Anthony McGill finds his form at right time in UK Championship
MISSING easy balls and losing concentration has been the undoing of Anthony McGill in recent weeks, so an impressive first-round victory at the Betway UK Championship was a breath of fresh air for the Scottish snooker star.
McGill made three centuries, and further breaks of 84 and 66, as he cruised past local boy Ashley Hugill 6-2 at the York Barbican with an efficient display.
With one ranking event final appearance, one semi-final and three further quarter-finals to his name, the Glaswegian has been a model of consistency this season, although first-round and third-round exits in his past two tournaments have frustrated the 26-year-old.
But McGill appears to be clicking into high gear and this victory should provide a timely confidence boost for the world No.17.
“I played really well, especially to go 4-0,” said McGill. “I don’t think I missed a ball – I made four breaks and he came back a bit but he’s a good player, so you expect that.
“Confidence is quite low at the minute for me, I just keep missing easy balls out of nowhere, which is why I’m pleased with that performance. I made three centuries and only missed one black off the spot.
“If you keep missing easy balls you’re going to get beaten – it’s just a concentration thing, it’s not technical.”
Next up for McGill is world No.50 Hossein Vafaei in the second round this weekend and he is keen to build on the first-round triumph.
“In the last couple of tournaments I have lost early but other than that I’ve been pretty consistent this season,” added McGill.
“I’ll see what happens in round two now – I’ll give it a go.”
Elsewhere in York, world No.2 Judd Trump battered Australia’s Matthew Bolton 6-0 to book his place in the second round.
Trump was caught up in 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 everyone has done it over time.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s two representatives in the first round were both involved in late-night marathons at the York Barbican.
Scott Donaldson’s quest for a first win of the season – he had lost all ten matches played coming into the tournament, four of them in deciders – saw him leading Gateshead’s John Astley 3-2.
World No.66 Donaldson lost the opening frame to a break of 71 but produced runs of 93 and 117 in establishing a narrow lead in the best-of-11 encounter.
And heavy underdog Ross Muir was giving Wales’ Michael White, ranked 80 places above him, all he could handle – locked at 3-3 in their contest.
• Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds