Snooker: Clarke enjoys `best win'

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DARREN CLARKE reckons he was due a change of luck after a succession of personal problems and last night his patience was rewarded when he landed "the best win" of his career with a 5-1 defeat of Steve Davis in the pounds 370,000 Scottish Open at Aberdeen.

"Hopefully this will be a stepping stone to something better," added the world No 87. Clarke proved an insurmountable obstacle to the out-of- touch the six-times world champion, Davis, and this victory will be a welcome boost as he continues his recovery after a serious motorway accident in 1997. The 28-year-old qualifier suffered badly damaged nerve endings in his neck after a wheel flew off a trailer and struck his car.

"I could have an operation to try and correct the problem but I've been advised the success rate is only 60-40. If it goes wrong I might not walk again so I've decided not to bother," he said.

Not even Davis' safety-first tactics could prevent a downfall that once again threatens his long run in the top 16. "It wasn't a bad day at the office, it was worse than that," groaned the 41-year-old provisional world number 15.

Davis made the highest break of the match - 55 in frame three - but missed many easy balls he would have potted wearing a blindfold at his peak.