RONNIE O'SULLIVAN will open his defence of the Betway UK Championship this week seeking a major new milestone.

The popular Londoner - a six-time winner of the event, including being the youngest-ever winner aged 17 in 1993 - heads to the York Barbican 22 centuries short of 1,000 in competitive snooker.

He could therefore become the first player ever to reach the four-figure mark prior to the tournament's conclusion on December 9.

O'Sullivan, 42, begins his campaign on Thursday against little known factory worker Luke Simmonds, although the championship itself starts tomorrow, with two-time UK winner Neil Robertson and veteran former world champion Ken Doherty the biggest draws on the opening afternoon (2.30pm start).

Judd Trump and Kyren Wilson are among those in action this evening (7.30pm).

Stuart Bingham meets James Wattana in arguably the tie of the first round on Wednesday morning (9.30am), while heavyweights Shaun Murphy, Joe Perry and Graeme Dott (all 2.30pm) and John Higgins, Mark Allen and Jimmy White (all 7.30pm) are among those taking to the floor later that day.

Pickering potter Paul Davison and Melbourne's Ashley Hugill start their campaigns on Wednesday at 7.30pm and on Thursday at 9.30pm, respectively, against Stuart Carrington and Iranian Hossein Vafaei.

Eight tables are on show in these early stages, with tickets for the first three days starting at £8. For the full draw see