Steve Davis set for Ronnie O'Sullivan UK Championship clash

UK Championship

Venue:
Barbican Centre, York
Date:
Sat 3 Dec - Sun 11 Dec
Times:
1100, 1400 & 1900 GMT Sat & Sun; 1230 & 1900 Mon-Fri
Coverage:
Live on BBC One & Two, Red Button and Online. Latest scores on BBC Sport website
Steve Davis plays a shot with the rest
Davis, then 48, enjoyed a stunning run to the UK final in 2005

Steve Davis has the chance to relive former glories when he takes on Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round of the UK Championship on Sunday.

The 54-year-old, now 44 in the world rankings, won the tournament a record six times in his 1980s heyday.

O'Sullivan, a four-time UK champion, was Davis' victim when he won his last major title, at the 1997 Masters.

Defending champion John Higgins begins his bid for a fourth UK title against Rory McLeod on Saturday.

The Scot won an epic final against Mark Williams 12 months ago, coming back from 9-5 down to triumph 10-9 in his first major tournament after a six-month ban.

Two-time champion Ding Junhui, who won in 2005 and 2009, is also in action in the opening session on Saturday when the Chinese star faces Englishman Mark Davis.

Two other former world champions, Neil Robertson and Graeme Dott, open against Tom Ford and Matthew Selt respectively in Saturday's afternoon session.

Another highlight of the opening day will see seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, who like Davis had to come through qualifying, face fellow Scot Stephen Maguire, who won the UK title in 2004 and was a beaten finalist in 2007.

O'Sullivan warmed up for snooker's second biggest tournament, after the World Championship, by thumping Ding 7-1 in the final of the Premier League last Sunday.

Despite falling to number 13 in the world rankings, 'The Rocket' has also won two Players Tour Championship (PTC) events this season and is upbeat about his game.

"Last year I wasn't going to play snooker any more, but I got my head right and was able to play on," he said after his Premier League victory. "Now I want to play and I'm enjoying it and that's the most positive I've felt."

Mark Selby, who has risen to world number one with victories in the Wuxi Classic in China, the fourth PTC event in Germany and the Shanghai Masters, a ranking event, opens his campaign against Welshman Ryan Day on Sunday.

Judd Trump, who shot to prominence with his run to the World Championship final earlier this year, plays Welshman Dominic Dale on Monday. Dale reached the final of this week's PTC event in Sheffield before losing to Michael Holt in the final.

If Trump, the 22-year-old left-hander from Bristol, prevails in that match, he will face the winner of the O'Sullivan-Davis clash in the second round on Tuesday.

World number two Mark Williams, a two-time UK champion, open his campaign against Englishman Joe Jogia on Monday.

The UK Championship returns this year to the Barbican Centre in York, its home from 2001 to 2006 before a four-year residence at Telford's International Centre.

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