PAUL Davison believes the York Barbican’s home comforts proved crucial as he shocked Gary Wilson with a big turnaround to win 6-3 in the Betway UK Championship first round.
Pickering’s Davison has had a tough year so far – he is without a win since beating Thor Chuan Leong in Shanghai Masters qualifying at the very start of September and lost out to three-time UK Championship winner John Higgins 4-0 at the Northern Ireland Open last week.
But the home favourite staved off a strong opening salvo from world No. 37 Wilson and scrapped to 2-2 by the mid-session interval.
The 45-year-old said he had been bedbound with illness last weekend, but felt that gave him a certain amount of freedom to play, while the familiar environment – he trains in York – was a brilliant motivation.
“I couldn’t get out of bed three days last week. I was over the moon just to compete with Gary because he is a class act,” said the world No.95.
“Maybe not feeling great just took a bit of pressure off, I just went out and thought sod it really.
“I struggled before the interval, so I was delighted at 2-2, Gary would have been very disappointed because he had two big breaks.
“It always has been a home tournament, there’s years when I have not been in it, which hurts.
“It is nice to get out of bed in the morning and come to the tournament instead of checking into a hotel the day before or going to an airport.”
Wilson’s breaks of 64 and 126 in the first two frames were a real statement – especially after making round four at the Northern Ireland Open last week – but Davison scrapped through to win and leave his 31-year-old opponent visibly dejected.
It was two consecutive frames and a 76 break after the interval that really boosted Davison’s challenge and he admitted that the initially cold room had knocked him off his stride.
“Gary gets a bit frustrated at times, but we all do and you just have to cope if that happens,” Davison said.
“It was like an igloo in the sports hall and the heating was turned on, so I just started to feel my hands again. That made a difference.
“I felt a bit flat to start, but once I got my bite in the game I held on to it.
“In a best-of-11 you have got plenty of chance to get into it and the interval can make a big difference – they can change games.
“At the start of the game I couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo, but I felt a little bit better as I got some confidence and got some frames on the board.
“After the interval I felt a completely different player.”
As well as losing to Higgins in Belfast, Davison had run reigning world champion and 2012 UK Championship winner Mark Selby close at the International Championship qualifying event, but finished a 6-4 loser.
And the Pickering potter insisted he played much worse in victory over Wilson, but was nevertheless delighted to progress to round two this weekend, where he will face world No.27 Ben Woollaston.
“I didn’t do much wrong against Higgins and played pretty well against Selby and probably should’ve beaten him in China,” he said.
“I thought I just had to keep it going, but I played a lot worse than I did against those two and won.”
However, there was less joy for Leeds-born Darryl Hill who suffered an early exit, losing Mike Dunn 6-1 late on Wednesday evening.
Hill started slowly at the York Barbican as veteran Dunn established a 4-0 lead at the mid-session interval, despite failing to make a single 50+ break.
To his credit the Yorkshireman did pinch frame five to narrow the deficit to 4-1 but his 45-year-old opponent crossed the winning line 6-1.
There was defeat also for Sheffield amateur Adam Duffy, who lose 6-2 to David Gilbert,
Follow the UK Championship LIVE on Eurosport with Colin Murray, Jimmy White, Neal Foulds and Ronnie O’Sullivan.