Robertson's hat-trick

So, after thirteen days of competition in Milton Keynes, Neil Robertson wins the UK Championship for the third time. That's on a par with Ding Junhui and John Higgins in this event, with only Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O'Sullivan ahead of them. It was a magnificent final, and not the one we expected; what it lacked in huge, frame-winning clearances it more than compensated for with a relentless supply of gut-wrenching drama. Pure, gritty, matchplay snooker at its very best, with both players going to the well. Thanks for your company and for sticking with us while all of this unfolded. We'll be back soon though - tomorrow in fact - because guess what? It's time for the Scottish Open! Night night all.

World Championship
Snooker review of 2020: How O’Sullivan ruled world during Trump’s year of universal supremacy
29/12/2020 AT 16:31

Robertson talks

He looks almost too shattered to celebrate. Robertson then dedicates his victory to a friend of his back in Australia who passed a few months ago, almost breaking up a little as he does so. That's a touching moment. Robertson also credits how unlucky Trump was in that unbearably tense last frame; it did feel like Trump was the one really trying to force it on the reds, only for Robertson to pip him on the pink. Robertson gets the trophy, and raises it high to canned applause as confetti reigns down. These are extraordinary times, as we all well know, and that was an extraordinary final.

Trump talks

He says it's tough to take, which is an understatement. Trump also think he bottled it, and cracked under the pressure at the end; I think he's being incredibly harsh on himself there, given the pressure he's responded to from Robertson all day, but he'll know more about winning margins and life at the top than me. It's a candid interview, and he's wonderfully gracious to Robertson in defeat. It brings to an end his brilliant run of winning 15 matches in a row, but he's still the world number one. This one will bruise, but he's such a relentless and brilliant winner these days that I've no doubt he'll use that as fuel for the rest of the season, particularly at Alexandra Palace and The Crucible.

Neil Robertson has won his third UK Championship title

Oh my, I need a lie down. That final, and that final frame, will go down in snooker folklore. We've had the black ball final; that was the pink ball final, settled just before 1am on Monday 7th December 2020. Both players look completely and utterly spent. For Neil Robertson that will be one of the most memorable victories of his storied career. It's a devastating defeat for Judd Trump, who had a look at pink and black to win the match, but what a part he played in an all-time classic. Not that it will make him feel any better, but it takes two players, no less, to make an epic like that. Both Robertson and Trump emptied everything onto that table tonight; that was absolutely incredible.

Trump 9-10 Robertson

HE'S DONE IT! Neil Robertson clips in the thin cut on the pink, one of the biggest pots of his entire career, and he's won the UK Championship!

Trump 9-9 Robertson (43-47)

It's up for grabs now! Robertson can't land softly on the green, going by it to leave it to the bottom right for Trump. What a chance! Trump takes the green, then shorts position to the blue when potting the brown, but picks out a superb recovery pot to land on the pink. It's two pots for the match...and he's missed the pink to the bottom right! Oh my word, can you believe this?! And he's left it to the bottom right! Neil Robertson has got a thin cut on the pink to win the UK Championship!

Trump 9-9 Robertson (31-47)

These guys have fluked some snookers tonight when getting out of one, my days! Trump lands Robertson in one, and he picks up a useful five points when Neil fails to connect and careers into the blue. He does at the second attempt though, and full balls Trump behind pink and black. Trump escapes though, and then gets a chance at a pot when Robertson sticks the yellow up over the right middle! It could be frame and match if Trump can pot it and shift the green...but he only manages the former, and tucks Robertson in behind the brown instead.

Trump 9-9 Robertson (24-47)

Trump takes out the red in the jaws, followed by the blue, and then plays a superb shot with the rest to deposit a red into the bottom left while clipping the final red off the bottom cushion and into a potting position. What a shot at this stage! He then rolls in the blue, but when cutting the red in he clips the black, and runs deep into baulk. There's a numbingly difficult green on to keep the break going, but Trump 2.0 isn't risking that and he puts the yellow safe instead. These two, eh? We're on the colours again tonight, this time for the match. Robertson currently needs yellow and green to leave Trump needing a snooker; Trump needs the lot. The UK Championship final is on the line at ten to one in the morning. Don't you just love this game?

Trump 9-9 Robertson (11-47)

Robertson takes his break to 21, and goes down for one of two reds near the bottom rail. One goes to the bottom left, off which he tries to split two adjacent reds nearby that don't pot. Joe Johnson's wondering if he miscounted there? Because he only needs the other red near the rail with a colour and that would leave Trump needing a snooker. No matter; he splits the two reds off the yellow, and he's almost there. Robertson has left a cut on a red to bottom left here...and he's rattled it in the jaws and left it there! Oh my word, Trump's still in it!

Trump 9-9 Robertson (11-23)

Robertson leaves Trump a long red to the bottom left again, and it flies in like a missile. Trump then just about rattles the blue into the yellow pocket using the rest. Another red is deposited into the bottom left, and he's on the black. As Joe Johnson says in commentary, Trump is trying to make something happen here. That said, he turns down what admittedly is not an easy black with no obvious red to follow, and plays safe. Robertson's next safety really blows the frame open; he's brought several reds into play, plus the pink, and landed the white back in baulk. That's an attacking safety, and invites Trump to have a fly at a red near the rail and just above the bottom left. He absolutely creams cue ball at object ball, and the red flies up off the table briefly as it rockets back out of the jaws and into the centre of the table. Trump threw everything at that, and he's left Robertson in. There are still awkward reds, but he's already ahead and it's a chance.

