Gould through despite poor display

Martin Gould says he has reached the last 16 of snooker’s UK Championship despite playing “absolute garbage”.

The Pinner Potter survived a mini-slump in the previous round on Tuesday to overcome Iranian Hossein Vafaei 6-4, having been 5-2 up.

“It was a weird one, not really a free-flowing scoring game,” Gould said.

“It was very scrappy to start off with. After the interval, I started to play a bit better and got to 5-2, then fell apart like the Norwich City defence.

“It just felt like I couldn’t pot a ball for two frames. When he missed the yellow [in the 10th frame], I tried to fully go for it. Thankfully, I cleared up.”

World number 18 Gould now faces China’s Xiao Guodong on Thursday and is the sixth highest ranked player left in the tournament after several high-profile exits.

Victory could set up a quarter-final with Ronnie O’Sullivan but Gould says he must improve to go further at the York Barbican.

“I’m in the last 16 and I’ve played absolute garbage this week. I haven’t played well at all yet.

“You don’t want to peak too soon, so who knows.”