Blaze at club is no hindrance to Higginson

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The Independent Online

Andrew Higginson reached the fourth qualifying round of the £440,000 Regal Welsh Open on Tuesday night despite not having a club to practice in.

Andrew Higginson reached the fourth qualifying round of the £440,000 Regal Welsh Open on Tuesday night despite not having a club to practice in.

Higginson, the world number 191, defeated Jason Ferguson 5-2 in Newport and then revealed that his regular playing and training base had been reduced to ashes.

"I've had to move because my old club, the Widnes Snooker centre, burned down a few months ago," Higginson said.

"We hare not quite sure what happened but in a way it's done me good because I play on my own now and there is no-one to disturb me. I had to look on the positive side and I think my game's improved." The 22-year old, in only his first season as a professional, now faces Derby's David Rowe for a place in the final qualifying round.

Meanwhile, two veterans and former heavyweights of the game during the 1980s, Joe Johnson and Tony Knowles, were being reminded of the harsh realities of the greater competitiveness in the modern game.

Johnson, 48, the former world champion from Bradford, was beaten 5-1 by Chester's Nick Walker, while the 45-year-old Knowles went out 5-2 to Jimmy Michie of Pontefract.

REGAL WELSH OPEN (Newport) Third qualifying round: D Rowe (Eng) bt M Davis (Eng) 5-3; J Michie (Eng) bt T Knowles (Eng) 5-2; N Walker (Eng) bt J Johnson (Eng) 5-1; T Shaw (Eng) bt A Burden (Eng) 5-4; A Higginson (Eng) bt J Ferguson (Eng) 5-2; P Wallace (NIrl) bt P McCullach (Eng) 5-1; J Burnett (Sco) bt S MacKenzie (Sco) 5-3; A Robidoux (Can) bt D O'Kane (NZ) 5-4; G Green (N Irl) bt T Chappel (Wal) 5-4; P Davies (Wal) bt A Gunnell (Eng) 5-4; J Birch (Eng) bt T Jones (Eng) 5-0; D Gray (Eng) bt J Reynolds (Wal) 5-3; S O'Connor (Irl) bt S Bingham (Eng) 5-1; W Brown (Eng) bt A Hicks (Eng) 5-3; M Couch (Eng) bt J Prince (N Irl) 5-1; J Cundy (Eng) bt J Read (Eng) 5-1.

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