points, was forced to play safe after having the rule explained to him by referee Jan Verhaas. The frame came down to the colours, O'Sullivan potting a superb long green and adding the brown to close to 8-5.

The next also went to the last few balls, after both players had missed scoring chances. O'Sullivan laid a snooker on the brown, and from Higgins' escape he cracked in a long pot and added blue and pink to further reduce his deficit. He missed a red to the centre on 32 in frame 15, but when Higgins jawed a red to the same pocket, O'Sullivan added 63 for 8-7.

Higgins was first among the balls in the next but ran out of position on 18. O'Sullivan enjoyed a ridiculous fluke on a red when attempting safety, and made an excellent 57 which was enough to force the decider.

The last time O'Sullivan reached a UK semi-final, two years ago in Telford, he made a 147 in the deciding frame. This time he failed to capitalise on two early chances, running out of position with the first then missing a pink to a corner pocket with the second. Higgins made a composed 56, including several difficult pots, to move to the brink of victory, then added the third-last red to make sure.

"I was sitting in my chair at 8-8 thinking 'this is the usual for me'. It was amazing. If I'd lost it would have lived with me forever so it's lucky I don't have to go through that," said Higgins. "When it got to 8-8 the pressure was back on Ronnie. In the last frame you go on to autopilot because the pressure is so great, that's when all those hours of practice and your technique get you through.

"I will be fine for the final tomorrow, because even though it was 9-8, it was free-flowing. Ding is back playing the way he can so it will be difficult. He's started the season well so it will be a mammoth game."

World No 1 O'Sullivan said: "John had chances from 8-2 up but he went off the boil, which was unlike him. To get to 8-8 flattered me and in the end it was the right result, a fair score would have been 9-4. I was hitting the balls too thick or too thin and couldn't see the potting angle, I couldn't even break off. I made a pact with myself at the start of this season not to get excited if I win or disappointed if I lose. Otherwise I'd get annoyed and frustrated and I don't want to spend the rest of my career in that manner."

As for the incident in frame 13, O'Sullivan stressed: "I don't know what the rules are, but I didn't foul the black intentionally. I couldn't believe I took so many attempts to hit the yellow. I walked back to my chair and I expected John to be able to pot the red. I was a bit confused as it was a bizarre situation."

Higgins agreed: "Never in a million years did Ronnie foul deliberately, he is one of the most genuine people in snooker. It's probably never happened to Jan (Verhaas) before and it will probably never happen to him again, it was just a freaky position on the table. He was just applying the rules but maybe it should be left to him to have discretion."

Higgins denied that the incident had affected his game. "It was when I missed a pink on 32 in the next frame, that's when I started to fall apart," he added. "

By Ivan Hirschowitz
23:22:58
12 December 2009

Semis Showdown

www.worldsnooker.com
10 December 2009

John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan, the two greatest snooker players on the planet, will go head-to-head in the semi-finals of the Pukka Pies UK Championship.

World No 1 O'Sullivan registered his third consecutive 9-3 scoreline, this time against Mark Selby, as he moved within two matches of his fifth UK title.

Selby started the evening session superbly with a break of 136 to reduce his deficit to 6-3, only to see O'Sullivan restore the four-frame gap with a run of 92.

The Rocket trailed 60-10 in the next but stole it with a 59 clearance, then got the better of a scrappy 12th frame, after Selby missed the final green, to secure victory.

"The scoreline flattered me, Mark had his chances but he didn't take them," said 34-year-old O'Sullivan. "It's a win I suppose, but it's hard to be happy or filled with any joy. I could have been more clinical."

Looking ahead to his meeting with Higgins, O'Sullivan added: "Snooker has been blessed with certain players who play the game the way it should be. My first choice is Stephen Hendry but he's easier to play against in a way because there isn't a lot of strategy involved, it's long red and game over. John is different, he's more of an all-round match player. He's confident at the moment and he's dispatching people.

"If either of us are playing well then there's enough of a gap to make it 80/20 (against other opponents). We have the touch and feel among the balls. Speaking for myself, if I'm not on form then anyone can beat me. If I can find a happiness in the way I'm hitting the ball then I've got shots in my locker, but sometimes those shots aren't there and the game is more difficult."

