JAMIE Burnett put his lacklustre second session down to a loss of love for snooker after Joe Perry recovered to dump the Hamilton player out in the first round of the World Championship.
The world No 45, who was looking for his first win in Sheffield in 22 years as a professional, was on course for an upset after holding a 6-3 lead from Sunday’s session. But world No 15 Perry fought back to win seven of eight frames for a 10-6 victory on Monday, booking a box office tie against reigning world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan on Thursday evening in the process.
Burnett can trace his apathy for the game back across a number of years and believes that lack of passion allowed Perry to wrestle his way back into the match at the Crucible.
“To be honest I don’t really bother too much about snooker, I’ve lost a lot of enjoyment for the game,” he said.
“I’m 38, I’ve been in the game for a long time and I’ve been a bit fed up with it for a few years now. I do get interested when the big tournaments come round like the UK and the Worlds, I try and put a wee more bit time in, but I don’t put any pressure on myself for anything. If I dropped off the tour it wouldn’t make any difference to me to be honest.
“It was just the exact opposite of Sunday, it was all me and then yesterday it was all Joe. I just didn’t feel it, I wasn’t up for the game and I don’t know why. I didn’t feel as if I was cueing well at all, every time I tried to gee myself up and tried to be a wee bit harder something else went wrong.
“I had bounces and was really upset with the table. When you qualify for the World you expect conditions to be perfect but it was the same for both players I suppose so I can’t really complain too much.”
However, Burnett insists he has no plans on giving up his job just yet after conceding he doesn’t have an alternative to fall back on.
“I’m not looking too far ahead, I will play for as long as I can and as long as my eyes hold up,” he added. “If I drop off the tour at one point I probably will jack it in. I’ve been playing for a long time, it’s just not the same. As a kid I could play six or eight hours a day no problem at all. But I’m not calling it a day – I can’t do anything else, it’s more like a job but a job I don’t enjoy. I don’t enjoy the travelling, it’s a bit of a chore now and practising is hard.”
Elsewhere, Alan McManus heads into today’s session with a shock 6-3 lead over old pal and former No 1 John Higgins in the World Championship first round’s all-Scottish tie. McManus made a sensational start to hold a five-frame advantage but Higgins fought back strongly at the end to reduce the deficit to three in the best-of-19 clash.
The pair were sitting with each other when the first round draw was made last week – yet it was four-time world champion Higgins who was left stewing on his Crucible chair for much of the session.
The match started brightly enough for the world No 9, knocking in a tricky pink to edge the first frame 62-50. But after two brief visits to the table each, McManus compiled a smooth 87 break to draw all square.
In the third frame Higgins struggled to string a break together and eventually fouled on the black after McManus’ contribution of 47. World No 35 McManus, who has twice reached the semi-finals at the Crucible, then took a 4-1 lead into the mid-session interval after edging another nervy encounter.
The game carried on in much the same fashion following the break as Glaswegian McManus chipped away on multiple visits – while the Wizard of Wishaw struggled to find his magic. McManus went on to bag the next three frames, including a break of 74 to respond to Higgins’ opening effort of 49. However, Higgins finished in fine style to reduce the arrears to three. lBritish Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing 19 tournaments per season including the World Championship, UK Championship the Masters and all other ranking events. Available on Sky, Virgin Media & BT TV or online/mobile via eurosportplayer.com #eurosportsnooker.