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Live Snooker on Thursday: UK Championship 2017 Day Three preview and order of play

Neil Robertson of Australia looks on (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The opening round of the 2017 UK Championship draws to a close on Thursday, with no fewer than five former champions taking to the baize in York.

With Ding Junhui having already bitten the dust at the first hurdle, the top seeds will be wary of avoiding the same fate at the hands of minnow opposition.

Ronnie O'Sullivan begins his latest quest for a record-equalling sixth UK Championship title with a clash against 16-year-old debutant Jackson Page.

O'Sullivan is the joint second most successful player in the history of the Triple Crown tournament alongside Stephen Hendry and is bidding to equal the record tally set by Steve Davis.

The Rocket has enjoyed a superb season so far, claiming the English Open and Shanghai Masters titles to take his career ranking silverware total to 30 and move back up to fourth in the Order of Merit.

Welsh ace Page is the current Under-18 World Champion and burst onto the scene at the Welsh Open earlier this year - where he reached the Third Round before losing to Judd Trump.

Two-time champion Neil Robertson aims to advance through a gruelling opener against Liverpool's Rod Lawler in the afternoon session.

Robertson is a player under immense pressure heading in to the tournament as he aims to defend his winning prize money from 2015 and avoid dropping out of the world's top 16 prior to the cut off for January's Masters.

He faces one of the sport's most methodical tacticians who notably reached the Last 16 here in 2014 but is in the midst of a poor run of form, having lost in the First Round of his last six ranking event appearances.

Mark Williams of Wales reacts (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Mark Williams makes a brisk return to action just days after his emotional Northern Ireland Open triumph as he takes on local cueist Paul Davison in the morning session.

Williams rolled back the years to claim his 19th career ranking title in Belfast on Sunday and will be determined to pick up from where he left off as he faces York's very own Davison.

Williams' fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens, who won this title back in 2003, aims to ignite a resurgent run by overcoming world number 85 Hammah Miah.

Jimmy White, the oldest player on the professional tour and UK Champion 25 years ago, looks to turn back the clock in an attempt to cause an upset against two-time world finalist Ali Carter.

White reached the Last 32 of the recent Northern Ireland Open, while Carter's best run so far this term has seen him make the Semi-Finals of the China Championship in August.

Top 16 star Liang Wenbo, beaten finalist here two years ago, opens up with a clash against Leeds-based Sanderson Lam - who has lost in Round One in his two previous UK Championship campaigns.

Former China Open finalist Gary Wilson looks to end the hopes of three-time UK Championship finalist Ken Doherty in one of the stand-out ties of Day Three at The Barbican.

Former World Champion Graeme Dott faces youngster Josh Boileau, while a fascinating tactical battle sees former Masters Champion Alan McManus up against Finland's Robin Hull.

An all-Chinese encounter sees the flamboyant Xiao Guodong take on Chen Zifan, while Alfie Burden and Michael Georgiou collide for the potential right to face O'Sullivan in Round Two.

Multiple ranking title winner Barry Hawkins aims to safely dispatch rank outsider Kurt Dunham of Australia, while world number 25 Michael Holt meets emerging talent Niu Zhuang.

The action gets underway from 9.30am GMT at the York Barbican Centre, with all matches to be contested over the best of 11 frames.

UK Championship 2017 Match Schedule

Thursday November 30

Round One

5 Mark Williams v Paul S Davison
6 Andrew Higginson v Sam Craigie
9 Mark Joyce v Thor Chuan Leong
10 David Gilbert v Christopher Keogan
35 Graeme Dott v Josh Boileau
37 Liang Wenbo v Sanderson Lam
38 Stuart Carrington v Mitchell Mann
56 Fergal O'Brien v Akani Songsermsawad

11 Gary Wilson v Ken Doherty
12 Neil Robertson v Rod Lawler
19 Alan McManus v Robin Hull
34 Chris Wakelin v Lee Walker
36 Dominic Dale v Adam Duffy
43 Kurt Maflin v Alexander Ursenbacher
44 Ali Carter v Jimmy White
55 Michael Holt v Niu Zhuang

3 Li Hang v Gerard Greene
4 Robert Milkins v Chen Zhe
49 Ronnie O'Sullivan v Jackson Page
50 Alfie Burden v Michael Georgiou
53 Barry Hawkins v Kurt Dunham
54 Matthew Stevens v Hammad Miah
61 Xiao Guodong v Chen Zifan
62 Tom Ford v Eden Sharav

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Live Snooker on Thursday: UK Championship 2017 Day Three preview and order of play

The opening round of the 2017 UK Championship draws to a close on Thursday, with no fewer than five former champions taking to the baize in York.

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