Ditton snooker star Barry Hawkins announced himself at the Betway UK Championship with a stunning maximum break, on his way to comfortably sealing his spot in the last 64.
The world number 10 overcame practice partner Gerard Greene 6-2 in his tournament opener at the York Barbican, and went into the mid-session interval on the back of the third 147 of his career to signal his intent at the competition.
And having never made it past the quarter-finals at the first Triple Crown event of the season, Hawkins admitted it was extra special to produce the goods on one of the sport’s most prestigious stages.
“It was brilliant,” he said. “To get a maximum at the UK Championship was a great feeling but it wasn’t as easy as it might have looked.
“I had the white in control for most of the break, but I started to feel the nerves towards the end. I took a deep breath on the blue, and it was nice to get it done in front of a big crowd.
“They enjoyed it but I tried not to make a big deal because the other matches were still going on around us.
“I played brilliantly in the first four frames and that rounded things off really nicely before we went into the break.”
Following his flying start, the Hawk was pegged back to 4-2 by Chatham-based Greene, but replied in fine fashion to take the next and last two to seal an impressive win.
And while he is focused on taking each game as it comes, the three-time ranking event winner admitted it was tough to come up against his close friend, who has failed to make it past the first round of a tournament so-far this season.
Hawkins said: “It was a really difficult match. I’m delighted to win but a bit gutted for Gerry because he could really do with getting some matches under his belt.
“He should’ve punished me in the third frame but he made a mistake and I cleared up, and then I went on to make the 147 which set me up for the win.
“It was a horrible draw so I’ve just been concentrating on that one and I’ll continue to take the rest of the competition game-by-game.
“You just want to get through to the next round at this stage. When the TV crews come in the tournament comes alive and I’m really pleased just to have my name in the hat for that.”