Trump 9-9 Robertson (4-23)

This almost unbearably tense stalemate is broken when Robertson leaves a red on to the bottom left, and Judd duly thin snicks it in. I think that's the first pot for over 25 minutes. Trump doesn't land conveniently on a baulk colour though, so plays off the yellow to park Robertson right in behind the brown. Robertson escapes, rolling the white gently off one cushion towards a pack of five to the left of the pink spot. He's caught the end one though, leaving Trump a cut on a red to the bottom left. It goes, but Trump can only add a yellow before losing position on his next red when trying and succeeding to free the black. He plays safe back to baulk. It's not much, but it's points; also, slowly, this frame is opening up.

Trump 9-9 Robertson (0-23)

After a long, long deliberation by Robertson, over two minutes this time, he picks out a safety that puts Trump right in behind the yellow. It's a bit of a hit and hope escape for Trump, off two cushions, and he gets away with it, landing tight near the left rail and not leaving Robertson any pot not loaded with risk. Whoever gets in next it's going to be hard to register many points, with all eleven reds in close proximity below the pink spot and to the left of the table.

Trump 9-9 Robertson (0-23)

After a knife-edge safety exchange for a few minutes, Robertson has a thrash at a long red to bottom left. It doesn't go close, but he gets the white safely back to baulk. The bottom half of the table is a mess, with reds blocking other reds all over the place and black and pink looking tied up. It's now Monday, and we could get through a fair chunk of its first hour before we're done here.

Trump 9-9 Robertson (0-23)

A key shot here for Robertson as he drives a red into the bottom left and runs through the bottom of the pack with heavy topspin. He can't see the black and the potential cut on the pink looks to be just about covered by a red, so it looks like end of break. Robertson mulls it over for almost four minutes, and eventually turns down the pot on the pink and plays safe off the blue. By bare millimetres, Trump is still in this final.

Trump 9-9 Robertson (0-22)

Cagey safety to start with from both players, which is understandable; any mistake here could be the end. Trump has the first go at a pot, a thin red down most of the right rail that jars out, after which Robertson can't then tag a long shot to nothing into the bottom right. There's a chance for one for Trump in the same corner; that doesn't go either, and goes around the table before sitting up over the left middle for Robertson. This is a chance. One bash into the pack off the blue frees a couple of reds, and he ticks his break up to 22 and counting. Robertson's taking his time with every shot here, which is really upping the tension of this wonderful finale.

Trump 9-9 Robertson (0-0)

What now, then? Two of the last three finals between Judd and Neil have gone to deciders, in the Champion of Champions in 2019 and the English Open seven weeks back, and here we are again. This time, there's a Triple Crown event on the line. One frame it is then for the UK Championship title, Judd Trump to break.

Trump 9-9 Robertson

The green just about makes it into its own pocket as Robertson plays it slow to hold for the brown. That then goes, and so does the blue; this has been a stunning steal from Robertson. The pink is plugged for good measure, and we're going to a decider!

Trump 9-8 Robertson (48-50)

A black of the fourteenth red puts Robertson ahead in the frame, the final red that follows secures a half-century pieced together under the most intense pressure. What a player Robertson is. Up to and including the blue will do it.

Trump 9-8 Robertson (48-21)

Trump comes high off the blue and into the pack, with controlled pace rather than brute force, and that's a lovely split. The end is surely nigh, but Trump then overcuts a red to the bottom left and it stays out! He's done that a few times today, and what a reprieve for Robertson. He strokes a difficult red into the bottom right and then - and this is mind-boggling, given the pressure on it - he rolls a deadweight brown into the middle from just off the top cushion and serenely glides the white down to the available reds. The moxie to do that, when the roll-up snooker was the easier option. He's in position now, and after stunning in the black to get it back on its spot, the frame is there for him to win and force a decider.

Trump 9-8 Robertson (29-0)

Now then Neil, have you got enough in the can to force a decider? We're closing in on midnight here, and as someone tweeted Joe and Phil earlier, Trump might play in two ranking events on the same day shortly as he's due to play in the evening session of day one of the Scottish Open tomorrow night. He's started this frame like he's not interested in that quirky slice of history though, as he launches a long red into the bottom left and lands on the green to yellow pocket. That's a stunner from Trump and he's quickly down the business end of the table and racking points. The red to take him to 29 wipes its feet and takes off its hat and coat before going into the bottom left, but that should focus his mind now; one more good split shortly and he can win this title at this visit.

Trump 9-8 Robertson

Trump is an unbelievable competitor now - he knows how to win. He flows through a clinching break of 42.

Trump 8-8 Robertson (63-0)

Now it's Neil who thinks he's been left a plant but he can't send it down. He's left a red too, and Judd will take it on, all the more so given he's also knocked a different one safe. Down it goes, and that'll be 9-8 for sure.

Trump 8-8 Robertson (53-0)

Judd clatters home a red - he needs two more red-colours - but doesn't come far enough to get onto the black. He thinks about doubling it into the middle and pulling the white back to the top cushion, but instead it's safe off the brown, knocking it safe at the same time.

Trump 8-8 Robertson (39-0)

An overhit blue means a difficult red to get back for the blue - pink and black are tied up -and it's there. A few shots later, the black goes down, and this frame is nearly did.

