NIGEL Bond produced one of the greatest comebacks in UK Championship history as he fought back from 5-0 down to defeat world number 5 Barry Hawkins.
The 49-year-old rolled back the years as he won six frames on the bounce after looking down and out to record an unbelievable victory against one of the world’s top players. It was a win Mr 007 himself would have been proud of.
Bond, who once recovered from 9-2 down to beat Cliff Thorburn in the first round of the 1994 World Championship, was at it again more than 20 years later as he remarkably clinched a place in the last 32 of the tournament – an achievement he last fulfilled seven years ago.
But a Bond victory looked completely off the card during the first half of the match as the big favourite Hawkins lived up to his billing winning the first five frames and almost booking his place in the next round.
However it proved not to be as Bond, to everyone’s surprise, won the next three frames before a superb century break of 116 moved him to one behind. A break of 52 incredibly forced the match into a decider.
And Bond, with momentum fully on his side, closed out the win after coming out on top of a scrappy final frame. Bond will next face Anthony McGill who also won tonight (Saturday) beating Brazilian Igor Figueiredo 6-4.
Elsewhere, Judd Trump began his bid for UK Championship glory with a comfortable 6-1 win over Indian star Aditya Mehta, hitting a top break of 110 in the process.
Recent International Championship winner Ricky Walden was made to work very hard to earn his place in the third round as he came back from behind to beat Robbie Williams via a final frame decider.
Former world champion Mark Williams continued his fine form with a 6-0 win over Jimmy Robertson and last weekend’s European Tour finalist Robert Milkins kept up his winning ways beating Marcus Campbell by the same score.
Other winners in the evening session were Graeme Dott who battled to a 6-4 win over Anthony Hamilton and James Cahill who followed up his impressive first round win over Mark King with victory against Andrew Higginson.