Ebdon finds source of motivation

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Peter Ebdon broke through the pounds 100,000 prize-money barrier for the season yesterday and then complained about a lack of titles. The ambitious Londoner reached his fifth tournament semi-final since September by defeating Willie Thorne 5-2 in the Liverpool Victoria Charity Challenge at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.

Ebdon, whose only triumph so far during the 1995-96 campaign came at November's Malta Grand Prix, said: "I'm not complaining about being consistent, but it's about time I started tucking a few wins under my belt. You have to be realistic and say that Stephen Hendry and John Higgins have pulled away from the rest of us. That's good for me in one respect because trying to catch them is a big motivation."

Ebdon, who now meets Higgins or Jimmy White over the best of 11 frames for a place in tomorrow's final, is already guaranteed to receive a cheque for pounds 12,500 which will carry his total prize-money for the season to pounds 106,300.

"Money is nice, of course, but I'm in this game for titles," said Ebdon, runner-up in both the Regal Scottish Masters and the UK Championship over the last four months.

He missed a number of elementary pots against Thorne and was not his usual ruthless self, but still had far too much ammunition for the Leicester veteran. After losing the first frame, Ebdon took control at 4-1 with runs of 48, 58, 59 and a 131 clearance - the highest break of the event so far.

Thorne stayed alive by winning frame six, but any thoughts of a sustained fightback were dispelled when Ebdon stole the next on the black with a colour clearance after Thorne had overcut the yellow.

Ronnie O'Sullivan accompanied Ebdon into the last four when he pulled away from Darren Morgan to beat the Welsh left-hander 5-2.

In the early stages O'Sullivan found Morgan a difficult opponent to shake off and was held to 2-2 before he rattled through the next three frames in just 32 minutes with breaks of 68, 56 and 38.

O'Sullivan, who was playing on behalf of the National Deaf Children's Society, now meets either Ken Doherty or John Parrott.

"I'm starting to feel a lot more confident after a terrible start to the season," said O'Sullivan, who will be making an appearance in the semi-finals of a tournament for the first time since September's Regal Scottish Masters.