Snooker: McCulloch excels on home ground
Saturday 09 October 2004
Ian McCulloch's dream of winning the Totesport Grand Prix in his home town moved a step closer to reality yesterday.
McCulloch will face Ireland's Michael Judge today for a place in tomorrow's final at the Preston Guild Hall, which is just a five-minute drive from his home. Yesterday he followed up victories over Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry by defeating the European Open winner Stephen Maguire.
"If I won a ranking tournament here it would be like my world championship," said the world No 17. "When you're a kid, it's just enough that you get a chance to play here. I was so proud when I played here for the first time against Jason Ferguson about seven years ago.
"There must have been about 500 watching today and it makes you proud that they've taken time out to come and watch you. But I'm not counting my chickens just yet - there's still another couple of matches to go." McCulloch is guaranteed £15,000 for reaching the penultimate round of snooker's first major event of the season.
His latest success included a 137 clearance to lead 4-1, but he also added breaks of 81, 73 and a decisive 55 in frame seven when the nerves began to show. A costly error by Maguire turned the contest McCulloch's way as the Scot missed the pink for a probable 2-0 lead and never really got back into the game. "I went for a crazy one and paid the price but I think today I was just a bit too cocky," said Maguire. "I didn't believe I was going to lose.
Judge, from Dublin, qualified for the first ranking tournament semi-final of his career by putting out Joe Perry 5-1. The world No 42, whose high spot was a fourth-frame century break which gave him a 3-1 interval lead, said: "That's the best I've played in the tournament. I didn't even play as well as that when I beat Mark Williams in the first round, so I'm delighted.
"Hopefully I can keep on improving and who knows what might happen? I have nothing to lose and the pressure is on all the other guys."
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on Monday but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Liverpool to confirm Sean O'Driscoll and Pep Lijnders for Brendan Rodgers' backroom coaching staff
Manchester City transfer news: City determined to sign Paul Pogba and meet £71m British transfer record
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
- 3 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...