Methodical McManus makes grade: Snooker

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Alan McManus avoided a third successive first-round defeat when he scored a 5-2 victory over Tony Jones in the British Open at Plymouth yesterday.

The Scot, who suffered an early elimination from both the Thailand Open - where he was defending champion - and the Benson and Hedges Irish Masters, was understandably relieved to have reversed the trend. "When you've not been winning matches, everything becomes that little bit more difficult," McManus said.

"That's why I've been playing all day, every day for the last couple of weeks. After my results lately, I decided I've got to really knuckle down and put in lots of work. I felt the benefit of that out there, because I didn't miss anything easy."

Jones, the 1991 European Open champion, took the opening frame, but McManus dominated the rest of the contest. Breaks of 63, 62, 36, 48 and 53 helped the methodical Glaswegian account for five of the next six frames, to secure a meeting with Mark King in the last 32.

Jimmy Michie gained a degree of consolation for his failure to qualify for the final stages of the Embassy World Championship by edging out the Northern Ireland World Cup player Joe Swail 5-4.

Michie, who trailed 4-1, snatched frame six with a green to black clearance, recovered from 38-0 down in the seventh with a run of 67 and then compiled breaks of 53 and 87 to claim the closing two frames. He now awaits the winner of today's first-round encounter between Fergal O'Brien and the No 3 seed, Peter Ebdon.