Tournaments: 1997/98: Ranking: Grand Prix | UK | German | Welsh | Scottish | Thailand | British | World

British Open 1998

Plymouth Pavillions, Plymouth, England (Apr 2-12, 1998)
WPBSA ranking tournament #7
�350,000 purse, �60,000 first prize

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John Higgins vs. Stephen Hendry

The current year's ranking list had proved a faultless predictor of the event - the World Nos. 1 and 2 in the final, having beaten respectively Nos. 3 and 4 in the semi-finals, so the closeness and tension in this match should have been no surprise, and it is difficult to imagine a more even match. At first it looked quite the opposite: inside the first half hour Hendry was 2-0 up with breaks of 38, 49, and 51 against a reply of only 19. The third was decided on two Hendry flukes: the first allowed him a 24 response to Higgins' initial 68 but the second deprived him of a vital colour off the last red, so honours were even and the score 2-1. The fourth frame went to Hendry aided by another fluked red which produced 4 crucial points from a Higgins foul, enabling a 63-61 score in the frame. After the interval Higgins quickly recovered to 3-all with breaks of 63, 35, and 25. A 79 break gave Hendry the 7th in just over 9 minutes, but at the end of the first session it was level again at 4 -all after a low-scoring scrappy final frame was won by Higgins 52- 7

The pattern continued into the evening session, with Higgins continually on Hendry's heels, but never ahead. The first frame was again less than 10 minutes, Hendry won with a single break, 99-0. Higgins replied with similar style and speed: 87-0 in just under 9 minutes to level at 5-all. The eleventh was much longer and much closer, with missed pots on both sides, but Hendry cleared up from the green to win it by 73 to 64 and lead again 6-5. Again Higgins levelled before the final interval leading by 67 and leaving Hendry one chance at the 67 on the table, but then clearing up with a break of 61. The 13th looked as if Higgins would finally take the lead, but he saw his 67-34 advantage, with one red left, beaten by a timely clearance from Hendry: 67-69 and 6-7. Both had their chances in the next frame too, but it was again Higgins who equalised with breaks of 32 and 72.

By this stage there was a degree of seeming inevitability about the fact that the next two frames would also be shared and indeed Hendry won the 15th 84-1 but it was significant that in the 16th he had the chance to win the match, scored 14 points and missed a relatively simple black. It was to be his penultimate shot, as Higgins went on to win the frame with a 102 clearance, the first century break of the match.

The atmosphere inside the Plymouth Pavilions was electric as the scoreline reached 8-8, and even the seemingly uninterested ushers were on the edges of their seats as Higgins started the crucial deciding frame. His break-off shot left Hendry an easy red over the corner pocket, but it was to be the World Number One's only shot: his resulting miss let John Higgins in for an impressive break of 85 to win the match 9-8.

First semi-final

John Higgins vs. Mark J Williams

A somewhat scrappy game with neither player seeming to be at his best: Higgins seemed nervous following his near-miss with Gary Ponting in the quarter-final and again lacked the killer instinct in the early frames; Williams looked far from the decisive defending champion who had outmanoeuvred Ronnie O'Sullivan. The first two 20-minute frames were shared, after which Williams took the lead with a convincing 129 break. Higgins levelled but was soon 3-4 down; Williams could have extended his lead, but his misses on the pink and the black let Higgins in to win the 8th, and from there it was largely one-way traffic. Higgins started well in the 9th with breaks of 21 and 27, although Williams was unlucky when the cue-ball settled on the pink after he potted red and green, the hampered cueing led him to miss the next red and Higgins completed the frame with a break of 42. His bad luck continued in the next frame: Higgins fluked a red and looked like settling the match at that visit, but his attempt to split the pack failed and let in Williams for a break of 46. A missed red finally proved fatal: Higgins cleared to the blue to win the frame 78-46 and the match 6-4

Second semi-final

Ken Doherty vs. Stephen Hendry

An important pre-Crucible opportunity for the World Champion and the World No. 1 to show what they are capable of producing at their best. Early exchanges were understandably cautious, and after an hour , Hendry led 2-1. He looked like heading for an early, easy victory with breaks of 66 in the 4th, 52 in the 5th, and 78 in the 6th . Doherty had chances but seemed to lack the fluency to take them, as in the 5th when a loose safety shot from Hendry left the cue-ball open near the baulk line: Doherty missed one attempt at the long red, was given another chance next shot but could only take red and green before running out of position and setting up his opponent for another frame-winning break.

