GWENT'S world number one Mark Williams had to be at his best to account for England's Nick Dyson 9-6 in the second round of the UK Championship in York last night.

Williams went into the final frames leading 6-2 after playing some of his best snooker of the season.

But Mancunian Dyson recovered to level at six-all with four high breaks, including a century effort, whick kept Williams in his seat.

But after the interval at 6-6, a break of 137, Williams' third century of the contest, started a winning run of three unanswered frames.

Afterwards Williams said: "Nobody has played that well against me for a long time. I think he will feel pretty gutted."

Steve Davis will see the rest of the championship from a television monitor after his 9-6 defeat by Welshman Matthew Stevens.

The six-time world and UK champion turns pundit for the BBC TV coverage that starts tomorrow afternoon.

But he admitted that calling a winner to lift the trophy on December 16 is "just impossible".

"It's fascinating how the two players who have dominated the game in the last two seasons, Mark Williams and Ronnie O'Sullivan, are struggling all over the place at the moment.

"So if they're finding it tough, I certainly am," added the 44-year-old snooker legend.

"However, I am enjoying playing at the moment. And I've won my first match in four of the five tournaments so far.

"But I have got to do that to just to try and stay in the top 20. I'm hanging on by my fingernails to the top 32.

"However, I'm fighting hard. And it does give me a certain amount of satisfaction that I'm keeping my head above water," added the current world number 21.

Davis certainly gave world number six Stevens a fright last night. A break of 127, evoking memories of his halcyon days, brought him back to 7-6.

Had he been able to build on a promising 37 break at the start of the 14th frame Stevens may have been in deeper trouble.

Former world champion Ken Doherty knocked out his pal Terry Murphy 9-4.