It’s a third UK title for the Australian, adding to his prior successes in 2013 and 2015.
Neil Robertson has won the Betway UK Championship after a hard-fought and thrilling 10-9 triumph over Judd Trump in Milton Keynes on Sunday.
The world number three won the last two frames to fight back from 9-8 behind and prevail in a sometimes gruelling encounter that concluded on the final pink.
Big breaks were predicted ahead of a mouthwatering contest between two of the sport’s heaviest scorers.
However, while there were indeed plenty of sizable contributions, the final was a more cagey affair than expected with both contenders making unforced errors and getting bogged down in tactical play.
Still, there was never more than a frame between them until the very end, resulting in a nervy duel that was unfortunately played out to the eerie backdrop of no fans inside the Marshall Arena.
The Betway UK Championship final began with a couple of shared scrappy frames, before they traded runs of 69 and 79 to head into the first interval all-square.
The predicted centuries finally arrived soon after with Trump adding a terrific 128 to compliment Robertson’s 103 and 110 breaks – evening the scoreboard at 4-4 after the afternoon session.
All of that scoring momentum was lost later on upon the restart, and most of the initial exchanges during the evening session proved nervy as neither player wanted to relinquish control.
The breaks dried up until the 16th frame, when Robertson fired in a majestic 115 to break the record for most century breaks in a single UK Championship edition.
The Australian’s 13th hundred of the event restored parity once more, but after Trump won the next to edge 9-8 clear it was the 31 year-old who neared the brink of victory.
That elusive first UK title since 2011 was within his reach before he broke down on a break of 48 in the penultimate frame, allowing Robertson in for a wonderful 72 steal to force a decider.
Two out of the duo’s previous three finals with one another – including in this season’s English Open title decider – had ended in similar fashion, with the player breaking off losing the frame to an immediate ton from his opponent.
This shoot-out never looked like following that pattern, and both Robertson and Trump struggled to orchestrate a clear opportunity to seal the £200,000 winner’s cheque.
As the pressure escalated and the average shot time increased, an intense final frame ensued that lasted more than an hour.
Each protagonist had more than one chance, so often the most basic request in a frame of this magnitude.
Robertson thought he’d won it but rattled a cut-back red, before Trump scrambled his way back into the frame to gift himself a shot at a fourth career Triple Crown title.
But in his own words he “bottled it in the end” and sent the last pink wide of the target, allowing Robertson to finally pot what proved to be the winning ball.
Incredibly dramatic end to the #UKChampionship2020 final. Well played Neil commiserations to Judd.
— Neal Foulds (@fouldsy147) December 7, 2020
It was a remarkable but fittingly tense climax to what had been an absorbing battle throughout, with the Betway UK Championship final ending just shy of 1am.
Robertson’s average shot time ticked past 30 seconds, but he won’t care too much about that as his patient wait for a fifth Triple Crown title, five years after securing his last, is over.
The 38 year-old is probably the only player over the course of the last couple of years who has consistently challenged Trump’s recent dominance, and he now boasts one of the most prestigious pieces of silverware to underline that fact.
A 19th career ranking event trophy also takes Robertson level with Trump in sixth place on the all-time list.
For the latter, it was a disappointing and uncharacteristic finish, but the world number one will surely dust it off as just one of those defeats that can happen against a major rival.
There’s not much time for either man to reflect, with the Scottish Open commencing in a mere few hours at the same venue.
For the two stars, it may take a little longer for the outcome of today’s epic encounter to sink in.
Featured photo credit: WST
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) December 7, 2020