Northern Ireland Open: Anthony Hamilton loses semi-final after white ball mishap

Anthony Hamilton
Anthony Hamilton has suffered from neck problems in recent years

England's Anthony Hamilton suffered a cruel semi-final defeat at the Northern Ireland Open as he touched the white ball when he looked certain of victory.

Playing compatriot Barry Hawkins, Hamilton fought back from 4-2 and 5-3 down to level at 5-5 and was then presented with a glorious chance.

But with the table at his mercy, Hamilton, 45, feathered the white which allowed Hawkins to hit a break of 58.

Hawkins went on to win the frame which set up a final with Mark King.

Nottingham's Hamilton has slipped down to 76th in the current world rankings after suffering from chronic neck pain in recent years.

The 45-year-old has reached four world championship quarter-finals during his 25-year career but his last appearance in a ranking final came as long ago as 2002.

Sunday's £70,000 first prize would have represented the biggest cheque of Hamilton's snooker career.

After trailing 4-2 in Saturday evening's semi-final, Hamilton cut the deficit with a superb 138 clearance and while 2013 World Championship runner-up Hawkins edged two ahead again, further breaks of 74 and 97 from the 45-year-old ensured the decider.

Meanwhile, King will be aiming for his first ranking title after ending Kyren Wilson's run in Belfast.

The Romford man, 42, held his nerve to clinch a 6-2 victory over fellow English player Wilson who defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan in the last 16 on Thursday.

Left-hander King stormed into a 5-0 lead before Wilson, 24, reduced the deficit with breaks of 90 and 79.

Wilson led by 41 in the eighth before an in-off allowed King to produce a winning break.

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