SNOOKER: Wattana opportunity for Perry in the UK Championships

Joe Perry tackles James Wattana in the opening round of the UK Championship.
Joe Perry tackles James Wattana in the opening round of the UK Championship.
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Chatteris cueman Joe Perry tackles former world number three James Wattana from Thialand in his opening match in the UK Championships in York tomorrow (November 25, 2.30pm start).

Perry is a hot favourite to win. The 41 year-old is currently ranked 10 in the world compared to Wattana’s 118, but he won’t be taking his opponent lightly.

Perry said: “There are soem tough matches in the early round and I have one against James. He is a fanatastic player, one of the best break builders there has has ever been, and he won trophies when the game was enjoying a peak. I beat him narrowly recently in the Six Red World Championship, but it was 5-4 and he was in good touch.

“I’m not in the habit of disrespecting the game or my opponent so I wll be as well prepared as I can be.”

Despite his top 10 ranking Perry is 66/1 to win the title with Betway UK.

His best performance in the UK Championships - the second biggest even for the pros after the World Championships - were semi-final appearances in 2004 & 2005, but he’s confident he can go all the way this year, even though he could meet top-ranked Mark Selby in the last 16.

Reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is not taking part.

Perry added: “There are a lot of players capable of winning the tournament. I am full of confidence and if I play my A game there is no one I can’t beat on the day.

“I am playing well enough and, when I am in form, I don’t have to fear anyone. The other good thing about winning is that players you are competing against know you are not easy to beat. It puts them on the back foot. That’s all positive for me.”

The matches throughout the 12-day event are best of 11 frames apart from the final which is a best of 19 frame match.

The winner of the tournament claims £150k from the £732k prize pool.

The BBC will cover the tournament live from the second round stage.