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Live Snooker on Wednesday December 5: UK Championship 2018 Day Eight preview and order of play

Neil Robertson of Australia plays a shot (credit: Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

The Fourth Round of the 2018 UK Championship commences in York on Wednesday with four former champions aiming to reach the Quarter-Finals.

Despite a flurry of early exits for some of the sport's top-ranked stars, the cream has generally risen at The Barbican this week, with ten of the world's top 16 still standing in the competition.

Four players ranked outside the world's top 32 are also among those dreaming of lifting the prestigious trophy on Sunday evening.

The first four Last 16 ties take place across two sessions on Wednesday, with defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan headlining the afternoon line-up as he faces a crunch clash with a red hot Jack Lisowski.

O'Sullivan is bidding to eclipse Steve Davis' joint record tally of six UK Championship titles and become the first player to retain this crown since Stephen Hendry back in 1996.

O'Sullivan, who has typically made headlines off the table more so than on it this week, survived a scare from Ken Doherty in Round Two to edge through a 6-5 winner before whitewashing Zhou Yuelong in the Last 32.

Winner of the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions this season, 'The Rocket' will be braced for a tough test from one of snooker's most rapidly-rising stars.

Lisowski has proved one of the stand-out performers of the season so far, finishing runner-up in the Riga Masters and reaching the Semi-Finals of the International Championship, as well as a further three ranking Quarter-Finals.

His Third Round victory over Marco Fu put him in pole position to secure a debut spot in January's Masters, but the 27-year-old will only have his sights set on a first ever win over O'Sullivan to extend his ground-breaking run in York.

Mark Williams plays a shot (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
The afternoon's other show-down sees current World Champion Mark Williams up against 2004 UK Champion Stephen Maguire.

Williams, who also claimed this season's World Open title, is bidding for a third UK crown 16 years after his last and has rarely been threatened en route to the latter stages this week.

The laid-back Welshman has seen off Adam Duffy, Daniel Wells and Noppon Saengkham for the combined loss of just five frames but faces his first real test against a player who has won both of their previous meetings in this event.

Maguire, the number 15 seed, has dispatched Simon Lichtenberg, Scott Donaldson and Ali Carter so far and is out to uphold his fine record in this tournament, having reached two finals and a further four Semi-Finals since 2004.

The evening session features a clash of two modern greats as two-time UK Champion Neil Robertson faces reigning Masters Champion Mark Allen.

A repeat of this season's International Championship final sees Robertson looking to exert his revenge after that 10-5 defeat in Daqing, which was closely followed by a 6-1 drubbing in the Champion of Champions the following week.

Allen, runner-up here in 2011, has recorded a trio of routine 6-2 victories en route to the Last 16 but has not progressed beyond this stage of the competition in his last four attempts.

Robertson came from 3-0 down to defeat Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-3 in Round Two before edging out Graeme Dott in an epic decider and is now bidding to end a two-and-a-half year winless run against 'The Pistol'.

Two underdogs in the fourth section of the draw collide as Leicester's Tom Ford faces world number 109 Lu Ning.

Ford, runner-up in the 2016 Paul Hunter Classic, is appearing at this stage of the UK Championship for only the second time in eleven campaigns after coming through last-frame deciders against Craig Steadman and Robert Milkins before denying Alan McManus 6-3.

Lu, 24, is already enjoying his best ever run in a ranking tournament since earning a Tour Card at Qualifying School in May.

The Chinese cueist stunned Anthony McGill 6-5 in Round One before defeating Mark Joyce 6-4 and dumping out Belgian star Luca Brecel 6-4 to continue his impressive run.

The action gets underway from 1pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 11 frames.

UK Championship 2018 Match Schedule

Wednesday December 5

Last 16

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Jack Lisowski
Stephen Maguire v Mark Williams

Lu Ning v Tom Ford
Mark Allen v Neil Robertson

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Live Snooker on Wednesday December 5: UK Championship 2018 Day Eight preview and order of play

The Fourth Round of the 2018 UK Championship commences in York on Wednesday with four former champions aiming to reach the Quarter-Finals.

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