PAUL Davison's bid for glory in the Betway UK Snooker Championship has been jeopardised by a dodgy tummy!

The Pickering-based player picked up a stomach bug at last week's Northern Ireland Open and has spent several days laid up instead of in the practice room.

Davison meets Newcastle's Gary Wilson this morning (9.30am)in the first round at York Barbican.

"I have been in bed with a stomach bug and lost a bit of weight since I got back from Ireland," he admitted. "It's not exactly been the best preparation in the world.

"I still don't feel 100 per cent and I couldn't even get out of bed last Friday. It's a shame because I have been playing really well in the last few weeks.

"When you are not able to practice properly, you are not sure which player is going to turn up - the good, the bad, or the average - but if I can get through the first round match, it will give me confidence and hopefully I will be fully recovered for the second round."

Davison, 43, is good friends with Wilson, the number 39 seed, and the pair regularly practice together between tournaments. They have met only once previously in a competitive game, however, when Wilson won in the China Open.

Davison heads into today's game on the back of meetings with two of the best players in the game - John Higgins and Mark Selby.

He was was narrowly beaten by Selby in the first round of the International Championship last month but lost 4-0 to Higgins last week in the first round of the Northern Ireland Open.

"I played Mark in China and, although I lost 6-4, it was a game I probably should have won," he said. "Against John Higgins, I was 3-0 down before I even got a look in. Every pot I went for had gone in - I had a 100 per cent potting record and a 95 per cent ratio from safety shots - and there I was 3-0 down and wondering 'what is going on here?'

Seeded number 90, Davison always relishes the opportunity to play at the Barbican - which is just half an hour's drive from his home in Ryedale - but admits that he is a little disappointed to be playing just after breakfast time!

"If I was playing in the evening, I would have had around 50 people cheering me on but the organisers have put me on at 9.30 in the morning!" he sighed. "There are a few friends and supporters coming down but, unfortunately, not as many as I would have liked because it is a 'schoolday'.

"But it's always nice to play on my home turf," he stressed. "I can practice on my own table in York and then it's just a five minute walk to the Barbican where the atmosphere is great. If I can have a nice run to the third or fourth round and be involved in the second week that would be great."

Crowd favourite Jimmy White made an early exit from the competition yesterday - beaten 6-2 by Welshman Ryan Day.

It is 29 years since the Whirlwind reached his first UK Championship final and now, at the age of 54, he is the oldest player in the event.

His appearance still drew the biggest crowd of the first day's afternoon session - which was a pity for Barry Hawkins, playing to empty seats at the opposite end of the main hall, only a week after reaching the final of the Northern Ireland Open.

White threatened to roll back the years in the first frame and was on course for a maximum147 break before missing the eleventh red.

Day recovered to take a 4-2 lead but White blew a chance to close the gap to 4-3 when potting the cue ball during a re-spotting of the black in the seventh frame.

White showed fighting spirit with a 54 break in the next frame but was ultimately punished for missing the sort of long pink he would have despatched in his prime. Day returned to the table and potted seven balls including the final pink.

"It's a big auditorium and there was quite a few on our side of the room cheering for Jimmy which is acceptable," Day said. "It is nice to play in a match with a bit of atmosphere - because sometimes it is just you, the opponent and the referee."

Hawkins, despite a lack of support, won 6-0 against Q School graduate David John.

In the other two games in the main hall yesterday afternoon, Brazilian outsider Igor Figueiredo lost a deciding frame to world number five Ding Junhui and Marco Fu beat debutant Josh Boileau 6-2.

Ronnie O'Sullivan returns to the Barbican tonight after opting not to defend the title last season. The five times former champion takes on Thailand's Boonyarit Keattikum. Other highlights include former world champion Shaun Murphy against Brazilian Itaro Santos (2.30pm) and John Higgins against Malta's Alex Borg (9.30am).