Allen gets Ding opener in repeat of 2022 UK final

Venue: Barbican Centre, York Dates: 25 November – 3 December
BBC coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC iPlayer, as well as the BBC Sport website and app

Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen will begin his title defence at the UK Championship against Ding Junhui – the player he beat in last year’s final.

The pair will meet again in the first round of this year’s main draw at York’s Barbican Centre on Saturday.

Three-time UK champion Ding, 36, had to qualify on Wednesday having slipped out of the world’s top 16.

Allen heads into the event on a high after winning the Champion of Champions event in Bolton on Sunday, beating Judd Trump 10-3 in the final.

Thursday’s UK Championship draw also pitted world champion Luca Brecel against Yuan Sijun on Sunday, while world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Anthony McGill on Tuesday.

The final eight qualifiers are being decided in Leicester on Thursday, with Joe O’Connor setting up a clash against John Higgins by getting the better of 2004 champion Stephen Maguire.

Main draw

Mark Allen v Ding Junhui, Tom Ford v Noppon Saengkham, Mark Williams v Fan Zhengyi, Kyren Wilson v Jamie Clarke, Mark Selby v Mark Joyce, Barry Hawkins v Ben Woollaston, Jack Lisowski v Jamie Jones, Judd Trump v Pang Junxu/Craig Steadman, Ronnie O’Sullivan v Anthony McGill, Robert Milkins v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, John Higgins v Joe O’Connor, Neil Robertson v Zhou Yuelong/Ian Burns, Shaun Murphy v Hossein Vafaei/Scott Donaldson, Ali Carter v Matthew Selt, Zhang Anda v Elliot Slessor/David Lilley, Luca Brecel v Yuan Sijun

Source: BBC