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Snooker: BLACK HANN; Crucible heat is too hard to bear as Aussie wild man Quinten shows dark side.

Byline: ALAN MARSHALL

WILD man Quinten Hann unleashed his demons on the Crucible yesterday.

The former male model has an ugly side which kicks in when he's under pressure.

Previously, during a match against Stephen Lee in Ireland huffy Hann conceded a frame with 13 reds left on the table.

But yesterday at Sheffield there was no sign of frustration as the Aussie won frame three to trail 2-1 against Paul Hunter in the opening session of their Embassy World Championship first-round clash.

He even shared a joke with referee Jan Verhaas when the half-butt became tangled up in a pocket.

But after ninth seed Hunter had moved 4-1 ahead, Hann broke off in frame six by smashing the cue ball into the pack of reds as if it was a game of pool.

Forlorn

The reds scattered across the table and inevitably double Masters champion Hunter was left with a simple chance to make a sizeable break, knocking in a 77 to extend his lead further.

Former world champion Dennis Taylor described Hann's shot as "bordering on ungentlemanly conduct" as the 24-year-old world No.25 - who is set to claim a place in the top 16 for next season - sat in his chair looking forlorn.

But rather than give up the fight as he had done against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the 2000 Grand Prix at Telford - earning a reprimand for unprofessional behaviour - Hann regrouped and won the next two frames to be 5-3 down.

Hunter, still recovering from an operation in which he had four non-malignant cysts removed from his testicles, then compiled a break of 73 to go into the final session as hot favourite.

Nottingham's Anthony Hamilton staged a fine recovery to hit back from 4-1 down to 5-4 ahead against Dave Harold, of Stoke.

World No.15 Harold, who has struggled badly this campaign and looks almost certain to lose his place in the top 16, started like a house on fire.

In the first five frames he recorded breaks of 101, 72 and, most significantly, a 135 which equalled the best of the tournament so far from Matthew Stevens.

But then Hamilton, known as the Robin Hood of snooker, got his act together and a run of 97 was the highlight as he captured four successive frames to hold the advantage for this morning's concluding session.

Former champion Mark Williams, seeded two, moved into a 6-3 at the end of his opening session against John Parrott.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 24, 2002
Words:411
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