Hendry hot under the collar

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The Independent Online

Stephen Hendry, the world champion, took a swipe at the authorities after booking his place in the last 16 of the Skoda Grand Prix in Sunderland yesterday.

The Scot was angry after being forced to wait for 90 minutes before finally getting his second-round match against Mark Bennett of Wales under way.

And even a 5-2 victory - during which Hendry again scored heavily - failed to lift his black mood.

Hendry was scheduled to play at 2.30pm, but with a couple of the tournament's morning matches developing into marathons, he encountered a major delay.

"I think it's scandalous and I'm sure Mark felt the same way," Hendry said.

"You get yourself psyched up then have to kick your heels. It's not only affecting the players, it's cheating the public.

"Anyone with half a brain would have put the morning games on much earlier."

Hendry, favourite to capture his fourth Grand Prix title in eight years, fell 2-1 behind before breaks of 75, 60, 58, 69 and a closing-frame clearance of 112 helped him comfortably avoid a shock defeat.

"This result is a big relief," said the Scot, once known on the circuit as the "wee bairn". "I am playing really well, but by the time we started potting balls I wasn't looking forward to the match. My concentration was terrible in the first few frames."

Fergal O'Brien joined his Team Sweater Shop stablemate Hendry in the televised phase of the event with an impressive 5-2 success over Accrington- based Pakistani Shokat Ali.

O'Brien, who later described his opening four frames as "flawless", ran in breaks of 82, 63, 86 and 66. He now meets James Wattana.