When you’re looking to break a losing streak, sometimes it’s the little things that can make a huge difference.
It had been ten straight defeats for Scott Donaldson heading into the Betway UK Championship, but a win over John Astley in round one set up a crunch tie with defending champion and world number one Mark Selby.
Few would have given the world number 66 a hope when Selby raced into a 2-0 lead, but the Capital-based potter produced five half-century breaks to down the best player in the world.
The 23-year-old believes it was equipment issues that dogged his early season form and paid tribute to a change in cue for turning his fortunes around.
He said: “It’s been well documented I’ve not had a lot of form but I’ve had a lot of cue problems too, I shortened the queue and I hated it.
“Nobody mentions the fact that I had cue problems. It’s playing brilliant now. I won’t be changing it anymore!
“I have to say thanks to Raymond Cohen from Exquisite Cues because he has done a brilliant job with it, and I’ll stop messing about with it now. I feel I’m back to where I was last year.”
Donaldson dubbed the 6-3 victory as the biggest of his career and will face Li Hang in the next round after the Chinese cueman downed Robert Milkins 6-4.
“What’s going to happen is that I’ll have a couple of tight games. It happens after a win like that,” Donaldson added.
Selby produced just two breaks over 50 in the contest at the Barbican.
The Jester from Leicester edged out Donaldson 4-3 in their clash at the English Open earlier this season and was not surprised to see the Scot produce a fine display on the York baize.
He said: “Overall I didn’t think I did too much wrong. I thought Scott played absolutely unbelievable. Every time I seem to play him he turns up.
“I rate him very highly, he scores well and safety wise he’s very good as well. I was expecting that sort of performance because he’s produced that every time we’ve played.
“Every time he got a chance he took it and he closed the match out really well.
“If I had loads of chances and kept missing then it would’ve hurt a lot more but sometimes you have to go out there and hold your hands up. He’s played remarkable snooker.”
Selby now believes Donaldson can go all the way in the competition, so long as he keeps his performances consistent.
He added: “I can see him going deep. To keep that standard up is going to be hard but he will take some beating.
“I’ve got no excuses; I didn’t perform fantastic. It’s not like I had chances and let him in the game. He performed well throughout the match.”
The result sent shockwaves through the snooker world, blowing the competition wide open. But Northern Irishman Mark Allen, seeded sixth at the event, is not surprised by Donaldson’s display and believes the standard on the tour is higher than ever.
He said: “Scott is a good player. He’s struggled this season. His first match of the competition was his first win of the season.
“But that’s how good the tour is. Regardless of what people say, everybody can play. Even in Mark’s first match he was pushed all the way [by Basem Eltahhan].”
• Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.