Loss a blow to Doherty


World Champion Ken Doherty is out of the UK Championship after a night of high drama at Preston's Guild Hall last night. Doherty, trying to become only the fourth player to hold the world and UK titles in the same year, went down 9-4 to Neal Foulds.

"This is a major blow for me," said world number four Doherty, who won only one frame last night after resuming 5-3 down following the opening session on Tuesday night.

"I felt great coming into the tournament, but in this match nothing went right. There's still a long way to go this season to put things right, but after winning in Malta recently I really fancied having a good run.

"I've just got to get back on the horse and start stringing some results together. Just because I'm world champion doesn't mean to say I'm under extra pressure and I certainly wouldn't use that as an excuse."

For Foulds, his last 32 success is a major boost to his flagging career. He was once ranked third in the world and in 1986 reached the UK Championship final.

Since then a succession of illnesses and personal problems have seen him fall from grace and he currently languishes at 30th in the rankings.

"I can't remember the last time I beat a world champion," said Foulds. "I know it was a long time ago. I'm just chuffed to bits to beat Ken because he is a fantastic player. He didn't perform that well tonight, but that's not really my problem."

Luck deserted Doherty in the first frame of the night. He lost it on the black after missing the final pink to reduce his deficit to 4-5.

The next two frames were shared, including the 10th after 41 minutes, before he ran away with the last two frames helped by breaks of 56 and 43.

Defending champion Stephen Hendry, unbeaten in the UK event in 20 matches, struggled badly before ending the giant-killing run of Sean Storey.

Hendry, who won 9-7, is one of three Scots in the last 16 who almost did not make it. "It's another win, but that's the only good thing I can say about it," said Hendry. "I couldn't pot a difficult ball all night to save my life."

UK Championship (in Preston) - Third round: J Prince (NIre) bt P Ebdon (Eng) 9-5, S Lee (Eng) bt C Small (Sco) 9-4, G Wilkinson (Eng) bt J Wattana (Tha) 9-8, D Reynolds (Eng) bt S Ali (Pak) 9-6, A Hamilton (Eng) bt J Burnett (Sco) 9-3, M Williams (Wal) bt D Taylor (NIre) 93, G Greene (Eng) bt A Hicks (Eng) 9-6, N Foulds (Eng) bt K Doherty (Rep of Ire) 9-4, S Hendry (Sco) bt S Storey (Eng) 9-7, M Dziewialtowski (Sco) bt Q Hann (Aus) 9-6, R O'Sullivan (Eng) bt T Murphy (N Ire) 9-5, G Ponting (Eng) bt D O'Kane (NZ) 9-5.

After a four-year lay-off, former professional Kirk Stevens showed flashes of his former self as he defeated Joe Canny from Celbridge in the World Amateur Championships in Zimbabwe yesterday.

The Canadian, unbeaten in Section D, trailed Canny 3-0 at one stage. Canny opened with a break of 60 but Stevens clawed his way back to 3-3 before taking the decisive final frame with a 67 break. TJ Dowling, meanwhile, maintained his 100 per cent record with a highly impressive 4-1 victory over Warren Horsley of South Africa. The European under-19 champion began with a 67 break and put the South African champion in further trouble with clearances of 85 and 62.

World Amateur Championships (in Zimbabwe) - Section B: T J Dowling (Ire) bt S Boteju (Sri Lanka) 4-1; Dowling bt W Horsley (SA) 4-1. Section D: J Canny (Ire) bt A Novac (Can) 4-1; Canny lost to K Stevens (Can) 4-3.