Murphy makes headway at last

The teenager Shaun Murphy, one of the game's most highly rated young players, and the pensioner Jack Fitzmaurice suffered contrasting fortunes at the Benson and Hedges Championship in Malvern yesterday.

The teenager Shaun Murphy, one of the game's most highly rated young players, and the pensioner Jack Fitzmaurice suffered contrasting fortunes at the Benson and Hedges Championship in Malvern yesterday.

Murphy, a semi-finalist at the recent World Amateur Championship in China, reached round three with a 5-1 victory over Andrew Atkinson. But Fitzmaurice, 54 years Murphy's senior at the age of 72 and the oldest player in the professional game, suffered a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of London's David McDonnell.

"It's good to get back to winning ways after China," Murphy said. "I was disappointed to lose there, but it was all excellent experience and hopefully I can get another good run going here."

The Irthlingborough youngster showed just why he is being tipped for great things by making back-to-back century breaks, including the highest of the event so far in his opening victory.

The local favourite, Richard King, was well supported as he registered his first win in the event since 1992. King, from Bewdley, recorded a 5-1 success, while a 5-0 win for Derby's Munraj Pal set him up for a third-round meeting with the defending champion, Ali Carter. The winner receives £5,000 and a wild-card entry to the 2001 Benson and Hedges Masters.

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