Williams gives it all away

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Date: Feb. 15, 2007
Publisher: MGN Ltd.
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 391 words
Lexile Measure: 1990L

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Home interest at the Welsh Open fizzled out in Newport last night with a 5-4 defeat for twice world champion Mark Williams, at the hands of Scottish qualifier Jamie Burnett. Williams joined countrymen Ian Preece, Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens in losing his opening match - after battling back from 4-2 adrift.

It looked as though Williams would escape when he occupied prime position in the decider - but the out-of-sorts left-hander missed a straightforward pink to a middle pocket.

Burnett could not take full advantage, but did make the most of his second opportunity after Williams, who had already stumbled at his initial hurdle in the Masters and Malta Cup this year, again misjudged a middle pocket pot - this time on a red.

The Welshman said, 'I had my chances in the last frame.

'Overall, I played garbage. I'm embarrassing myself. If I keep playing like that I'll retire. At the moment I'm giving matches away.'

Dubliner Michael Judge went through with a 5-2 victory over Barry Hawkins, the number 12 seed who had failed to record a single win in his debut season as a top-16 member.

Judge, who accounted for the clinching frame with a cool 79 break, advances to play Andrew Higginson.

Peter Ebdon's hopes of finishing a season as world number one for the first time were dealt a blow when the UK champion collapsed to a 5-4 defeat, from 4-1 up, against Dave Harold.

The turning point arrived in the sixth frame when Harold sank a do-or-die, slowly-rolled red along the top cushion to embark on a 41 clearance with which he stole the frame on the black. Harold completed his recovery with a long yellow.

Stoke-based Harold now plays Nottingham's Anthony Hamilton, who ended a 10-match and 10-month losing sequence by edging out Joe Perry 5-4.

Hamilton, who has slumped from 16th to 37th on the provisional world list, appeared set for more disappointment when Perry obtained two snookers on the colours in the eighth frame before stealing it on the pink.

But Hamilton, a Welsh Open semi-finalist last season before the rot set in, held firm with a 119 break under pressure in the all-important ninth. Stephen Hendry, who has won this tournament a record three times, also progressed to the last 16 with a 5-2 victory over teenage prospect Ben Woollaston.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A159328166