The 2022 UK Championship gets underway in November, and it will not be long before the world’s best players do battle in York.
There have been some terrific tussles over the years, and we have taken a look at the five best finals in the tournament’s history.
Alex Higgins 16-15 Steve Davis (1983)
Alex Higgins and Steve Davis met in three UK Championship finals in the 1980s, and they came at a time of long-format matches.
Davis had won the 1980 final 16-6 over the Hurricane, and the Nugget once again came out on top in the showpiece match of the 1984 UK Championship. However, there was a memorable showdown sandwiched in between.
Both Higgins and Davis had two world titles when clashing in the 1983 UK Championship final, but that was about all the top cuemen had in common. The Belfast potter was flamboyant, impulsive and a maverick. His Romford opponent was the ultimate professional, and it looked as though Davis was on his way to the title after establishing a 7-0 lead.
However, Higgins staged a fantastic comeback to level the match at 15-15, and a final-frame decider ensued. The Northern Irishman would eventually win the contest 16-15, and the contrasting expressions of the players at the end of the game remains one of the most iconic images in snooker.
Stephen Hendry 16-15 Steve Davis (1990)
Davis won six UK Championship crowns, but he was once again on the end of a memorable loss, this time when taking on Hendry in 1990. The Scot had proved too strong for the Nugget in the 1989 UK Championship final, and the Queensferry cueman recorded a 16-12 victory.
However, a year later, Davis had a chance of revenge. Hendry sealed a 16-15 win with a fantastic 98 break in the final frame, and while that triumph was a big deal in its own right, it impacted the wider game.
Davis had been snooker’s dominant force during the 1980s, winning six world titles, but the baton was handed over to Hendry following this contest, and the Scot went on to dominate the game himself, lifting seven World Championship crowns.
John Higgins 10-9 Mark Williams (2010)
Two of the class of ’92 met when John Higgins beat Mark Williams 10-9 in the final of the 2010 UK Championship. Once again, a thrilling tournament came down to a final frame, and it was the Scot that collected the trophy. However, that only tells part of the story of the match.
Williams led 9-5 and needed just one rack to be crowned champion. The Welshman looked to have sealed the deal, with Higgins needing a snooker when trailing 9-7, but the Wizard of Wishaw cast a spell on the Cwm cueman, and he found the required points.
The Scot magically doubled a frame-winning brown before clearing the remaining colours and claiming the trophy.
Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-9 Judd Trump (2014)
This was a highly anticipated final between two of snooker’s most entertaining performers. Ronnie O’Sullivan was no stranger to UK Championship success, having previously lifted four titles, but the Rocket hadn’t claimed the crown in seven years, and a young Judd Trump was a dangerous opponent.
It was a high-quality contest, and the Ace knocked in back-to-back centuries to force a deciding rack. The atmosphere was tense inside the Barbican Centre in York, but it was O’Sullivan that held his nerve to seal the victory.
Neil Robertson 10-9 Judd Trump (2020)
The Covid crisis meant that this fantastic final was played behind closed doors, but it still served up plenty of drama for those watching at home.
A ding-dong baize battle came down to just a single deciding frame, and Trump looked to have the title in the bag when standing over a routine final pink. However, the Ace spurned his chance; Robertson stepped in to sink the pink and win his third UK Championship title.