CRAIG Steadman admits it will take him a while to recover after suffering the most heartbreaking of defeats in the first round of the UK Snooker Championship in York.

Farnworth ace Steadman lost 6-5 to Anthony Hamilton in a six-and-a-half-hour epic at the Barbican on Tuesday to bow out of what is considered one of snooker’s triple crown events along with the World Championship and the Masters.

Before the defeat, the world number 81 had been having a relatively successful season – securing wins over top-16 players Barry Hawkins and Graeme Dott in the last month alone – but he believes those results are irrelevant now.

Neither Steadman nor Hamilton truly stamped their authority on an untidy first-round match at the Barbican, which did not see a single break of more than 57 points.

Hamilton was also docked a frame for arriving to the table late while Steadman was left to rue a missed yellow in the 11th and final frame that ultimately cost him victory.

“To be honest I’m so gutted, I can barely speak,” said the 30-year-old. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.

“Every frame was identical, a real scrappy affair – no real chances, just all very edgy and scrappy. When you did get your chances you didn’t really have a feel for the table.

“It felt like a big war but I had my chance on the yellow at the end – I have no idea what I’ve done.

“The last few frames I had blurred vision to be honest – with the travelling recently and it being such a long match, I wasn’t really seeing the balls properly.

“All my good results are completely out the window now – you’re only as good as your last result and frankly, at the end of that match I was absolutely pathetic.

“I feel a bit sick really – it will take a bit of getting over for me.”

There was a bizarre beginning in York, with Hamilton running late for the start of the match, meaning he was docked a frame

And Steadman admits he is at a loss to explain exactly what occurred.

“I’ve no idea what happened,” he added. “Anthony was in the player’s lounge but when we came out he wasn’t there.

“It’s never happened to me before and it was a bit strange but then he won the first few frames anyway.

“But I had my chance there at the end and I’m absolutely sick with that – I’ve never seen anything like it."

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