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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 00:11 GMT
Glory at Wembley for Hunter
Paul Hunter, 2001 B&H champion
Hunter kept his cool, despite falling behind
Paul Hunter retained his B&H Masters title after a tremendous tussle with Mark Williams at Wembley.

Hunter, who lifted the trophy last year after a 10-9 comeback win against Fergal O'Brien, produced another great comeback to defeat the left-handed Welshman by the same score.

The 23-year-old from Leeds came from 5-0 down to retain his title and claim a record 190,000 first prize.

It took his earnings to 324,000 and catapulted him to the top of the season's money list.


It went to the wire so it was an exciting final for the fans
Paul Hunter
"I don't think either of us played our best snooker," Hunter said after becoming only the third player in 28 finals to successfully defend the title.

"But it went to the wire so it was an exciting final for the fans."

Hunter took the lead for the first time in the 15th frame and was never behind from there.

Things had looked very grim for him when Williams raced into a 5-0 lead during the opening session.

But the champion responded by winning the next five - three before the afternoon interval and then the first two of the evening session.

That set up a fascinating final session, with neither man ever being able to pull away.

MArk Williams at the start of the final
For a time, it seemed Williams would lift the trophy

At 7-7, Hunter took the next frame and the lead for the first time in the match.

The players traded the next two frames, but at 9-8 down, Williams produced a frame-winning break to take the match to the deciding frame.

Williams scored first, but it was Hunter who made the frame and championship winning contribution as he cleared a sizeable cluster of reds.

Perhaps the shot that made the difference was a rest-assisted pot at the start of the break which allowed him to build the break.

Only Stephen Hendry and Cliff Thorburn have ever retained the B&H Masters title.

The beaten Williams picked up a cheque for 95,000, although he will struggle to comprehend how he lost a seemingly match-winning lead.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
B&H Masters champion Paul Hunter
"It was an exciting final"
B&H Masters runner-up Mark Williams
"He played well to come back"
BBC Sport's Phil Yates
"By the time the final frame arrived the tension was stifling"

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