Ebdon polishes off Drago

Peter Ebdon needed just 22 minutes this morning to take his place in the Embassy World Championship quarter-finals.

Peter Ebdon needed just 22 minutes this morning to take his place in the Embassy World Championship quarter-finals.

But the war of words between the reigning champion and Tony Drago never materialised as Ebdon completed an emphatic 13-5 victory over his Maltese rival.

Both were in conciliatory mood after yesterday’s flashpoints when Ebdon complained to tournament director Mike Ganley over the excessive heat in the Crucible Theatre arena and Drago was hot under the collar by his opponent’s lengthy toilet breaks.

Drago had sarcastically applauded the world champion back to his seat after one disappearing act that was timed at three and a half minutes.

Ebdon’s coach Chris Henry claimed the father of four had been suffering from diarrhoea.

“I wasn’t feeling too clever yesterday,” said Ebdon. “I’ll say no more than that.

“Someone mentioned an incident to me after the session. But I was oblivious to it – I didn’t go out of my way to upset Tony. I was just focussed on the game.

“But I have known Tony for about 17 years. He was the resident professional at King’s Cross snooker club when I was an up-and-coming amateur.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to him for even bothering to practice with me during my formative years.

“And how many players have got the bottle to go out there and play their natural attacking game like Tony does?”

Tournament chief Ganley policed the post-match press conferences fearing an outburst from one or both of the players.

Ebdon admitted the auditorium had been excessively warm.

“I was 11 and a half stone before I went out to play. Now I’m nine and a half,” he joked. ”I spoke to Mike Ganley and he assured me everything is being done that can be done.

“But these people are only working with the material they have been given. If I’m speaking generally then I’ve been disappointed with conditions this season.

“I have prepared my game for playing on super slick cloths and perhaps I have been affected more than other players,” added Ebdon, who now meets Matthew Stevens or Paul Hunter for a place in the last four.

Drago was also more reticent than he was 24 hours earlier when he said: “It’s not on what he is doing out there.”

Today he said: “I’ve known Peter for 20 years and he’s a good mate so I’m not going to fall out with him over a game of snooker.

“Chris Henry, Peter’s coach, told me Peter was suffering from diarrhoea. If I had known that I would have given him 30 minutes never mind three minutes.

“But it’s such a pressure cooker place playing at the Crucible, that anything that moves bugs you.

“I was unhappy with the scheduling because I had to go out and play again the day after beating Joe Swail.

“Everyone knows Joe and I are like brothers. He is my best mate on the circuit and I could hardly sleep after the match.

“Peter is world champion and had a week off between his matches, so good luck to him.

A spokesman for World Snooker confirmed a complaint had been made about the conditions.

“We are addressing the problem,” he said. ”The players made us aware of the problem concerning the heat and we have put coolers into the arena.

“However, we mindful of creating too much humidity that could effect the table.”

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