Amateur ends Robertson's UK title defence

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Defending champion Neil Robertson has acknowledged amateur John Astley "probably played the match of his life" after he was stunned in the first round of the UK Championship in York.

The Australian had won the title in thrilling fashion back in 2020 but went down by a 6-2 score to become the second former champion to be knocked out by an amateur this week.

Shaun Murphy had tasted defeat to China's Si Jiahui on the opening day which prompted the winner from 13 years ago to state it was "not fair" amateurs were able to compete in the tournament.

But Robertson was more gracious in defeat, telling BBC Sport: "It hurts. As the defending champion you don't want to give up the title so easily, but you have to credit John.

"He played a brilliant match. He probably played the match of his life. There was a crowd, it was on the main table and he stood up to it and played as if he had nothing to lose."

Astley, 32, fell off the professional tour last year but fired a break of 119 in the seventh frame en route to the best victory of his career.

Robertson had concurred with Murphy's controversial claim on Tuesday that amateurs did not deserve the right to play on the professional tour, but saw his words come back to bite him after he was made to pay for a sluggish start.

Astley, better known for his role in the snooker play 'The Nap' at the Crucible in 2016, was appearing as a 'top-up' player due to there not being enough professionals to complete the 128-player field and edged into a 3-1 lead before he extended his advantage with a nerveless 83.

Defending champion Robertson responded with a break of 124 to narrow the deficit to 4-2, but the Gateshead potter reeled off a 119 to go 5-2 up, before edging over the line to wrap up the best win of his career and one of the tournament's greatest upsets.

There were no such concerns for 2020 runner-up Judd Trump, who saw off David Lilley 6-1 and Mark Allen was also victorious in the evening session, beating Michael Judge by a 6-2 score.

Jimmy White, a winner of the tournament 29 years ago, was unable to reach the second round after he lost 6-3 to Ali Carter earlier in the day at the York Barbican.

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