Williams strives to keep pace

Mark Williams laboured into the last 16 of the grand prix event at Telford International Centre yesterday. "The harder I try, the worse I seem to get," said the World champion after an unconvincing 5-3 win over Scotland's Billy Snaddon.

Mark Williams laboured into the last 16 of the grand prix event at Telford International Centre yesterday. "The harder I try, the worse I seem to get," said the World champion after an unconvincing 5-3 win over Scotland's Billy Snaddon.

"If I get any worse I'll be in real trouble and the frustrating thing is that when it comes to practice I've probably never played better in my life."

Williams fears an early exit unless he brings about a considerable improvement in his game. "Billy shouldn't just have beaten me, he should have beaten me easily. He had gallons of chances."

Stoke's Dave Harold, edged 6-5 by Williams in last season's grand prix semi-finals, became the fourth member of the world's top 16 to crash out, losing 5-4 to Graeme Dott.

Dott now awaits the winner of this morning's match between Matthew Stevens and Malta's Tony Drago.

Stephen Lee, who faces a disciplinary inquiry next month after testing positive for marijuana earlier this season, insisted that his date with the sport's authorities is not affecting his concentration.

"It hasn't been a distraction," Lee, the world No 5, said after beating Alfie Burden 5-1.

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