Anthony Hamilton both hates and loves the UK Championship as he battles on in York

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Anthony Hamilton

Anthony Hamilton is into the last 16 at the UK Championship (Picture: WST)

Anthony Hamilton is over the moon about his surprise run to the last 16 of the UK Championship this week, although admits that this is a tournament he hates for logistical reasons.

The veteran has picked up three impressive wins over Allan Taylor, three-time world champion Mark Williams and Ricky Walden to set up a clash with Luca Brecel in the fourth round on Thursday.

Having celebrated his 50th birthday this year, the Sheriff is delighted to be still competing with the best in the world, but he says the UK Championship is a uniquely difficult tournament to deal with off the table.

Speaking to him the morning after his third round win, Hamilton was moving hotels again, with players struggling to find affordable places to stay in a busy York over the festive season.

‘I’d have been in bed all day if I had the chance but that’s this tournament for you, it’s the least easy tournament to do logistically,’ Hamilton told Metro.co.uk.

‘It’s just so busy, never anywhere to stay for the players, we don’t know how long we’ll be here for. You win a match and then first thing you do is get on the phone to sort out a hotel.

‘I’ve never done well here before because this tournament pisses me off because of it. You want to get your hotel set, get  your home comforts in your room and chill out, I like an easy life. But this tournament is the opposite.

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‘I hate this tournament. I don’t hate it because I don’t do well in it, I don’t do well in it because I hate it. Once you’re in the building playing snooker then it’s brilliant but everything else is a rip off and stressful.

‘I’m moaning based on the fact I’m in between matches, knackered and sat in reception rather than being in bed. We’re not exactly pampered, it’s quite the opposite.’

The Sheriff’s record in the UK Championship does reflect the fact that he does not love the event, with this being his first run to the last 16 since 1999 and a quarter-final proving to be out of his reach over this long career so far.

The veteran reckons the UK is often liable to unpredictable results – as it has been this season with a huge amount of big upsets – simply because of the time of year it is held.

‘It’s weird because I always did well in the World Championships, long matches, but you’d have thought this would suit me as well,’ he said. ‘But I’ve always thought it throws up weird results over the years, always some bad performances from top boys.

2018 D88 German Masters - Day One

Anthony Hamilton is one win away from a first ever UK Championship quarter-final (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I think it’s the time of year, the middle of the season, they can’t see the end of the tunnel of April and they’ve lost the immediate enthusiasm at the start of the season. A bit like what Judd [Trump] was saying, getting a bit stale, I understand it, I know where he’s coming from.’

It’s not all bad for the Sheriff, though, far from it. In fact he is delighted to still be in York and dealing with any issues because it means he is still competing.

‘It all sounds a bit negative but I’m not feeling that, I’m over the moon with it,’ he said. ‘I love this tournament really and I’m over the moon with it all. It’s not that easy, I’m 50!’

Hamilton’s run to the last 16 has guaranteed him at least £17,000 and will go a long way to easing any fears of dropping off the tour this season.

Clearly he wanted to continue his career for obvious reasons, but there is also a heart-warming motivation to keep him away from Q School in 2022.

‘It’s looking good. I’m not safe, safe, but it’s all going towards the goal of staying on tour, it’s going alright isn’t it?’ Hamilton said.

‘This sounds a bit silly but I’ve got a holiday with my folks in the Lake District in May and I desperately didn’t want to have to cancel that and go to Q School. I enjoyed the last one immensely and they’re obviously getting on a bit now so I don’t know how many more I’m going to get with them.

‘That was the driving force for me to get out of bed every day to get this tour spot sorted out, so that’s really good.’

Up next for the Sheriff is Brecel, who may be an unpredictable player, but is clearly in some good nick in York after beating Xu Si, Tom Ford and then whitewashing Stephen Maguire in the last round.

Hamilton is a fan, describing the all-action Bullet as the complete opposite of the style he has had to adopt deep into his career.

‘I think he likes to live a lifestyle sometimes and doesn’t get his nut down as much as he should,’ said Anthony. ‘When he does get his nut down he starts winning because he’s pure class, he’s that good.

‘He’s one of the players I like watching because there’s always something happening. He’s the complete opposite of me because you know what’s happening with me, lots of safety and long matches. I

‘f you want to get out of the house and save on your electricity bill come and watch one of my matches.’

2019 XingPai China Open  - Day 6

Luca Brecel is looking for his third UK Championship quarter-final (Picture: Getty Images)

Hamilton’s win over Walden in the last round was certainly long and didn’t see either man at their best, with the Sheriff struggling with the eye problem he has been struggling with since his failed eye operation a couple of years ago.

‘It was really bad all the way through, if I’m honest. The more tired the more it exacerbates the problem. Something I had to deal with mentally and just blag it.

‘Half the time you wouldn’t believe what I can’t see. You play a lot on memory, you don’t need your eyes as much as you might think, you know where the pocket is, it’s like radar, but it is nice to be able to see. It’s possible to play good snooker, it’s just a lot harder.’

With serious vision issues, along with back and shoulder injuries that have plagued him for years, the Sheriff does not have it easy, but insists he will not let his problems get to him against Brecel, after feeling like they did against Walden.

‘I didn’t deal with them last night [Tuesday] at all, I was like a little baby, I was very disappointed with myself,’ he said. ‘It was a bit of tiredness, I was letting my eyes, what I couldn’t see, I was letting it affect my temperament which I’ve said I wouldn’t do this season.

‘I wasn’t sitting in my chair the way I should, not in the right frame of mind, just feeling sorry for myself. There’s no time for that, just grow up for God’s sake. You’re only playing snooker, you’re doing it because you like it.

‘I woke up today up today and said, “Ant, stop doing that.” I’d rather get beat 6-0 with a good attitude than do that.’

Hamilton and Brecel meet in the last 16 at 1pm on Thursday with the winner taking on Anthony McGill in the quarter-finals.


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