Trump 8-8 Robertson (12-0)

Neil has first go, looking at a pot to the middle and thinking he was leaving nothing. But Judd espies a plant that looks like it's going straight down the neck of the pocket, so rather than bring the white back to baulk, he plays for the blue. But he soon runs out of position, playing safe but leaving a tempter; Neil takes it on and gets so close, but him missing gives Judd a chance to go one up with two to play.

Trump 8-8 Robertson

Neil gets to four but we very quickly reach a stalemate and re-rack.

Trump 8-8 Robertson

That was an absolutely fantastic clearance, in any circumstances never mind these circumstances.

Trump 8-7 Robertson (0-73)

A century here would be Neil's 13th, giving him the tournament record which he longer shares with ... Ronnie O'Sulivan and Stephen Hendry. 10 points to you, dear reader.

Trump 8-7 Robertson (0-52)

"If he gets 10 red-greens he wins the frame," says Uncle Joe; "He's a vegan he's literally eating his greens here," responds Phil Studd a few shots later. We're getting towards a frame-winning break here, and it's been brilliant to watch; 20 pots for a fifty. This game.

Trump 8-7 Robertson (0-32)

This is extremely intense. Neil is finding this so tough - it is so tough - but is doing a really good of forcing the issue.He plays down to baulk for the pink, to get it back onto its spot, but overscrews and has to take the green instead; that goes onto the pink spot. When you chase position like this, you often run out, but he's so focused out there.

Trump 8-7 Robertson (0-8)

Judd takes on a long red - he absolutely wallops this - misses the pocket, wallops another red, and leaves the original to the middle. The black's tied up, but there are points to be had and Neil sets about acquiring them.

Trump 8-7 Robertson

Neil returns to the table but fouls immediately, and suddenly Judd looks like the champion in waiting.

Trump 7-7 Robertson (59-15)

For the first time, I'm wondering if Neil's flagging. His safety isn't as precise as it's been and he's lost all flow. Judd is quickly back at the table to extend his league by eight more - he needs three snookers.

Trump 7-7 Robertson (51-15)

Except Neil leaves him another to the middle, and off Judd goes again. Just when it looks like he's run out of position, there's a pink to the yellow pocket that he devastates with unbelievable abandon, while still getting onto the next red. "Ohhh! What a shot!" says Uncle Joe and well he might. This lad is mustard; this lad is fizzy mustard. But he soon runs out of position and plays safe 36 ahead with 43 remaining.

Trump 7-7 Robertson (26-15)

Here we go again. Neil pots well and can't build on it, then plays a safety and we look set for another long one ... except from his station on the side cushion, Judd espies a red into the opposite middle! Down it goes, and he gets to work. The balls are far from perfect, but he'll feel better for knocking some into holes ... except it's only 26 points' worth.

Trump 7-7 Robertson (0-13)

Judd's playing again tomorrow evening, in the Scottish Open. That is absolutely baffling. Anyhow, a poor safety from Neil leaves a long red for Judd. He has a look and decides he fancies it, chopping towards the corner, but doesn't get that close and leaves one, which is beautifully dispatched. A blue comes next, but he doesn't get into it properly, leaving a heard second red. Bang, down it goes long into the top right. The balls don't run nicely though, and he's soon up into baulk off the brown.

Trump 7-7 Robertson

It's been a 50 minute frame so far. Finally a chance presents itself, with Robertson having a look at a long brown to the bottom right, and he's missed it. That's left Trump a go at a long brown into the same pocket...and it's there! He's landed straight on the blue too, so Robertson concedes the frame. That was a triumph for Trump's safety game there, which you can now place in a bracket labelled formidable after his improvement in that area of the game in recent years. We're level again; best of five for the UK Championship and it's gone 10pm!

Trump 6-7 Robertson (79-59)

The brown is now tight to the black on the bottom cushion, and possibly a plant, so Robertson plays for the thinnest of snicks and misses it completely. Trump them puts him another snooker from the free ball, and Robertson misses it again! He's now 20 behind with 22 left on, so the brown is frame ball for Trump. This is off the charts tense now.

Trump 6-7 Robertson (71-59)

This time Trump flukes a snooker on the brown, full ball behind the blue, and Robertson sails by it but doesn't leave a pot on. Trump lets him go again, and he hits it this time, fluking the red safe after a double kiss. There's been some great safety in this frame but my word they've both had a fortuitous run of the balls in it too.

Trump 6-7 Robertson (67-59)

Trump can't get out of Robertson's snooker, missing the yellow and leaving a free ball. Robertson has the shot reset, and Trump escapes but leaves a long yellow to the bottom left. Robertson throws the cue at it, but misses by a wide margin yet flukes a snooker after the yellow whacks into the brown. These two are trading some brilliant safety shots, it's pure attrition. When Trump snookers Robertson next he can't escape it, and he's left a free ball. Trump takes the black as a yellow, then the yellow itself, but can't fashion an angle on the green that will allow him to shift the brown from tight on the upper right rail. He rolls the green into the middle, then plays safe off the brown. there's 22 left on the table, and this frame can still go either way.

Trump 6-7 Robertson (56-55)

Another brutal snooker from Trump, with the white behind the brown near baulk and the yellow in behind the black near the bottom cushion, extracts four and a free ball when Robertson sails past it. Trump puts Robertson in another one, rolling up to the brown, but Robertson escapes and snookers Trump in return. It's four to Robertson now as Trump fails to make a thin contact before connecting second time around and landing Robertson in a full ball snooker. So what does the Thunder do? Fashion a full ball contact on his escape to send the yellow up the table and snooker Trump, that's what! This is some safety battle.

