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  Friday, 9 February, 2001, 01:25 GMT
The great escape
Harold rated the win as the best of his career
Harold's comeback was one of the best ever
BBC Sport's Clive Everton witnesses an amazing match on Thursday.

Dave Harold's epic 6-5 victory over John Parrott from 5-1 down ranks among the most dramatic recoveries seen at the Benson and Hedges Masters in its 26-year history.

Only Stephen Hendry's 9-8 win over Mike Hallett in the 1991 final from 7-0 and 8-2 behind out-ranks it.

Although the world number 13 from Stoke started with a break of 114, he could hardly do anything right in the next five frames.

Parrott himself was doing nothing very special until he arrived at 5-1 with a break of 79.

Harold's first priority was to achieve a respectable scoreline.

Parrott: Sick as a....
Thoughts of victory at this stage were too outlandish to contemplate.

Even when he made a frame winning 70 in the seventh, it seemed only a matter of time before Parrott would go through to Saturday evening's semi-final and to play either Ken Doherty or Fergal O'Brien.

Had Parrott potted the last red in the eighth, Harold would have needed a snooker to keep the match alive.

He could have rolled it but chose to hedge his bets by playing with more strength so that the red would wobble clear of the jaws if he did not hit it spot on.

This extra strength though, made the pot itself more difficult and even though the red did run safe, Harold cleared with 31 after a safety exchange to win on the black.

'Clinchers disease'

Although he still trailed 5-3, the psychological tide was now running in Harold's favour.

Having assumed he was going to lose, he suddenly had all to gain.

Parrott was in the opposite situation, becoming all too aware that he could still lose a match he had seemed certain of winning.

Innumerable chances came Parrott's way in the remaining frames but the 1991 world champion was gripped by "clinchers disease" - the inability to clinch winning positions.

It strikes when a player is excessively conscious of the significance of the shots he is playing rather than their intrinsic demands.

"It's my own fault entirely," said Parrott.

"I had chances to win 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 but simply couldn't fall over the line.

"Every frame was the same. I couldn't get the vital ball."

Through winning the ninth on the black and the 10th on the pink, both from behind, Harold levelled at 5-5 but even in the decider he was hanging on by a thread.

Traumatic

Parrott jawed a green which would have left him needing two snookers and when Harold cleared to tie, an extra black was required.

After three safety shots either side, Parrott misjudged one.

Harold drove the black to the far corner and after four hours 32 minutes play, was celebrating his amazing victory.

In 1988, Parrott lost 6-5 to Mike Hallett in the semis after leading by 44 with 25 on the table but went on to reach two Masters finals.

This traumatic defeat comes at a stage of the 36-year-old Liverpudlian career which gives him less time to get over it.

Indeed, sadly, with his place in the elite top 16 under threat after 14 consecutive seasons, this may have been his farewell Wembley appearance.

Benson & Hedges Masters
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08 Feb 01 | Benson and Hedges Masters
08 Feb 01 | Benson and Hedges Masters
08 Feb 01 | Benson and Hedges Masters
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