UK Championship Snooker 2023 Qualifying – Day 1 Tips and Betting Preview

The Champion of Champions might still be ongoing in Wolverhampton but the qualifying competition for the UK Championship begins in Leicester on Saturday as the lower ranked players look to progress in the second biggest ranking event of the season.

The system for this qualifying event is the same one used for the World Championship at the end of the campaign so the lowest ranked players on the tour and the invited amateurs will battle over the best of 11 frames for a spot in the second round.

Morning Session

There are eight matches in the morning session. Daniel Wells is the highest ranked player in the first round of the qualifying competition and he gets his campaign off to a start in this session when he takes on Mostafa Dorgham. The pick of the matches in this session sees Marco Fu going up against the former professional Michael Holt. The former women’s world champion Mink Nutcharut is also on show in the morning. She meets Adam Duffy while Jimmy White is another high profile name in action. He meets Xing Zihao.

Four other matches take place with one of the better ones being the one between the Ukrainian player Anton Kazakov and the amateur Ryan Davies. Jenson Kendrick has shown some form in recent weeks and he’ll be looking to take advantage of a draw against another amateur in Oliver Briffett-Payne. Stuart Carrington is probably better than his ranking currently shows and he has a good chance to improve it when he faces M Phetmalaikul. The other match sees Mohamed Ibrahim going up against Victor Sarkis.

Afternoon Session

Allan Taylor is the top ranked player in the afternoon session on Saturday. He might have drawn an amateur but he has got one of the better ones in Liam Davies. We have another female on show in this session as Rebecca Kenna takes on Jiang Jun. Ross Muir is another of the higher ranked players on show in the afternoon. He takes on an Andrew Pagett who is in desperate need of a result. Stan Moody has been picking up results lately and he’ll be hugely expected to get another when he meets Filips Kalnins.

Some big players are on show in the other four matches which all have professionals taking on amateurs. Peng Yisong is one of those and he meets the German amateur Umut Dikme while Alfie Burden meets Oliver Sykes. Ma Hailong will look to make it through when he faces Sydney Wilson and the other match sees Robbie McGuigan, who we saw going really well at the Northern Ireland Open recently, facing off against Fergal O’Brien.

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Evening Session

Rod Lawler is the top dog on show in the evening session. The veteran will go in search of another victory in the UK Championship when he meets the Scottish professional Liam Graham. Two more women players are on show in this session too. We saw Baipat Siripaporn at the Champion of Champions earlier in the week and she will meet Sean O’Sullivan while Reanne Evans goes in search of a win on the main tour when she faces Ryan Thomerson. The pick of the matches in this session sees Andrew Higginson taking on Alexander Ursenbacher.

Two more professionals face off against each other in this session when Oliver Brown takes on Dean Young of Scotland. Long Zehuang is in his debut season and he faces one of the better amateurs in Haydon Pinhey, whose Q-School exploits have got him into most tournaments this term. Two more professionals face off when Louis Heathcote goes up against Ahmed Ali Elsayed while the other match in the session sees Muhammad Asif taking on Duane Jones.


There is no doubt that Marco Fu is far too good to be in this part of the draw but he is still working his way back up the rankings. I guess you could argue that Michael Holt is too good to be in here but the fact he hasn’t got back on the tour and while he has won on the Q Tour this season, isn’t a regular winner on there would suggest that his consistency probably isn’t what it was and he has drawn a horror draw in an event where a few wins would have benefitted him getting back on the tour.

Fu has been in good touch this season but hasn’t always got the results he deserved. That was very much the case at the Northern Ireland Open where he lost in a deciding frame to Shaun Murphy having played the best snooker and got gubbed at the end. Even last week at the International Championship he lost to the eventual finalist Tom Ford. Fu is scoring really well at the minute though and over an 11 frame contest I think that will be the difference here and I would expect him to come through no worse than 6-4 here.


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