Patience pays off in Welsh Open for Sussex star Davis

Patience proved a virtue for Mark Davis in the Welsh Open first round as he extended his stay in Newport following a mammoth first frame.

Monday, 15th February 2021, 5:33 pm
Updated Monday, 15th February 2021, 5:34 pm
Mark Davis

Davis and Lee Walker, playing in his home tournament, slugged it out for 66 minutes in the opening exchanges at Celtic Manor before the St Leonards potter edged clear to take the lead.

It was the third-longest frame of the season and though Walker quickly levelled matters, Davis racked up three successive half-century breaks – including a 96 – to progress 4-1.

“It was just one of those frames,” said the 48-year-old. “You can only work with where the balls are, you can’t just slash around. The balls went really scrappy, there was some really good safety and you end up there for over an hour.

“It’s difficult as it puts us both out of our rhythm but you just have to play the balls the way they are. I was waiting for an opportunity for the balls to open up but Lee’s safety is really good. But I don’t care – I could be out there for eight hours as long as I win.

“I’m down in the rankings – there is a chance I could fall off this year – so every win is important to me. I want to have another year or two yet before I pack up, even though it’s been 30 years.”

The world No.49 has not made it past the second round in any of his last five ranking events and faces a tough ask if he is to do so this week. Ryan Day lies in wait should the newly-crowned Snooker Shoot Out champion overcome Ian Burns in his first-round clash on Tuesday and the Welshman’s recent success has shown Davis how quickly fortunes can change for mid-ranking players.

“Ryan was down the rankings himself, which is crazy – he should never have been anywhere near 50-odd in the world,” he said. “But you have to win on the table and he’s struggled for a couple of years, so that will give him a lot of confidence.

“Ryan has got a little bit of leeway to play his game now and he’s a fantastic player, so it will be a really tough game. But I’ve been playing really well in practice, which normally doesn’t mean anything but to me it does – it means I know (my game) is in there.

“Ryan will be buzzing after winning the Shoot Out, but I wouldn’t say it’s a foregone conclusion by any means.”

Watch the Welsh Open live on Eurosport and Eurosport app.

by Paul Martin