Blackpool snooker ace James Cahill targets top 16 after latest prize scalp at York
Blackpool snooker star James Cahill has his eye on a spot in the world top 16 after taking another massive scalp at the Betway UK Championship at York Barbican.
At the same first-round stage in which he defeated three-time world champion Mark Selby 12 months ago, the 23-year-old from Marton has defeated world number 11 David Gilbert.
Cahill is best known for knocking Ronnie O’Sullivan out of this year’s World Championships in the first round but it is at York that he has most frequently troubled the biggest names, and where he first put himself on the snooker map with victory over Ding Junhui five years ago.
Cahill has struggled his regaining his Tour card this year and insists he is focused on progressing to the latter stages of tournaments in a bid to work his way up the rankings.
He said of beating Gilbert: “I’m really pleased with that result and how I dealt with the situation because I’ve not had a great season so far.
“I just loving playing out there with the best players. The tables are really nice and responsive and I think they suit my game.
“My aim now is to start going deeper into competitions – getting to more quarters, semis and finals – and not falter at the second round like I did when I beat Selby last year.
“I’m still young but I’ve had a lot of experience and my aim is to be in the top 16.
“ I’m not playing to be ranked 40th or 50th in the world – I’m striving to be number one in the world, I’m striving to beat these players and I’ve think I’ve shown I can do it.”
Cahill’s immediate challenge will be to improve upon the last-16 finishes he has recorded at three ranking tournaments so far in his career.
His second-round opponent will be the winner of today’s clash between Anthony Hamilton and Sam Baird.
Having burst into a 2-0 lead against Gilbert – with a ton and a half-century – the world 118 recovered from going 3-2 down to take the match with another break of 84.
Now Cahill believes another performance in a similar vein could see him start to realise his true potential.
He said: “I’ve been playing some good stuff, but I lost a bit of confidence a while back and I didn’t deserve to win games because I was doing the wrong things.
“I’ve had some tough draws with a lot of top 16 players as well. I played Judd Trump in my last game before the UK Championship (in the Northern Ireland Open) and I took a lot of confidence from because I just missed out 4-3.
“Maybe I tried too hard after the Worlds and put pressure on myself to get to where I should be. Now I’m just concentrating on playing my game, doing my thing and getting to where I know I can be.”
Watch the UK Championship snooker LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player. Analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan.