UK Championship 2014: David Gilbert keen to build on victory

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Barbican Centre, York
David Gilbert
David Gilbert will face his practice partner Mark Joyce in round two

David Gilbert hopes to salvage a poor season by building on a first-round UK Championship win over Elliot Slessor.

The Tamworth-based potter raced into a 3-0 lead, but trailed 4-3 before seeing out a 6-4 victory to set up a meeting with his practice partner Mark Joyce.

"I have had a terrible season," said Gilbert, 33. "It would be magic to get something going here.

"I haven't played well for a long time, confidence is low and I could lose to anybody at the minute."

David Gilbert's snooker credentials
Derby-born David Gilbert has amassed career earnings of £254,232 since turning professional in 1999.
The world-ranked number 34 reached his highest position earlier this year when he got to 31.
He has hit 119 century breaks, of which his highest was his 142 in 2011.

Gilbert, who has reached the last 16 of a ranking event five times during his career, was relieved to have the chance to better that record after a tense win over Slessor.

"It was a match I expected to win," said Gilbert. "But, when you are 3-0 up and go 4-3 down, it looks a bit bleak.

"I was 3-0 up and in control and I had a good chance to clear up and go 4-0. He was really struggling and, if I go 4-0, I probably win 6-0.

"After the interval I felt good but couldn't pot a ball. At the end, gone midnight, I will take it."

Victory over world number 32 Joyce could see him face former UK champion and reigning world champion Mark Selby.

"I would love to win my first couple of games because I am due to play Selby and he is a top player," added Gilbert. "It would give me a go on the main venue on the box so I can test myself.

"I might get murdered but would like to have a go just to see where I am at the minute."

Judd Trump and Mark Joyce
Mark Joyce shocked Judd Trump in the first round of the UK Championship in 2012

But fellow Midlander Joyce, who beat Ratchayothin Yotharuck 6-2, stands in his way.

"We practise together a fair bit and we are quite similar," said Gilbert. "We both score quite heavy and I think it will be a good game.

"It would be great to progress. It's a big-money event and means a lot to someone of my ranking."

Joyce, 31, reached the UK Championship quarter-finals in 2010, beating Judd Trump and Ali Carter before losing to Mark Williams.

The Walsall man said he felt in good form but knows he needs to bring his practice form to matches.

"I have been feeling that there is a good run around the corner," he said. "I have good memories of playing here so who knows what could happen."

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