Snooker: Wattana's quick pick-up

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The Independent Online
JAMES WATTANA moved into the quarter-finals of the Benson and Hedges Masters with a solid if unspectacular 5-2 victory over Martin Clark at the Wembley Conference Centre last night.

On his previous two visits to the Masters, Clark had managed to win only one frame, and so when he held the Thai to 2-2 at the interval a surprise result could not be discounted. However, Wattana stamped his authority on the match in the second half, as he fired in runs of 74, 55 and 49 to reel off the next three frames.

'It's always difficult to win your opening match at any tournament, no matter how well you are playing, so I'm just pleased to get through,' said Wattana, who allowed Clark an aggregate of only 35 points after the interval.

Wattana, who faces John Parrott on Friday, had been disappointed with his semi-final defeat in the Regal Welsh Open 10 days ago, and added: 'It's not easy to pick yourself up for the start of a new tournament.'

Neal Foulds made a series of amazing errors to allow Alan McManus to advance to a quarter-final tie with Steve Davis. McManus recovered from poor positions in four frames to record a 5-1 second-round victory over the world No 5.

The pattern was established in the opening two frames. McManus won the opener with a 42 clearance to the pink, after he had trailed 43-0, and added the second when Foulds missed a simple black off its spot, leaving it hanging over the top pocket.

McManus then recovered to take the third and, after the next two frames were shared, he completed the most audacious steal of the contest. Foulds, trying to win a Jaguar XJS for the maximum 147 break, potted nine reds and eight blacks before he missed a black on its spot. McManus responded with a 71 clearance for the match.

BENSON AND HEDGES MASTERS (Wembley Conference Centre): First round: K Doherty (Irl) bt D Morgan (Wal) 5-3. Second round: A McManus (Sco) bt N Foulds (Eng) 5-1; J Wattana (Thai) bt M Clark (Eng) 5-2.