Trump 6-7 Robertson (52-51)

Trump launches a long red to the yellow pocket, but it rattles out and goes just safe. Robertson then plays an awful safety which sticks the red up over the left middle for Trump. That goes, as does the pink, but he's awkward on the yellow so he plays the white in behind the brown rather than have a yahoo using the rest. The old Trump doesn't play that shot, but the one that now wins everything in sight does, and it looks like the right choice. Robertson is trying to drop delicately on this yellow as it's right by the bottom right corner, and gives away 12 points before he manages it. Trump leads, he's in control and we're on the colours.

Trump 6-7 Robertson (33-51)

It's one error after another here, as Trump snookers himself on an intended blue and has to take the green instead, missing it to its own pocket by a long way. This is so tense. Trump gets the next chance though and opens it with three brilliant pots - a thin red to right middle, a cut on the green and then a long red into the green pocket. It's a chance, but he falters on the next red, overcutting it to the bottom left and leaving it there for Robertson. Blimey. Robertson mops that up followed by a black, but can't connect with the awkward final red to nudge it over the right middle. He plays safe and, just like the last frame, we've got a huge 35 points left on the table here.

Trump 6-7 Robertson (8-43)

Trump's made a misjudgement on a safety that could have some enormity come the end of the match. He tries to drop onto the side of the pack off one cushion, but it pulls up a foot short and he's left Robertson a straight red to the bottom left. Yet just as it looks like Robertson might break the back of this final and move two ahead, he misses a black off its spot! Trump can sense a moment, and he pots a red and goes straight into the pack to develop more reds here. This could be a huge steal.

Trump 6-7 Robertson (0-30)

From Robertson's break Trump tries to drop a red into the bottom right deadweight, but he's missed it and left it to the bottom right. Robertson drops it in, with not insignificant assistance from the jaws, and lands on the black. It's a promising chance but an attempt to disturb the pack after potting the blue has left him only a thin red to the left middle. Robertson clips it in, but runs the length of the table and right behind a red that obstructs his path to the black. That nixes his efforts on 30, and he plays safe off the green.

Trump 6-7 Robertson

After a brilliant tit-for-tat bout of safety on the final red, a chance presents itself to Robertson and he clubs a red into the bottom left to come up for the yellow. That goes, as does everything up to the black, and Robertson is back in front! This hasn't been the gunslinging shootout of heavy breaks that we thought likely, but my word this is as engrossing a big final as we've had in a while.

Trump 6-6 Robertson (37-55)

This is a massive mini-break from Robertson to resume control in this frame, with a nerveless deadweight black to the green pocket with the white tight to the left rail and then a thin cut on a red to the yellow pocket. He gets to the final red but just fails to nudge it over the right middle, and plays safe. There are 35 incredibly significant points left on the table here.

Trump 6-6 Robertson (37-35)

Zoiks, what a let off this is for Trump. Robertson hammers a red to the right middle and it swirls around the pocket and flies back out. That could be very costly, as he's left a good chance here for Trump. He's quickly about his business, and a split of the remaining pack on 30 works out perfectly and he hits the front on this frame. As I type that, Trump misses a gun barrel straight black to the bottom left and Robertson is back in!

Trump 6-6 Robertson (0-20)

We're back on. Trump breaks, and Robertson immediately hoses a red into the bottom left before coming back up for the brown. These are set fair, with plenty of loose reds and the black on to both corners. It's looking even better now - Robertson plugs a red to bottom left with the rest and forces the white through the left side of the pack to land on the pink to bottom right. It's a break of 20 already and there's a pile waiting here.

Trump 6-6 Robertson

Down goes the final red, before Robertson tucks Trump in tight behind the green. Trump escapes, but he's left the yellow on and Robertson plugs it to sort the frame. The green goes too, Trump concedes it and we're six each at the interval. What an absorbing contest, and it's best of seven for the UK Championship when we return! See you in 15 minutes.

Trump 6-5 Robertson (28-28)

A chance for Robertson now, as Trump misses a wild long red and sends others all over the table. Robertson's on a gimme of a red over the green pocket to start, and needs a good break as he's just gone off the boil a little in the last few minutes. He pulls level in the frame and he's looking good here with all four remaining reds in the open.

Trump 6-5 Robertson (28-11)

Trump's on top at the moment, and the man himself can sense it. He glides in a mid-range red to get going here, before opening the pack immediately off the black. That's an excellent shot, and good recovery pot on a red to left middle soon after has put him in position now. Trump can only make 28 though, before losing position on the black and having to play safe off the yellow.

Trump 6-5 Robertson (0-11)

Robertson forces an error from Trump with a good safety at the start of the 12th frame. Trump tries to play a containing shot but he's left Robertson a red along the rail to the bottom right, and in it goes. Again, though, it comes apart for Robertson; a poor positional shot off the yellow leaves him with a tough cut on a red to the bottom right, and he's missed it.

Trump 6-5 Robertson

A 75 from Trump regains the lead in the match.

Trump 5-5 Robertson (54-12)

He's going back in front! 68 secures the frame for Trump, who has ruthlessly punished Robertson's miss at the start of the frame.

Trump 5-5 Robertson (54-12)

A decent split on the pack early in the frame has opened this frame up for Trump. He's up to 30 but the cue ball has been far from on a string during it. He's picking them off precisely now though, and a black takes him to a half century with five reds left.

