The first round of the UK Championship was action-packed. Here are the best bits from the first four days of the Triple Crown event.

You can watch the UK Championship on Eurosport, and the Eurosport app every day from Saturday to next Sunday.

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‘I couldn’t see out of my eye’

The first day of the first round saw Mark Selby take on Michael White, with the three-time world champion pushed all the way by White, a two-time ranking event winner. The 37-year-old Selby produced a total 140 clearance on the back of a brilliant opening red.

'What a brilliant pot' - Selby pots lovely red to kick-start 140 break

However, Selby told Eurosport post-match that he had been struggling with sight issues, saying:

“The main thing was to get the win.

I was just itching my eye and then next minute it was just blurry. I could see but then when I got down for the shot everything was blurry, I was seeing ripples of waves and I couldn’t see out of it.

'It was all blurry' – Selby suffers eye trouble during first-round win

Selby would win out 6-4.

A third career maximum and ‘snooker perfection’ for Wilson

Kyren Wilson would also enjoy a 6-4 win in the first round, against Ashley Hugill.

However, the 28-year-old Kettering potter went one further than Selby, producing a third 147 of his career – and a second this season – in frame six.

Watch Kyren Wilson's magnificent 147 maximum break in full

"It kind of came out of nowhere," Wilson said afterwards. "I felt in really good form coming here for my first round game but you never know what will pan out and there were numerous kicks, it made me feel a bit edgy and you fancied one on every other shot.

To then create snooker perfection shows you how topsy-turvy this game can be. I'm delighted to do it here in the UK Championship, my first at a Triple Crown event, and the third of my career, so I am delighted to build on that tally.

‘I hope you get a kick on final black’ – Wilson reveals Allen quip before maximum

However, Wilson revealed afterwards that a quip from Mark Allen played on his mind as he got down for the final black.

“I was having a bit of a laugh with Mark Allen in the interval,” began Wilson.

He was saying about the number of kicks I have had and he asked what chalk I was using. I told him [new Taom chalk] and he said: ‘Well it serves you right – I hope you go back out and you have a 140 and you get a kick on the final black’.

“Obviously all in jest. But when I got down for that final black I thought: ‘Please no kick, I’ll never live it down’. So I was pleased to make it in the end.”

‘I hope you get a kick on final black’ – Wilson reveals Allen quip before maximum

That was only the 17th maximum in the history of the tournament, they come at an average of one every two and a half years – meaning that snooker fans should have had to wait until 2023 for their next UK Championship maximum. Yet…

Bingham compiles second 147 in as many days

There was little time for Wilson to bask in his 147 glory, as 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham produced a maximum in his 6-2 win over Zak Suretya a day later. It was the seventh of his career.

Watch Bingham's brilliant 147 in full

Shot of the tournament

Snooker is a sport of patience. And Lee Walker it is fair to say takes a considered approach to his game. In his first-round slog against Shaun Murphy, the world number 125 took an average of 34 seconds per shot. It meant his match against the 2009 UK Championship winner went into the small hours of the morning and Murphy would win through at 01:42.

And it was well past midnight that Murphy produced a shot of the tournament contender, one that Neal Foulds on commentary described as such:

That is an absolutely fantastic shot. Masterful. Takes you back to the sort of shot Ray Reardon might have played. Wonderful.

“That is as good a shot as I have seen in many a year.”

Will this be the shot of the tournament? Watch Shaun Murphy's inch-perfect safety

'Nobody plays the game like O’Sullivan'

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump began their quests for an eighth and second UK Championship crown on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. O’Sullivan made light work of Leo Fernandez, coming away with a 6-0 win, while Trump, playing Paul Davison, would proceed to round two following a 6-1 success.

O’Sullivan, as O’Sullivan does, produced moments of artistry during his win, on the day that Diego Maradona died, prompting 1986 world champion Joe Johnson to comment that "nobody does it like O’Sullivan."

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‘Maradona had the world in his hands’

And after the match O’Sullivan paid tribute to Maradona.

"He’s iconic,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.

"Maradona, Muhammad Ali, Ayrton Senna, they left their mark on the world. They had the world in their hands. He was incredible. I have always said I would prefer a short and exciting life rather than a long and beige life. Maradona definitely had an exciting life.

“There’s probably 200 billion people that have come and gone in this world and there’s 10 people in the sporting world that have surpassed what we thought was humanely possible and Maradona was one of them.

"It wasn’t just the way he played, it was the passion and emotion, you just couldn’t help but get sucked into the energy he brought onto the football field, let alone the skill and the mesmeric way he did it."

O’Sullivan: Iconic Maradona had the world in his hands

A broken scoreboard that 'sums up 2020'

Thursday was the final day of first-round action which was notable for two off-the-baize incidents.

Trump’s match went analogue, with the referee Ben Williams having to keep the players abreast of the score verbally after the digital scoreboard broke, which led Eurosport commentator Dave Hendon to say:

That really sums up 2020 doesn't it, in a nutshell.

'Sums up 2020!' - Digital scoreboard fails during Trump match

'If I don't feel safe with crowds I will pull out'

That drama came after reigning champion Ding Junhui threatened to pull out of the tournament if crowds are allowed back into the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

The UK Championship runs until December 6, four days after national lockdown restrictions expire in the UK. That means that fans could be permitted to attend the quarter-finals onwards.

It is something the reigning champion Ding told Eurosport he was not in favour of and would consider his continued participation should it happen.

"It’s tough times for everybody,” he told Eurosport after his 6-1 first-round win over Jamie Barrett-Curtis.

Sponsors want the crowds in, but I don’t think players want the crowd in. I don’t make the decisions but I make my decisions. I am not sure, we will see what happens, but if it’s not safe I will pull out at any time.

"I think it’s not just the players. I think the crowd have to be safe with each other. They could be sitting five or six metres away and still catch the virus, unless you don’t care. A lot of people don’t care, but I do. People think in different ways.

"I don’t trust playing with a crowd, it’s just personal, not for every player. I want to play like this, with two players and one referee, that’s enough.”

Ding Junhui: 'If I don't feel safe with crowds I will pull out'

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21/01/2021 AT 22:51