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Last Updated: Friday, 11 April, 2003, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Damages claim over bent cue
The cue was S-shaped
Mark Williams
World snooker number two Mark Williams is demanding damages from no frills airline Ryanair, claiming his favourite cue was badly bent during a flight to a tournament.

Williams was dumped out of the Regal Scottish Open 5-3 by out-of-form Joe Swail on Thursday - and he blamed his poor patch on his damaged cue.

The 28-year-old player has already made a compensation claim against the airline.

Williams' manager confirmed on Friday he also wants to sue for loss of earnings - a Masters win could have netted him 400,000, and this week's winner in Edinburgh will make 597,200.


Out of sorts, the millionaire Welsh star from Cwm, near Ebbw Vale, south Wales exited at the quarter-final stage of the Irish Masters after a 6-1 rollover by Paul Hunter in Dublin.

Mark Williams
We have to stick to the rules
Ryanair spokesperson
He said he arrived in Ireland to find his cue case smashed and the cue, which he has used since he was a teenager, bent in two places.

"The cue was S-shaped when I picked it up at the airport," he said.

"I did well to win two matches because it's hard enough playing with a straight cue.

"I was thrashed by Paul Hunter but I didn't say anything at the time because I didn't want it to sound like an excuse.

"The bends have been taken out of it now and hopefully I will get used to it before the World Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield later this month."

Legal advice

Williams' manager Ian Doyle said snooker players have been prohibited from taking their cues on aircraft as hand luggage since the terrorist attacks of 11 September.

There is no doubt that the cue affected his game in the Irish Masters
Ian Doyle,
Mark Williams' manager
"They are put in the hold which means that heavy luggage is thrown on top of them. We will have to think of reinforcing the cue cases in future," he said.

"The cue was very badly bent and we have notified Ryanair that we are making a compensation claim. We are taking legal advice about whether we can claim for loss of earnings.

"There is no doubt that the cue affected his game in the Irish Masters. Since then, Mark has had it repaired but we shall just have to wait and see whether it affects his game in future."

Ryanair told BBC News Online it had not heard from Mark Williams.

"Once we receive a complaint we will look into it," a spokesperson said.

"But, since security was heightened at airports, we have to stick to the rules and regulations and we make no concessions as far as the safety of passengers is concerned."

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