It's been a tough season so far for Pinner’s Martin Gould, but the former world number 11 is hopeful his opening round win at the Betway UK Championship can spark a return to his best form.

The 38-year-old considered packing his cue away after a sustained period of poor form, but having made the second round of a tournament just once in 2019/20 ahead of the first Triple Crown event of the season, decided to knuckle down on the practice table.

A 6-4 win over close friend Alfie Burden sealed his progression to the last 64 in York, and the 2016 German Masters champion insisted he was delighted to see his hard work finally paying off.

He said: “No doubt people have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a downer lately because results haven’t quite gone my way, so I’m delighted to win.

“I said to myself I’d either jack it in or give it a proper go so I started putting in some hard work on the practice table. It didn’t quite show in a couple of my previous matches but I knew there was something there and today it came to life.

“I’d be the first to say that sometimes I can be very lazy, but I said to myself I needed to get focused and hopefully this is the start of progressing to where I should be.

“If I’d felt I didn’t have it in me anymore I’d have probably called it quits but I’ve seen today that what I’ve been doing away from the match arena is working and I just hope it can continue now.”

Gould’s victory was somewhat more poignant given that it came over Burden, a player he has known and practised with since he was a child.

But having recovered from being 3-1 down at the interval, the two-time UK Championship quarter-finalist insisted he is enjoying his snooker again and can’t wait to return to the table at the weekend.

He said: “When the draw came out I was gutted because I know Alfie really well, but I knew what I had to go out there and do.

“I decided to go for everything in the second half of the match, and thankfully it started to click and I felt really good.

“Hopefully I can go out there and do it again in my next game now. I’m really looking forward to getting back out there and doing what I would do at my club back at home.”

Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan.