Snooker: Parrott has to battle past qualifier

Click to follow
The Independent Online
JOHN PARROTT, only once a first round loser in 15 previous visits to the Crucible Theatre, clung on for a gritty victory over Terry Murphy, a qualifier from Northern Ireland at the Crucible last night, winning 10-8.

"It was a real struggle and I'm just pleased that I finished strongly," the 1991 champion said. "My long game is non-existent at the moment and I'll be working hard in practice to put it right. The worst place to start improving your game is on the M62 on the way home."

There have been no major shocks on the first two days of the tournament but left-hander Murphy from Londonderry tried his best to create one. He resumed 6-3 down but immediately gave Parrott cause for concern. Breaks of 92 and 54 gave him the first two frames of the evening session with Parrott still to pot a ball.

Parrott won two of the next three frames and thought he was "in control" at 8-6, but the world No 29 fought back to level at 8-8. Once again Parrott used his experience to good effect. His break of 78 in frame 17 was only his third half-century and his highest of the match. He followed up with 62 to put the match out of Murphy's reach.

Tony Drago registered a stirring win over the newly crowned British Open champion, Fergal O'Brien, but used his victory platform to launch a bitter attack on playing conditions at some overseas events.

Drago defeated the jaded Irishman 10-4 to keep alive his hopes of retaining a place in the top 16 elite next season. But the Maltese player said he is ready to boycott next season's overseas tournaments after experiencing difficulties on trips to Thailand and China during the last month.

Drago described a tournament hotel in Bangkok as "like a prison" and went on to add: "Whoever is organising these trips is doing a bad job. They don't consider our health or that we could be homesick. Instead of trying to save a few quid they should put us up in a decent hotel like they used to. I have had enough. Even if it means losing money and ranking points I will not be playing in these long distance overseas events. Whoever is doing this job is doing it poorly."

Nigel Bond was on the receiving end of a record yesterday but still took his place in the last 16. The 1995 runner-up at the Crucible survived a determined second-session recovery by Dominic Dale to complete a 10- 6 victory. But Dale chalked up 167 points in the 15th frame, the highest- ever individual total in a single frame.

The Welshman's aggregate came from a red, a break of 122 and 11 successive misses by Bond, one short of another record. Mark King missed 12 times against Stephen Lee at the 1997 UK Championship.

Results, Digest, page 9