Phil Haigh ✍️
Mark Williams will be out to ‘destroy’ his protégé Jackson Page in their World Snooker Championship second round meeting, but also admits it will be difficult to play someone he considers like a fourth son.
Page not only practices with Williams at his club in Tredegar but they are close friends away from the table, spending time together on the golf course, eating out and hanging out at the three-time world champion’s house.
Now they are set to meet at the Crucible after Page stunned Barry Hawkins on his debut at the famous theatre, while Williams saw off another Welshman, Michael White, pretty comfortably in round one.
It is going to be an emotional game for both master and apprentice, but Williams has no doubt that he wants to go out there and pick up a dominant win.
‘Obviously, I’m going to try my best to beat him and I want to destroy him – there’s no question,’ said Williams after beating White.
‘I don’t like losing to anybody but, if I am going to lose to anybody and I had to pick, it would be him.
‘I’m going try my best to win but if I lose, I will have no problem at all. If it means him getting in the top 64 by beating me, I’m half on his side anyway.
‘We’ve got a few [people] up from the club. It’s going to be interesting to see which side of the balcony some of them are on.’
However much he wants to beat Page, Williams says it will be an unusual challenge for him given how close they are, and he is expecting their relationship to be unchanged before they clash on Thursday.
‘It’s going to be tough because he’s not just a friend; he’s more like my fourth son really,’ Williams said.
‘He comes to the house; we play cards together with my kids, pizzas, golf, badminton – you name it, we do it together.
‘Unless he blanks me for the next two days, I’m assuming we’ll be having something to eat together tonight. It will be interesting to see how he acts now.’
Before the opening round, Williams admitted he did not want to play his pal, but knew that the clash was imminent if they won their games.
‘The only one I didn’t want to draw was Jackson, to be honest,’ he said before the tournament. ‘I’ve got him if I win, but I didn’t want to play him in the first round, let him play someone else and experience it in a different way.’
Page and Williams meet over three sessions on Thursday and Friday for a place in the quarter-finals.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
This post appeared first on Snooker – Metro.