Byline: Clive Everton
John Parrott's 6-5 win over the world No5 Stephen Lee to reach the quarter-finals of the Benson and Hedges Masters was just what he needed to renew his self-belief.
After 14 seasons in the top 16, the 36-year-old Liverpudlian has been on the slide for the past 18 months and came to the Wembley Conference Centre having won only one match all season.
The effortless fluency of Lee's breaks of 88 and 109 as he led 3-1 also boded ill but with two solid frame clinchers of 61 and 59 Parrott levelled at 4-4. Lee missed a routine red to one pocket but fluked it to another to set up the break of 37 at the outset of the ninth which, added to 38 from a Parrott error, enabled him to regain the lead.
However in the 10th frame fortune smiled on Parrott as his frame-ball blue went wide of its target only to finish in the diagonally opposite pocket.
Predictably the 30-minute decider was a scramble. Both players were consumed with nerves but after innumerable twists and turns Parrott potted the last red and the remaining balls he needed. "I thought I'd blown it," he said. "At the end my knees were like jelly."
The result may settle him, though, for his contest against Dave Harold tomorrow evening with a semi-final place at stake.