With Hendry 4 ahead with 5 to play, the 7th frame looked like going the same way: a loose break-off shot and a couple of misses by Doherty left Hendry 48-1 ahead, but Doherty at the table. Suddenly seeming revitalised he took the frame with a fast and fluent 53 break, and came out for the 8th firing on all cylinders, winning it with a break of 74, Hendry conceding with just 67 left. The 9th was even more spectacular: 10 reds and 10 blacks meant that the frame was safe and thoughts of a maximum break were buzzing round the arena. Unfortunately the 11th red took him too far from the black but that 6-minute frame took him to only 4-5 down. Eleven minutes later, however, it was proved that he had left himself too much of a comeback task - after two minor flurries a Hendry break of 83 sealed frame and match.

The Ladies British Open Final 1998

Early risers on Sunday 12 April were treated to the final of the Ladies event, between Kelly Fisher and Karen Corr. A best-of-seven match, it was characterised by few breaks of the size usually seen in the men's game, relying more on safety and a higher number of visits to the table. Kelly Fisher must regard herself as unfortunate, since the 4-0 scoreline to her opponent did not really reflect the match, but that should take nothing away from Karen Corr's stylish performance. This is not the place to debate the role of women in the professional game, so suffice it to say that the match on Sunday morning was as different from that in the afternoon as is the case in watching men's tennis singles as opposed to women's. Both have their differences, both have their attractions, but different the two games certainly are if this match was a representative one.

Ian Holden ([email protected])


(Players are English unless stated)


John Higgins (Scotland) 9-8 Stephen Hendry (Scotland)

1-91, 19-64 (51), 68-29 (68), 61-63 (Hig 61), 70-1 (63), 63-48, 
22-79 (?), 52-7, 0-99 (99), 87-0 (51), 64-73, 128-0 (61), 
67-69 (Hig 59), 104-1 (72), 1-84 (58), 109-14 (102), 85-0 (85)


John Higgins (Scotland) 6-4 Mark J Williams (Wales)

64-28, 63-67, 0-137 (129), 97-0 (58), 
57-16, 55-71, 10-63, 58-38, 90-12, 78-46 (66)

Stephen Hendry (Scotland) 6-4 Ken Doherty (Ireland)

65-29, 53-63, 66-26 (66), 82-30 (66), 59-3 (52), 
103-22 (78), 48-68 (53), 5-74 (74), 0-81 (81), 100-8 (83)


Mark J Williams (Wales)       5-4 Ronnie O'Sullivan
John Higgins (Scotland)       5-4 Gary Ponting
Stephen Hendry (Scotland)     5-1 John Parrott
Ken Doherty (Ireland)         5-1 Neal Foulds

Fourth round

Mark J Williams (Wales)       5-4 Gary Wilkinson
Ronnie O'Sullivan             5-1 Stephen Lee
Gary Ponting                  5-2 Mark King
John Higgins (Scotland)       5-1 Steve Davis
Stephen Hendry (Scotland)     5-3 Dave Harold
John Parrott                  5-0 Rod Lawler
Neal Foulds                   5-4 Dominic Dale (Wales)
Ken Doherty (Ireland)         5-0 Karl Burrows

Third round

Mark J Williams (Wales)       5-1 Joe Swail (N.Ireland)
Gary Wilkinson                5-2 Anthony Hamilton
Stephen Lee                   5-3 Paul Davies (Wales)
Ronnie O'Sullivan             5-4 Brian Morgan
Mark King                     5-4 Matthew Stevens (Wales)
Gary Ponting                  5-4 John Read
Steve Davis                   5-2 Mick Price
John Higgins (Scotland)       5-1 Martin Clark
Stephen Hendry (Scotland)     5-0 Andy Hicks
Dave Harold                   5-4 Alan McManus (Scotland)
Rod Lawler                    5-4 James Wattana (Thailand)
John Parrott                  5-4 Chris Small (Scotland)
Dominic Dale (Wales) 	      5-3 Mark Gray
Neal Foulds                   5-4 Tony Drago (Malta)
Karl Burrows                  5-2 Joe Johnson
Ken Doherty (Ireland)         5-1 Billy Snaddon (Scotland)

