Stephen Maguire has confessed he is missing the pub more than pots during the UK's latest national lockdown because a few pints of confidence help to refresh his mind to play better snooker.
The Tour champion was in superb form against his close friend Matthew Stevens in completing a resounding 4-1 win in the Welsh Open second round at Celtic Manor that included breaks of 72, 104, 60, 71 and 100.
He followed that up with a 4-2 success in the third round against Matthew Selt on Thursday morning with runs of 73, 57 and 66 enough to secure a meeting with China's world number 78 Pang Junxu in the last 16.
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Despite a trademark exhibition of some magnificent heavy scoring, Maguire admits he is struggling to cope without the social aspect of enjoying a few libations away from the baize when he is forced to entertain himself in a hotel room.
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It is a far cry from the days when Canadian giant 'Big' Bill Werbeniuk used to sink between 40 or 50 pints a day to help control a tremor at the table, but Maguire feels the lack of interaction is not healthy for the mind in a Covid-secure bubble.
"We’ve been pro that many years we’re used to playing each other, he (Matthew Stevens) wished me all the best and I’d be the same, normally we’d have a pint after it but obviously we can’t," said Maguire.
"It is, without a doubt (a problem). I’ll be honest, if I’m at a tournament for a week or any longer than that, you’re guaranteed I’ll be out one night.
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"It’s not just because I need to get out, it’s because of the social side and being locked in the room.
When you have a night out you’re refreshed again, maybe take a few hours, but you’re refreshed and regrouped again and we can’t do that.
"It’s new to me, it’s new to everyone. You need to let off steam. You need to get away. I know some boys go back and watch a game, watch the snooker at night, that’s not for me.
"I love to switch off and the best place to switch off is with a couple of mates having a couple of quiet drinks and talk about anything bar snooker."
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Maguire's frustration boiled over at the Scottish Open in December.
The Scotsman smashed open the pack of reds from a break-off shot in Milton Keynes during a 4-1 defeat to world number 119 Zak Surety, but is aiming for better times ahead with prospect of the pubs opening again this summer.
"I’d love a wee day out, I’d feel better then, but I’m happy I’ve won, I’ve won quite comfortable and I’ve not done that this season," said the 2004 UK champion.
"We’ll see what happens. We can just show up and try and pot balls."
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