Trump 5-5 Robertson (0-12)

Trump misses a long red to the bottom right at the start of the 11th. It goes all around the table, clips the green and comes within millimetres of going into the right middle. Instead it hangs on the lip for Robertson, and there are points on here. This might be big, however, as on 12 he's missed a shocker of a short red to the bottom left and Trump is in.

Trump 5-5 Robertson

Robertson empties the table for a 94 and the tenth frame.

By the by, if you missed it earlier, we've had the draw for the first round of The Masters today:

Trump 5-4 Robertson (9-74)

Robertson quickly adds 39, with a black putting the frame beyond doubt here. We're going all square again.

Trump 5-4 Robertson (9-35)

A safety from Robertson leaves Trump the thinnest of cuts to the bottom right, which snicks in and then Trump puts Robertson in behind the brown. It needs three attempts, but Robertson eventually escapes without leaving anything.There's then a strange moment where Trump's safety seems to bobble over something on the table - a stray fragment of chalk? - which slows the white right down. At his next visit he then throws everything at a long, straight red to the bottom left, and he's missed it. Not only that, he's scattered what's left of the reds and left Robertson an easy opener.

Trump 5-4 Robertson (0-35)

Trump leaves Robertson a mid-range red to the bottom right, and he's quickly away in the tenth. He looks unflustered by losing the opening frame of the night and he's quickly up to 30 and counting here. He's lost position now though, as an attempt to split the pack off the blue sends the white near the jaws of the bottom right. He's on nothing, and has to play safe.

Trump 5-4 Robertson

Now Trump lands Robertson in all kinds, trapping him behind the pink from where he gives away five before connecting and knocking the blue safe with his second go. We're now coming up to 40 minutes for this frame. Robertson then gets a look at a long one to the green pocket, which goes agonisingly close but the blue spits back out and sits up right over the bottom right for Trump. That should be it, and it soon is; Trump dishes up blue and pink for the frame. What an epic, and he leads for the first time!

Trump 4-4 Robertson (55-60)

Robertson leaves the blue on the bottom cushion and the white behind the black, and Trump misses with his deadweight escape off one cushion. Trump will now need blue and pink to win the game; he slides by again on his second attempt, and we're all square in the frame, and he misses for a third time, meaning he now needs to clear the lot rather than Robertson. Trump escapes on the fourth attempt, and he's left Robertson a tempter along the rail to the bottom right...and Robertson's missed it but not left it. What a massive frame this has turned into.

Trump 4-4 Robertson (55-45)

Trump leaves Robertson a mid-range green to its own pocket, and it goes in. Robertson then pots the brown and shifts the pink into play; he's not left himself a pot on the blue, but he's got control of the table.

Trump 4-4 Robertson (55-38)

Robertson plays a poor safety to leave Trump a straight mid-ranger to the bottom right, which Trump pots but then misses the black off its spot. Neither player has settled into this session yet. Trump snicks in the next red too, but there's no available colour to go with it. He plays a snooker instead, from which Robertson looks to have escaped expertly, until Trump launches a long red into the bottom right. What a shot, and he only needs a colour and up to the brown! His position let's him down again though and after potting the yellow he leaves a difficult green that he can't convert. This one's still on.

Trump 4-4 Robertson (46-38)

Robertson's safety hits the green instead of going into baulk; that leaves Trump a red to the bottom left, and he plonks it in the pocket to get away here. He adds 32, but an extravagant effort to go in and out of baulk from the black goes wrong when he clips both brown and blue on the way and can't land in his next red. He's back in front, but this is a tight frame and there are still three reds out there.

Trump 4-4 Robertson (14-38)

On 23 Robertson pots the black with delayed screw, trying to drive the cue ball through the pack. He misses the reds completely though, and sends the pink direct into the right middle instead. That's an extraordinary shot, but the good news for Robertson is that he's not left anything.

Trump 4-4 Robertson (7-15)

Snookered in baulk, Trump tries to come off two cushions and land on the pack. He's misjudged it though, and the white clips the outside red and slides by, leaving Robertson an easy starter to the bottom right.

Trump 4-4 Robertson (7-15)

It’s Trump that gets in first here, but after a red and a yellow he misses a cut on a red to the bottom left. A chance for Robertson then, and he’s in bold mood; a difficult black near the rail takes him 14. It’s gone wrong on his next shot though, as he goes in-off in the left middle when playing up for the blue off his next red.

Baizing Squad

Here we go then, the players come out to settle the argument. It’s best of 11 now for the UK Championship, let’s get about it.

Robbo

As for Robertson, he’s after his third UK title and his first Triple Crown gong since 2015. He was marginally the better player this afternoon and will have in his memory a harsh lesson from Trump at the English Open seven weeks ago, about hammering home any and every advantage. Robertson had Trump at 7-4 in that best of 17 final, only to lose it in a final frame decider. Can he get in front and stay there tonight.

Getting to the top, and staying there

Judd Trump has won the English Open and the Northern Ireland Open already this season, and his last 15 matches in a row before today. Has he paid the cost to be the boss? It’s hard work to keep playing that much snooker at that kind of level, and he’s mentioned in interviews how draining it's been. If Trump can rouse himself for one final charge tonight though, he could pick up the first Triple Crown title of 2020/21.

Good evening!

