Snooker: White sunk by Abernethy

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The Independent Online
HUGH ABERNETHY of Scotland booked an unexpected trip to Bangkok next March by sending Jimmy White crashing to defeat in the Thailand Masters qualifiers at Plymouth yesterday.

Abernethy, the world No 152, made a mockery of past form and his relative lack of experience as he recorded a 5-3 victory over White, despite losing the opening two frames. Mark Williams, the Benson and Hedges Masters champion, will now face Abernethy in the first round proper.

"To reach the final stages of a major tournament for the first time and beat Jimmy to do so is absolutely superb," said the Margate based 30-year- old, who is in his fifth season on the pro-circuit.

"Jimmy's always been one of my idols and I'm even going to see him in an exhibition at my local club next month. Any time someone like me beats a top player you can't help but be chuffed, and especially so when it's him."

When White quickly established a 2-0 lead he looked set for a comfortable victory but Abernethy, who beat the 1986 World champion Joe Johnson in round five, refused to be intimidated. He drew level at 2-2 by snatching frame four on the black with a 52 clearance and went from strength to strength after the mid-session interval.

"It's really sickening," admitted White. "I didn't hit the ball well from the start but I'm not taking anything away from the kid.

"There was no safety play in me at all. That was the area of my game which was the biggest weakness, but I made a lot of mistakes all round. The problem is that I'm just so match shy."

Bradley Jones from Croydon stretched his impressive winning streak to 10 matches with a 5-2 victory over Graeme Dott. The in-form Jones guaranteed his trip to the Far East with a 129 break in frame seven.

Stephen Hendry will begin the defence of his one remaining title against Cardiff's Paul Davies, who edged past Andy Hicks 5-4 on the pink thanks to a crucial 34 clearance.