FORMER butcher Farakh Ajaib says he got no slice of luck in his second round defeat at the English Open.

Accrington’s Ajaib, who was born in Blackburn, went down 4-3 against Zhou Yuelong in a marathon encounter in Milton Keynes.

The two players were locked at three frames apiece for a full 72 minutes before world No.25 Zhou potted the black to end the near four hour-long epic.

World No.113 Ajaib, who is entering his first full year on the professional tour, knew the stakes were high in frame seven and lamented not getting the rub of the green.

“I played well earlier on but I should have had a chance to win 4-1 or 4-2,” the 29-year-old said.

“It was a hard way to lose there on the black. It was a long last frame especially! I had my chances but a bit of rub didn’t go my way.

“I’m feeling good – it’s my first time on tour but I’m feeling good. I knew it was going to be tough but I think I can compete with the big boys anyway, so I’m not really fussed who I play out there.

“Two months ago I was contemplating whether I enter Q School or not! I thought I’d give it one more year and here I am now.”

Ajaib swapped cleavers for cues earlier this year after becoming one of 12 players to advance through Q School and guarantee himself a two-year card on the World Snooker Tour.

He went down to a first round defeat at last month’s European Masters but won his first match at the English Open on Monday, toppling Rod Lawler 4-0.

Ajaib took to the Marshall Arena again yesterday and delivered a valiant display of his credentials, as he responded to Zhou’s first-frame break of 52 with a 50 of his own to draw level.

A see-saw affair then unfolded as the two players exchanged frames, with visits of 96, 77 and 103 from the Chinese leaving Ajaib slumped in the chair.

And then came that hour-plus epic in frame seven, only for Zhou to hold his nerve to break the Lancashire potter’s heart.

Ajaib remains in buoyant spirits ahead of a busy period in the season and reckons breaking into the world’s top 64 is a viable target.

“I’m just trying to take everything in my stride, enjoy it as much as I can and try my best,” he added. “I’m hoping to get into the top 64 within the first two years, so that’s what I’m building towards.”

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