Snooker: No show Stevens

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The Independent Online
KIRK STEVENS, the Canadian who returned to the game last summer after a five-season absence, failed to turn up for his first qualifying match of the new year.

It is understood Stevens, who had been due to play Wayne Saidler yesterday in the first round of the Regal Scottish Masters, fell victim to airport closures in Canada, which has been swept by heavy snowstorms. Saidler was given a walk-over.

The 40-year-old, best known for his televised maximum break at the 1984 Benson and Hedges Masters, won only one match at the Plymouth qualifiers, but had been expected to play in yesterday's match, as well as the qualifiers for the British Open and Embassy World Championship.

His fellow Canadian Jim Wych supports the snow theory for Stevens' absence. "He had been practising hard and was looking forward to returning to the UK," Wych said. "I don't know which airports were closed at the weekend but what I do know is the fact that here in the Toronto area, we have just experienced the worst snowfall for a decade with two-and-a-half feet falling between Saturday afternoon and Sunday."

Stevens, who lives in Toronto, is due to play Darren Limburg on Thursday in the first round of the British Open qualifying tournament.