Alex Roy became the first big-name casualty at the Budweiser UK Open tonight when he lost 5-4 against Bradford’s James Barton at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.
The 29-year-old, known affectionately as the ’Ace of Herts’, pushed Alan Warriner all the way in their fourth-round clash at the Ladbrokes.com World Championship before he was finally edged out in a seven-set thriller.
However, he never looked comfortable against the Laurel Pub Company qualifier, who raced into a two-leg lead.
Barton, who is only 22, nailed double four and 18 before Roy took out double 16 to reduce the deficit.
The next two legs were shared before Barton hit double top to move within one leg of a famous win.
Roy showed character to level after Barton missed several attempts to close out the match, but the young player held his nerve in the next to check out on 116.
“I always knew I could do it,” said Barton, who will play his second-round match later on tonight. “I was confident and I felt pretty calm throughout the match.”
One man who will not make it through to the second round is former world champion John Lowe, who was forced to pull out just a few hours before the start of his clash with Keith Deller due to family reasons. His opponent received a bye.
Shayne Burgess, who surprised everyone last year my making the final, failed to progress as he went down 5-2 against Lee Rose.