James Cahill
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James Cahill Claims Another UK Scalp

The love affair of James Cahill with the UK Championship continued after he upset David Gilbert in the opening round on day one in York.

The young Englishman famously beat Ding Junhui in the third round when he was still only 18 a few years ago and repeated the giant killing trick in 2018 when he ousted then world number one Mark Selby as an amateur.

Now back on the Main Tour as a full professional, Cahill hadn’t achieved much since creating mega headlines at the Crucible Theatre in April when he shocked Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last 32.

But the 23 year-old apparently has a soft spot for the Barbican Centre, highlighted by another landmark victory over the top 16’s Gilbert.

The latter had been an outside tip for glory for many pundits after a terrific year and a half that has seen him rise into the higher ranks amid guaranteeing himself a berth in January’s prestigious Masters.

However, Gilbert knew that he was running into a James Cahill in form when his countryman raced in front with breaks of 81 and 130.

Gilbert did well to respond in kind and restore parity at the mid-session interval and even took a 3-2 lead before his opponent won four out of the last five frames to advance to the last 64.

The majority of the other high profile players in action managed to safely negotiate their initial hurdles.

John Higgins put right an unusual statistic that had seen him fail to beat Peter Lines in any match since 1994 – hammering him with a comprehensive 6-0 whitewash.

That one-sided scoreline was matched by Neil Robertson, who thumped Alex Borg in quick fashion.

Former regular Triple Crown event contenders Ali Carter and Matthew Stevens, who famously won his only ranking title at the 2003 UK Championship, earned 6-0 victories too.

Carter is bidding for a strong run in this event in order to gain a lucrative spot at the Alexandra Palace in the New Year.

It was harder for 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham, who despite only tallying two breaks above 50 still managed to overcome Lei Peifan by a couple of frames.

The runner-up in York four years ago was Liang Wenbo, and the Chinese cueist managed to survive a gruelling battle with Dominic Dale that lasted the distance.

Liang’s countrymen Zhao Xintong, Tian Pengfei, Li Hang, and Lu Ning all progressed to the second round as well but there was defeat for Zhang Anda against Daniel Wells.

Michael Holt and Anthony McGill recorded respective 6-1 successes over Adam Stefanow and Mitchell Mann.

The two last games to finish on Tuesday both ended 6-5, with Luca Brecel and Jackson Page both squandering 5-3 leads in defeats to Nigel Bond and Noppon Saengkham respectively.

Among those entering the fray on Wednesday are a number of former UK champions, including Selby, Ding, Mark Williams, and Stephen Maguire.

Live coverage is on the BBC (from Saturday) and Eurosport.

Click here to view the UK Championship draw (Times: CET)

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