ASHLEY HUGILL believes that his successful showing in the UK Snooker Championship is a "step in the right direction" for his career.

The York star knocked out Mark Davis, a player ranked 33 places higher than him in the world in round one after a 6-4 victory at the York Barbican.

Hugill's tournament came to an end against China's Yuelong Zhou, the world number 17 winning 6-2 against the world 81.

Reflecting on a career-best performance at the event, Hugill said: "It was an important first round win so there's positives to take from that.

"To get my first win in York was a good feeling, especially playing in front of my family, because they often get chance to watch me play because we play all over the world.

"It was nice to win for the first time in front of them since Covid.

"I feel like my scoring is improving and I feel like I'm starting to bring my practise game out into the matches.

"It's a step in the right direction and hopefully I can have some more big wins over the rest of the season and put some runs together.

"I just want to build on that now. I feel like my game is in good shape and I'm feeling confident."

Hugill made a strong start against Zhou, taking the opening two frames, with the latter won by a game-high 130 break.

Despite making a 51 break in frame four and scoring at least 30 points in all of the last four frames, Zhou prevailed to secure a third round place.

"I think we both played quite well actually," said Hugill. "I got off to a good start and then there was a couple of frames before the mid-session interval that probably ended up being key to the match.

"I just couldn't quite kick on after starting so well and I had him under the cosh.

"There was a fluke in the middle of the third frame and if he doesn't get that, I'm probably in for 3-0. Then there was a black I missed on 50-odd and he ended up sneaking that frame.

"On another day, with a little bit of ball run, I could have been 4-0 up at the interval. As it happened it was 2-2 and he just got stronger.

"It was quite scrappy after the interval and I'm not sure if he made it scrappy on purpose because I was scoring well or it was just the balls that dictated it.

"Neither of us could really get going after the interval. There were a lot of long safety exchanges and the black getting tied up. That's just how it goes sometimes."

Perhaps more so than other sports, the fine margins are often imperative to the final result of top level snooker as seen in the Triple Crown events.

Hugill added: "There were a couple of clearances he made at the end to steal frames. He made those clearances and when I got those chances, I didn't clear up.

"That was the difference in the end. He's a great player to be fair and it was a good match."

Elsewhere at the tournament, Ronnie O'Sullivan is the highest-ranked remaining player after defeating Mark King 6-3 in round three and seeing pre-tournament favourite Judd Trump lose out 6-3 to Matthew Selt.