by Tom Pritchard
THE wait for a first Welsh winner at the Welsh Open since 1999 goes on after Jak Jones was defeated 4-1 by Englishman Joe O’Connor in the last 32 in Cardiff.
After Duane Jones succumbed to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Robbie Williams, Welsh hopes were resting on the 25-year-old from Cwmbran.
However, despite a break of 51 in the second frame to level the score at 1-1, Jones was unable to recover as O’Connor, ranked 103rd in the world, reeled off the final three frames to record a comfortable win.
Jones was very honest in his summary of the game: “It was just a terrible game to be honest, from beginning to end, I just didn’t get going.”
“I missed too many important balls at important times in the match, and you can’t really afford to do that against anyone on the tour.”
Jones began the tournament well, seeing off fellow countryman Matthew Stevens in the first round, but was disappointed with his performance today.
“It’s so frustrating to play the way that I did. I felt if I would have played half decent, I would have been at least close, so it’s very disappointing.”
The 2019 World Championship gets underway on May 6, with qualification places for the tournament still up for grabs.
Jones is hoping that he will be able to book his place at the Blue Riband event at the Crucible in Sheffield.
“That would be really big for me if I did (qualify). I almost qualified a few years ago, I lost out to Ryan (Day) to qualify.”
This tournament has seen the home players struggle in recent times, with Jones being the last Welshman to depart with the tournament still in its early ages.
Commenting on the pressure that the Welsh players are under to perform, Jones said: “It’s a nightmare to be honest. It’s one of the best venues to play in, but probably one of the worst at the same time.
“There is so much expectation, with the other tournaments you can go in on your own and not worry about anything else.
“Your friends and family are here and they’re thinking ‘you should beat him now, no problem’, but they don’t really understand.”
O’Connor, 23, will play Ding Junhui in the last 16, after the Chinese number one saw off Joe Perry 4-2.
(Featured image: Bill da Flute)