Snooker: Hendry's scramble

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STEPHEN HENDRY, winner of the pounds 175,000 first prize in the Liverpool Victoria Champions Cup at Croydon two weeks ago, will play Peter Ebdon for the pounds 62,000 winner's cheque in the British Open final at Plymouth Pavilions today.

Hendry's best spell in his 6-5 semi-final win over Ronnie O'Sullivan included the 53 clearance with which he levelled at 2-2. Further breaks of 78 and 104 gave him a 4-2 lead. Hendry also led 5-4 but bungled a winning clearance when responding to O'Sullivan's run of 66.

"With all the build-up, it was a poor match. Neither of us played to the standard we can play," said Hendry.

In the decider, Hendry made 41 only to fail at a black after leaving the cue ball on a cushion. O'Sullivan, carelessly losing position, made only 21 from a good chance and an excellent long red put Hendry in for his match-winning 59.

Ebdon, reaching only his first final since winning the Thailand Open in March 1997, beat Northern Ireland's Joe Swail 6-3 in the other semi-final. The key frame in Ebdon's progress to 3- 0 was the second. Swail scored first with 70 but Ebdon obtained the snooker he needed and fluked the penultimate red to start the 43 clearance which enabled him to snatch the frame by a point. He also led 5-1 but Swail took the next two frames with breaks of 87 and 50 before Ebdon secured victory with a run of 129.

Meanwhile, Steve Davis is at the centre of the latest battle of snooker's interminable civil war. Davis, Dennis Taylor, and Jason Ferguson, were outvoted 4-3 in the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association boardroom on the dismissal of Peter Middleton, who had been appointed chief executive only nine weeks earlier. The trio immediately initiated an EGM to remove the chairman, Rex Williams, and his ally Bob Close.

Close and Williams's two other board supporters, Ray Reardon and Jim McMahon, requisitioned an EGM to remove Davis, Taylor and Ferguson. The EGMs will be on 27 September in Preston.