STUART Bingham hopes replicating the English Open conditions on the practice table can propel him to Home Nations glory.

The Basildon potter, who hit the headlines during the World Championship for his outburst over the Crucible’s overly-sanitised balls, beat Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien 4-2 in the first round in Milton Keynes.

The maiden Homes Nations event of the season is being held behind closed doors as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the sporting calendar.

That involves balls being regularly polished - and the world No.11 reckons emulating that at home can fire him towards the final.

“I’ve just been playing with clean snooker balls everyday and doing things like that, just trying to make a change,” said the 44-year-old.

“On practice tables you can feel the polish on the balls and out there, it’s been playing really nicely.

“I don’t know if it’s the venue or a good batch of cloth we’ve got, but the tables have been playing brilliantly.

“I didn’t know if they were sanitised [at the Crucible] or not but I said it might be, but I’ve got a new polish at home and I’m doing that everyday.

“It was unbelievable [today] - I felt really confident and went one hundred and one hundred at the end, so I’m really happy.

“Hopefully [it bodes well for the rest of the week] - I felt nice and calm and if I can play anything like that I’ll be really happy.”

Reigning Masters champion Bingham sparkled under the Marshall Arena lights to finish with a flourish as breaks of 136 and 102 floored his Irish opponent.

But there was no crowd there to see it in Milton Keynes as players continue to adapt to the changing conditions post-lockdown.

2015 world champion Bingham is a man who relishes the big occasion but says the absence of fans can work in his favour.

“I may have probably been a bit too relaxed - there’s no adrenaline when you need to clear up,” he added.

“With no things like that it seems just like a practice session, but we’re fortunate that we’re still playing.

“I’m just staying at the venue - you don’t feel like you’re in the tournament when you stay away and I always think that it feels like a proper tournament then.”

Basildon’s Zak Surety was also in first round action on Tuesday but lost 4-1 against China’s Lu Ning, while fellow Basildon player Allan Taylor received a bye to round two after his first round opponent Mark Williams withdrew from the event for ‘personal reasons’.

>- Watch the snooker English Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport app and Quest