Fed and watered? Smashing. Get comfy for the conclusion of the UK Championship final between Judd Trump and Neil Robertson, tantalisingly poised at 4-4 going into the evening session. We are expecting the unison of boys and baize just after 7pm.

Also, we're running a shot of the tournament vote! Watch the best nine efforts below and then head here to cast your vote.

UK Championship: What was the shot of the tournament?

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Join us again in a few hours

That concludes our live coverage this afternoon, we'll be back with you at 6.45pm this evening to see who comes out on top in this tussle between these two great players. You do not want to miss the denouement of this one. Thanks for your company this afternoon, see you later on.

You just can't split them

Robertson takes the lead, Trump wins the next frame to draw level. Repeat the process four times and leave on simmer until the evening and that gives you a fascinating final session in prospect to settle this UK Championship. That was such an intriguing afternoon of snooker, and a real slow burner; that rapid barrage of scoring after the mid-session interval really bodes well for the rest of this match. Trump might be marginally the happier of the two, after stepping in to clear up in the second frame after Robertson had the chance to jump two ahead at the beginning, but really there is nothing between the two.

Trump 4-4 Robertson

He's done it with the blue off the final red. All of the colours follow for a superb total clearance of 128, and this match is all square ahead of the evening session.

Trump 3-4 Robertson (68-0)

The eleventh red goes, and we're done here bar the admin of how far this break goes. Come on Judd, round this off with a ton.

Trump 3-4 Robertson (51-0)

It's still a bit wayward from Trump but he keeps sending the balls down, and a pink to left middle finally seems to have got the cue ball and the break under his spell. He's quickly over the half-century with a black to bottom left, and barring a shocker of a miss we're going into the evening session all square.

Trump 3-4 Robertson (19-0)

Attack is the best form of defence. Trump smashes in a plant to the bottom left, with the white walloping into the black which then sends the reds everywhere, and he's on the blue. That's slightly fortunate, but you have to admire the self-belief. It's loose to begin with but another excellent long red to the bottom left regains position, and he's got a great look at a one hit frame and 4-4 here.

Trump 3-4 Robertson

The frame is soon in the bag, and the remaining reds and colours follow as Robertson fires in a 110 to win the frame. That's his 13th of this tournament, equalling the UK Championship single tournament record held by Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry.

Trump 3-3 Robertson (22-52)

A blue takes Robertson to his half-century, and the four remaining reds are all in the open here. It's need delicate touch but he's picked these off well; Robertson will edge ahead again shortly.

Trump 3-3 Robertson (22-27)

This is complicated for Robertson early in the break as the black currently only goes into the bottom right, until he clears the two impeding reds to the bottom left and knocks them into potting positions after sinking the black. That could be the key shot of the frame, he's in the lead and looking likely here.

Trump 3-3 Robertson (22-0)

Robertson commits to a long red to the bottom left to stay on the blue, and it rattles in and out. That's left Trump a short one to the same pocket, and he blams it in to come back for the blue. There are signs here that he's settling into this, as he starts negotiating his way onto reds around the black and popping them in the corners. On 22 though an unwanted contact on a red has knocked him out of position; he tries to swerve around the pack and clip a red into the left middle, but he can't drop it in and he's given Robertson a chance here.

Trump 3-3 Robertson

An additional 31 from Trump levels things up.

Trump 2-3 Robertson (67-0)

This could be it, as Trump floats in a long red to just about stay on the black. He drops that deadweight into the bottom left, followed by frame ball red and we're going level again here.

Trump 2-3 Robertson (58-0)

The best of Robertson forces the best of Trump. He's strolled to a half ton here, but he loses the white a little when forcing a red into the bottom left and needs a thin cut on the brown to get back down the table. Trump's left himself a trickier than it looks red to left middle now though, and oh look, he's rolled it out off the knuckles! Robertson can't then drop in a red using the cue extension to blue and pink, but this is still a live one; there's six reds and 75 points left on the table.

Trump 2-3 Robertson (21-0)

Robertson's safety goes awry at the start of the sixth as a double kiss leaves Trump a red into the green pocket. He's looking to fire straight back here, and splits the pack early and sweetly off the black early in his break. He's got so many open reds to go at here, and the black on in both corners.

Trump 2-3 Robertson

What kept you? We've waited a whole five frames for a century, and Robertson completes it with the blue for an eventual 103 to take the frame. That's his 39th of this season and his 12th in this tournament. FYI, he needs one more ton to equal the record for the UK Championship.

Trump 2-2 Robertson (8-51)

The tenth red is frame ball, and Robertson caresses it into the bottom right to stay on the black. He'll take the lead again shortly.

Trump 2-2 Robertson (8-51)

Robertson's in flow here, with that natural and rhythmic cue action in full effect. The half-century is done in no time, and he's got a nice spread here to get a whole lot more.

Trump 2-2 Robertson (8-13)

Robertson fouls twice at the start of the fifth as he tries to drop deadweight on a red near the bottom rail. On the second attempt he goes behind it, leaving Trump a thin cut to the bottom right. Again, though, Trump overcuts it; that leaves Robertson a mid-range red to the bottom left, and in it goes. He needs a thin cut on a later red after splitting the pack to keep things going, but a blue to take him in and out of baulk recovers position and he could make hay here.

The Masters

The draw has just been completed for The Masters at Alexandra Palace in January - hopefully, all being well, with some fans in attendance:

Trump 2-2 Robertson

Trump drops in the final red after dropping in behind it, but can't convert a thin blue to take the break further. That's 79 and the frame for Trump, and we're all square at the interval. See you in fifteen minutes.

