World number one Mark Selby won his first match since becoming a dad, beating Oliver Brown 6-0 in the opening round of the Coral UK Championship.
By Mark Rawlinson
The World Champion has been consigned to the spare bedroom at home over the past few days following the birth of daughter Sofia, ensuring that he was well rested for the tournament. And Selby looked sharp as he eased through to the last 64.
Amateur Brown, 20, already had a notable scalp having beaten Ding Junhui 5-0 in the Wuxi Classic qualifiers back in May, struggled to find form in the main arena at York Barbican tonight.
Selby managed to win a few closely contested frames early on to lead at the interval 4-0. He then won another two, including a 124 break in the final frame, to complete the whitewash.
“It wasn’t the greatest of matches, you could tell that Oliver was very nervous out there,” said Selby. “It’s a big occasion for him in front of a big crowd and probably with family and friends watching as well.
“Because he kept missing shots and giving me chances, I felt as though my focus wasn’t as good as it should be because he wasn’t really putting me under pressure. It was nice to finish off with a century at the end though.
“I’m going to travel back home tonight and then come back up on Friday so I’ll be spending a few days at home which will be nice. I think I’ll still be in the spare room – I haven’t got much choice!”
Recent International Championship winner Ricky Walden finished well against six time UK Champion Steve Davis to make it through to the second round.
The legendary Davis, playing here on an invitation, played well before the interval, winning the third and fourth frames, the latter with a 75 break, to go in at 2-2.
However Walden, who reached the semi-finals at the York Barbican last year, turned up the heat, winning the next four without reply, including runs of 100, 98 and 55.
“He won two good frames to go 2-2 and put me under pressure,” said Walden. “I played well after the interval and put the pressure back on Steve and ran out well in the end.
“It’s almost more difficult to play Davis when he’s in a care free mood because the pressure is on you to beat him as he’s only playing part-time now.
“Steve goes down as the greatest of all time for me and he was always my favourite as a kid. I used to sit with my nan and watch Steve win his World titles when I was youngster.
“I had a good week out in China to win in Chengdu and hopefully I can add to that now. The UK is a big tournament for me to come into now and all of the top lads are looking to win it and I’m no different.”
Davis was in a jovial mood and insisted he would not quit the game while he still enjoyed playing.
He said: “Even if you’re not enjoying it as much as you used to, I would never ever come out and say I don’t enjoy the game because it’s such a great game. I don’t enjoy losing but I still think there’s the masochist in me to still turn up every now and again and play a game and see what happens.
“Mentally I don’t think I’m thinking like a snooker player because I haven’t been entering any of the European Tour events. I might try and muster up a bit of enthusiasm for the World Championship but I’m not going to just retire. Mentally I’ve already retired but my body is still turning up at events.”
Ryan Day is through to the next round following a 6-1 victory over Lyu Chenwei, with top runs of 105 and 97 in the final two frames, though he did miss out on a possible £40,000 bonus for a 147 when he missed the 13th black in the last frame.