UK Snooker Championship 2012: Mark Selby beats Shaun Murphy

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Selby wins title in late-night thriller

Mark Selby capped his return to world number one by beating Shaun Murphy 10-6 in the final of the UK Championship to claim the biggest title of his career.

Selby led 2-1 early on but Murphy won three frames in a row before Selby hit back to level the first session at 4-4.

A sublime 65 clearance nudged Murphy ahead again but Selby responded and won a tight 11th frame on the pink to lead 6-5 only for Murphy to restore parity.

But Selby, 29, won four on the trot to win snooker's second biggest event.

"I am over the moon and it means a great deal. It makes it even more special to beat someone of Shaun's class," Selby told BBC Sport.

"It was a strange game; it was not pretty. I was twitching all over the place.

"I never really give in until the last ball is potted and that is me all over. If I was not like that, I would not have got to the final."

The first all-English UK final since 1992 was an enthralling encounter.

The modest number of high breaks - there were no centuries as both players managed a highest of 98 - meant a battle of attrition was fought.

Ultimately, it was Selby - a two-time Masters champion - who celebrated a return to the top of the world rankings by capturing his third ranking win.

After question marks over his credibility were raised during his last stint at world number one, he dispelled those by finally triumphing in the sport's second most important event.

Murphy had already won the tournament in 2008, but was unable to gather any momentum with his attacking style of play being thwarted by the tenacity of his opponent.

"Mark is the hardest player on tour by a mile. He is a worthy world number one and fully deserves tonight," Murphy said afterwards.

"This tournament does not owe me anything. I should have gone out to Luca Brecel and then Ali Carter but I have had a great week and great support.

"I have been beaten by the best in the world."

The first session was a mix of sublime and poor snooker, as the players took frames with one opportunity, plus missed relatively easy shots.

Selby opened up a 2-1 lead before Murphy won three in a row, knocking in breaks of 83 and 98 in the process, but Selby dug in to take the two remaining frames and level at 4-4.

'The Jester from Leicester' began the final session with a 58 break and had chances to clinch the opener. Instead he returned to his chair and watched on as Murphy stole the frame with a superb 65 clearance.

And he could have pinched another but this time failed to capitalise on Selby's miss.

The same pattern emerged in the next. Selby had his hand on the table, missed a red and 'The Magician' could have cleared up but failed to pocket the pink. His opponent nicked the frame for a narrow 6-5 advantage.

But Murphy pegged him back to level once again.

Breaks of 50 and 98 allowed Selby to open up a two-frame advantage for the first time and Murphy's miss on a blue in the following frame meant Selby was able to move one away from victory.

Murphy had been unable to score heavily throughout the match and in the end it was his downfall as Selby ground out the remaining frame he required to pick up the trophy and £125,000 prize money.