YORK star Ashley Hugill believes he is playing the best snooker of his life and that it is only a matter of time before he translates his form in practice onto the match table, writes Sportsbeat’s Will Jennings.

The Melbourne player slipped to a 4-2 loss to Fergal O’Brien in his first round match at the Northern Ireland Open to extend his losing run in the 2020/21 season in Milton Keynes.

The world No.125 has lost seven straight matches and admits shining under the Marshall Arena lights is a conundrum he is yet to crack.

“I played alright and didn’t really make that many mistakes to lose 4-2,” the 26-year-old said. “Fergal played quite well, won a couple of scrappy frames and had a few breaks.

“I’m just working on trying to get my practice game onto the match table at the minute – I’m playing the best I’ve ever played in practice but that isn’t adding up onto the match table.

“It’s a case of figuring that out. I’ve proved I’m good enough to be on the main tour given how dominant I was on the amateur tour.

“It’s just a case of showing it. It’s one thing knowing it but it’s another showing it. If I knew, I’d be doing it.

“I think it could be a number of things and it’s just something I’ve got to work out myself, really.

“Hopefully it will come with experience as I play more matches.”

Hugill was crowned WSF Open champion last season but has endured a slow start to life on the World Snooker Tour.

It does not get easier for Hugill. He is set to face world No.5 and 2020 World Championship finalist Kyren Wilson in the UK Championship first round on Tuesday.

The Triple Crown tournament will be held at Milton Keynes rather than York for coronavirus reasons.

Hugill is an admirer of the four-time ranking event winner but reckons an absence of pressure can bolster his chances of a first win of the season.

“He’s a great player and it will be tough,” he added. “I’m just going to enjoy playing and try and get as much out of it as I can, not think about winning or losing and just play as well as I can and enjoy the battle.”

l Watch the Northern Ireland Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport app, and stream on discovery+.