MANAMA // One of the worst kept secrets finally became official yesterday when the six-times world champion Steve Davis pulled out of the Bahrain Championship. Davis, one of the game's biggest attractions, had been drawn to play the world No 1 Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round. Last week, O'Sullivan pulled out stating that he was ill and Davis was given a bye into the second round, where he was due to meet Dominic Dale today. However, Davis is contracted to play in Barry Hearn's Premier League in England on Thursday so travelling to the Middle East would have been somewhat of a rush.
So the news that arrived yesterday claiming that he was "ill" and so could not fly to Bahrain was as much expected as it was sad. Even without O'Sullivan and Davis, the tournament has attracted many of the game's big names, one of which is Welshman Ryan Day. Day has been enjoying himself lately. Just a short while ago he was a finalist in the Grand Prix in Glasgow, Scotland, and so good has his form been that he has risen to No 3 in the rankings.
He has transported that form to Bahrain, where yesterday he beat Dave Harold 5-2 to move into the last 16. Harold himself has not been playing too badly - he was runner-up in this season's Northern Ireland Trophy - but the man from Stoke, England, had no answer to Welshman Day who, with the help of breaks of 59 and 83, won the last three frames. firstname.lastname@example.org