Snooker: Maguire puts troubles aside to take lead

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The Independent Online

Glaswegian Stephen Maguire put aside his alleged match-fixing worries last night to establish a welcome 6-3 overnight advantage against Stephen Lee in their first-round match here.

The world No 3 and Scottish compatriot Jamie Burnett have both being investigated by Strathclyde Police and the Gambling Commission for the last 17 months after irregular betting patterns emerged from their UK Championship match in December 2008.

The case has been referred to the Procurator Fiscal in Hamilton and, within the next few weeks, they are expected to decide whether to prosecute the players, both of whom strongly deny any wrongdoing.

Englishman Lee has his own worries and is on police bail until June having been arrested following a year-long investigation into suspicious betting patterns regarding some of his matches.

The world No 25 was arrested on 11 February and co-operated with West Midlands Police. He also strongly denies any wrongdoing.

On the table Lee struggled for form as Maguire dominated with breaks of 60, 84 and 47 to put one foot in the second round for a potential all-Scottish showdown with Larkhall potter Graeme Dott.

Steve Davis is relishing the chance to upset John Higgins, the defending champion. The pair meet in the second round today with Davis, 52, by far the oldest player left in the tournament.

"I'll just have to get my Zimmer Frame out when I get back to my hotel room after each session," Davis said. "Two sessions a day is tough for any player, regardless of age. Mentally it's very tough but I've got nothing to lose."