By Peter White


YORK snooker player Ashley Hugill insists there are plenty of positives to take from his latest UK Championship outing after falling at the hands of World Championship runner-up Kyren Wilson.

The 26-year-old has endured a tough start to the 2020/21 season after regaining his place on the professional tour, failing to get past the first round of any tournament prior to the first Triple Crown event on the calendar.

Four-time ranking event winner Wilson showed his class with the third maximum break of his career in the sixth frame on Tuesday, and saw out the contest 6-4 with two successive half-centuries after Hugill had twice levelled the match from losing positions.

Hugill showed flashes of his potential throughout the match against a player ranked 121 places higher than him in the world rankings, and the Melbourne potter believes taking a more relaxed approach into the Marshall Arena played its part.

“Going in I wasn’t thinking about winning or losing, I was just focusing on enjoying playing,” Hugill said. “With the way it’s gone this season I just wanted to make sure I didn’t get in my own way and try to relax a bit.

“When you’re not winning, the doubts do creep in regardless of how strong you are mentally. I’ve had some tough draws and played some good players, but I know I’m better than what I’ve been showing.

“I lost but it’s the best I’ve done on the TV table, so something’s obviously worked today that wasn’t working before. Kyren is a great player and the 147 was brilliant for him.”

Having run one of the world’s biggest stars close on the main stage, Hugill hopes his latest showing can kick-start his campaign, with a tilt at the Scottish Open next up in December.

As well as the UK Championship, the third Home Nations event of the season is set to be held in Milton Keynes owing to Covid-19 restrictions, and Hugill is ready to continue the hard graft before his next trip down south.

He added: “Even though I’ve not won today I feel it’s some sort of step in the right direction compared to my previous matches. Hopefully that can kick-start my season now and I can get to the level I know I can play at.

“I’ll go back to Sheffield now, get back on the practice table, watch that back to see if there’s anything I can learn, and then I’ll head back down for the Scottish Open where hopefully I can pick up a win.”

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