Mark King wins N. Ire­land Open

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Mark King, photo, has won his maiden rank­ing ti­tle fol­low­ing a dra­matic 9-8 vic­tory over Barry Hawkins at the Coral North­ern Ire­land Open in Belfast.

The win had looked un­likely with King trail­ing 5-1 dur­ing the open­ing ses­sion. How­ever, he cru­cially clawed it back to 5-3 at the break.

King then won the first four frames when they re­turned in the evening to lead 7-5 in a re­mark­able turn­around. He blasted to the front with breaks of 62, 100, 45 and 53. There were then scenes of pure drama as Hawkins fought back.

With King 8-7 ahead, he re­quired one seven-point snooker on the colours to tie. The black ball had come to lie per­ilously over edge the bot­tom pocket and King am­bi­tiously em­barked upon try­ing to lay the ob­ject ball on top of it. He even­tu­ally achieved that thanks to one of the shots of the tour­na­ment, cross dou­bling the pink the length of the ta­ble. Hawkins fouled the black and his op­po­nent forced a re-spot. King nar­rowly missed a dou­ble to mid­dle for the ti­tle and al­lowed the Hawk in to force a de­cider.

Af­ter a match filled with flu­ent break build­ing the fi­nal frame was un­der­stand­ably tense. Both play­ers had and missed chances. How­ever, it was King who forced him­self over the line and emo­tion­ally em­braced his fam­ily as they en­tered the arena.

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