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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 November, 2003, 23:13 GMT
Stevens clinches UK crown
Matthew Stevens
Stevens dedicated his win to his late father

Matthew Stevens beat Stephen Hendry 10-8 to win a thrilling UK Championship final on Sunday and with it his first world ranking tournament.

The Welshman came from 4-0 down to see off the threat of the five-times former champion at the Barbican Centre in York.

Stevens went into the evening session 5-4 in front but found himself 7-5 behind as Hendry turned the screw.

But Stevens clawed his way back into the match and clinched victory in the penultimate frame after Hendry had narrowed the gap with a magnificent break of 120.

"I don't know what to say," said a stunned Stevens. "I was 4-0 down and trying to make the score respectable, but then I relaxed after going 5-4 up."

"I've won my first ranking tournament and am glad to have that out of the way.

"I'm enjoying the game a lot more.

I'm playing well but obviously not well enough
Stephen Hendry

"I lost my dad a few years ago and this is my first final since then. So I'd like to dedicate this to him."

Hendry, who had won the Brighton Open earlier this month, was let down by a string of uncharacteristic errors towards the latter stages of the contest.

First a poor safety shot in the 15th frame allowed Stevens to take the lead for only the second time in the match.

The Welshman then headed two frames clear as Hendry missed a red while leading 35-19. Stevens' 30-point clearance put him 9-7 ahead.

But Hendry produced a final onslaught, approaching a 147 only to miss a tough yellow when on 120.

In what proved to be the final frame, the Scot looked set to level proceedings with a break of 53 only to miss another yellow and then find himself snookered.

From there, Stevens calmly sealed victory.

Afterwards Hendry said: "I'm playing well but obviously not well enough.

"I am a professional sportsman and I am too caught up in my own disappointment. But all credit to Matthew."


Frame scores: (Hendry first) 79-0 (68) 100-0 (100) 57-30 77-46 (65) 40-71 (66) 5-81 (50) 0-137 (137) 8-99 (99) 0-76 (76) 107-11 (67) 94-0 (93) 101-0 (101) 27-78 (61) 61-63 (Hendry 61) 22-80 59-63 120-0 (120) 54-59 (Hendry 53)




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UK champion Matthew Stevens
"It's nice to get my first ranking tournament win out the way"




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