Snooker: Davis in action replay downfall

FOURTEEN YEARS on from his last-gasp defeat by Dennis Taylor in the 1985 World Championship final, history returned to haunt Steve Davis as he bowed out in the first round at the Crucible yesterday in an almost identical manner.

This time it was the little-known Joe Perry who sunk the black in the critical frame to eliminate Davis from what was an epic match.

Trailing 7-2 overnight Davis, the six-times champion, appeared to have pulled off a remarkable comeback when he led 52-0 in the deciding 19th frame. Even when he missed a blue into a middle pocket, there seemed little danger. But Perry had other ideas.

"I knew I probably wouldn't get another opportunity so I just told myself to go for everything," said Perry, after clearing the last four reds in a superb 55 clearance for a 10-9 success. "When I got to the final black my legs were shaking. Now, though, I might just treat myself to a beer."

For Davis, defeat means his 20-year unbroken run in the world's top 16 is now seriously under threat. Despite the disappointment, he remained philosophical. "There was nothing wrong with my form yesterday; sometimes the other guys just pot more balls then you."

White on the pace, page 23

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