Mark Allen roared back from 6-1 down to wrestle the UK Championship trophy away from Ding Junhui in an incredible and tense final at the York Barbican.
The evening session was billed as Ding’s long-awaited return to the top of snooker after three years without a major title. Instead, Allen staged one of the greatest comebacks in recent memory as his scintillating play froze out his opponent.
"It’s absolutely amazing," beamed Allen.
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"I don’t really know how I’ve done it if I’m honest. I just hung on and scraped the last frame. I don’t know what happened tonight."
It was the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde performance from Allen, with Eurosport pundit Ronnie O’Sullivan claiming he had “never seen anyone play so bad” as the Northern Irishman ahead of the last frame of the afternoon session.
Perhaps Allen had a direct line to the Eurosport studio, as no sooner had O’Sullivan delivered his damning verdict than Allen began his salvage mission and he pinched the final frame before the break for 6-2. Few would have predicted what would follow.
A filthy shot along the bottom rail on frame ball, the same red he had earlier messed up, helped Allen take the first frame on the resumption.

'Wow!' – Allen makes incredible pot along bottom rail in final

The 36-year-old was on for a century in the next but missed a long red on 93, only to swiftly make amends with a 132 total clearance in the next. Allen was purring now, while Ding was becoming hauntingly familiar with his chair. Suddenly 6-1 had become 6-5.
A lapse of concentration from Allen in the 12th frame invited Ding back to the table but, with 50 minutes having passed since his last pot, it was always going to be tough for the Chinese star to make a telling contribution.
Ding was soon chasing two snookers, with the pink and black tied up against the cushions. Although he got them – in part thanks to some brilliant sportsmanship from his rival – he was unable to close out the frame as Allen remarkably tied the match at 6-6 heading into the interval.

'Well done!' - Allen praised for 'brilliant' act of sportsmanship in UK Championship final

Ding desperately needed a shift in momentum similar to the one his opponent was enjoying, but it failed to arrive as Allen took the lead for the first time in the match with a knock of 59 before opening up a two-frame advantage with a brilliant 109.
Breaks of 79, 60, 93, 132, 56, 59 and 109 had delivered Allen seven straight frames but the rot finally stopped in the 15th as Ding made a century of his own to stay in touch.
But the damage was already done and the trophy lurched closer to Antrim when Allen restored his two-frame cushion, moving him within one of a maiden UK title.
An incredibly tense 17th frame saw both players exchange misses before a jaded safety exchange with the remaining five reds tucked up on the bottom cushion. Both players had chances as the frame ticked over 40 minutes, but it was Allen who eventually got in to making the telling contribution, the Northern Irishman letting out a huge roar after sinking the decisive pink.
Allen's reward for becoming the 13th player to win back-to-back ranking titles is a winner's cheque for £250,000, while Ding's loss sees Yan Bingtao confirmed as the final player in the 2023 Masters draw.
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