IT WAS the comeback dreams are made of.
World number 81 David Grace delivered the mother of all fight backs to reach the UK Championship semi-finals last night after his hopes looked dead and buried at 5-1 down to Martin Gould.
Grace will next face Liang Wenbo for a place in Sunday’s UK Championship final.
It is the first time Grace has reached the semi-finals of a major ranking event and he could not have picked a better way to so after producing one of the tournament’s most stunning comebacks in its long prestigious history.
“I’m in absolute shock, I can’t believe I turned the match around” – Grace
World number 24 Gould deservedly had the match under control and a comeback appeared unlikely when he moved four frames clear at 5-1 ahead after making breaks of 125, 127 and 72.
But the crowd at York’s Barbican Theatre was to see a night of stunning drama as Grace battled back when all hope appeared to be gone.
Grace won the seventh with a 50 clearance and the eighth to make it 5-3 after Gould was unlucky to go in-off the final brown when looking to clinch the match.
Gathering momentum, 30-year-old Grace won two scrappy frames to force a decider.
A scrappy final frame had its twists and turns which included a brave decision by referee Terry Camilleri not to call a miss on Grace after making a great attempt on trying to get out of a snooker when the match was hanging in the balance.
But the crucial point came when Gould missed a thin cut on the black to a centre pocket allowing Grace the chance to complete a memorable win.
Grace, who became the lowest ranked player to reach the UK semi-finals since Alan McManus got to the last four in 1990 when unranked on his debut pro season, said he was in complete disbelief at what happened.
“At 5-1 down I couldn’t see any way back into it,” Grace said after the match.
“I just wanted to make him win it rather than hand it to him. And I know that the last frame is always the hardest to win. Fair play to Martin because he didn’t question the referee’s decision in the last frame, when a lot of players would.
“I always knew deep down that I could do this, but you have to produce it out there.”
Gould said: “I’m gutted to get so close to the semis of the UK and lose. David played some great stuff from 5-1 and I faltered.”