Sparks will fly at the Brighton Centre when Tony Drago takes on Jimmy White in the second round of the British Open.
“We might be getting on a bit now but we’re not boring,” laughed Drago, after setting up Tuesday night’s clash of the snooker speedsters with a 5-2 victory over Nigel Bond.
“Am I looking forward to playing Jimmy? Let’s just say I wish the match was in half-an-hour, not two days,” added Drago, who displayed the versatility of his cuemanship when winning the World 9-Ball Pool Masters in August.
Bond, the 1996 British Open champion but low-key in recent years, was quickly rocked on his heels as Drago needed only 38 minutes to build a 3-0 lead – helped by breaks of 72 and 44.
Drago wobbled as Bond fought back to trail only 3-2. But Malta’s leading player regained the initiative and dominated what proved to be the closing two frames with contributions of 53, 47 and 69.
“I lost my first match at the LG Cup last month, so I’m delighted to get past Nigel,” he said.
“If you get off to a slow start in a season you can suddenly find yourself under pressure.”
While one overseas player prospered, tonight was miserable for Finnish number one Robin Hull, who lost 5-1 to Dubliner Michael Judge.
Hull claimed frame one but enjoyed no further success as Judge put together runs of 48, 88 and 40 in reeling off the next five. He goes forward to face John Higgins.
On a night when all three matches were wrapped up swiftly, Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail also ensured a comfortable passage into the last 32 by beating Stuart Bingham 5-1.
Swail’s next opponent is six-time world champion Steve Davis, at 46 easily the oldest player chasing a first prize of £52,000.