UK CHAMPIONSHIP: Perry sails through the first round

Joe Perry in action.
Joe Perry in action.
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Big-match experience made the difference according to Joe Perry as he breezed into the second round of the Betway UK Championship last night (November 29).

Chatteris cueman Perry has been a professional snooker player since 1992 and wasted little time in beating tour rookie Billy Joe Castle 6-1.

The 43-year-old made breaks of 96, 60, 137 and 62 against his occasional practice partner, in a match played in the main arena at the York Barbican.

Perry was relieved to avoid the fate that befell world No.3 Ding Junhui – who squandered a 5-1 lead to lose 6-5 to world No.130 Leo Fernandez on Tuesday – and admits his opponent didn’t do himself justice.

“It was quite comfortable really. I know Billy, he has been down to practice with me a little bit, and I know he’s a lot, lot better than he showed here,” explained Perry.

“He left me some lovely openings in the balls, so I didn’t have to work too hard to get my chances and I took them.

“I made a few breaks, kept the pressure on and he never really settled. It’s unfortunate for him because he’s a nice lad and he’s having a decent season but it was a bad match for him and a good one for me.

“It makes a big difference being an experienced player versus a rookie in a tournament like this.

“You play them in some of the qualifiers or the multi-table arenas and they settle straight away. But there was a big crowd out there, it’s a proper arena, so I knew if I got on top of him early then he would struggle to settle.”

Perry will now face rising star Jack Lisowski in a mouth-watering second-round clash on Saturday evening.

And while in previous years, the top players may have been able to cruise through the early rounds of tournaments with minimal effort, the world No.22 says that is no longer a given.

“The standard is just going through the roof now,” added Perry. “There are always going to be your favourite and your best players are always going to win the tournaments but anyone can beat anyone nowadays.

“Players are getting in and making big breaks for fun, so it’s always nice to get the first one out of the way because they are getting tougher year on year.

“It’s nice to still be involved and the matches get tougher but as long as you’re in it, you’re still battling.”

Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.