Bond beats Higgins on final black

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Nigel Bond dented John Higgins' hopes of overtaking Stephen Hendry as the game's No 1 by beating the Scot in the final of the British Open at Plymouth yesterday. He held his nerve to clinch a tense 9-8 victory over the defending champion on the final black.

Higgins looked likely to secure his third ranking title of the season when he led 69-0 in the decider and was faced with a moderately difficult red to put the game beyond doubt. However, he missed, having concentrated on potting black on the previous shot rather than going for position.

The world No 12 still required a snooker, which he obtained with one red remaining. The frame eventually went down to the last couple of balls with Higgins failing to pot the pink, which would have allowed him to keep the title. Bond knocked it in and produced the thinnest of cuts to drop in the black.

Higgins was "not that disappointed". He said: "I have got pounds 32,000 and I am within striking distance of Hendry."