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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 17:45 GMT
Table angers Williams
World champion Mark Williams
World champion Mark Williams took a swipe at the playing conditions after his second round win at the Welsh Open.

"A workman should never blame his tools - but the table was an absolute joke," said Williams.

"The cloth we are playing on is too thin. The ball is going on to the cushion and then coming off three times as fast."

Despite the conditions, Williams beat Stuart Pettman 5-3 and plays compatriot Dominic Dale in round three.

Joining him in the next round is Jimmy White, who set up a mouth-watering third round tie against Stephen Hendry after beating Joe Swail 5-2 in Cardiff.

Scotland's John Higgins is also safely through after beating Marcus Campbell 5-1, but he had plenty of sympathy for his opponent.

Campbell was forced to play with a new cue after his favourite was damaged beyond repair at Cardiff airport on Monday.

Snooker cues are no longer allowed on board as hand luggage because of stricter security measures, but Higgins has urged the game's governing body to argue the case for players to have preferential treatment on airlines.

Williams and Hendry have had their cues damaged during baggage handling, and Higgins believes something needs to be done to prevent further incidents.

"Our governing body has to go to the Sports Minister and explain to him that this is our livelihood," said Higgins.

"I don't care if I have to go to the airport and spend ages getting the cue out in front of everyone, because this is happening too often. It's a terrible thing to happen."

Veteran Steve Davis won his first match in a ranking event this season by beating Mark King 5-3.

Davis, 46, beaten in the opening round of the campaign's first three tournaments, said: "It wasn't quite panic stations but it's nice to kick-start my season."

Peter Ebdon, the 2002 world champion, was pushed all the way by Scot Chris Small before finally scraping through a 5-4 winner.

Ebdon secured the decider with a break of 119 to set up a third round meeting with world number 10 Alan McManus.

Wednesday's matches also saw Dominic Dale beat Graeme Dott 5-1 and Robert Milkins overcome David Gray 5-2.




SEE ALSO
Parrott makes winning return
19 Jan 04  |  Snooker


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