Neil Robertson takes it to the max to land UK title
Neil Robertson plundered a history-making maximum break on his way to a second Betway UK Championship title in three years as he held off Liang Wenbo in York.
And although he made hard work of the final, Robertson was the class act all tournament long, richly deserving victory at the ranking event which is second only to the World Championship in prestige.
In the first UK Championship final between two overseas stars, Australian Robertson beat his Chinese opponent 10-5 to finish his year in style.
Along with a £150,000 winner's cheque, Robertson snatched the bonus of £44,000 for making an immaculate 147 break in the sixth frame.
It was the first maximum made in a final of any of snooker's Triple Crown tournaments: the Masters, World Championship or UK.
He went about the perfect clearance that brought the maximum jackpot with precision, exercising such unflinching control over the cue ball. The plant he made to pot the ninth red was never in doubt and the punch of the air in delight was richly deserved, as was the standing ovation from the crowd.
"It gives you such a buzz to make a 147," said Robertson.
Even Liang joined in, clapping and then hugging his opponent, who now has managed three maximums in his career.
At breakfast time in Beijing on Monday, they were waking to their number two player playing the biggest match of his life and clinging on gallantly, until from 7-5 the dream began to slip away.
An run of 110 from Liang should have eased any nerves, but it was going to take something special to overcome Robertson, and inconsistency ultimately cost the underdog.
Robertson was struggling until the closing stages to put away the world number 29.
Ultimately it was another major success safely gathered, the flame in gum-chewing Liang's challenge burning out when he missed an easy black in the last frame.
Liang, who had enjoyed the biggest match of his life, offered warm congratulations as Robertson tied up the win.