YORK snooker star Ashley Hugill is keenly anticipating his opening match in the Betway UK Championship today as he plays in the event as a pro for the first time.

The 23-year-old, playing his debut season on the professional circuit, will be up against Anthony McGill this morning at the Barbican.

Hugill earned a two-year Tour Card via Q School in May. He has since found wins hard to come by, although he has reached the last 64 of three tournaments and climbed to 116th in the world rankings.

"It has been a new kind of pressure for me this season because now I'm fighting for ranking points in every tournament," said Hugill. "It has been good experience for me and I've got a few wins under my belt.

"The way the tour works, if you have one good week you can win a lot of money and jump up the rankings. So I'm just trying to build confidence and go on a run.

"I know I've got two seasons on the tour so this season is all about gaining a foothold, and then next season my aim will be to get the results I need to keep my place on the tour."

Hugill played in the Betway UK Championship two years ago when he was an amateur and lost to Shaun Murphy in the first round.

This time he faces another tough challenge against world number 17 McGill, a winner of two ranking events.

"I played Anthony in the Indian Open earlier this season, I won the first frame and then he played well and beat me 4-1," added Hugill.

"I'm aware there is more expectation on me now that I'm a professional, but I'm really looking to playing in York in front of my friends and family."

In all there will be 128 players battling for the title at the Barbican, including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson.

Tickets for most sessions are still available and start at just £7. For details call 0844 854 2757 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets