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The 2006 UK Championship (known as the 2006 Maplin UK Championship for sponsorship reasons) was the 2006 edition of the UK Championship, a professional snooker tournament that is one of the sport's three Triple Crown events. It was held from 4 to 17 December 2006 at the Barbican Centre in York, North Yorkshire. The competition was the third of seven World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) ranking events in the 2006/2007 season and the 30th edition of the tournament. It was broadcast in the United Kingdom and Europe on the BBC and Eurosport.

Maplin UK Championship
Tournament information
Dates4–17 December 2006
VenueBarbican Centre
CityYork
CountryEngland
Organisation(s)World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association
FormatRanking event
Total prize fund£548,000
Winner's share£77,000
Highest breakEngland David Gray (146)
England Mark King (146)
Final
ChampionEngland Peter Ebdon
Runner-upScotland Stephen Hendry
Score10–6
2005
2007

Peter Ebdon won the tournament, defeating his opponent, the five-time UK champion Stephen Hendry ten frames to six (10–6) in the final. It was Ebdon's first UK Championship win and his seventh career ranking title. He also became the ninth player in history to win both the UK Championship and the World Snooker Championship. In the semi-finals Ebdon beat John Higgins 9–7 and Hendry defeated fellow Scot Graeme Dott by the same scoreline. David Gray and Mark King both achieved the tournament's highest break with individual breaks of 146. The tournament followed the Grand Prix and preceded the Malta Cup.

Contents

Tournament summaryEdit

 
The Barbican Centre, where the tournament was held

The tournament was created as the United Kingdom Professional Snooker Championship in 1977 and was open to residents in the United Kingdom and holders of British passports. Seven years later all professional players were allowed to enter and snooker's governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), granted the tournament ranking status.[1] It is considered to be snooker's second most important ranking tournament behind the World Snooker Championship and is one of three of the sport's Triple Crown events.[2] The 2006 tournament was held from 4 to 17 December 2006 at the Barbican Centre in York, North Yorkshire.[3] It was the third of seven WPBSA ranking events in the 2006/2007 season, following the Grand Prix and preceding the Malta Cup.[3] Held in October, the Grand Prix was won by Neil Robertson, who defeated Jamie Cope nine frames to five (9–5) in the final.[4] The defending UK champion was Ding Junhui, who beat Steve Davis 10–6 in last year's final.[1] Sponsored by the electronics retailer Maplin for the first time,[5] it had a total prize fund of £548,000,[6] and was broadcast on the BBC in the United Kingdom and Eurosport in Europe.[3]

QualifyingEdit

The qualifying rounds were played between players on the main tour ranked 33 and lower for one of 32 places in the final stage at Pontin's Snooker Centre in Prestatyn, Denighshire, Wales from 14 to 19 November. All matches held between 4 and 16 December were the best-of-17-frames until the final on 17 December.[7] 1991 world champion John Parrott beat David Gilbert 9–8 after coming from 8–5 behind to earn a spot in the first round.[8] The other successful qualifiers included the likes of Barry Pinches, Michael Judge, Jamie Burnett and Robin Hull.[7]

Round oneEdit

The 16 first-round matches were between players ranked 17–32 and those who had made it through the qualifying stage.[7] In this round, Ryan Day came from 3–0 down to beat Liu Song 9–5 with a match-winning break of 130.[9] 2004 runner up David Gray was helped by breaks of 131, 81 and 68 to defeat Pinches 9–2,[10] while Stuart Bingham emerged a 9–8 winner over Rory McLeod from 7–5 and 8–7 down.[11] Mark Selby defeated Parrott 9–1 with breaks of 110, 104, 59 and 57 to lead 7–1 entering the evening session and Selby took less than half an hour in the second to give Parrott his biggest career defeat since his 18–3 loss to Davis in the final of the 1989 World Snooker Championship.[12][13] Of the other first day matches Mark King beat Adrian Gunnell 9–4,[11] and Joe Perry led Judge 7–1 overnight with breaks of 125, 93, 75, 66 and 60.[10] Perry took 26 minutes the next day to claim two straight frames for a 9–1 victory.[14] Rod Lawler prevailed 9–7 over Anthony Hamilton in a match that lasted more than eight and a half hours,[15] and world number 35 Dave Harold defeated Robert Milkins by the same scoreline with a match-winning break of 102.[16]

