Judd Trump emerged victorious in a spectacular final to beat Mark Allen 10-8 and claim his first UK Championship trophy in York.
In a final of unparalleled standards, The Englishman resisted a spirited fightback from Allen to win his second ranking event of 2011 and end the year as the sport’s hottest property.
There has rarely been a tournament that has enjoyed a finale as excellent as this one and a packed arena at the Barbican created an electric atmosphere as they were treated to one of the modern classics.
Northern Irishman Allen had been the talking point of the week following his controversial comments at the outset of the event regarding the state of the game in general and narrowly missed out on capping it off with his maiden professional title.
The 25 year-old got off to a nervy start and lost the opening frame to a break of 70 but quickly settled thereafter and reeled off the following three frames to lead 3-1 – with a top break of 141.
However, Bristol’s Trump took control of the encounter after the first mid-session interval and claimed the subsequent seven frames to apparently conjure up a commanding 8-3 advantage.
In a bombardment of big breaks, a 75, 61, 109, 78 and 74 ensured that his opponent remained in his seat for the majority of the middle section of the contest and all seemed to be settled.
Yet, Allen has shown remarkable character throughout his short career so far and once again provided his bulldog, never-say-die attitude to keep the encounter alive.
The former world amateur champion won three of the next four frames with century breaks of 139, 129 and 125, either side of another single visit winning frame from Trump, to reduce the gap to 9-6.
At this point, we were reminded of last year’s final when John Higgins came from 9-5 behind to overturn Mark Williams in an unbelievable deciding frame climax.
Trump had opportunities to seal the match in both of the net two frames but a surprising missed red with the table at his mercy gifted Allen the opportunity to edge even closer and, at 9-8 behind, would have fancied his chances of an unlikely turnaround.
But Trump held his nerve and avoided a final frame thriller by capitalizing on a long missed red from Allen in the 18th frame, compiling a cool 91 break to clinch the second biggest major of the calendar.
It was an outstanding advert for a sport that takes so many knocks for being out-dated, old and boring.
The brand of exciting, attacking snooker was a pleasure to watch and the fact that two of the game’s youngest stars contested the final bodes well for the immediate future.
For Trump, it ends a year that will live long in his memory having also won the China Open, two PTCs as well as reaching the World Championship final.
It also begs the question as to how dominant this 22 year-old sensation will be over the coming years.