UK Snooker: Mark Williams - 'my worst match ever'

York Press: Mark Williams is confined to his chair during his defeat by Ricky Walden Mark Williams is confined to his chair during his defeat by Ricky Walden

MARK WILLIAMS bemoaned his worst match in “20 years as a professional” as Ricky Walden knocked him out of the williamhill.com UK Championship in a final frame shootout.

Walden was 3-1 behind at the mid-session interval and won four on the spin but then had to hold on as the Welshman pegged him to back to 5-5.

A wonderful break of 137 in the last clinched the match for Walden but Williams described his performance as “shocking”.

His frustration was evident in the eighth frame when, after missing a red into a corner pocket, he walked back to his chair and hurled his cue to the ground – only retrieving it when Walden subsequently broke down.

“I was just shocking all the way through,” the two-time world champion said. “It was probably some of the worst stuff I have played in 20 years as a professional.

“I have had some shockers but that was up there with the best of them. I was probably 20 points off my game last season and it’s 30 points now. Each year I am getting ten points worse.”

Walden didn’t feel great either, suffering with the effects of a cold, but was delighted to win in such stylish fashion.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “Neither of us played our best and I wasn’t feeling great through the middle of the match. (In the last) I just wanted a chance. I just wanted a shot at a ball. He left me one over the hole and it was good.”

It’s a repeat of the final in 2011 for Mark Allen after the Irishman edged past Michael Holt 6-5.

Allen was pushed to the limit and, having led 3-0 and 5-3, was pegged back on each occasion.

When he needed it most, though, he fashioned a break of 56 on his way to securing a passage to the last 16 and a rematch of his classic final with Judd Trump two years ago, when he lost 10-8.

He said: “I have been giving away a lot of chances and my safety hasn’t really been good enough. It will have to improve against Trump – obviously he is a good long potter and a good scorer.

“If I tighten up a little bit, I think I have got a good chance. I have beaten him already twice this season in tournaments that I have won so I have got nothing to worry about.”

A critic of the tournament structure earlier in the competition, Allen, reacting to speculation the UK could move away from York, said: “It would be a shame if it moved away from here. It is such a good tournament, the venue is great and the atmosphere is good. The venue just doesn’t suit 128 players.”

Elsewhere, Robert Milkins was in top form as he swept past 2003 York winner Matthew Stevens 6-2 and booked a place in the Masters for the first time in his career.

The ‘Milkman’ jumped out into a 4-0 lead and said: “I played really well. I started off the first frame with a big break and that set me up for the rest of the match. I said I would have to raise my game and I did.”

Stevens said: “Rob started off really well. It’s always going to be hard to come back from 4-0.”

Mitchell Travis’ run was ended comprehensively by David Morris. The call centre worker, who beat Marco Fu in the first round, lost 6-1.

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