Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan moved into the second round of the UK Championship with a 6-3 win over Welsh schoolboy Jackson Page.
O’Sullivan rattled off breaks of 80 and 117 to lead 2-0 and, despite a gutsy response from 16-year-old Page to draw level, the Englishman’s quality and experience told as he eased to victory.
“He’s a fantastic talent and a raw talent with a great temperament,” O’Sullivan said of his opponent.
“The kid has something about him.”
Fellow former champions Jimmy White, Neil Robertson and Mark Williams also progressed.
But O’Sullivan was the headline act on a night when the York Barbican was the busiest it has been in the opening three days
Page played fearlessly throughout, particularly in getting back to 2-2 after his opponent’s blistering start.
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The amateur had chances against his “idol” in the fifth and sixth frame, but O’Sullivan took both and then moved to within a frame of victory.
Page responded with a nerveless break of 65 to get back to 5-3, but O’Sullivan got over the line with a classy 105.
“He is by far the best British junior I have seen,” O’Sullivan said. “He has things to work on but once he does he will be very dangerous. I played OK, but it was nothing special.”
Page said: “Playing Ronnie was great. He ran away with it in the end, but I suppose I will take 6-3. A lot of people thought I would get battered but I competed. I didn’t want to get hammered.”
Whirlwind breezes past Carter
Earlier, White – who first played in this tournament 36 years ago – earned a shock 6-2 victory over world number 14 Ali Carter.
The 55-year-old is only competing on the tour after getting an invitational card having lost his place last season.
He was 2-1 down, but the 1992 champion won five frames in a row, including a brilliant 128 break, to progress.
“Ali is world class, but if I play well I can beat anyone,” White said. “I knew I had to play well and I did. It was scrappy in the first few frames, but if I get a chance I know how to win.”
White, now ranked 114 in the world, will play Norway’s Kurt Maflin in the next round on Saturday.
Robertson races through
Two-time champion Robertson also made it into round two after scoring three successive centuries on his way to a crushing 6-1 win over Englishman Rod Lawler.
The 35-year-old Australian, the tournament winner in 2013 and 2015, took a scrappy opener but then settled.
He hit breaks of 62, 118, 126 and 101 to go 5-0 up and got over the line despite some stubborn resistance.
“I played very well and I was really efficient in the balls,” Robertson said. “I lost concentration and focus a little bit but got it back and am safely through.”
Earlier, another two-time champion Mark Williams raced to a 6-0 win over Paul Davison before revealing he may have to pull out of the event because his wife Jo is ill in hospital.More sports information please click here