'Mark Williams win has restored my self-belief,' says White

Former world number 15 Michael White has reached the UK Championship last 32 for just the second time.
Former world number 15 Michael White has reached the UK Championship last 32 for just the second time.

Neath's Michael White admitted his progression to the Betway UK Championship last 32 had restored his wavering belief in his snooker ability.

The 28-year-old former world number 15 had endured a sustained period of disappointing results which had seem him drop outside of the world’s top 60, and arrived at the York Barbican without having gone past the first round of a tournament all season.

But following a 6-2 win over Fergal O’Brien in his opener, White booked his spot in the third round of the first Triple Crown event of the campaign with a commanding victory of the same score line over three-time world champion Mark Williams.

And the two-time ranking tournament winner explained that ahead of the competition, he had wondered whether he would ever rediscover his best form after seeing his ranking gradually slip down the standings.

He said: “I’m so relieved because I’ve doubted myself and wondered whether the good days are behind me. Clearly they’re not!

“It was a brilliant performance. I’m excited, chuffed, and relieved in a way because I was 4-0 up and almost let him back in the game.

“He was far from his best but I can only beat what’s in front of me and I scored almost every time I had a chance.

“I’m getting back to where I want to be. The first round was a bigger match for me in a way because of the early exits I’ve had, so this was a bit more laid back and I could enjoy it a bit more. It was great.”

Victory for White sees him reach round three of the UK Championship for only the second time in his career, with a clash against 2012 semi-finalist Mark Davis next in store and a last 16 place at stake.

And having already surpassed expectations in Yorkshire, he is hopeful he can continue to build confidence and improve on his way towards the latter stages of the competition.

He said: “I like Mark. He’s a true pro, he conducts himself brilliantly and he’s been a great player for a very long time. It’s going to be a tough game for me, but hopefully it’s going to be a tough game for him, as well.

“I’m just going to try and relax now. I can’t remember the last time I got to a third round – that’s how bad it's been. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here, for the rest of this week and beyond.”

Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White.