Mike Dunn took five out of six final frames to defeat James Wattana 9–5 and claim a place in the second round.[15][16] Gerard Greene received a walkover to the next round after his opponent world number 27 Marco Fu withdrew from the tournament to represent Hong Kong at the 2006 Asia Games in Qatar at his country's behest.[17] Joe Swail tied 4–4 with Joe Delaney overnight and both players shared six frames before Swail won the last two for a 9–7 win.[15] Ricky Walden led Ian McCulloch 5–4 before McCulloch took two consecutive frames. Walden then achieved breaks of 68, 112, 45 and 70 to secure a 9–6 win and his second over McCulloch.[18] In the game between Scots Alan McManus and Marcus Campbell, McManus took a 4–0 lead before coming back from Campbell's challenge to win 9–5.[19] Of the other first round matches, Burnett compiled breaks of 110 and 104 in his 9–3 victory over Andy Hicks, while Hull produced runs of 104 and 120 in a 9–5 win against Nigel Bond,[15] and Scott MacKenzie whitewashed Michael Holt 9–0 after he achieved early match breaks of 65 and 109.[20]

Round twoEdit

The winners of round one went through to face members of the top 16 in the second round.[7] In this round Peter Ebdon compiled four century breaks and three half centuries that included a match-winning 124 to beat Selby 9–6.[21][22] Although he achieved a 146 clearance in the ninth frame of his match, Gray lost 5–9 to the 2003 champion Matthew Stevens,[22] while Perry defeated Barry Hawkins 9–4.[23] Bingham defeated Ali Carter 9–8, a match in which Carter had a frame docked. Carter was tied at 6–6 when he spent the mid-session interval in his dressing room discussing tactics with his coach Terry Griffiths. Carter was deemed to have returned to the table late by the referee Olivier Marteel and Bingham was awarded frame 13.[24] Walden began his match against the 2001 tournament winner Ronnie O'Sullivan with breaks of 80 and 67 before O'Sullivan tied at 2–2 and both players concluded the first session 4–4.[23] O'Sullivan took a 7–4 advantage but breaks of 102, 93, 85 and 79 put Walden into the lead before O'Sullivan forced a final frame decider,[25] which he took with a 23rd season century break of 108 for a 9–8 triumph.[26]

Tied at 4–4 after his opening session Davis beat Burnett comfortably at 9–5, while Hull was a surprise winner over Robertson when he won five consecutive frames to claim a 9–4 victory. 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy fell 6–2 behind McManus at the interval of his match and he could not recover as McManus won 9–3.[27] Two-time world champion Mark Williams progressed to round three by claiming a 9–7 victory over Greene, as another world champion John Higgins emulated Gray's 146 clearance in a 9–4 victory over King, and Stephen Lee won 9–6 over Lawler.[28] Runs of 107, 86, 82 and 66 enabled Stephen Maguire to overcome Swail 9–8 in a high-quality second session.[29] Five-time UK champion Stephen Hendry led Harold 7–3 before the latter won four successive frames with two century breaks of 115 and 111 to equal the score at 7–7. Hendry's match-high breaks of 88 and 82 in the fourteenth and fifteenth breaks earned him a 9–7 win.[30]

Graeme Dott, the reigning world champion, won the first six frames of his match against fellow Scot MacKenzie within one hour as he compiled century breaks of 100, 107 and 112 en route to winning 9–2.[31] Ding, fatigued from having arrived in the United Kingdom on 8 February after winning three gold medals at the 2006 Qatar Asian Games, beat Day 9–7 in a tightly contested match. Tied at 4–4, both players exchanged frames with four in a row decided on the black ball. Day missed a difficult shot into the middle pocket from an incorrect potting position and Ding made a game-winning clearance of 57 to win. Fourth seed Ken Doherty held a 7–1 advantage over his opponent Dunn and he claimed frames nine and ten with breaks of 87 and 58 in 22 minutes to win 9–1 and progression to the third round.[32]

