JOE Johnson last night joined Welsh pair Doug Mountjoy and Terry

Griffiths as third-round casualties yesterday in the #350,000 Mercantile

Credit Classic at Blackpool. Johnson was whitewashed 5-0 by Nigel

Gilbert, Griffiths bowed out 5-1 against Manchester-based Australian

Warren King, and Mountjoy went down 5-4 to Rotherham's Steve Duggan.

Title-holder Mountjoy had also failed to win a match when defending

his UK crown at Preston last November. He fought back from 4-2 down

against Duggan to be apparently poised to clear up in the decider but

played a poor positional shot on the final blue, potting the pink in the

process to allow the world No.43 his big chance.

King said after his first win in three attempts against Griffiths:

''The money will come in handy, because my wife Leanne is expecting our

first baby at the end of June.''

Scot Stephen Hendry won 5-3 against Tony Jones but Livingston's Murdo

Macleod went down 5-2 to South African Peter Francisco.

Jimmy White had to pull out of the event without striking a ball. The

26-year-old winner of the Everest World Matchplay last month withdrew

because of influenza. He was too ill to fly north and notification of

his absence was received just two hours before the world No.4 was due to

face Ian Brumby of Liverpool.

White also scratched from the British Open at Derby last season before

his fourth-round contest with eventual finalist Dean Reynolds. The

Grimsby left-hander received another bye yesterday when Canadian

opponent Jim Wych pulled out because of domestic problems. Other

third-round results:

John Virgo beat Jon Wright 5-2; Steve Newbury beat Paul Watchorn 5-2;

Jack McLaughlin beat David Roe 5-2; Tony Meo beat Tommy Murphy 5-2; Mark

Rowing beat Barry West

5-0; Martin Clark beat Andrew Cairns 5-2; Silvino Francisco beat Colin

Roscoe 5-1.