JUDD TRUMP is hoping fond memories can help him to retain his UK Championship crown in York next month.
The Bristol potter, who has recently ascended to become snooker’s world number one, enjoyed a special week at the Barbican 12 months ago – claiming his first major title with a 10-8 victory over Mark Allen in the final.
With an attacking style that has made him a fans’ favourite, Trump comes into the game’s second biggest tournament, held from December 1 to 9, in sparkling form having won the International Championship in China earlier this month.
That gave him his third ranking title in 19 months and, coming back to the scene of his greatest triumph to date in the Minster city, Trump is hoping the memories he has of winning the UK can prove a motivating force as he bids to become the first player to defend that crown since Stephen Hendry in 1996.
“It was a brilliant week, said Trump of his York experiences.
“It was the first big BBC tournament that I won and it was nice to get that out of the way.
“There was a brilliant crowd all week. It was a chilled-out city and I played decently all week. I beat Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“The first two games were a bit of a struggle. I didn’t play great but I managed to dig in.
“After that, I played a little bit better and played my best stuff in the final.”
Trump added: “I thought the crowds were excellent. The ticket sales were really good and that’s why they (World Snooker) are holding it back there.
“The venue was excellent and it was a perfect week. I have got very good memories there.
“Hopefully I’ll go back there and the memories will come back and I will play my best snooker straight from the start and not put myself under two much pressure.”
Trump saw off O’Sullivan 6-5 in the last 16 on his way to winning the UK and he admits he has mixed feelings on the four-time world champion’s decision not to play on the tour for the rest of the season – meaning the game’s biggest draw will not compete at the Barbican.
“It’s a bit of both really,” added Trump when asked to assess whether O’Sullivan’s absence was a positive or negative factor for him.
“It is always nice to see Ronnie in the tournament. He pulls a lot of people in.
“On the other hand, there is a hole for someone waiting to go through.”
To book tickets for the UK Championship, log on to www.worldsnooker.com/tickets or phone 0844 854 2757.