Snooker: Higgins' double joy as he lands UK title

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JOHN HIGGINS last night added the UK Championship to his world title to become only the fourth player in history to win snooker's two most prized ranking titles in the same year.

The world No 1 from Scotland staged a great second-half recovery to deny the Welshman Matthew Stevens the first major title of his career. Higgins' 10-6 success at the Bournemouth International Centre was worth pounds 75,000 with the 21-year-old Stevens collecting pounds 39,000.

In addition, Higgins pocketed another pounds 5,000 for his 141 clearance made in an earlier round as the highest break of the televised stages.

Stevens, the world No 26, came from 3-1 and 4-2 down to lead 5-4 after the first session. He was to win only one more frame as Higgins played snooker befitting his status as the game's best player.

He levelled at 5-5 with a break of 73 and added further runs of 84, 107, 40 and 90 to make amends for his 10-9 final defeat by Stephen Hendry in 1996.

After the win Higgins said: "I have been struggling a little bit at the start of matches, but tonight I started playing a little bit like my old self. It was a case of holding on and keeping my nerve."

Stevens said: "I was really pleased to get to 5-4. I have enjoyed every minute of it."