JAMES CAHILL pulled off a surprise 6-0 win over the vastly experienced Mark King to reach the last 64 of the Coral UK Championship in York on Wednesday.
Cahill, 18, thus virtually doubled his prize money for the season having earned just over £3,000 so far in the campaign coming into the event.
The Blackpool potter turned professional last year and is still finding his way on tour. He pulled off a notable win over John Higgins at this season’s Paul Hunter Classic and his victory against King means an initial ranking boost of 13 places in the latest standings but, more importantly, is an injection of confidence as he battles to keep his main tour place.
“I knew it would be hard,” Cahill said. “I didn’t have the greatest first season so in my second season I’ve had to make two years up. PTCs this year are a good way for me to stay on so in these tournaments I’ll try and do the best I can and see how far I can get.
“Everyone loves travelling. Sometimes you think you’d rather play at home, because you can go away quite a lot, but we’re so fortunate to travel and do what we do. There’s a lot who would like to do what we do. You just have to embrace it.
“You’re learning all the time. Sometimes you don’t even realise what you’re learning – you just are.
“It’s that experience that you need. You pick things up without knowing it. I played here last year so I know what to expect this year. If I play well I feel like I can compete with the best.
Cahill has a famous snooker uncle – Stephen Hendry, through his mother’s family – but wants to make a name in his own right.
“He’s given me some tips,” Cahill said. “He’s helped me but hasn’t given me everything. I’ve worked a lot on my own and I have to than my mum as well for what she’s done for me.”
After shading a couple of close opening frames against King, Cahill made an 84 clearance for 3-0 and never looked back.
“I didn’t expect to beat him 6-0 but snooker can go like that sometimes,” he said. “It’s nice to play well in these tournaments. You come here trying to find form.”
As a new face makes his way, one of snooker’s most recognisable stars proved he still has plenty to contribute as Jimmy White, UK champion in 1992, defeated Dave Harold 6-2.
White received a loud ovation from a sizable Barbican crowd and highlighted his victory with a run of 110 in the sixth frame.
The 52 year-old Whirlwind now plays twice UK champion Ding Junhui, a 6-0 winner over John Sutton, in the last 64 on Saturday.
“I’m up for that. This is what I play the game for, to play the top players. It’s good to have a crack at him. I’m playing OK – it’s just about getting it together on the day.”
Ding was not put under much pressure by Sutton but is looking forward to a meeting with a snooker legend.
“I watched a lot of Jimmy White when I was a little boy. He has a lot of fans in China. He used to play very quick and also was spinning the white very nicely with side,” said Ding, who won the title in 2005 and 2009.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.