Round threeEdit

In the third round, breaks of 128, 121 and 105 enabled Higgins to establish a 7–1 lead over Lee in a match delayed by 20 minutes so that players and officials could watch Paul Hunter's widow Lyndsey receive the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award on his behalf.[33] Higgins made another century break in the second session to beat Lee 9–2.[34] Ebdon moved 6–2 ahead of Bingham despite missing the penultimate red when it appeared he would achieve a maximum break but he eventually won 9–4. O'Sullivan constructed a 5–3 lead over Maguire and he exploited a number of mistakes from his opponent in the second session to clinch a 9–3 victory.[33][34] Doherty established a lead of 5–1 over Perry,[34] but the latter responded in the second session to claim six of the next seven frames to take a victory of 9–5.[35] Dott ended the first session of his match with Hull strongly as he held a 7–1 advantage with runs of 90, 73 and 66,[33] and he won the first two frames of the following session to advance into the quarter-finals with a 9–1 win.[36]

Ding led the first session of his match playing Stevens 5–3 from breaks of 111, 100 and 92 while his opponent compiled runs of 82, 74 and 66.[34] He eventually won 9–5 and spoke of his relief to have won because his Asian Games schedule affected his stability and confidence.[37] Davis defeated McManus 9–7 in a final match that ended 20 minutes after midnight and in a final frame that ran for 46 minutes.[37][38] In the final third round match, runs of 103, 117 and 73 enabled Hendry to establish a 6–2 lead over Williams, who took three of the first four frames of the second session to make the score 6–5 from having improved his form. Hendry claimed three more frames with a match-winning break of 92 to advance to the quarter-finals after a 9–6 victory.[39]

Quarter-finalsEdit

In the quarter-finals Ebdon beat Ding 9–5. Ebdon won four successive frames to hold a 4–0 lead and was 6–2 in front after the first session. Ding won the first two frames of the evening session with breaks of 110 and 82 and recovered from being 40–0 behind in frame eleven with a 59 clearance. Ebdon won frame twelve after a shot battle with Ding and he followed up by outscoring his opponent 212–4 in the following two frames to win the match.[40] In the second quarter-final match Higgins comfortably defeated Perry 9–3. Higgins eroded Perry's confidence by coming from 66–0 to claim frame three with a 69 clearance and took the sixth with a 47 clearance after Perry missed a shot on the black ball.[41] Perry accumulated breaks of 100 and 128 in the second session but Higgins won the match with a run of 106 in the twelfth frame.[40]

Hendry won 9–1 against O'Sullivan, a match which O'Sullivan defaulted.[42] Trailing 4–1 and 24–0 in front during frame six after potting the black ball and after missing a red to a corner pocket,[43] O'Sullivan declared the match over. He walked over to Hendry to shake his hand and did the same with referee Jan Verhaas.[44] O'Sullivan left the Barbican Arena after wishing Hendry well in his dressing room.[42] Tournament director Mike Ganley later confirmed that O'Sullivan had forfeited the match and O'Sullivan later apologised to Hendry and his fans via a statement.[44] O'Sullivan was fined £20,800 and docked 900 ranking points by the WPBSA's disciplinary committee in May 2007.[45] The last quarter-final match had Dott overcome Davis 9–6. He came from 3–2 behind to lead the first session 5–3 after breaks of 78, 83 and 65.[46] Runs of 52 and 61 enabled Dott to get within a frame of winning before Davis won two frames in a row to make it 8–6. But a 116 break from Dott secured him a semi-final berth.[47]

Semi-finalsEdit

In the semi-finals Ebdon secured a place in the final with a 9–7 victory over Higgins. Both players were level at 4–4 after the first session that had seven breaks over 60, including 97, 76 and 132 from Ebdon. Higgins led 5–4 but he missed a tricky red ball shot and Ebdon cleared the table to force a re-spotted black ball to again equal the score before going 6–5 ahead.[48] In frame 14, Higgins missed a straightforward red ball while on a break of 49 and the frame was taken by Ebdon. He won a disjointed frame 15 to claim victory and enter his first UK Championship final since the 1995 tournament.[49] After the match, Ebdon considered the victory the most important of his career and praised the quality of the match, "This win means so much to me because I have got so much respect for John. He's a wonderful ambassador for the game. You have to play top class when you play John."[48] Higgins said that considered the game's decisive point to have been when he was leading 5–4 and attributed his loss to a lack of concentration, "But take nothing away from Peter. He played very well all through the match and thoroughly deserved to win."[48]

