Carter ends Joyce challenge

  • Last Updated: December 4 2012, 22:51 GMT

Ali Carter reached the World Championship final in May on a diet fuelled by carrot juice but curry and beer could carry the Crohn's disease sufferer to UK glory in York.

Ali Carter: Through to the last eight

The 33-year-old Essex man has been struggling to stay on top of his condition for the last decade, and has recently ditched pills due to the fear they would cause him long-term health problems.

However Carter has no problem sinking pints, providing they are low in wheat and gluten, and mild curries go down a treat with the two-time Crucible runner-up.

Now he has the williamhill.com UK Championship title in his sights after knocking out world number one Judd Trump's conqueror Mark Joyce 6-2 today.

And with a curry house just over the road from the Barbican Centre tournament venue, Carter, a trim cueman who is also a keep-fit fanatic, does not need to look hard for his fix.

Inspired by Peter Ebdon, who has committed to a strict vegan diet in recent seasons, Carter downed glass after glass of carrot juice in Sheffield this year, and reported it had a hugely positive impact on his well-being.

"But I wouldn't necessarily go out and buy myself some carrots and stick it in a juicer," Carter said. "It was just something Peter was doing, I was part of it and we were all having a laugh and it was good.

"I've stopped red meat, which I like, dairy, wheat and gluten. When I'm at home I eat well, salads and fish. I eat curries if they're not too spicy and not too much cream, but it's just a nightmare.

"A curry and a lager, yeah. But I try to get in the gym and keep myself trim. I don't live on curry and lager, believe it or not."

Such an indulgence would make Carter sound like a caricature of an old-school snooker player, but life on a busy sporting tour inevitably means he spends much of his year living out of a suitcase and eating in restaurants.

It makes dealing with Crohn's disease, which also afflicts Manchester United and Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher and causes inflammation of the bowels, particularly difficult.

Carter thought about retiring a year ago, and said after seeing off Joyce: "I don't feel that well presently. I'm controlling things with my diet, which is working and it isn't working. What's the alternative?

"I'm looking forward to better days to come with my stomach, but at the moment I can't seem to live normally and feel normal on a day-to-day basis.

"I've eliminated a lot of stuff from my diet which is absolute brain damage and hard to stick to, especially when you're on the road travelling like we are all the time. I've stopped taking the medication that I've been taking for 10 years because that has long-term effects on your liver and stuff like that.

"I'm swapping one problem for another really.

"It's a balancing act of spinning all the plates and trying to keep them all going and play a bit of snooker in between.

"My stomach is on my mind all the time, even more than my snooker really."

Carter's game is in decent enough fettle, but neither Steve Davis in the first round nor world number 50 Joyce, who hails from Walsall, has pushed him particularly hard.

"I haven't played any good yet, but it's not about playing any good, it's about winning," he said.

In the quarter-finals, Carter will tackle Stuart Bingham, who beat Stephen Maguire in the evening.

Basildon's Bingham has taken the Australian Open and Premier League titles this year and amassed over £150,000 in prize money, and nobody has played better in York so far.

Bingham showed spirit in beating Glasgow's Maguire, the 2004 champion, 6-4, closing with a break of 54 after a run of 120 in the previous frame to set up the clash with Carter.

Welshman Matthew Stevens was a 6-4 winner in a gruelling match against Hong Kong's Marco Fu.

Stevens, 35, won the UK title in 2003 but had not reached the quarter-final stage again until now. He will face John Higgins or Mark Davis next.

He said of today's hard-fought exchange with Fu: "It wasn't the best match in the world. I'll have to play a lot better than that if I'm to go any further.

"It's hard to enjoy a match when you're making breaks of eight and playing safe all the time. But the last two frames from 4-4 were good.

"I'm in it so I can still win it."

Shaun Murphy impressed in a 6-2 second round win over his fellow former world champion Graeme Dott.

The 30-year-old world number four had a total clearance of 130 in a victory that sets up a quarter-final against Mark King or 17-year-old Luca Brecel, who knocked out Ricky Walden.

Dott was dismayed by his own performance, with the 35-year-old Scot saying: "I just don't think I'm the same player I was. I don't think there's anyone else in the top 16 that can play as badly as I can play.

"It's not good enough."

Dott, world champion in 2006, added: "Hopefully it's not just because of my age. I'd don't know if I've had it. Maybe I'm finished."

Murphy said: "I didn't feel that match was vintage but I've had a change in my approach to snooker in the last few months and but for a bit of bad luck I've been playing pretty well so onward and upwards."


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