Higgins who beat O'Sullivan en route to the semi-finals of the Grand Prix made short work of winning the two frames he needed for victory.

"I nicked a couple of frames today which was the difference. Instead of going 3-1 or 4-2 I managed to nick them and end up 5-0 in front and they were the turning points.

"I going to need to improve if I'm playing Ronnie in the next round but that'll be a game I'll look forward to. It's always a game I look forward to since I've been a snooker player and Saturday will be no different.

"Sometimes you can win a few matches in a row against other players and then you lose a few in a row, so maybe it's my turn now. You know that defeat can be around the corner, I hope it's not Saturday," said Higgins.

The 22-year-old simply couldn't stop Higgins who scored three centuries and two breaks over fifty in the match. The first two frames of the evening session were scrappy with the Chinese player missing too many balls. The Betfred.com World Champion signed off in style with a 115.

Higgins and O'Sullivan have not met in a longer format match since the quarter-final stage at the Crucible in 2007, Higgins won on that occasion 13-9.

"I've always said in my career that it if you play bad in that match you have no chance of winning but against maybe 98 per cent of players you can play not so well and win but against him you got to play to a really high standard or you can't win.

"I'd love to win another UK title, the last couple of years I've come back and playing well so I fancy winning it again. You couldn't really get a better semi-final line-up, " said the Scot who previous wins came in 1998 and 2000.

Williams Falls Behind Enemy Lines

www.worldsnooker.com

Peter Lines, ranked 64th in the world, registered one of the biggest snooker shocks in recent years by knocking Mark Williams out of the Pukka Pies UK Championship.

Lines had previously reached the quarter-finals of a ranking event just once - at the 1999 China Open - but scored the best result of his career as he stunned two-times World and UK Champion Williams 9-8 to set up a last eight meeting with Stephen Maguire.

Something of a journeyman pro, Lines, a 39-year-old from Leeds, must have feared his snooker career was coming to an end until coach Steve Prest rescued him from the sport's secondary tour three years ago, and helped him return to the main circuit. Prest sadly passed away earlier this year, but Lines is now reaping the full benefit of the transformation of his game.

In fact he had beaten Williams once before - in the 1998 Scottish Open, just after Williams won the respotted black Masters final against Stephen Hendry - but to get the better of the Welshman over 17 frames represents a new high for Lines.

He won the first three frames of the evening session with a top break of 114 to go 6-5 ahead. Williams fought back to lead 8-7 and looked set to cross the line when he led 50-0 in the next, only for Lines to claw his way back into the frame and make a 35 clearance for 8-8.

Both players had chances in the decider, Williams fluking the 13th red and edging 54-35 ahead, only to snooker himself on the yellow. He left Lines a chance, and the Yorkshireman held his nerve to clear the colours and win it 62-54.

"I'm delighted, over the moon," said Lines, who was watched by his son Oliver, the English under-14 champion. "I've been playing here like I do in the qualifiers. I just hope I don't freeze when I'm on TV tomorrow. I will try to enjoy it. I was nervous at the start today but once I had a frame on the board I settled down.

"Even at 5-3 down I was enjoying it, because it's no disgrace to lose to Mark Williams. I've struggled over the years against the lower ranked players, but when you play the top boys you have nothing to lose."

Ronnie O'Sullivan continued his smooth progress through the event as he beat Peter Ebdon 9-3. Leading 6-2 after the first session, the World No 1 knocked in breaks of 76 and 90 tonight as he added the three frames he needed for a quarter-final tie with Mark Selby.

"It was hard to get going," said four-times UK Champion O'Sullivan in typical self-deprecating fashion. "Every time I came to the table, the balls were in unusual positions and the colours were off the spots, so I was thinking 'where do I start'? It felt like a war and I found it difficult to get any momentum. I'm not getting excited over winning or losing, I'm just staying in neutral. I'd rather be hitting form and getting excited."

Asked if he felt his long potting, the worst department of his game in recent months, was improving, O'Sullivan replied: "Not really. But if I'm in scoring mood and my safety is ok, it's not necessary to pot a lot of long balls."

Defending champion Shaun Murphy suffered a sound 9-3 beating at the hands of Ding Junhui. China's Ding, the 2005 champion, led 6-2 at the resumption, and despite losing the first tonight to Murphy's 67, won the next in two scoring visits and the 11th by clearing the colours. A superb 113, his highest break of the match, set up a meeting with Ali Carter.

Murphy's chances were severely reduced by a bout of flu, which gripped him just after his opening match on Saturday.

"Since then I've hardly slept and I've been sick a lot," said the Sale-based cueman. "I came here in good form and feeling as if defending the title was a real prospect. It's a shame I was so ill but I don't want to blame that because Ding played very well and deserved to win."

Tiptree's Carter beat Stephen Lee 9-5 with top runs of 57, 76, 59, 67, 56, 55 and 59.
By Ivan Hirschowitz
23:27:11
08 December 2009

Rocket Too Hot For Stevens

www.worldsnooker.com

Ronnie O'Sullivan won six consecutive frames as he romped to a 9-3 defeat of Matthew Stevens at the Pukka Pies UK Championship.

World No 1 O'Sullivan looked vulnerable in the early stages as he fell 2-0 behind, but recovered to 3-3 and never looked in danger after that as he eased into the second round and a match against Peter Ebdon.

Stevens had won 9-3 in their only previous meeting in this tournament, ten years ago, but this time the Welshman ran out of steam as O'Sullivan moved a step closer to winning his fifth UK title.

The Chigwell cueman made four breaks over 60 in the first session and added 75 and 60 in the first two frames tonight for a 7-3 lead. The next lasted 40 minutes and involved a long safety battle on the colours, Stevens eventually missing a tricky brown when over-stretching and leaving his opponent to clear up.

O'Sullivan potted eight reds with blacks early in frame 12, and although he missed a simple ninth red, he got back in to add 30 and seal victory.

"I was consistent, I didn't miss many easy balls for a change," said O'Sullivan, who turned 34 on Saturday. "I was so wrapped up in the game, I was just trying to compete, so I wasn't worried at 2-0 down. The number one rule in life is never panic, because if you panic, you might as well forget about it."

The three-times World Champion was the latest leading player to express his excitement at the prospect of Barry Hearn becoming Chairman of the WPBSA board. "He's the Ronaldinho or Roger Federer of promoting," said O'Sullivan. "He's honest, he's got integrity, he's charismatic and he's a winner. Snooker's lucky to have him. I definitely want to keep playing for longer now."

Peter Lines scored his best result since he reached the quarter-finals of the 1999 China Open as he beat last year's runner-up Marco Fu 9-3. Leading 6-2 after the first session, Lines took the first two tonight with runs of 48 and 53. Hong Kong's Fu pulled one back with a 104 before Leeds potter Lines sealed victory in frame 12.

"Marco was out of sorts but it's still probably the best win I've ever had," said Lines, who turns 40 this Friday. "I was pleased by the way I held myself together."

Lines now faces Mark Williams, whom he beat 5-3 in the 1998 Scottish Open, just after Williams had won the Masters in the re-spotted black final against Stephen Hendry. "I'll just go out and enjoy it, I think I'll have a better chance if it's not on TV," added Lines.

China's Ding Junhui recovered a 5-2 deficit to beat Mike Dunn 9-5. The 2005 UK Champion played brilliantly in the last seven frames, compiling breaks of 114, 87, 73, 51, 50, 67 and 73.

By Ivan Hirschowitz
23:44:43
07 December 2009

I'M A CELEBRITY: RONNIE O'SULLIVAN KEEN TO GO TO THE JUNGLE

Saturday December 5,2009
By Hector Nunns

RONNIE O’Sullivan is keen to follow close friend Jimmy White into the jungle – just as soon as he packs away his cue for good.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been getting light relief from his preparation for the Pukka Pies UK Championship following the progress of White on TV’s I’m A Celebrity show.

And world No1 O’Sullivan’s own blend of brilliance in his field, combined with the odd lurking demon, has already seen him in high demand from reality shows.

Celebrity Big Brother have been knocked back, but O’Sullivan insists that when the time is right he would relish the challenge.

