Coming into this years williamhill.com UK Championship there were those who feared the tournament would suffer as a result of the absence of Ronnie O'Sullivan and I think it's fair to say that in the opening few days the tournament did struggle to find it's feet.We has some decent snooker but things just hadn't caught fire.The tournament needed something and my God did it get it as since Tuesday we have been treated to as dramatic a few days of Snooker as I can ever remember.
Todays dose of daily soap opera was provided by two of smoothest cue actions in the game as Shaun Murphy faced Ali Carter.A free flowing game was always on the cards here and so it proved to be.
As the match started it was Ali who got the better start and raced into a 2-0 lead before Murphy came back to level at 2-2. Both players were producing high quality snooker but with the help of a bit of run and Murphy's inability to convert good breaks into frame winning ones it was Carter who lead 5-3 coming into the evening.
The night started with both players trading frames they should have lost to move the score to 6-4 before Carter made what seemed at the time a match clinching burst to lead 8-4 at the interval.Carter at this stage could nearly smell the final and it seemed there was no possible way Murphy could come back.
It was Bob Dylan who sung though that "When you aint got nothing you got nothing to lose".Murphy came out after the interval determined to go down swinging and suddenly the balls started to fly in.8-4 quickly became 8-5,then 8-6.Carter was now becoming ,if not over negative certainly a little cautious as he tried to wait patiently for the one chance he wanted to claim the frame he needed for victory .That chance just wasn't coming though and Murphy made a century to make it 8-7 before also claiming the next to force the decider.
Carter must have been wondering what was happening so it was to his great credit that from Murphy's break off he potted a super long red to get his chance.Unfortunately for him he couldn't make it a winning one and broke down when attempting a tricky red with the rest ,Murphy got in and although he couldn't clinch it in one visit he did enough to win the frame and secure the most improbable of comebacks winning 9-8
One cannot but feel for Carter after this,to have got so close to the final only to see it so agonisingly snatched away will be hard to take for the Essex man You feel it will take a while for these wounds to heal.
For Murphy though this will be a very satisfying win and having been on the brink of exiting the tournament for a second match in a row he will possibly begin to feel his name may be on the trophy..
Tomorrow see's the second semi final as the Marks, Selby and Davis do battle.The way this week is going you wonder what more drama this tournament has left in store for us..