Snooker star reveals he got 'BLOTTOED' on Jack Daniel's after 19-year Crucible streak came to an end

Stephen Maguire
Stephen Maguire -Credit:Getty Images

Scottish snooker star Stephen Maguire is desperate to avoid stablemate John Higgins in the World Championship draw.

The two-time semi-finalist, 42, admitted he drowned his sorrows after his run of 19 successive Crucible appearances was ended last season. But the Milton maverick is back in the big time after two wins at the English Institute of Sport and ready to do some damage on the game’s grandest stage. In years gone by Maguire has drawn practice partner Anthony McGill in the first round and he is keen to avoid the “nightmare” of playing pal Higgins.

“Last year I was blottoed with a bottle of Jack Daniel's after not qualifying so I didn’t miss it!” revealed Maguire. “It’s nice to be back at the Crucible, you don’t want your season to end in the qualifiers. But I don’t want to play John. There will be a bit of banter, but that would be a nightmare.

“I’m going back to Glasgow to practice and I imagine John’s in the unit practicing so I want games with John. He’s not playing until Wednesday so if by chance I avoid him and don’t play until later in the week then we can get a few games in.

“If I draw him then I doubt we’ll be playing each other. I don’t want to draw Ronnie either. I’ve played him three times in the first round and in a quarter-final a couple of years ago as well. They’re the two I want to avoid.”

But Maguire doesn’t fear any of the top seeds in the draw. He has made three Crucible quarter-finals in his past six appearances, with two of them coming as a razor-sharp qualifier full of confidence.

“I don’t fear anybody,” stressed Maguire. “I’ve played the game long enough. They’re all tough matches.

“I’ll be the underdog no matter who I play so we’ll see what happens. I know my limits, I know my standard. If I hit it good and the other guy hits it bad I’ve got a chance.

“I found something there in qualifying and it’s about whether I can continue that really. I’m at a stage now where I can play really well one day and then the next I look like I’ve never played the game before.

“You don’t want to get beat any day, no matter where it is. But losing in the qualifiers, you don’t want to be here for a start so when you do lose here it’s hard to take. I’m pleased to be a part of the tournament. It wasn’t nice missing it last year.”