Plan ahead

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The Independent Online
Plan ahead

The Benson and Hedges Masters is the oldest established tournament in the snooker calendar. Though not a ranking tournament, the Masters is the most important invitation event on the professional circuit, featuring the leading 16 players in the world, ranked after this year's World Championship, and two wild-card entrants. The 22nd staging of thid event will be at the Wembley Conference Centre from 4 to 11 February.

Joining Ronnie O'Sullivan, the defending champion, are Matthew Stevens, who gained his wild card by winning the Benson and Hedges Championship in Scotland, and Andy Hicks, who won his place for his performance at the World Championship and his form this season.

O'Sullivan, who beat John Higgins in this year's final, begins his defence against Nigel Bond on Tuesday 6 February, but one of intriguing meetings is between Stephen Hendry, the world champion and world No 1 who has won a record five Benson and Hedges Masters, and Higgins. This takes place on Wednesday evening.

The sponsors presented Hendry with the trophy, traditionally a perpetual one, after his fifth victory in 1993. Since then Alan McManus and O'Sullivan have held the new antique trophy.

For the second year, there will be free parking for spectators who show their tickets at Wembley's car park entrance.

Benson and Hedges Masters, 4-11 February, Wembley Conference and Exhibition Centre.

Admission: Sunday 4 February to Monday 5 February (first and second rounds): evening session (7.30pm) pounds 6.50; all-day ticket pounds 10 (matches at noon, 2.30 and 7.30pm). Tuesday 6 February and Wednesday 7 February (second round): 2pm pounds 5.50; 7pm pounds 6.50; all day pounds 9. Thursday 8 February and Friday 9 February (quarter-finals): 2pm pounds 7; 7pm pounds 8. Saturday 10 February (semi-finals): 1pm pounds 10.50, pounds 12.50; 7pm pounds 11.50, pounds 13. Sunday 11 February (final): 2pm (first eight frames) pounds 12, pounds 15; 7.30pm (last 11 frames) pounds 13, pounds 16.

Fifty per cent discount to OAPs at all afternoon sessions on personal application to the Wembley box office. Postal bookings (75p per ticket administration fee): Wembley Stadium Limited, Wembley HA9 0DW. Credit card bookings: 0181 900 1234 (up to 9pm on day prior to each session; 75p per ticket administration fee). Personal application: in advance at Wembley Arena Box Office (Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm, Sunday noon-6pm) or the Virgin Megastore, 14-16 Oxford Street, London W1 (opposite Tottenham Court Road underground station; Monday-Saturday 9.30am-8pm, Sunday noon- 7pm) and on the day at the Wembley Conference and Exhibition Centre. Daily discounts: same day afternoon and evening sessions from 8 to 11 February - pounds 1 per ticket.

Private viewing boxes: contact Mrs Sheila Mercer on 0171 243 0064.

Catering: Wembley Restaurant (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only). Bookings to 0181 902 8833 ext 2273.