Bond has another win at the last

Snooker
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The Independent Online
Snooker

Nigel Bond stayed on course to claim the final place in England's World Cup team with a memorable victory over Anthony Hamilton in the Embassy World Championship at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield last night.

For the second successive tournament Bond had a deciding-frame win, defeating Hamilton 10-9 to reach the last 16 after his opponent had recovered from 5-0 down. His previous competitive outing saw him cut in the final black to defeat John Higgins 9-8 in the British Open final at Plymouth.

"The pressure was the same as that match against John," said the 1995 Embassy runner-up to Stephen Hendry. "But there was probably more at stake tonight. Had I lost it might have cost me the chance to go to the World Cup."

The top three players in the rankings after the World Championship will represent their country at the World Cup in Bangkok this October. Peter Ebdon is assured of his place and, despite his first-round exit on Monday, John Parrott should claim the second position.

Bond should have completed a 10-8 success - Hamilton having earlier levelled at 5-5 - but missed a black after potting the last red and Hamilton displayed commendable courage to clear the colours to pinch the frame.

Helped by an outrageous fluke, the 24-year-old world No 31 opened up a 25-0 advantage in the decider. Later he flicked in the penultimate red but missed a medium- distance blue into the yellow pocket. With that error went his last opportunity of victory as Bond mopped up. Bond now meets James Wattana or Jimmy Michie for a place in the quarter finals.

Steve Davis also reached the second round, in the small hours of yesterday morning, after battling back to overcome an 8-5 deficit against Willie Thorne. The six-times world champion eventually won 10-8.

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