Hartlepool snooker stars Darren Cook and Ryan Clark beaten in qualifying for Wuxi Classic

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HARTLEPOOL snooker ace Darren Cook admits he learned more in one match than he has done in the past two years following a heavy defeat in qualifying for the Wuxi Classic.

The 21-year-old was beaten 5-1 by Thailand’s Dechawat Poonjaeng yesterday to miss out on a place in the China tournament.

Fellow Hartlepool Snooker Centre player Ryan Clark, 20, was also beaten by the same scoreline 24 hours earlier against Jimmy Robertson.

Cook now faces Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail when qualifying begins for the Australian Open tomorrow, while Clark, who last week won a place on the World Tour, takes on Australia’s Vinnie Calabrese.

And Cook, a former St Hild’s pupil, told SportMail: “I’m disappointed to lose but it was definitely a good experience.

“I think I learned more in one match than I have done in the past two years.

“I admit it took me a while to settle.

“It was a different type of atmosphere with a lot of people watching.

“I was up against a player in good form as well and he played really well, although on my day I’d like to think I could beat anyone.

“I didn’t do a great deal wrong but I’ve taken so much from the experience that it will stand me in better stead going forward.

“I’m already looking forward to the qualifiers for the Australian Open and hopefully I give a good account of myself.”