Snooker legend Mark Williams has issued a grovelling apology after embarrassingly falling asleep during a match at the UK Championship.

The three-time world champion nodded off in his chair as he was beaten 6-5 by Anthony Hamilton in the second round of the Triple Crown event in York.

Williams, 46, was 3-2 up when he took the impromptu snooze and blamed his tiredness on the after-effects of Covid-19.

The two-time UK champion missed the European Masters and English Open after contracting the virus in October before returning to action at the Champion of Champions event.

Williams tweeted: "I would like to apologise to anyone watching tonight, in 30 years as a pro I have never ever fallen asleep in my chair before.

Williams was beaten 6-5 by Anthony Hamilton (

Image:

PA)

"It was nothing to do with Anthony, I just don’t feel well from Covid. Bit embarrassing and not professional. Hopefully no-one noticed too much, fingers crossed cameras didn’t realise."

He added: "It was 3-2 and I was out. My head went down and I woke up and I didn’t have a clue where I was for about five seconds.

"It was a bit embarrassing but I was just shattered. I need to be playing in the mornings really, or afternoons. The more the day goes on the more tired I get.

"It’s disappointing but there’s a lot worse people that have had Covid than I’ve had it, so I’m one of the lucky ones really.

"It’s definitely better than what it was a couple of weeks ago so I’ve just got to keep going, but if I play night matches I’m going to really struggle."

Williams is next due to play at the Scottish Open in Llandudno on December 6, and the jovial Welshman joked: "It's only best of seven, so I should be able to stay awake for that one."