The other semi-final match had Hendry beat his fellow Scot Dott by the same scoreline. Trailing 5–3 after the first session Dott won four frames in a row with breaks of 96, 92 and 85 to take the lead as he accumulated 203 unanswered points. Hendry compiled a 111 clearance and a break of 50 in response to level the match at 7–7.[50][51] Hendry then claimed frame 16 with a score of 61–25 and a break of 93 in the next frame earned him a place in the final alongside Ebdon.[52] It was Hendry's record-breaking 10th appearance in the final of the UK Championship and his first since the 2005 China Open.[51] Hendry stated afterwards that additional practice in the past two to three weeks gave him better playing form, "I'm so close to playing at my best – it's a pleasure to be competing again. Peter is playing fantastic snooker and is very hard to beat over a long match. But I'm just delighted to be in a final and have a chance of winning a tournament – I can't believe it."[51]

FinalEdit

In the best-of-19 frames final,[7] Ebdon beat Hendry 10–6 for his first UK Championship title.[53] It was his fifth career victory over Hendry in 19 meetings.[54] At the age of 36 Ebdon was the oldest player to win the UK Championship since Doug Mountjoy won the 1988 tournament over Hendry.[54] Additionally, he also won the seventh ranking title of his career and his first since the 2004 Irish Masters.[54][55] Ebdon joined Davis, Griffiths, Alex Higgins, Parrott, Hendry, Higgins, Williams and O'Sullivan as the ninth player to win both the UK Championship and the World Snooker Championship.[56] The victory earned him £77,000 in prize money,[57] and he moved from tenth to fourth in the provisional world snooker rankings.[58] The match, according to Steve Carroll of The Press, "was hardly a classic, but the edgy, nervy affair generated its own excitement ".[53]

 
Peter Ebdon (pictured in 2018) won his first UK Championship tournament and the seventh ranking title of his career.

In the afternoon session Hendry took 1 hour and 31 minutes to build a 3–1 advantage with breaks of 51 and 59,[53][55] but it was narrowed by one frame after Ebdon missed a shot as he led 66–0 and Hendry's 22 clearance did not win him frame five.[55] Ebdon moved 4–3 in front with a break of 83,[51] and a then season-high clearance of 135.[59] Hendry ended the first session at 4–4 after Ebdon made a double shot error.[51] The opening four frames of the evening session were won by Ebdon through consistent potting and him playing tight safety shots,[55] as Hendry's long-shot potting accuracy lowered and he made errors on basic shots, which appeared to affect his confidence.[59] Nonetheless, Hendry took a disjointed frame thirteen on the pink ball and he won the next frame with his only century break of the match, a 116 clearance to be two frames behind Ebdon at 8–6.[53][54] Hendry missed a straightforward red ball in the 15th frame and Ebdon won it with a run of 43 before he followed it up with a run of 70 in the next frame to win the match and the tournament.[54]

After the game a tearful Ebdon dedicated the win to his family who were in Dubai and spoke of his relief to complete the task, "This just means so much. It's a tournament I have worked so hard for. I always knew it was going to be tough against Stephen. He played some good safety in the first session, then I found a bit of rhythm and then Stephen inexplicably started to miss balls."[53] Hendry bemoaned his poor performance but he reserved praise Ebdon, "I picked the one day of the week when I didn't want to play like that. I had a great chance to go 4–1 up but from then on Peter was by far the better player and dominated the match. For some reason I couldn't pot a long ball – sometimes that just happens. Peter didn't play as well as he can either. We've both had better matches."[56]

Main drawEdit

[3][7][60]

  Last 48
Best of 17 frames
Last 32
Best of 17 frames
Last 16
Best of 17 frames
Quarter-finals
Best of 17 frames
Semi-finals
Best of 17 frames
Final
Best of 19 frames
                                                         
