RONNIE O’Sullivan showed true grit as he won the UK Championship for a fifth time and by doing so stopped Judd Trump from pulling off one of snooker’s greatest comeback victories.
A routine win and early night looked to be on the cards when O’Sullivan led 9-4 after the first five frames of the evening session.
But from out of nowhere, Trump showed his class winning five frames on the bounce to remarkably force a final frame decider when he had looked dead and buried and down on confidence about an hour before.
But despite having to sit down for five frames, O’Sullivan pulled off a brilliant snooker in behind the green which Trump failed to escape from and led to O’Sullivan clinching a dramatic 10-9 win and the £150,000 cash prize.
O’Sullivan joins Stephen Hendry to have won snooker’s second biggest ranking event on five occasions and it is the first time he has lifted the trophy since 2007.
And the 39-year-old was a mighty relieved man to take the title. After clinching the win he said: “I was gone, I didn’t know what day it was. It’s the hardest match I have ever played. He looked unstoppable.”
Leading 5-3 from a somewhat scrappy and disjointed first session, O’Sullivan increased his lead to 6-3 after Trump missed a red when in the ascendancy at 48-0 ahead.
And O’Sullivan edged closer to the winning line after he came back from 56-0 down in the next frame to go 7-3 ahead.
Trump managed to reduce his deficit to 7-4 but O’Sullivan went one frame away from the title after winning the next two frames either side of the mid-session interval which included the matches’ highest break of 133.
Trump kept his very slim hopes alive winning a scrappy 14th frame before he then transformed back into the man snooker fans have been accustomed to throughout the tournament as breaks of 120 and 127 quickly got him back within two frames at 9-7.
A missed red early on in frame 17 allowed Trump back in among the balls and he took full advantage as a break of 86 made it 9-8.
O’Sullivan appeared to put the match beyond doubt in the next frame until a stunning 67 clearance from Trump forced a deciding frame – which nobody would have expected an hour earlier.
O’Sullivan opened up a 20 point in the lead in the final fame but left a red on when playing safe which allowed Trump back in.
However, Trump lost position on 14 and was then left in big trouble when O’Sullivan played a brilliant snooker in behind the green close to the baulk cushion. Trump tried to nestle on a red but was too short and the foul allowed O’Sullivan to clinch the match.