IT APPEARS snooker legend Steve Davis will be swapping the old green baize for bushtucker trials and creepy crawlies after he pulled out of the UK Championship.
The six-times world champion has been linked to being one of the contestants lined up for ITV’s new series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here which starts next Sunday (November 17).
And his absence from the draw of the UK Championship, revealed today (Thursday) by World Snooker, will fuel more speculation he is set to follow in Jimmy White’s footsteps after he finished third in the jungle show back in 2009.
The UK Championship, which starts on Tuesday, November 26, is the second biggest ranking event in the season with the winner earning himself the top prize of £150,000. And this year’s event will see the start of a new era as it adopts World Snooker’s new flat draw system which sees the top stars play in the opening rounds.
The tournament will be held at York’s Barbican Theatre for the third year running.
Defending champion Mark Selby, who beat Shaun Murphy in last year’s final, will begin the defence of his title against promising 15-year-old talent Shane Castle from Southampton.
World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on Scottish amateur Rhys Clark in the opening round. And Ding Junhui, who on Sunday became the first player since Stephen Hendry to win three major events consecutively after winning the International Championship, will begin his bid to make it four out of four when he faces Anthony Parsons.
Joe Crilly, from tournament sponsors williamhill.com, said: “With 128 players set to go head to head, there is the potential for some real upsets in the first couple of rounds of action and we could be in for a real treat in York.”
UK Championship 2013 – Round 1 draw:
Mark SELBY vs Shane CASTLE, Tian PENGFEI vs Pankaj ADVANI, Ken DOHERTY vs John ASTLEY, Ben WOOLLASTON vs Stuart CARRINGTON, Graeme DOTT vs Fraser PATRICK, Nigel BOND vs Craig STEADMAN, Ali CARTER vs Ratchayothin YOTHARUCK, Jimmy ROBERTSON vs Li YAN, Jamie JONES vs Gary WILSON, Dominic DALE vs Vine CALABRESE, Cao YUPENG vs Zhang ANDA, Barry HAWKINS vs Alexander URSENBACHE, Anthony HAMILTON vs Sean O’SULLIVAN, Tom FORD vs Noppon SAENGKHAM, Gerard GREENE vs Paul DAVISON, Shaun MURPHY vs Lee SPICK, Judd TRUMP vs Gareth GREENE, Dechawat POOMJAENG vs Thepachaiya UN-NOOH, Xiao GUODONG vs Andrew PAGETT, Mark JOYCE vs Jamie O’NEILL, Mark ALLEN vs Jak JONES, Dave HAROLD vs Chen ZHE, Michael HOLT vs Lee PAGE, Alan McMANUS vs Joel WALKER, Rory McLEOD vs Martin O’DONNELL, Mark WILLIAMS vs Allan TAYLOR, Peter LINES vs Sam BAIRD, Ricky WALDEN vs Cao XIN LONG, Fergal O’BRIEN vs Alex DAVIES, Mark KING vs Ross MUIR, James WATTANA vs Ian BURNS, Ding JUNHUI vs Anthony PARSONS, Neil ROBERTSON vs Dylan MITCHELL, Aditya MEHTA vs Robbie WILLIAMS, Andrew HIGGINSON vs Hammad MIAH, David GILBERT vs Li HANG, Mark DAVIS vs Robin HULL, Matthew SELT vs Scott DONALDSON, Joe PERRY vs James CAHILL, Alfie BURDEN vs Daniel WELLS, Jamie BURNETT vs Simon BEDFORD, Ryan DAY vs Chris WAKELIN, Rod LAWLER vs Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon, John HIGGINS vs Alex BORG, Jack LISOWSKI vs Michael LESLIE, Liang WENBO vs Elliot SLESSOR, Mike DUNN vs Luca BRECEL, Stephen MAGUIRE vs Sanderson LAM, Marco FU vs Mitchell TRAVIS, Kurt MAFLIN vs Liam HIGHFIELD, Peter EBDON vs Andrew NORMAN, Jamie COPE vs David MORRIS, Stuart BINGHAM vs Ahmed SAIF, Jimmy WHITE vs Michael WASLEY, Martin GOULD vs Chris NORBURY, Anthony McGILL vs Kyren WILSON, Yu DE LU vs David GRACE, Matthew STEVENS vs Ryan CLARK, Liu CHUANG vs Tony DRAGO, Robert MILKINS vs Patrick EINSLIE, Michael WHITE vs Joe SWAIL, Marcus CAMPBELL vs Lyu HAOTIAN, Adam DUFFY vs Barry PINCHES, Ronnie O’SULLIVAN vs Rhys CLARK