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  Monday, 12 February, 2001, 00:35 GMT
Hunter snares Masters title
Fergal O'Brien and Paul Hunter
O'Brien (left) and Hunter produced a great final
Paul Hunter 10-9 Fergal O'Brien
Frame scores (Hunter first): 40-59 57-68 67-44 48-80 30-72 56-71 78-0 34-64 61-53 54-57 51-43 133-6 (129) 136-0 (101) 0-88 104-0 136-0 (136) 132-0 (132) 44-62 77-44.

Paul Hunter claimed the 175,000 first prize after an enthralling finish to the final of the Benson & Hedges Masters at Wembley.

The match went all the way to a 19th frame but Hunter gained the rich reward.

With so much at stake in the decider, opportunities were few and far between but after missing a red, Hunter had the misfortune to cannon the cue ball back off the jaw of the middle pocket.

That hand O'Brien a chance, but after a break of 15,the Irishman fouled on the black, handing the initiative back to Hunter.

Fine fightback

He made 38 but a tactical battle ensued when down to the colours, with both players producing magnificent safety play.

O'Brien finally took an opportunity on the yellow but then missed the green.

Hunter fouled on the green twice as he tried to escape from a tight snooker but O'Brien missed a free ball and Hunter was the one to ultimately cash in.

Dazzling potting

Trailing 6-2 going into the final session, Hunter had won three of the evening's first four frames to trail 7-5 at the interval of the last evening session.

But while the early frames of the evening were error-ridden, the 22-year-old Yorkshireman returned from the break to produce a dazzling display of potting.

He rattled in four century breaks in the space of six frames to stun O'Brien.

That display included a break of 136 in frame 16, a performance that equalled the highest break of the tournament set by Jimmy White and earned Hunter a share of the 20,000 bonus prize.

He then took the next frame to lead 9-8 but O'Brien showed great composure to take frame 18 and take the match to the nailbiting 46-minute decider.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Clive Everton
"One of the most remarkable final sessions in the history of the Masters"
Paul Hunter
"I don't think it's sunk in yet"
Fergal O'Brien
"It's not been a bad week"
Benson & Hedges Masters
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See also:

12 Feb 01 | Benson and Hedges Masters
12 Feb 01 | Benson and Hedges Masters
12 Feb 01 | Benson and Hedges Masters
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