Celebrating his 34th birthday today, O’Sullivan – who takes on Matthew Stevens on Monday – said: “Jimmy is just funny without realising it. I’ve watched about four of them on the night and recorded the rest, but I keep getting texts from friends saying, ‘You have to watch this’.

“After a while the public started to see the real Jimmy White and I could do it as a challenge, definitely, but not while I was playing snooker.

“While I was in that headspace I couldn’t relax and I would be uptight. Sometimes it takes me six weeks to unwind at the end of a season. But you could tell Jimmy was not thinking about snooker, he was at ease, thinking this was an opportunity to move on.

“And that is when I would do it, with nothing to worry about and relishing the challenge. I’ve been asked to do Celebrity Big Brother, but the time wasn’t right.”

At plenty of moments over the past 17 years it has seemed like O’Sullivan was turning the snooker soap opera into a one-man show.

With titles and turmoil featuring in equal measure, O’Sullivan has never been far away from the next breathtaking exhibition or yet another disciplinary scrape. But with the future of the sport he loves on the line, the extraordinary events of the past week have lit even his well-hidden political fires. O’Sullivan helped vote out former World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker in Wednesday’s shock re-election result.

And he is ecstatic that Barry Hearn will now seek to breathe new life into an ailing game.

Hearn and six-time world champion Steve Davis have been co-opted on to the WPBSA board, and Hearn is expected to be ratified as chairman of World Snooker on December 16.

Seeing players from the world’s top 20 forced to look at getting second jobs, with just six ranking events on the calendar, was the final straw. O’Sullivan said: “Snooker was being left behind and something needed to happen now. If it hadn’t, in three years’ time all those outside the top 12 would have needed two jobs.

“Barry Hawkins told me he was doing a book-keeping or accountancy course, and he has been in the top 16. He is a great professional who has been to the Crucible several times and been to semi-finals elsewhere.

“But he has a mortgage and a family, and was worried about surviving with the money he was on. It’s not right, you should be better rewarded.”

The UK Championship retains a special place in O’Sullivan’s heart, as at the tender age of 17 – half a lifetime ago – it was his first major triumph. He has gone on to win four and said: “It was the first one and made me believe it wasn’t all a fluke, that I could do this, and it changed my life overnight. No one knew me, then the next day I’d be in the cafe and there were EastEnders stars walking in and saying hello after watching on TV.”

O’Sullivan may struggle to equal Stephen Hendry’s seven world titles, but there is the carrot of matching the Scot’s haul at the second-biggest tournament.

He said: “I’ve got a big picture of me shaking hands with Hendry from that 1993 final. It would be good to match his five UK titles in Telford.”

I'm a celebrity, get me out of here

Do you want to know why Jimmy White has pulled out of the qualification of the UK Championship? He is just now together with other 10 celebrities in Australian jungle and you can watch him for example at the Youtube - keep our fingers crossed for him :-)... do you want to discuss about it? Use discussion forum - General discussion.

Jimmy finishes on the great third place and I think he really enjoyed his 3 weeks in junge :-)

I'm a celebrity, get me out of here

White Withdraws

www.worldsnooker.com

Jimmy White has pulled out of the qualifying rounds of the Pukka Pies UK Championship.

The World No 56 was due to play Ben Woollaston or Ian Preece in the second qualifying round at Pontin's, Prestatyn on Wednesday, November 25, but has withdrawn due to another commitment.

The winner of the match between Woollaston or Preece will receive a bye to the third round.

The qualifiers run from November 23 to 30 and can be watched live online at www.
110sport.tv

Stevens Sets Up Rocket Clash

www.worldsnooker.com

Matthew Stevens stormed to a 9-1 defeat of Adrian Gunnell at the Pukka Pies UK Championship qualifiers to earn a Telford meeting with Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Stevens, the 2003 UK Champion, dashed Gunnell's hopes of a place in his home tournament as he cruised to an emphatic victory, gaining valuable ranking points and boosting his hopes of a return to the top 16. His top break was 107 and he had six more runs over 30.

"Any time you win 9-1 you have to be delighted," said Carmarthen's Stevens, who forgot to bring his bow tie to Prestatyn and had to borrow one from referee Eirian Williams. "Adrian beat me in the same round a couple of years ago so I know what a good player he is, although he wasn't at his best today.

"Ronnie is a great draw for me because I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain. I've been playing well and I know I can beat him. I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think I could still win tournaments. I tend to play better the further I go."

That match takes place on Monday, December 7, starting at 1pm. Tickets are still available, for details click here - http://www.worldsnooker.com/uk_championship09_tickets.htm?tid=146.

Steve Davis set up an intriguing match with Stephen Hendry in Telford by beating Michael Judge 9-7. The two most successful players of the modern era, Davis and Hendry have 13 World titles and over 50 years of professional experience between them.

Davis led 5-3 after the first session with top breaks of 81, 50 and 55. He extended that lead to 8-4 before Irishman Judge threatened a comeback when he closed to 8-7. But Davis held his nerve to win the next with a 66.

"Michael got his tail up for a while and it was getting towards panic stations," said 52-year-old Davis, who has won a record six UK titles. "I was on orange alert - not quite red alert, but I was squirming in my chair. I felt comfortable in the balls though - in fact it was the most inspired I've felt for some time.

"It will be fantastic to play Stephen - he's bashed me up all over the place over the years. There will be a bit of nostalgia. If I play like I did today I will be happy."

Ricky Walden knocked John Higgins out of the UK in 2004 and he'll get another shot at the Wizard of Wishaw this time thanks to a 9-6 defeat of Andrew Higginson. Former Roewe Shanghai Masters champion Walden trailed 5-1 early on but won eight of the last nine frames with top runs of 64, 86 and 53.

"My tip split last night and I decided not to change it, which was a big mistake," said Flintshire's Walden. "I had to change it after the first session and that just got me home, though it wasn't pretty. I fluked a lot of balls and had the rub of the green."

Ken Doherty lost his first match at Prestatyn this season as he went down 9-6 to Jamie Cope. From 3-0 down, Stoke's Cope knocked in 82, 86, 60 in getting to 4-4, then got the better of a scrappy second session.

Judd Trump won his first match in a ranking event this term with a 9-7 victory over Mark Davis. A high quality contest saw Keynsham's Trump make breaks of 52, 77, 57, 69 and 54 while Sussex's Davis knocked in 103, 87, 58 and 62.

"I’m delighted, it was a very tough match, one of the best performances of my career," said 20-year-old Trump, who now faces Peter Ebdon. "I hardly missed a ball in the second session and I only won 9-7. My safety was the best it’s ever been.

"I’ve had an up and down season and when I went 2-0 down today I knew I had to dig deep, because if I lost my opening match in the first three tournaments I’d be really struggling. Peter Ebdon will be tough, my long potting will have to be up to scratch."

Liang Wenbo, another player aiming to break into top 16, kept his excellent season going with a 9-4 defeat of Michael White. The Roewe Shanghai Masters finalist made breaks of 127, 52, 103, 65 and 54.

Leicester's Tom Ford earned a meeting with Grand Prix champion Neil Robertson by beating Barry Hawkins 9-5. World No 49 Ford showed his quality with runs of 60, 62, 84, 64, 104 and 55.

Anthony Hamilton got the better of a gruelling battle with Dave Harold, winning 9-5. Hamilton looked in trouble when he lost the 80-minute 11th frame, but he recovered to win the next three with breaks of 56, 65 and 54. "Dave's safety was unbelievable, you could have swapped the balls for chess pieces," said Hamilton. "It was like a perpetual cycle of doom."

UK Championship Qualifying

Below is the playing schedule for the qualifying rounds of the UK Championship 2009, to take place at Pontin's, Prestatyn on the 23-30 November 2009.

Monday 23 November 2009
10am
Match 1 – Chris Norbury v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 2-6
Match 2 – Lee Spick v Jordan Brown - 4-4
Match 3 – Lee Page v James Wattana - 2-6
Match 4 – Matthew Selt v David Gray - 6-2
Match 5 – Xiao Guo Dong v Zhang Anda - 5-3
Match 6 – Craig Steadman v Andrew Norman - 4-4
Match 7 – Ben Woollaston v Ian Preece - 5-3
Match 8 – Patrick Wallace v Mark Boyle - 8-0

