Preston ace Ian Burns suffers first-round KO in snooker’s UK Championships

Ian Burns lost out in Milton KeynesIan Burns lost out in Milton Keynes
Ian Burns lost out in Milton Keynes
Preston’s Ian Burns lamented a string of missed opportunities in his hard-fought clash against David Grace, after falling at the first hurdle of the UK Championship.

Burns headed into the first Triple Crown event of the season aiming to replicate the sort of form that earned him a spot in last year’s third round, but quickly found himself behind at the Marshall Arena.

Burns went down 6-4 to Leeds man Grace, who enjoyed a run to the Northern Ireland Open semi-finals at the same venue last week.

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Burns has struggled for form so far in the 2020/21 season – progressing to the European Masters second round before exiting the English Open and Northern Ireland Open at the first time of asking, and the 35-year-old was frustrated with another sub-par showing.

“It was a tough game,” the world No.67 said. “I was 3-1 down at the interval, and I should’ve been 3-1 up really – he pinched a couple of frames off me – and I should’ve won the last frame as well.

“I’m disappointed with my performance, I seem to be struggling in matches at the moment and I can’t really put my finger on what it is that’s wrong.

“There’s a bit of pressure associated with this tournament because of the prize money involved – and that can make or break your season – but you want to do well in every competition.

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“Everything seems to be fine on the practice table but it’s a different thing bringing form to the match, and that’s something I’m struggling with at the minute.”

The first major of the snooker season has temporarily moved to Milton Keynes from its usual home of the Barbican in York due to Covid-19 restrictions, but Burns does not believe the change in location has affected his game.

And as he heads back to the practice table ahead of a tilt at the Scottish Open back in Buckinghamshire next month, Burns hopes he will be able to translate some of his good work behind the scenes onto the main stage sooner rather than later.

He added: “The conditions are good and I don’t mind playing where we are.

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“I don’t think my form has anything to do with the venue, I’m working on myself and hopefully there are some wins around the corner.

“I’ll get back on the practice table and then I’ll be back down in Milton Keynes for the Scottish Open. I’ll keep working hard, and hopefully some results will come my way soon.”

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