McLeod to meet White

Rory McLeod set up a dream meeting with his idol by beating Malta’s Tony Drago 5-3 in the first round of the £597,200 (€86,500) Regal Scottish Open in Edinburgh.

Rory McLeod set up a dream meeting with his idol by beating Malta’s Tony Drago 5-3 in the first round of the £597,200 (€86,500) Regal Scottish Open in Edinburgh.

McLeod, ranked 88th in the world, faces perennial crowd pleaser Jimmy White for a place in the last 16.

And the 32-year-old from Wellingborough, Northants, cannot wait for Tuesday afternoon.

“It will be the biggest match of my career,” he said.

“I have never played in front of such a big crowd before but hopefully 2% will be on my side.

“I believe you can beat anybody on your day. It’s just a case of being prepared and making sure I’m on my game.

“I’ve had a bit of experience of playing on television when I competed at the LG Cup last season and that’s what you need when you’re playing these big matches.”

McLeod led 2-0 before Drago hit back with a break of 119 and took a 3-2 advantage.

But McLeod won the last three frames to reach the last 32 of a world ranking event for only the second time in his career.

Fergal O’Brien, a former world number nine, will have to pre-qualify for next season’s major events after losing 5-1 to Grimsby’s Sean Storey.

O’Brien, who has lost his last six matches of the current campaign, is certain to drop out of the top 32 in the world rankings.

“I’ll have to go back to the drawing board and see if I can come back stronger,” said O’Brien, who was 30th in the provisional standings before the start of the tournament, having not qualified for the final stages of this month’s Embassy World Championship.

Storey, the world number 82, has won 27 matches this season and is undefeated since the January qualifiers.

“I take every match a ball at a time, and it’s a result if I wake up the day after I play having won,” he said.

“I came here unbeaten in three months and just wanted to keep the momentum going before the world championship.”

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