Judd Trump, snooker's latest exciting prospect, toasted sweet success last night when he was crowned the new UK Championship winner in York. The 22-year-old from Bristol bravely fought back from 3-1 down to clinch an impressive 10-8 victory over Mark Allen in a gripping best-of-19 frame final.
In May Trump won the China Open - his first ranking title - and little over a month later was a surprise runner-up at the World Championship in Sheffield. But the attacking left-hander's title-winning run – which earned him a handsome cheque of £100,000 - has added further ammunition to the belief that he's going to dominate the sport for year's to come.
"It feels brilliant. To win it the way I did was a great feeling, it's a brilliant achievement," Trump said. "Mark pushed me all the way and I was feeling nervous when he kept coming back, so I was just glad to get that chance to win it.
"That's the best anyone has every played against me, so I had to force a mistake and luckily I took my chance. Hopefully there's more to come from me. I just feel as though I'm getting better and better."
Allen, from Ulster and appearing in his first-ever ranking final, picked up £46,000 as a worthy runner-up for his excellent challenge at snooker's second biggest tournament. He admitted it had been difficult to stay in contention when Trump won seven frames on the trot.
"I knew it was going to be hard the way he was playing," Allen said. "The middle part of that match was the best I've ever seen Judd play. He scores so heavily and so quickly.
"I didn't feel as though I was doing that much wrong, but Judd was just a bit too good.
"I felt really good and I was just hoping for a chance if it went to the last frame. Judd just showed though what a good champion he is by winning that penultimate frame in one visit. Not many people do that when they're trying to win their first major title. This will be the icing on the cake for a great year for Judd."
Allen started the better as he went in search of his first ranking crown. The former world amateur champion won three frames on the spin to lead 3-1 after the opening session with Trump having won the first frame of the afternoon. But Trump rallied and won the next four frames to establish a welcome 5-3 lead going into the deciding session.
It got even better for him following the resumption as he won another three frames in a run to leave himself needing to win just two more frames for victory at 8-3 ahead.
Allen won five of the next six frames to put Trump under pressure, but his opponent responded to win the frame he needed for victory with a break of 91 and to stop the match going to a decider.