Mark Williams admitted feeling sick as he exited the UK Championship with a 6-3 loss to Jamie Clarke on Monday in York.
The Welshman, a two-time former champion, suffered from an untimely bout of food poisoning throughout the first-round contest and had to trade regular bathroom breaks for the ones he’d normally produce on the table.
The situation became so dire that he had to ditch his underwear midway through the affair, going commando for the second half of the match.
Unable to focus, Williams understandably couldn’t replicate the kind of form that saw him win the title in 1999 and 2002.
“That was probably the worst I have ever felt trying to play a snooker match,” a sick Mark Williams said, as reported by the WST.
“If it wasn’t such a big tournament, I don’t think I would have come back out after the interval. I started the match with a pair of boxer shorts and by frame three I didn’t have them any more. If you see a pair in the bin, they’re mine.”
Clarke duly took advantage of the unfortunate situation to reach the last 16 of the UK Championship for the first time in his career.
The 28 year-old’s victory means that six out of the first twelve encounters in this year’s edition at the Barbican Centre have been won by qualifiers.
Zhou Yuelong also advanced on day three after lasting the distance in a high-scoring 6-5 thriller against former World Cup winning partner Yan Bingtao.
Seeds Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stuart Bingham comfortably survived their initial challenges, however.
O’Sullivan, bidding for a record eighth UK crown and in top form after recent successes in the Hong Kong Masters and the Champion of Champions, overcame Matthew Stevens 6-2.
The Rocket later said that he feels like an “imposter” out there, but he conjured runs of 107, 102, 94, 81, and 73 to secure a comprehensive win.
Bingham also triumphed with a 6-2 scoreline, contributing four half-century breaks in a mostly straightforward defeat of Liam Highfield.
The remaining ties from the last 32 take place on Tuesday with another batch of four matches to be played.
Mark Selby enters the fray in an intriguing contest against Hossein Vafaei, while 2008 winner Shaun Murphy takes on David Gilbert.
Earlier in the afternoon session, pals Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski entertain respective Chinese opposition in Xiao Guodong and Xu Si.
Draw and Schedule
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) 2-6 Joe Perry
Stuart Bingham (14) 6-2 Liam Highfield
Luca Brecel (11) 6-4 Lyu Haotian
John HIggins (6) 4-6 Tom Ford
Mark Williams (7) 3-6 Jamie Clarke
Barry Hawkins (10) 3-6 Ding Junhui
Yan Bingtao (15) 5-6 Zhou Yuelong
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 6-2 Matthew Stevens
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
O’Sullivan through to the last 16 of the UK Championship for the 22nd time in 28 appearances. Matthew Stevens has only made it to the quarter-finals twice since his 2003 triumph.
I’m very impressed with the set design in York. It’s added a layer of gravitas to an event that this year is feeling more classy. I’d still like to see two-session matches return though, even if just from the last eight stage.
I think even just two-session semi-finals would be nice. Agree about the set design though, the venue looks great. The Barbican has always been good, though.
I was very impressed with the Barbican when I visited in 2018.
No Scottish player in the last 16 for the first time since 1987.