Mighty Morris Surprises Selby

David Morris caused the upset of the UK Championship so far by beating world champion Mark Selby 6-4 in the second round in York.

Morris beat Li Hang in the opening round - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
Morris beat Li Hang in the opening round – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The Irishman was never behind as he played a superb match to overcome the world no.1 in front of a large crowd at the Barbican.

Morris, who turned 26 this week, hadn’t enjoyed the best of starts to the season as a back injury sustained in the gym during the summer hindered his performances on the baize.

However, the Kilkenny cueist proved upon his return from a one-year absence from the Main Tour in the first half of the 2013/14 campaign, when he had a string of good performances topped by a run to the last eight of the Wuxi Classic, that he had the potential to prove his undoubted ability.

Today, Morris took advantage of a slow-starting Selby to open up a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval and, where others would have wilted under the pressure of a formidable opponent coming back to draw level at 3-3, the Kilkenny cueist raised his game with breaks of 126, 72 and 79 to record what is arguably the biggest victory of his career.

It comes just days after the Irish Times, one of Ireland’s most reputable publications, published an article that seemingly neglected the fact that Morris was even in the draw.

While their overall sentiments may be somewhat true, the laziness depicted in overlooking an extremely capable competitor in Morris reflects an unfortunate disregard that is prevalent among sportswriters towards snooker in the country.

Morris will undoubtedly not care about that, though, and his success over Selby, who perhaps wasn’t at his complete best having just celebrated the birth of his first child, will surely give the three-time Irish national champion the confidence to possibly go beyond his last 16 appearance of 2013.

He will play David Gilbert in the third round after the Englishman overcame Mark Joyce 6-2 while Stephen Maguire and Mark Williams represent possible future fourth round opposition.

Elsewhere in the first session of the second round, Ding Junhui survived a battling performance by Jimmy White to defeat the 1992 champion 6-2 in a fascinating encounter.

The scoreline suggests that the clash was one-sided but the ‘Whirlwind’ had plenty of chances and, despite playing to as high a standard as we’ve seen from the 52 year-old in quite some time, could have kept the tie closer only for a couple of untimely errors.

Two-time champion Ding will be pleased to get through it having had a disappointing campaign so far by his own high standards and, with Selby out in his side of the draw, could now be eyeing his opportunity to reach a third UK final.

Meanwhile, the performance of the day so far arguably came from Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, with the 2008 runner-up knocking in a hat-trick of centuries in 6-1 drubbing of China’s Lu Haotian.

Scot John Higgins recorded a confidence boosting 6-4 win over Jamie Cope while fellow former UK champion Matthew Stevens beat Gerard Greene 6-3.

Finally, Fraser Patrick and Dechawat Poomjaeng defied their ranking positions with victories over Ryan Day and Michael Holt respectively.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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