Trump 1-2 Robertson (55-14)

The break goes to 63 with the frame ball blue. Can Trump move the red on the left rail to give us the first century of this final?

Trump 1-2 Robertson (55-14)

A pink takes Trump to a quick half-century, and he looks certain to go in level at the interval here.

Trump 1-2 Robertson (6-14)

A long safety exchange has moved the reds around, and Trump picks out a plant on two before parking the white right up behind the green. This is a fiendish snooker, and it's hard to see a way out of it for Robertson without leaving a pot on. He opts for the wallop off one cushion, trusting entirely to luck, and watches the white trickle in-off in the bottom left after smashing into the reds. Amazingly, Trump can't get an angle on a pot from anywhere in the D. Instead he plays another snooker off a red in baulk, and Robertson is now tight in behind the yellow near the top cushion. He hits and hopes again, and hope evaporates quickly as the cue ball thuds into a red and leaves Trump in. Off his first red Trump forces position on the pink, and there is a load on for him here.

Trump 1-2 Robertson (0-14)

Can Robertson get early control of this match before the interval? Trump's left a red over the bottom right, which Robertson plays another one onto that sends it into the pocket and leaves him on the blue. He can only make 14 though, as an attempted double on the blue misses high on the knuckle of the left middle.

Trump 1-2 Robertson

A break of 69 in total secures the third frame for Robertson.

Trump 1-1 Robertson (4-68)

After finishing on the wrong side of the blue, Robertson picks out a sweet recovery pot on the brown to come back down for the reds. A black takes him to a half-century and he's only a red and black away from clinching the frame. Both hit the middle of the bottom left, and Robertson will shortly be back in front.

Trump 1-1 Robertson (4-27)

Trump catches the top knuckle of the right middle with a safety, and he's left Robertson a tight red to the bottom left here. In it goes, followed by a nice pink to the yellow pocket, and he's got a real chance here to make the first hefty break of the day. It's 22 and counting so far.

Trump 1-1 Robertson (4-5)

Robertson gives away four when trying to play a glancing contact on a safety, but a few shots later plugs a shot to nothing in the bottom right followed by a long, straight green to the bottom left to get going in the third. He can only make five before failing to land nicely on the black though, and plays safe.

Trump 1-1 Robertson

Robertson doubles the yellow up and down the table when playing safe, and he's left it in the jaws of the bottom left for Trump. That should be it, but after Trump booms it in, he goes in-off when playing the green safe! Crikey. Robertson has a straight green to the bottom right from the D to surely win the match...and he's rattled it in and out of the jaws and left Trump straight on it to the green pocket! What a few minutes this has been. Trump steps in and cleans up the colours to the pink, and he's level!

Trump 0-1 Robertson (58-32)

This is edgy stuff; Trump twice and Robertson once miss mid-range reds to the top corner pockets. Robertson then leaves them on as a plant to the green pocket, which Trump strokes in and then lands on the blue. He needs up to the yellow on the colours to make it safe, and plays a superb shot from brown to yellow off the top cushion to leave it virtually straight. Incredibly, Trump then misses the yellow! My oh my, how has he managed that? He's left it safe, but Robertson can still win if he mops up the colours.

Trump 0-1 Robertson (47-32)

Robertson gets to 32 but an attempt to move a red over the right middle leaves him snookered on it behind the blue. Safety ensues, and Trump manages to double a red into the green pocket but no more. We've got two reds left on the table.

Trump 0-1 Robertson (46-17)

Now then, here's an early twist! Trump loses the white after potting the black, leaving it stuck to another red. That necessitates a thin cut on a red to bottom right, and he overcuts it by a long way and he's left Robertson in. There's much to do, but there's enough on for Robertson to at least get right back into this. Trump should have won that in one visit, and it'll sting if Robertson nicks another one off him.

Trump 0-1 Robertson (38-0)

Trump powers in the first red of frame two, but again he's not on a colour and plays safe. He's soon back in though, as Robertson rattles a long one in the jaws of the bottom left and he's left Judd a red to right middle, which is swiftly dispatched. He's quickly about his business; a black takes him to 31 as he screws back for a red to right centre. He then goes up for the blue, dumping it into the right middle and exploding the pack open perfectly. The frame is his to lose now.

Trump 0-1 Robertson

Green, brown and blue go too, and that's the first frame to Robertson.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (31-43)

Wallop! What a shot from Trump as he thumps in a virtually straight long red to the bottom left, following through off two cushions to come up for the blue. That goes, as do the last two reds, but he then overcuts the blue to the left middle. That's left Robertson a thin yellow to the right middle, and it's there! The frame is there for him now.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (19-41)

Neither player has settled yet, as Robertson can only add four to his tally at his next visit. Trump then scores an outrageous fluke after making a hash of an attempted plant, but he's not on a colour either. He's soon back in though, planting on red down the left rail onto a stray one hanging over the bottom left, and he's got a chance to get right back in this frame here. On 17 it goes awry though as he fails to land on the pink, and Trump plays safe.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (1-37)

It's a battle for position for Robertson, requiring a wafer thin cut on a red to bottom left and a difficult, deadweight green to the left middle to keep it going. He then misses another thin cut on a red, and it's end of break on 33. Trump then clanks a mid-ranger into the bottom left but fails to land on the black, and he has no other option but to play safe.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (0-20)

Well, this is an unexpected start! Robertson traps Trump right behind the green, inducing a two-minute deep think from the world number one about how to get the white safe. After all that, and a la Ronnie versus Selby in August, he simply smashes the white round the angles and hopes for the best. Amazingly, with the cue ball bouncing wildly, Trump misses everything. The white settles in the middle of the table, and he’s left Robertson in. Two reds, two blacks and The Thunder is off and running.

