Snooker: Burnett `lucky' to meet Small

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The Independent Online
JAMIE BURNETT will face an all-Scottish quarter-final tie against Chris Small after beating Gary Wilkinson 5-0 at the Grand Prix in Preston yesterday.

Burnett was far from happy with his form in the pounds 360,000 event, however, and admitted: "I've been lucky to get this far." Burnett's whitewash of Wilkinson, the ex-World Matchplay champion, suggests he did not have to rely on a great deal of good fortune to win through.

But the 23-year-old from Hamilton was put under no pressure by a woefully out-of- touch rival whose break of 16 in the first frame was his best of a scrappy encounter.

Burnett was also far from fluent - his best break was 43 in the third frame - but he still had little trouble in running away with the match.

"I've been lucky to come up against a couple of guys who just haven't performed," said Burnett, who also took advantage of a poor display from Nigel Bond in the previous round.

"Mind you, at the end of the day it's all about winning. If I could get through all of my matches playing terribly, it wouldn't bother me at all."

Burnett, who also reached the quarter-finals of last season's Regal Welsh Open and German Open, added: "I was pleased with the result, but not the way it was achieved. I've got to improve to go further."

Wilkinson, a former world No 5, has now lost all of his four professional tournament meetings with Burnett.

Like Burnett before him, Dave Harold hardly broke sweat on the way to hammering Shokat Ali, the Accrington-based Pakistani, 5-0.

Harold meets either the six-times world champion Stephen Hendry or Brian Morgan in the quarter-finals.

Ali served as an usher at Harold's wedding this summer, but their friendship was temporarily forgotten as Harold ruthlessly seized control with breaks of 57, 87, 42, 59 and 45.

"It's difficult when you come up against a good mate," said Harold, who regularly practises with Ali. "Shokat didn't do himself justice."

Harold, whose main target this season is to return to the top 16 on the world ranking list, dominated proceedings to such an extent that he piled up 402 points to Ali's 38.

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