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Snooker UK Championships: The ace drew a joker on the pocket dynamo

Match report by our snooker correspondent Josh Dykes. York Barbican, 4th December 2017

A peculiar start to this 3rd round tie as Graeme Dott – seeded number 30 – faced off against the current World Number 2, Judd Trump.

Trump steamed ahead with the ‘naughty snooker’ style that has famed him as a force to be reckoned with throughout the snooker world throwing down two respectful breaks of 93 and 78 in the opening frames. For the 2006 World Championship winner all seemed very uncertain as the 3rd frame started to unfold but a confident, subtle cue style led to a crisp 86 break rounding off a blessed 2-1.

Dott was now on winning form, Steve Davis said: “You’re never really settled until you get your first frame on the board” during the Selby-Donaldson match up over the weekend and this proved true. A break of 93 in the 4thframe from Graeme matched the tables and talent of Trump as they left for the mid-session interval with the scores all level, at 2-2.

Judd appeared very level-headed coming back but a lack of concentration led to a miss on a black ball bound for the bottom corner which hit the knuckle, stunting his score at a 40 break. Trump will be wanting words with the corner pockets after missing 3 long pots in this frame alone. It was hard to imagine him without the feeling of crushing disappointment after losing the frame to the Glaswegian who has never won here at the Barbican although he arguably didn’t deserve the win either – safety shots were rather wayward although credit must be given due to the superb style in which he cleared the table.

The man of experience looked to have his luck in as a poorly executed shot early in the 6th frame left Judd in an awkward place and dividends were paid. The White couldn’t have been better, halfway up the table, plenty of opportunities on the reds and a break was just waiting to be built, leaving the ‘Ace in the Pack’ wondering what went wrong as Dott slotted nicely into a 4-2 lead.

Going 5-2 down was certainly not on the cards as Dott showed confidence and played like a man with determination, pounding in red after colour without mercy leaving Trump without a shred of hope – spending the entirety of the frame in his chair and losing out to a break of 72.

‘”When it’s not your day”, John Parrott exclaimed as Trump’s attempt to pull himself out of a snooker – with the white obscured by the yellow – ended disastrously. The double error left him not only hitting the black to give away a further 7 points as well as another 4 from his earlier shot but potting the ball as well. The Black was re-spotted and just to add insult to injury, Graeme was left plumb straight on a red. A quick tidy up was all that was needed to give a break of 79 that was stunning to witness.

Post-match interviews led Dott to tell us that the match “would be great for my confidence. I know I’m playing better, I knew before I came here that I was playing better and I’d say that it’s the best I’ve played for a couple of years but it’s nice to actually go and prove it on the TV.”

It has been said that Graeme loves a dogfight but if he continues with performances like that, the whole competition could be carpet bombed as the 2017 UK Open trophy is now beyond the reach of the top three seeds.