So ends a night of extraordinary drama in which John Higgins...just...has booked his place in the Pukka Pies UK Championship final with his 9-8 victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Higgins won the first world ranking title of the decade, the 2000 Welsh Open, and if he beats Ding Junhui tomorrow he will win the last.
Right now, he’ll just be relieved to be through.
Leading 8-2 he was playing superbly but O’Sullivan was at 92% pot success at the time which tells you that although he had been largely shut out, he was still playing well.
They came back after the interval at 8-4, Higgins still confident of victory. Then came an incident which symbolised the turnaround even if it didn’t directly cause it.
After being called for six successive misses while snookered on all colours, O’Sullivan inadvertently touched the black with his hand.
Higgins asked for him to be put back in but the referee, Jan Verhaas, stated that it could not be called a miss because no stroke had been played.
On Eurosport commentary I agreed with him, but it was clear that this is a grey area and nobody seemed to know for sure.
Verhaas thought it over and called a miss. O’Sullivan intervened and Verhaas changed his mind and reverted to his original decision.
This is one of those arcane areas that needs to be clarified. I’m sure any referees reading this will have their own views.
I'm not for a minute saying O'Sullivan did this, but what is to stop a player being called for misses getting out of the situation by deliberately fouling a ball?
The match continued and Higgins grew edgy – understandably. Even at 8-2 he would know, somewhere in the back of his mind, that the one player in the world today capable of coming back from so far behind – apart from himself – is O’Sullivan.
And he did. All the way to 8-8.
He was in the balls in the decider but missed a pink and Higgins made what was, under the circumstances, an excellent 56 break to leave him a ball from making frame and match safe.
He later potted it to lead by 47 with 43 on. O’Sullivan chose not to play on. Considering he had fought so hard from 8-2 down this surprised me.
Perhaps by then he believed he didn’t deserve to win. Who knows? It was a night of high drama where anything was possible.
It was also a great advert for snooker: two world class players locking horns before a packed audience in one of the game’s biggest events.
The match lived up to the billing. It was superb entertainment.