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Rocket lifts off UK Championship tilt, with Carter and Allen in action

Punters take notice, your old friend Ronnie O’Sullivan begins his bid to win the UK Championship snooker for a fifth time. Coral are sponsoring this tournament, and make ‘the Rocket’ their 9/4 favourite to win this competition that he first triumphed at way back in 1993.

O’Sullivan encounters Welsh potter Daniel Wells, who made the second round of this event at York’s Barbican Centre last year.

It’s a first-ever meeting between this qualifier and the Rocket in the afternoon session, so naturally he is a massively odds-on 1/33 favourite to win his opening contest.

Rocket Ronnie is fresh off retaining his Champion of Champions title down in Coventry, where he took on all-comers and ran out a comfortable winner.

Having whitewashed Marco Fu en route to scooping that prize for a second successive season, odds of 27/10 for a 6-0 thrashing of 16/1 match outsider Wells are tempting.

Two-time UK semi-finalist Ali Carter is back on the tour following cancer treatment, and ‘the Captain’ clashes with China’s Zhang Anda in his first round match. His illness and time away from snooker saw Carter’s world ranking slip to 15, but he has plenty of pedigree.

On top of two final appearances at the Crucible, home of the sport’s World Championship, ‘the Captain’ has won the German (2013) and Shanghai Masters (2010), plus the Welsh Open (2009).

Carter is odds-on at 2/7 to beat Zhang (27/10), who is ranked over 100 places below him.

Mark Allen, twice a World Open winner, completes the major names in action during the afternoon session of day three. A UK runner-up, losing to Judd Trump in 2011, ‘the Pistol’ has Scottish qualifer Eden Sharav in his sights.

World number six Allen, who has reached the final of the last two ranking tournaments (Shanghai Masters and International Championship), is odds-on 1/12 favourite to sink Sharav (7/1).

The County Antrim native could go one better in York after these exciting exploits in the Far East, and Allen is a 16/1 to take this crown.