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Gritty Maguire Edges Out Whirlwind

Jimmy WhiteStephen Maguire came from 3-1 down to beat Jimmy White 6-5 in an exciting tussle at the Betway UK Championship on Thursday night.

An enthusiastic crowd got behind the Whirlwind at the York Barbican and were nearly rewarded with a surprise result as 53-year-old White battled hard against a player 106 places above him in the rankings.

But ultimately it was world number 15 Maguire who went through to the last 64 to face Jamie Cope.

White, who won this title in 1992, knocked in breaks of 77 and 104 in going 3-1 up. Maguire, the 2004 champion, then won four frames in row, making two breaks of 97.

Jimmy WhiteBack came Londoner White to win the next two for 5-5, and he had first chance in the decider but could only make 22. Maguire fluked a red and went on to make 72, which proved enough.

Glasgow’s Maguire said: “I knew after he made the break in the first frame that it was game on because he looked sharp. At 3-1 down I hadn’t done a lot wrong so I wasn’t hard on myself.

“I thought I played really well to go 5-3 up and I never got that clean cut chance to finish it. It was a good battle. In the final frame I was very lucky. I still had to pot the balls. Jimmy will be devastated, it’s happened to us of all. I love him to bits. I’ve got all the respect in the world for him – on and off the table.

“It was a great result for me as there was a lot of pressure on that match. Against him and against Ronnie it’s a totally different atmosphere – it is added pressure.”

White was understandably disappointed, saying: “He’s fluked one and left himself perfect on the blue, which is a bit sickening. The game’s so good now that when I was on the break of 22 I should have got more really. I played well: I competed with him on all levels.”

Neil RobertsonNeil Robertson came to York in fine form having won the Champion of Champions, and he eased to a 6-3 win over amateur Alex Taubman. The Australian led 5-1 after breaks of 66, 70, 86 and 75. Taubman pulled two back, making a 123 in frame eight, before Robertson sealed the result in frame nine.

“It was a decent crowd and a good atmosphere and I played well,” said Robertson, who won this title two years ago. “The amateurs aren’t scared of the top players any more and they are dangerous. It was great to win a big title in Coventry and that’s given me a confidence boost.”

Looking ahead to his next match against India’s Aditya Mehta, Robertson added: “It’s a clash of two vegans and I bet he makes a mean vegan curry. He’s got a ‘praying mantis’ style at the table and he looks a bit awkward, but he’s very good tactically.”

Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson scored a 6-3 win over Paul Davison. Wilson was hauled back from 5-1 to 5-3 before finishing the job in frame nine. He said: “I got cross with myself because I got distracted watching Jimmy White’s match, especially as he was rolling back the years. I was glad when his match finished so I could concentrate on mine.”

Fergal O’Brien came from 5-2 down to beat Thor Leong 6-5, winning the last four frames with a top break of 133.

Xiao Guodong

Xiao Guodong

The Lines family had mixed fortunes as Oliver beat Cao Yupeng 6-2 with a top break of 101 to set up a match with Mark Selby, while dad Peter lost 6-4 to Anthony Hamilton.

It was a good night for the Welsh as Dominic Dale whitewashed Michael Wild 6-0 with a top break of 100 while Daniel Wells came from 3-1 down to beat Rod Lawler 6-4.

Belgium’s Luca Brecel raced to a 6-1 win over Hossein Ayouri while Mark Joyce saw off Barry Pinches 6-4. Xiao Guodong made breaks of 131 and 107 in a 6-5 win over Noppon Saengkham.

Matthew Selt was the last winner of the night, beating Zhang Yong 6-5 at 1.40am after a 59-minute deciding frame.