THE pressure of expectation was ultimately too much for local boy Ashley Hugill as the wait for a first win in his hometown snooker tournament goes on.
Hugill showed flashes of his considerable promise but ultimately went down 6-2 to Anthony McGill in the first round of the Betway UK Championship at the York Barbican.
The 23-year-old barely got a look-in as McGill raced into a 4-0 lead with breaks of 84, 66, 105 and 108 and although he managed to narrow the deficit to 5-2, the Scot wrapped up victory with a run of 110.
It was the world No 116’s second appearance at the prestigious event, following his first-round loss to Shaun Murphy in 2015, and he admits all the additional requirements around his home event throw him off slightly.
“I feel a little more pressure playing here but it’s sort of more expectation than pressure,” said Hugill. “It’s the only tournament of the year where I have to do media work!
“There’s all that, which I don’t normally have to deal with but you do get used to it slowly but surely.”
McGill has been a model of consistency this season, reaching one ranking event final, one semi-final and three further quarter-finals.
And Hugill concedes that he was unable to live with the incredible standard that the world No 17 set in the early going.
“He played really well to go 4-0. In those first four frames, I don’t think I got a chance until I needed snookers,” added the Yorkshireman.
“I could have won the frame to go 4-1 and if I won that it would have been 4-3 by the end but he just played so well that it was always going to be an uphill task from the interval.
“One of his main strengths is his consistency. I played him in India and it was a tough match there as well, although he didn’t play as well as that. He’s incredibly consistent.”
Meanwhile, veteran Leeds potter Peter Lines edged a final-frame thriller with China’s world No 29 Zhou Yuelong.
Lines and Zhou started play in the morning session but were hauled off at 5-5 to allow the afternoon session to commence and when they returned after the evening’s matches, the Englishman did enough to seal a 6-5 victory and book a second-round tie with another Chinese player, Xu Si.
It was a good day for the Lines family, as Peter’s son Oliver also came through the first-round win a 6-3 win over China’s Mei XI Wen.
Elsewhere in York, world No 2 Judd Trump battered Australia’s Matthew Bolton 6-0 to book his place in the second round.
Trump courted controversy at the Northern Ireland Open last week as he trailed Stuart Carrington 3-2 and 52-0 in the first round when he missed a red to the middle pocket, before conceding the frame by angrily throwing his cue at the ball with 83 points remaining.
He was fined by World Snooker for conceding a frame while he still had enough points to win, and again for failing to fulfil his post-match media duties. And addressing the incident for the first time, the 28-year-old – who had reached the final of the Shanghai Masters barely 48 hours before – was unrepentant.
“It’s not something that I regret,” insisted Trump. “I think that was just a lot of travelling that had built up. When you’re not sleeping, you’re not thinking straight. I didn’t do anything horrible to Stuart, I didn’t punch the table like other people have done or bang my cue. I just gave up too early when he was going to win because the balls were everywhere.”
Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds