Sam Craigie
Main News, Ranking

Sam Craigie: ‘I had a few tablets and hoped for the best’

Sam Craigie upset defending UK champion Zhao Xintong on Saturday, despite suffering from a headache prior to the match.

The Englishman conjured one of his career-best victories with a 6-2 defeat of the Chinese number one in York.

Craigie compiled breaks of 104, 83, 78, and 69 as he outplayed an out-of-sorts Zhao in front of a big crowd at the Barbican Centre.

“That’s a good win. I’ve played well, I played well in the first two rounds (in qualifying) – not as well – but it’s a good win,” Sam Craigie told the World Snooker Tour.

“It was very important (to settle quickly), because I didn’t feel great before the match. It did me a favour overall in the context of the match, to let Zhao know that I’m actually here. He’s that good that he could just drill you.”

“I know I’m playing well and I felt relaxed all week, but I woke up with a bit of a headache and was a bit shaky, so I just had a few tablets and hoped for the best.”

As the match progressed it became clear that Craigie had got the crowd on his side, who were delighted by his century break in the last frame that sealed victory.

“I’ve never experienced that before, it was hard to actually take it in. Every time he missed or I potted a ball, there was a big cheer.”

“I mean it wasn’t very nice for him, but I loved it.”

Craigie’s next opponent in the second round will be Ryan Day after the British Open champion ended the hopes of legend Jimmy White.

Day crucially won a scrappy opening couple of frames to gain the initiative, and later upped his level with a brace of century breaks to see off the challenge of the 60 year-old with a 6-2 scoreline.

It was a disappointing end to a remarkable run for the Whirlwind, who came through four qualifying rounds to feature at the venue stages.

The atmosphere inside the Barbican Centre was electric, with Day remarking: “I said to him at the end that he’s been one of my heroes and to share that occasion with him was a privilege.”

Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson were the other two players to make it through their opening tests in the tournament.

Allen fought back from 2-0 behind to overcome fellow Northern Irishman and close friend Jordan Brown 6-4.

Wilson, meanwhile, survived a mini wobble towards the end of his contest with Matthew Selt before emerging as a 6-3 winner.

On Sunday, there will be four more matches from the last 32 taking place.

Three-time champion Neil Robertson faces Joe Perry and 2021 runner-up Luca Brecel entertains Lyu Haotian in the afternoon session.

Later on, Tom Ford challenges John Higgins while Ding Junhui battles Barry Hawkins in arguably the tie of the first round.

UK Championship Draw and Schedule

Last 32

Zhao Xintong (1) 2-6 Sam Craigie
Ryan Day (16) 6-2 Jimmy White
Mark Allen (9) 6-4 Jordan Brown
Kyren Wilson (8) 6-3 Matthew Selt

Mark Selby (5) vs Hossein Vafaei
(Tues, Nov 15 – 7pm)
Jack Lisowski (12) vs Xu Si
(Tues, Nov 15 – 1pm)
Shaun Murphy (13) vs David Gilbert
(Tues, Nov 15 – 7pm)
Judd Trump (4) vs Xiao Guodong
(Tues, Nov 15 – 1pm)

Neil Robertson (3) vs Joe Perry
(Sun, Nov 13 – 1pm)
Stuart Bingham (14) vs Liam Highfield
(Mon, Nov 14 – 7pm)
Luca Brecel (11) vs Lyu Haotian
(Sun, Nov 13 – 1pm)
John HIggins (6) vs Tom Ford
(Sun, Nov 13 – 7pm)

Mark Williams (7) vs Jamie Clarke
(Mon, Nov 14 – 7pm)
Barry Hawkins (10) vs Ding Junhui
(Sun, Nov 13 – 7pm)
Yan Bingtao (15) vs Zhou Yuelong
(Mon, Nov 14 – 1pm)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) vs Matthew Stevens
(Mon, Nov 14 – 1pm)

The UK Championship schedule continues with the second round on the 16th and 17th, the quarter-finals are on the 18th, the semi-finals take place on the 19th, and the final is on Sunday, November 20th.

Where to Watch the UK Championship

The full 2022 UK Championship schedule will be available to watch on Eurosport and discovery+ across Europe, with viewers in the UK and Ireland also able to enjoy coverage from the BBC.

Other options are available around the world, with more information on those global networks available over on the World Snooker Tour website.

Featured photo credit: WST

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