After a first round qualifier, amateur John Astley faced Neil Robertson in the second round of this week’s UK Championship. The match was no contest, with John winning 3-0 to progress into the third qualifying round where he will meet Ronnie O’Sullivan
Neil Robertson was one of the favorites heading into the competition. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images) )
In the first round of the UK Championship, another big name fell to an amateur, with reigning champion Neil Robertson losing 6-2 to John Astley in York.
After winning the championship for the third time last year and winning the English Open earlier this month, the Australian came at the Barbican as one of the favorites to capture the trophy.
On Thursday afternoon, though, the 32-year-old from Gateshead was the superior player, with the world number four failing to reach his best form.
With a break of 74, the Englishman grabbed the opening frame, but everything seemed to be back to normal when Robertson won a close second session.
With an amazing break of 83, Astley claimed the next three on the trot, taking a 4-1 lead.
The greatest triumph of John Astley’s career was achieved (Picture: WST)
The Thunder from Down Under eventually showed his prowess with a brilliant break of 124 to close the gap to two, but Astley countered with a 119 of his own to close the gap to one frame.
The last frame was stretched out, with the underdog gaining a significant lead before Robertson attempted to recover from requiring a snooker. He got one, but Astley crossed the finish line first to secure a legendary triumph.
Incredibly, the last time Robertson came to the UK Championship as defending champion, in 2016, he was defeated in the first round by an amateur player, Peter Lines, with a score of 6-3.
Snooker is another popular sport.
Astley had already competed on the pro tour twice, and this is his eighth participation in the UK Championship, albeit it is just his second triumph.
In 2013, he won his first match, defeating Ken Doherty, a former world champion, in the first round.
His greatest performance in a professional competition occurred at the 2016 Riga Masters, when he reached the quarterfinals after defeating Joe Perry, Andy Hicks, and Jimmy Robertson before falling to Mark Williams.
After defeating the reigning champion, Astley will meet Mark Joyce in the last 64, where he will be full of confidence.
After Shaun Murphy was defeated 6-5 by Si Jiahui on Tuesday, and criticized their presence in the event, amateur victories have been the narrative of the UK Championship so far.
Ironically, Robertson echoed Murphy’s sentiments, saying that amateurs should not compete in professional competitions.
‘I completely understand Shaun’s point of view,’ Robertson told the. ‘When you play one of the Chinese lads, some of them are amateurs, but some of them are as good as anybody in the world’s top 50.’
‘Amateurs are under a different kind of strain since they aren’t fighting for ranking points.
‘They’re practically getting a free whack at a pro, so I absolutely agree with Shaun’s assessment of the situation, since it’s quite hazardous.’
Ronnie O’Sullivan advises Shaun Murphy to ‘find a job’ because he’s ‘in pieces.’
After winning the UK Championship, Ronnie O’Sullivan offered Michael White ‘free of charge assistance.’
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