Maplin Electronics UK Championship 2008: Lee and Williams through in thrillers

With Stephen Hendry, Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins and Judd Trump in action this afternoon it has been an interesting afternoon of snooker in Telford, click below for the latest…

Stephen Hendry 7-9 Stephen Lee

Stephen Lee is through to the last 16 of the UK Championship following his second win of the season against the struggling Stephen Hendry.

Much like yesterday it was a scrappy session from the off as Hendry caught the blue from his break-off shot and eventually allowed Lee in to reduce the gap to just one frame at 5-4. It looked like going level in the next but after breaking down on 45, he decided to play a long red with an element of caution, screwing back into baulk which inevitably made the pot much more difficult. As predicted by commentator Terry Griffiths, this proved to be costly as Hendry made him pay with a break of 74 to restore his two frame advantage.

This however was as good as it got for Hendry as with his pot success dropping to 81%,  it was only a matter of time before Lee began to punish him and he did so by taking the next three frames to go 7-6 in front, the first time he had led since 2-1.

Without doing anything outstanding, Hendry steadied the ship by making it 7-7, but Lee then upped it several gears and made a couple of outstanding breaks under pressure to win the match and book his place in the last 16. A great win for Lee, this does his chances of staying in the top 32 for next season a lot of good and hopefully he will go far this week. He mentioned afterwards in his interview that he has had a lot of work done to his cue so he is really hitting through it well now and it was certainly evident towards the end of this match.

Ad for Hendry it is another disappointing defeat this season and his second straight round one exit in Telford after defeat to Mark Allen last year. He needs to pick up his form in the next few years if he is to be sure of remaining in the top 16 for yet another year, let alone challenge for titles…

Mark Selby 7-9 Mark Williams

Mark Williams caused a slight surprise today by knocking world number four Mark Selby out of the 2008 UK Championship, though it is not too shocking given how good a player we all know Williams can be.

Resuming at 5-3 up, Williams looked to build on it by taking a scrappy ninth frame, before a break of 86 put him in total control at 7-3.

Mark Selby though has shown a few times in recent years that he is more than capable of launching a comeback and in the eleventh frame he suddenly burst into life, going on to make three centuries in a row, just as in his Premier League semi-final last season against Hendry before adding another frame to level it up at 7-7. His 139 in particular was an impressive feat, the highest break of the tournament so far.

Welshman Williams is so stranger to being on the end of an amazing comeback though, I mean who can forget how well he had to play to hold off Ken Doherty in the 2003 World Championship final. The climax to the match was in fact quite similar to then as with three possible frames left, Williams only needed the two as he completed a tremendous 9-7 win.

It is a really significant result for Mark who has given his top 16 hopes a real boost, particularly when considering the extra points on offer this week. With a tie against Graeme Dott in the last 16, he will be fancying his chances of a first quarter-final since the Shanghai Masters.

Mark Selby meanwhile will be hugely disappointed to bow out here in the first round, not only because his ranking will suffer but also because he was undoubtedly one of the favourites going into this event. It has been a really strange season for him, in places he has looked excellent, particularly in the Premier League, but it hasn’t quite happened in the ranking events for whatever reason…

Marco Fu 9-6 Barry Hawkins

Marco Fu recovered from a 5-3 overnight deficit against Barry Hawkins to win 9-6 today, a great result given the form Barry has shown recently.

Indeed from 5-3 Marco won the first four frames of the day, highlighted by a string of high breaks including 84, 86 and 71 to lead the match 7-5 at the interval. Though Barry managed to get one back, it was Marco’s day as he completed an impressive win away from the TV cameras and booked an intriguing tie with another in-form player, Matthew Stevens in the last 16.

Mark King 9-8 Judd Trump

Mark King edged a thriller today as he edged his way past in-form youngster Judd Trump on the final pink of the final frame!

Resuming at 5-3 up it looked like being a straightforward afternoon for Mark as he moved 8-5 ahead with some steady scoring. His opponent from Bristol though, just as he did against Jin Long in the qualifiers showed that he has guts and embarked on a storming comeback, taking the next three frames to force a tense decider at 8-8.

With both players making several small contributions, the frame went to the colours and after a long safety exchange it was King who just edged it and undoubtedly recorded his best win of the season in the process. Another defeat would almost certainly have brought about the end of his latest top 16 spell at the end of the season, but this win puts him right back in the hunt on the provisonal rankings once again.

As for Judd it is a disappointing way to go out of the event but at least he has some decent points in the bag from his qualifying wins and will surely have many more chances to win this event in the future. Hopefully he will be able to bounce back at the Masters next month.


Stephen Hendry 7-9 Stephen Lee 64-36, 18-113(109), 2-74(72), 86(43,43)-4, 55(43)-17, 74(66)-5, 67(46)-37, 43-83(83), 3-102(57), 74(74)-45(45), 20-68, 6-102(45,57)
Mark Selby 7-9 Mark Williams 113(105)-13, 75-68(respot black), 18-78(53), 68(55)-0, 0-95(95), 6-71, 50-60, 24-71(50), 16-58, 0-86(86), 82(82)-0, 139(139)-0, 121(103)-12, 138(100)-0
Marco Fu 9-6 Barry Hawkins 16-70, 0-55, 68-25, 68-26, 60-47, 28-68(67), 0-111(41,70), 0-97(97), 89(84)-0, 126(86)-1, 71(71)-0, 61-58, 80-40
Mark King 9-8 Judd Trump 88(38)-0, 99(99)-0, 15-60, 61-9, 32-70(47), 7-110(87), 65-24, 60-22, 76(76)-1, 11-84(40), 63(55)-55, 80-14