Baize those boys

Our MC Rob Walker has introduced the players to the arena, and it's time. Best of 19 for the UK Championship then, let's get at it.

The form book

The last three meetings between these two have been in finals. In 2019, Robertson beat Judd 10-9 in the Champion of Champions and earlier this year, Trump responded with a 9-6 victory in the German Masters. More recently, just seven weeks ago right here in Milton Keynes, Trump pinched the English Open right from under Robertson’s nose 9-8, with a century in the final frame after trailing 7-4 earlier in the match. It’s 13-10 to Judd in the overall head-to-head but you might as well flip a coin here. It’s the world number one versus the world number three, and it’s on!

Thunder and Frightening

Neil Robertson is chasing his third UK Championship title today; that would put him on the level of Ding Junhui and John Higgins, with only Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan then ahead of him. Rare air indeed. His second UK title, in 2015, is the last time he won a Triple Crown event. For a man of his incredible talent it’s been a puzzling drought, and one he’s looking to end today.

The Juddernaut

It’s hard to know what more to say about Trump. Since winning the Northern Ireland Open two years and small change ago, all of the potential he’s hinted it in the last decade has been thrillingly realised. In that span he’s picked up eleven ranking titles, including his first world title, and the Masters. By some distance, Trump is the world number one and he’s won two ranking events in the Milton Keynes bubble this season alone.

Are you awake right now?

This is the dream final that needs very little selling but allow me to give you the full pitch anyway. These are two of the modern greats of the game, both nailed on to be legends in the history of this sport. Between them they have hit 1508 centuries in their careers and picked up 37 ranking titles, with both proudly sporting the Triple Crown scout badge on their waistcoat. Right here, right now, they are the two in-form players in the game. At the very least we’ll have a compelling and absorbing final today; if they stay with each other and play as they have so far in this tournament, we’ll get a classic.

Good afternoon!

Welcome to live coverage of the 2020 UK Championship final from the Marshall Arena. Are you sitting comfortably? Then stay there, grab a brew and get settled in for the day. What we’ve got in store is an absolute humdinger of a final between Judd Trump and Neil Robertson shortly after 1pm.

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Today's final action

We'll be providing comprehensive live updates from 12.45pm with all the build-up and action from the final of the UK Championship.

It's Judd Trump versus Neil Robertson for the title; two of the greats of the game, both of whom are bang in form. You do not want to be missing this.

Get ready for the final...

Recap: Judd Trump wins through to the UK Championship final

He hit two centuries tonight, got 97 of the way through a maximum and put away a dangerous opponent 6-2, yet still it feels like Judd Trump had another gear to go into. What a player he is, and now he's got a shot at picking up another Triple Crown title and his fourth ranking event of the season.

Lu Ning got so frustrated with himself tonight that he was whacking his forehead with his fist before the final frame, but he didn't do too much wrong. Yes, he missed a few pots, but not many players in the game can punish you so severely as Trump can.

In the last fortnight Lu has made a Triple Crown semi-final, picked up forty grand and secured a provisional world ranking of 32, a career high, so it's been good times.

As for Trump, he marches on relentlessly to that mouth-watering final with Neil Robertson tomorrow.

Judd Trump channels inner Alex Higgins with miraculous shot

Feature preview

Desmond Kane has written for Eurosport about the two stars breaking the mould in snooker right now.

Trump and Robertson have been battling centuries tallies once again and look set to play out an absorbing UK final.

The pair are chasing Robertson's record of 103 for a season set in 2013/14 – and there is every chance they could overtake the old mark before the campaign is over.

'Like Messi' – Judd Trump trick shot astonishes Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan compared Judd Trump’s ability to Barcelona star Lionel Messi after a sensational trick shot during his UK Championship semi-final win over Lu Ning.

"I was trying to hit the knuckle," Trump said in the Eurosport studio.

"My friend Jack Lisowski is an expert at that shot. He seems to practise that all the time, so I thought I would give him one of them."

Eurosport presenter Colin Murray asked him again. Did he really mean it? Trump nodded.

"Well I just feel like putting my mic down and leaving you two to have a chat! It’s a pheromonal shot!" said Murray.

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Judd Trump is the Tiger Woods of snooker – he is playing a different game

What is the format?

All matches are the best of 11 frames until the final which is contested over the best of 19 frames on Sunday, 6 December.

The UK Championship – part of snooker's Triple Crown series – was due to be held at the York Barbican, but due to the global health pandemic, all remaining World Snooker Tour events in 2020 – including the Northern Ireland Open, UK Championship, Scottish Open and World Grand Prix – will continue to be staged behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

HOW TO WATCH THE UK CHAMPIONSHIP – TV & LIVE STREAMING

The UK Championship is live on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.

Each day eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app will stream uninterrupted bonus feeds.

We will also have rolling coverage online on the Eurosport.co.uk website and our social channels.

German Masters
German Masters moved from Berlin due to Covid-19 restrictions
24/12/2020 AT 10:43
Snooker
Trump extends lead at top of world rankings, Lisowski inside top 16
22/12/2020 AT 17:19