Snooker: Hendry hits high note in humbling local hero

STEPHEN HENDRY reached the last 16 of the British Open last night with a vintage display against the local favourite Andy Hicks.

For the second successive match at the Plymouth Pavilions Hendry scored a 5-0 victory, with Hicks going the same way as Dave Finbow. "It's rare for me to play two good matches together this season," said Hendry, hoping to produce a similar performance against Dave Harold today.

"Apart from the way I played in Thailand this is probably the best snooker I've produced all season. Now I want to keep the run going then hopefully I can go to Sheffield [for the World Championships] in the best possible shape," Hendry added.

Hicks received a heroes welcome at the Devon venue but Hendry is too experienced to be worried by a partisan crowd.

Also through is Dominic Dale who beat the giant-killer Mark Gray, the world No 150. Gray, a 5-4 winner over the six-times World Championship runner-up Jimmy White in the previous round, lost 5-3 to Dale, who now meets Neal Foulds.

Dale, the world No 54 and an underdog when he beat John Higgins to win the Grand Prix title in Bournemouth last October, said: "Now I know how John felt. Today was probably the first time since the Grand Prix I've got to the third round and been favourite to win.''