4pm
Match 1* – Chris Norbury v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 3-9
Match 2* – Lee Spick v Jordan Brown - 5-9
Match 3*– Lee Page v James Wattana - 4-9
Match 4* – Matthew Selt v David Gray - 9-7
Match 5* – Xiao Guo Dong v Zhang Anda - 9-5
Match 6* – Craig Steadman v Andrew Norman - 9-5
Match 7* – Ben Woollaston v Ian Preece - 9-4
Match 8* – Patrick Wallace v Mark Boyle - 9-0

Tuesday 24 November 2009
10am
Match 9 – Atthasit Mahitthi v Mei Xi Wen - 6-2
Match 10 – Li Hang v Tony Drago - 2-6
Match 11 – Bjorn Haneveer v Sam Baird - 3-5
Match 12 - Matthew Couch v Brendan O’Donoghue - 4-4
Match 13 – Daniel Wells v Michael White - 3-5
Match 14 – Stephen Rowlings v Jimmy Robertson - 3-5
Match 15 – Noppadol Sangnil v David Hogan - 2-6
Match 16 – Simon Bedford v Joe Jogia - 8-0

4pm
Match 9* – Atthasit Mahitthi v Mei Xi Wen - 9-3
Match 10* – Li Hang v Tony Drago - 7-9
Match 11* – Bjorn Haneveer v Sam Baird - 4-9
Match 12* - Matthew Couch v Brendan O’Donoghue - 9-7
Match 13* – Daniel Wells v Michael White - 8-9
Match 14* – Stephen Rowlings v Jimmy Robertson - 8-9
Match 15* – Noppadol Sangnil v David Hogan - 8-9
Match 16* – Simon Bedford v Joe Jogia - 9-0

Wednesday 25 November 2009
10am
Match 17 – Rod Lawler v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 2-6
Match 18 –Andy Hicks v Jordan Brown - 5-3
Match 19 –Robert Milkins v James Wattana - 6-3
Match 20 – David Roe v Matthew Selt - 1-7
Match 21 –Peter Lines v Xiao Guo Dong - 5-3
Match 22 –Barry Pinches v Craig Steadman - 4-4
Match 23 –Jimmy White v Ben Woollaston - White W/O
Match 24 –John Parrott v Patrick Wallace - 5-3

4pm
Match 17* – Rod Lawler v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 7-9
Match 18* –Andy Hicks v Jordan Brown - 9-4
Match 19* –Robert Milkins v James Wattana - 9-5
Match 20* – David Roe v Matthew Selt - 4-9
Match 21* –Peter Lines v Xiao Guo Dong - 9-8
Match 22* –Barry Pinches v Craig Steadman - 7-9
Match 23* –Jimmy White v Ben Woollaston - White W/O
Match 24* –John Parrott v Patrick Wallace - 9-8

Thursday 26 November 2009
10am
Match 25 – Liu Song v Atthasit Mahitthi - 3-5
Match 26 – David Gilbert v Tony Drago - 3-5
Match 27 –Joe Delaney v Sam Baird - 4-4
Match 28 – Mark Joyce v Matthew Couch - 6-2
Match 29 – Jin Long v Michael White - 3-5
Match 30 – Paul Davies v Jimmy Robertson - 4-4
Match 31 –Tom Ford v David Hogan - 4-4
Match 32 – David Morris v Simon Bedford - 2-6

4pm
Match 25* – Liu Song v Atthasit Mahitthi - 4-9
Match 26* – David Gilbert v Tony Drago - 5-9
Match 27* –Joe Delaney v Sam Baird - 9-8
Match 28* – Mark Joyce v Matthew Couch - 9-4
Match 29* – Jin Long v Michael White - 6-9
Match 30* – Paul Davies v Jimmy Robertson - 6-9
Match 31* – Tom Ford v David Hogan - 9-7
Match 32* – David Morris v Simon Bedford -3-9

Friday 27 November 2009
10am
Match 33 – Alan McManus v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 3-5
Match 34 – Mike Dunn v Andy Hicks - 4-4
Match 35 – Martin Gould v Robert Milkins - 3-5
Match 36 – Rory McLeod v Matthew Selt - 6-2
Match 37 – Ian McCulloch v Peter Lines - 3-5
Match 38 – Marcus Campbell v Craig Steadman - 5-3
Match 39 – Jimmy Michie v Ben Woollaston - 5-3
Match 40 – Dominic Dale v John Parrott - 3-5

4pm
Match 33* – Alan McManus v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 6-9
Match 34* – Mike Dunn v Andy Hicks - 9-6
Match 35* – Martin Gould v Robert Milkins - 5-9
Match 36* – Rory McLeod v Matthew Selt - 9-3
Match 37* – Ian McCulloch v Peter Lines - 6-9
Match 38* – Marcus Campbell v Craig Steadman - 8-9
Match 39* – Jimmy Michie v Ben Woollaston - 9-7
Match 40* – Dominic Dale v John Parrott - 9-6

Saturday 28 November 2009
10am
Match 41 – Adrian Gunnell v Atthasit Mahitthi - 7-1
Match 42 – Mark Davis v Tony Drago - 4-4
Match 43 – Michael Judge v Joe Delaney - 5-3
Match 44 – Ken Doherty x Mark Joyce - 6-2
Match 45 – Jamie Burnett v Michael White - 5-3
Match 46 – Anthony Hamilton v Jimmy Robertson - 4-4
Match 47 – Stuart Pettman v Tom Ford - 4-4
Match 48 – Andrew Higginson v Simon Bedford - 6-2

4pm
Match 41* – Adrian Gunnell v Atthasit Mahitthi - 9-3
Match 42* – Mark Davis v Tony Drago - 9-7
Match 43* – Michael Judge v Joe Delaney - 9-5
Match 44* – Ken Doherty v Mark Joyce - 9-6
Match 45* – Jamie Burnett v Michael White - 8-9
Match 46* – Anthony Hamilton v Jimmy Robertson - 9-4
Match 47* – Stuart Pettman v Tom Ford - 5-9
Match 48* – Andrew Higginson v Simon Bedford - 9-6

Sunday 29 November 2009
10am
Match 49 – Gerard Greene v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 4-4
Match 50 – Joe Swail v Mike Dunn - 2-6
Match 51 – Stephen Lee v Robert Milkins - 4-4
Match 52 – Fergal O’Brien v Rory McLeod - 3-5
Match 53 – Nigel Bond v Peter Lines - 4-4
Match 54 – Graeme Dott v Craig Steadman - 4-4
Match 55 – Stuart Bingham v Jimmy Michie - 6-2
Match 56 - Michael Holt v Dominic Dale - 7-1

4pm
Match 49* – Gerard Greene v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh - 9-5
Match 50* – Joe Swail v Mike Dunn - 2-9
Match 51* – Stephen Lee v Robert Milkins - 9-7
Match 52* – Fergal O’Brien v Rory McLeod - 7-9
Match 53* – Nigel Bond v Peter Lines - 6-9
Match 54* – Graeme Dott v Craig Steadman - 9-5
Match 55* – Stuart Bingham v Jimmy Michie - 9-2
Match 56* - Michael Holt v Dominic Dale - 9-4

Monday 30 November 2009
10am
Match 57 – Matthew Stevens v Adrian Gunnell - 7-1
Match 58 – Judd Trump v Mark Davis - 4-4
Match 59 – Steve Davis v Michael Judge - 5-3
Match 60 – Jamie Cope v Ken Doherty - 4-4
Match 61 – Liang Wenbo v Michael White - 5-3
Match 62 – Dave Harold v Anthony Hamilton - 2-6
Match 63 – Barry Hawkins v Tom Ford - 3-5
Match 64 - Ricky Walden v Andrew Higginson - 3-5

4pm
Match 57* – Matthew Stevens v Adrian Gunnell - 9-1
Match 58* – Judd Trump v Mark Davis - 9-7
Match 59* – Steve Davis v Michael Judge - 9-7
Match 60* – Jamie Cope v Ken Doherty - 9-6
Match 61* – Liang Wenbo v Michael White - 9-4
Match 62* – Dave Harold v Anthony Hamilton - 5-9
Match 63* – Barry Hawkins v Tom Ford - 5-9
Match 64* - Ricky Walden v Andrew Higginson - 9-6

All matches will be the best of 17 frames (8/9)
* denotes final session of match

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