Second round

Mark J Williams (Wales)       5-2 David Gray
Joe Swail (N.Ireland)         5-0 Willie Thorne             
Anthony Hamilton              5-2 Mark Davis
Gary Wilkinson                5-0 Graeme Dott (Scotland)  
Stephen Lee                   5-1 Craig MacGillivray (Scotland)
Paul Davies (Wales)           5-1 Terry Murphy (N.Ireland)
Ronnie O'Sullivan             5-1 Bradley Jones                
Brian Morgan                  5-3 Mark Bennett (Wales)         
Matthew Stevens (Wales)       5-3 Nigel Bond
Mark King                     5-4 Lee Walker (Wales)           
John Read                     5-2 Darren Morgan (Wales)
Gary Ponting                  5-3 Fergal O'Brien (Ireland)
Steve Davis                   5-3 Shokat Ali (Pakistan) 	     
Mick Price                    5-4 Dean Reynolds
John Higgins (Scotland)       5-0 Jason Prince (N.Ireland)      
Martin Clark                  5-4 Michael Judge (Ireland)       
Stephen Hendry (Scotland)     5-0 Dave Finbow
Andy Hicks                    5-4 Matthew Couch
Alan McManus (Scotland)       5-3 Nick Pearce  		     
Dave Harold                   5-3 Jamie Burnett (Scotland)     
James Wattana (Thailand)      5-1 Stefan Mazrocis  	     
Rod Lawler                    5-1 Nick Walker
John Parrott                  5-3 Joe Perry                     
Chris Small (Scotland)        5-3 Drew Henry (Scotland)         
Dominic Dale (Wales) 	      5-4 Peter Ebdon
Mark Gray                     5-4 Jimmy White
Tony Drago (Malta)            5-4 Chris Scanlon
Neal Foulds                   5-2 Anthony Davies (Wales)        
Karl Burrows                  5-3 Alain Robidoux (Canada)
Joe Johnson  		      5-2 Steve James
Ken Doherty (Ireland)         5-0 Dene O'Kane (New Zealand)     
Billy Snaddon (Scotland)      5-4 Peter McCullagh               

First round

David Gray                    5-2 David Roe 
Willie Thorne                 5-3 Paul Wykes 
Mark Davis                    5-3 Darren Clarke
Graeme Dott (Scotland)        5-2 Wayne Brown 
Craig MacGillivray (Scotland) 5-3 Tony Chappel (Wales)
Paul Davies (Wales)           w/o Jamie Woodman
Bradley Jones                 5-2 Karl Broughton 
Mark Bennett (Wales)          5-1 Stephen O'Connor (Ireland)
Matthew Stevens (Wales)       5-2 Karl Payne 
Lee Walker (Wales)            5-3 Gerard Greene (N.Ireland) 
John Read                     5-0 Jonathan Birch
Gary Ponting                  5-4 Paul Hunter
Shokat Ali (Pakistan) 	      5-3 Lee Richardson 
Dean Reynolds                 5-3 Ian McCulloch
Jason Prince (N.Ireland)      5-2 John Lardner (Scotland)
Michael Judge (Ireland)       5-1 Marcus Campbell (Scotland)
Dave Finbow                   5-3 Ian Brumby
Matthew Couch                 5-2 Jason Ferguson
Nick Pearce  		      5-4 Peter Lines 
Jamie Burnett (Scotland)      5-0 Leigh Griffin 
Stefan Mazrocis  	      5-3 Alfie Burden 
Nick Walker                   5-3 Euan Henderson (Scotland)
Joe Perry                     5-3 Dennis Taylor (N.Ireland)
Drew Henry (Scotland)         5-0 Quinten Hann (Australia)
Dominic Dale (Wales) 	      5-3 Sean Storey 
Mark Gray                     5-3 Jimmy Michie
Chris Scanlon  		      5-4 Martin Dziewialtowski (Scotland)
Anthony Davies (Wales)        5-3 Steve Judd 
Karl Burrows                  5-3 Wayne Jones (Wales)
Joe Johnson  		      5-3 Stuart Pettman 
Dene O'Kane (New Zealand)     5-4 Troy Shaw 
Peter McCullagh               5-1 Tony Jones 

Related Pages



1995 Castella Classic British Open
1996 Castella Classic British Open
1997 British Open
British Open Finals

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