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Sunday 23 September 2018

Doherty dumped out of UK

John Astley in action during his first round match against Ken Doherty. Picture credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
John Astley in action during his first round match against Ken Doherty. Picture credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

DUBLINER Ken Doherty exited the first round of the UK Championship after a final frame loss to John Astley.

World number 99 Astley led 4-2 before the 1997 world champion battled back to lead 5-4. But the first-year professional stayed impressively calm to win two scrappy frames and progress.

"It's a huge win and the biggest of my career so far. I was nervous but felt I coped quite well and played the right shots at the right time," said Astley.

"When the pressure is on, it's easy to make the wrong decisions, but I've been playing well and knew I could beat anyone."

This season, the 24-year-old from Gateshead also reached the final 64 of June's Wuxi Classic in China.

Now, he is relishing the experience of facing Ben Woollaston, ranked 32nd in the world, in the second round at York's Barbican Centre.

"I came here to watch as a 12 or 13 year-old, so winning is quite special," Astley added.

"To be given this opportunity to play in front of a crowd against a legend like Ken Doherty – it doesn't get much better."

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