Fightbacks and Mad Max

Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy reached the fourth round of the UK Championship in a dramatic Tuesday at the Barbican in York.

Neil Robertson UK
Neil Robertson is looking for his second UK crown – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

2011 champion Judd Trump is out, though, while Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh agonisingly missed the final black off the spot for a 147.

In a bizarre day, Un-Nooh’s countryman Dechawat Poomjaeng came from 5-0 down to deny Mark Joyce in a decider.

It was an unbelievable conclusion to the last 32 as the pressures that come with big-level occasions became too much for some to handle.

Australia’s Robertson coasted to a 6-2 victory over Un-Nooh but the encounter will be remembered for all the wrong reasons after the latter’s painful swipe at the black that rattled in the jaws and cost the 30 year-old £44,000.

The Thai admitted after defeat that he was unaware of the potential prize windfall, which just goes to show how much compiling the break would have meant to him regardless of the money.

He’s not the first player to experience the agony and probably wont be the last, but even in its drama nobody would wish that mishap upon a player – particularly with career changing money like that on the table.

As if to confound matters, Robertson responded immediately with a tournament-high 145 clearance before completing his victory in the next against a shattered opponent.

Trump, meanwhile, let things slip from a seemingly comfortable position when he curiously squandered the last five frames to allow Liang Wenbo in for a 6-4 triumph.

At 3-0 down, the Chinese had failed to even pot a ball but capitalised on Trump’s “embarrassing” performance thereafter to scrape into the last 16.

That wasn’t even the most dramatic comeback of the day, with the charismatic Poomjaeng reversing a 5-0 deficit into a 6-5 win against a hapless Joyce who was afforded barely any points in the final exchanges.

Earlier in the day, Murphy played solidly against a lacklustre Ben Woollaston to prevail with a 6-2 victory while Stephen Maguire looked to be somewhere back near his best in his 6-4 success over Mark Davis.

The Scot hit back-to-back centuries to help him go 4-1 up and, despite a spirited fightback from his challenger to level, Maguire quelled any hopes of a reprieve by knocking in runs of 55 and 84.

The result is also important for Maguire’s aspirations of appearing in January’s Masters at the Alexandra Palace.

Elsewhere, the in-form Mark Allen exited the event at the hands of Australian Open runner-up Martin Gould.

In a high-quality affair which boasted two tons from Allen and five breaks over 50 from his opponent, Gould just about got the better of the Northern Irishman thanks to his better overall tactical play and a little run of the ball here and there.

With Trump and Allen crashing out of the top half, and Stuart Bingham and Ding Junhui already home, that section of the draw is looking increasingly nice for Murphy.

That said, the 2008 champion has to play Marco Fu next, the player he beat in the final to capture the trophy seven years ago, after the Hong Kong native beat David Gilbert 6-3.

Finally Tom Ford earned the most straight-forward passage into round four following a 6-1 drubbing of Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson.

An interesting, albeit unexpected last 16 line-up then, one that I’ll have a look at later today before the first set of matches get under way.

Click here for the full draw

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