Players with one Crucible appearance.

Peter Lines Conquers Champion Neil Robertson

Neil Robertson made a limp defence of his UK Championship title after losing 6-3 to Peter Lines in the opening round on Thursday.

Lines’ top break was just 58. Photo credit: Monique Limbos

The Australian never recovered from losing the first two frames as Lines, an amateur this season having dropped off the Main Tour at the end of the last campaign, recorded his best victory in years.

Lines, of course, has fond memories of this event having reached the quarter-finals in 2009, the 46 year-old’s joint best ever run in a ranking event.

While his son Oliver looks set to make waves on the circuit over the upcoming terms, dad Peter has proved that there are still a few tricks in this old dog yet.

It marks as massive disappointment for Robertson, though, who has peculiarly struggled since winning the first event of the season in Riga.

The Australian progressed to the last four of the World Open and European Masters but early exits in five other tournaments since September have left increasing question marks regarding his form.

Meanwhile, the performance of the day arguably came from Alan McManus, after the Scot fought back from 5-0 down to pip Michael Wild 6-5.

Wild had established a seemingly insurmountable lead with runs of 62, 78 and 68 but his lack of experience at this level was evident as soon as the gritty Scot began to orchestrate his comeback.

As the World Championship semi-finalist drew to within one frame the pair was called off before the third group of matches began, but upon the resumption McManus knocked in a 60 to force the decider and duly wrapped up the amazing victory with an excellent 130.

It wasn’t the only encounter which went the distance as Welsh trio Michael White, Dominic Dale and Daniel Wells all held off their respective challenges at the death.

Peter Ebdon wasn’t to be so fortunate, though, as the 2006 champion lost the final three frames in a high-scoring contest with teenager Wang Yuchen.

Liam Highfield similarly caused an upset by edging unpredictable Thai Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-5, also with a late flourish of a hat-trick of frames.

By contrast, the majority of the other contests were settled more easily as the last 128 reached a conclusion.

Stuart Bingham compiled a brace of centuries as he routed Adam Stefanow in a whitewash, while world no.1 Mark Selby, Ali Carter, Mark Williams, Stephen Maguire and Graeme Dott all just lost a single frame in their 6-1 triumphs.

Jamie Jones, Matthew Stevens and Robbie Williams advanced with comfortable five-frame margins as well.

It was a little more difficult for ninth seed Joe Perry, who knocked in an even ton en route to a 6-3 success over stalwart Jamie Burnett.

Meanwhile, David Grace, who created headlines in 2015 with his unexpected run to the semi-finals as a lower ranked pretender, couldn’t replicate that kind of form again as he bowed out to talented Chinese cueist Zhao Xintong.

China’s Yu Delu and Xiao Guodong also surged into the last 64 while English trio Andrew Higginson, Jimmy Robertson and Chris Wakelin emerged victorious too.

There will be a rest day on Friday before the action resumes at the weekend with extensive live coverage set to begin on the BBC and Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw. 



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