SNOOKER: HE may have thrown away a golden opportunity to reach the last 16 of the UK Snooker Championship for the first time since 2001, but Coventry-born potter Dominic Dale admits he was lucky to even be in with a shout of winning his third-round match.
The 44-year-old world number 38 lost out 6-5 to Shaun Murphy in a marathon encounter in York on Tuesday, having been both 3-1 and then 5-2 behind on Tuesday afternoon.
But after clawing himself back level to force a decider, Dale missed several chances to grasp the frame by the neck.
And rather than being despondent after the match, Dale conceded that the 2008 champion had let him back into the match.
“To be honest, I played so badly early on after winning the first frame to go 5-2 down, that was really where I put myself out of the match,” he said.
“Shaun struggled a bit and that was what allowed me to get back to 5-5, where I had my chances but didn’t take them.
“It’s one of those where I don’t feel like it should have been level anyway, so it doesn’t hurt as much.
“I had a few chances in that final frame, and I had to have the cue ball cleaned when I had a really good opportunity at the end there.
“I didn’t really want to do that as the cushions were running so fast and I could have used that for the next shot, so I tried to power it in and forced it a bit which caused it to bobble out.
“But I was lucky in my first match before playing well against Graeme [Dott] in the second round, so anything from here on would have been a bonus anyway.”
Having beaten both Sanderson Lam and Dott in a different hall, Dale did concede that he found the switch in conditions challenging once inside the main arena.
And ‘The Spaceman’ believes that for a player of Murphy’s calibre, the high-pressure situation at the game’s conclusion would have been a walk in the park.
He added: “Someone like Shaun who is in those positions all the time can cope with the pressure a lot better than someone like me who plays very sporadically on television in big matches.
“It’s very tough for us in situations like that as we have to try and play above ourselves.
“Shaun is expected to win, so there are different pressures on him, but in terms of those conditions out there it’s as normal as getting out of bed for him.”
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