CORK’S Aaron Hill will play the most prestigious snooker tournament of his young professional career on Thursday evening when he takes on world number 26 Kurt Maflin from Norway in the betway UK Championship at the Marshall Arena at 7pm.
This event is a ‘Triple Crown Series’ match and is regarded as second only to the world championships in terms of prestige and this first round match will be a real test for the Cork snooker ace in a best of eleven framed format.
Hill cues it up following his heart breaking defeat to Jackson Page at the Northern Ireland Open where he led three frames to nil only to be pegged back to three frames all and then lose out on the pink in the deciding frame.
The last few weeks have certainly been a sharp learning curve for the 18 year old, but knowing Hill he will take everything in his stride and will be a dangerous opponent for Maflin if he has his game in order.
Early season wins for Hill over Ronnie O’Sullivan, Matthew Stevens and Andy Hicks are in the past now and recent defeats to Liang Wenbo and Chang Bingyu means that Hill is now in the big time and he will have to limit any mistakes against the Viking on Thursday evening if he wants to progress and pick up some valuable ranking points.
Theoretically Hill has two years to secure a position inside the top 64 to retain his tour card, but much more is expected from the Cathedral Road man and with a bit of luck he can produce some magic in this Triple Crown event.
If Hill had beaten Jackson Page in the Northern Ireland Open he would have mat Maflin who went on to have a good championship where he eventually lost out to Ali Carter in the quarter finals, so it seems the Hill and Maflin were destined to meet at some stage.
Hill who is the UK for over a month this time around because of the run of tournaments that will nearly bring the season to the halfway point.
The betway UK Championship is a seeded event so it will always be a very tough event for the lower ranked players who inevitably come up against the top 32 players in the world in the early stages, but sometime it can be the best time to strike.
Aaron Hill has the ability to play the table not the occasion and if he can get through round one this is a tournament with a lot of prize moneythereare a lot of ranking points up for grabs.
The match will be screened either on Eurosport TV/Player or match scoring will be live on www.wst.tv