WHAT HAPPENED?

Mark Selby trailed John Higgins 4-2 in their Northern Ireland Open quarter-final when he suffered an almighty brain freeze in the seventh frame.

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Selby returned to the table with a 66-0 lead when Higgins fluffed a shot, leaving a selection of simple safety shots available to the English Open champion.

Higgins needed to clear the table perfectly – five reds, five blacks plus the colours – to pinch the frame, but Selby decided to deliberate… and deliberate… and deliberate over his next shot.

What followed was one of the most bizarre passages of snooker as Selby cut a baffled figure, eyeing up various angles without committing, while the referee stood silently alongside him.

Six minutes and 13 seconds passed before a shot was finally taken – 53 seconds more than Ronnie O’Sullivan’s fastest 147 maximum in 1997 – as Selby’s hopeful red found the jaws of the top pocket and ricocheted away.

However, Selby soon returned to wrap up the frame as he steadied to threaten a comeback. Ultimately though, and perhaps justly, Higgins came through 5-4 to book a date with Judd Trump in the semi-finals.

Mark Selby takes six minutes and 13 seconds to take a shot

'IT’S OUTRAGEOUS' – FOULDS BAFFLED

Eurosport commentator Neal Foulds couldn’t believe what he was watching.

At 3:20: "Mark has just tangled himself up in knots here for no reason. If he doesn’t fancy a pot, he’s got to play safe. That’s all there is to it. This is ridiculous in my opinion, it’s much too long over a situation where he’s not in any trouble whatsoever."

At 4:40: "It’s unacceptably long. I’m a big fan of Mark, but this is just not on I’m afraid… it’s outrageous."

At 5:45: "He’s just got to play a shot. It’s stupid. He’s taken root here. How many more times is he going to sit on the table, look at that red and not play it? If only he knew this is six minutes."

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'MAYBE HIS MIND WENT TO MUSH'

Higgins was diplomatic about the situation in the Eurosport studio.

"I was just thinking it was going to be a long shot for me to get back into it [the frame]," he told Andy Goldstein and Jimmy White.

"He played the shot to nothing and put the white behind the red, which was probably the shot all along really. Listen, when you’re out there, that’s what can happen, your mind can go to mush and that’s maybe what happened to Mark."

When asked about whether the referee should have intervened, he added:

There will be people back home in the qualifiers that are being warned by the referee after two or three minutes. They might now turn around and say, 'why are we getting warned?' when someone is taking six minutes.
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