CHRIS Melling admits he is having to battle the yips after suffering a first-round exit at the UK Snooker Championship in York yesterday.
The Keighley cueman had a winnable game against Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng at the Barbican Centre but ended up losing 6-4.
Poomjaeng made a 123 break in frame two, a 113 in frame five and sealed the victory with a knock of 60, but Melling had his chances.
The 36-year-old has struggled for form this season, with a run to the third round at the Bulgarian Open his best result.
He claims it is the mental side of the game that he is struggling with and that is what cost him in York.
“Obviously I’m a little bit gutted – Dechawat is a great player but I haven’t performed all season to be honest and I think I’m getting the yips; I can’t release the cue on certain shots,” said Melling. “I’m really struggling compared to how I can play.
“You’d think I’d just walked in off the street but I just can’t seem to get over the line in certain matches.
“I’m practising hard though – I’ve got a sports psychologist who works with Wigan Warriors and Manchester United reserves so he’s obviously good at what he does and hopefully he does something good with me.
“I just can’t seem to bring my practice game to the matches. I wouldn’t be as bothered if I was nervous – I’ve been in bigger pressure situations and I’ve been fine, but for some reason I’m really struggling.
“It’s so frustrating knowing how well I can play, but it’s just not happening for me at the minute.
“I was reading up and I heard that Stephen Hendry struggled with the same thing. I’ve shown before that I’ve got it, but I just cannot let go of the cue for some reason.
“I’ve had it a few years. I’ve heard you can get over it – I think Jamie Cope had it as well.
“People watching think you’ve twitched because I’m nervous, but it’s because I can’t let go of the cue and it’s just so annoying.”
Three other Yorkshire players were in action on day three at the Barbican in their first-round matches.
Leeds’s Peter Lines took on fellow veteran Anthony Hamilton, from Nottingham, in the afternoon session although the pair were unable to finish their contest before the commencement of the evening’s action.
An attritional battle saw the pair share the opening four frames – although Lines looked the more impressive with breaks of 82 and 55 – before Hamilton pushed to 4-3 ahead.
A pivotal, 67-minute eighth frame followed and it was the Nottingham man who emerged triumphant to move within one of victory late last night.
The 45-year-old’s son Oliver Lines also took to the baize in the evening session and found himself locked at 2-2 with China’s Cao Yupeng at the mid-session interval.
The 20-year-old Leeds player won frames one and four of a scrappy affair with Cao notching the two in between.
Veteran Pickering potter Paul Davison was in trouble against Kettering’s Kyren Wilson – who won the Shanghai Masters earlier this campaign – finding himself trailing 3-1 with six frames the target for a place in round two.
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