Mark King wins N. Ireland Open
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.