18   Ryan Day 9     1   Ding Junhui 9  
  Liu Song 5     18   Ryan Day 7  
  1   Ding Junhui 9  
  15   Matthew Stevens 5  
24   David Gray 9 15   Matthew Stevens 9
  Barry Pinches 2     24   David Gray 5  
  1   Ding Junhui 5  
  8   Peter Ebdon 9  
25   Stuart Bingham 9     16   Allister Carter 8  
  Rory McLeod 8     25   Stuart Bingham 9  
  25   Stuart Bingham 4
  8   Peter Ebdon 9  
28   Mark Selby 9 8   Peter Ebdon 9
  John Parrott 1     28   Mark Selby 6  
  8   Peter Ebdon 9  
  6   John Higgins 7  
29   Mark King 9     6   John Higgins 9  
  Adrian Gunnell 4     29   Mark King 4  
  6   John Higgins 9
  11   Stephen Lee 2  
17   Anthony Hamilton 7 11   Stephen Lee 9
  Rod Lawler 9       Rod Lawler 6  
  6   John Higgins 9
  19   Joe Perry 3  
19   Joe Perry 9     13   Barry Hawkins 4  
  Michael Judge 1     19   Joe Perry 9  
  19   Joe Perry 9
  4   Ken Doherty 6  
26   James Wattana 5 4   Ken Doherty 9
  Mike Dunn 9       Mike Dunn 1  
8   Peter Ebdon 10
3   Stephen Hendry 6
32   Robert Milkins 7     3   Stephen Hendry 9  
  Dave Harold 9       Dave Harold 7  
  3   Stephen Hendry 9  
  9   Mark Williams 6  
23   Marco Fu w/d 9   Mark Williams 9
  Gerard Greene w/o       Gerard Greene 7  
  3   Stephen Hendry 9[a]  
  5   Ronnie O'Sullivan 1  
30   Joe Swail 9     10   Stephen Maguire 9  
  Joe Delaney 7     30   Joe Swail 8  
  10   Stephen Maguire 3
  5   Ronnie O'Sullivan 9  
27   Ian McCulloch 6 5   Ronnie O'Sullivan 9
  Ricky Walden 9       Ricky Walden 8  
  3   Stephen Hendry 9
  2   Graeme Dott 7  
20   Alan McManus 9     7   Shaun Murphy 3  
  Marcus Campbell 5     20   Alan McManus 9  
    Alan McManus 7
  12   Steve Davis 9  
31   Andy Hicks 3 12   Steve Davis 9
  Jamie Burnett 9       Jamie Burnett 5  
  12   Steve Davis 6
  2   Graeme Dott 9  
21   Nigel Bond 5     14   Neil Robertson 5  
  Robin Hull 9       Robin Hull 9  
    Robin Hull 1
  2   Graeme Dott 9  
22   Michael Holt 0 2   Graeme Dott 9
  Scott MacKenzie 9       Scott MacKenzie 2  

FinalEdit

Final: Best of 19 frames Referee:   Jan Verhaas
Barbican Centre, York, England, 17 December 2006.[3][7]
Peter Ebdon (8)
  England
10–6 Stephen Hendry (3)
  Scotland
Afternoon: 0–89 (51), 59–47, 38–59 (59), 48–60, 66–22 (60), 83–0 (83), 135–0 (135), 49–77 (52)
Evening: 68–34, 79–33, 52–7, 72–35 (64), 51–59, 1–116 (116), 75–5, 70–1 (70)
135 Highest break 116
1 Century breaks 1
5 50+ breaks 4

QualifyingEdit

The qualifying took place between 14 and 19 November at Pontins, Prestatyn, Wales.[7]

  Round 1
Best of 17 frames
  Round 2
Best of 17 frames
  Round 3
Best of 17 frames
  Liu Song 9     Joe Jogia 7     Drew Henry 8
  Dermot McGlinchey 5     Liu Song 9     Liu Song 9
  Chris Melling 3     Mark Allen 9     Barry Pinches 9
  James Leadbetter 9     James Leadbetter 5     Mark Allen 4
  Lee Spick 8     Rory McLeod 9     Dominic Dale 7
  Passakorn Suwannawat 9     Passakorn Suwannawat 4     Rory McLeod 9
  Tian Pengfei 9     David Gilbert 9     John Parrott 9
  Mohammed Shehab 6     Tian Pengfei 3     David Gilbert 8
  Paul Wykes 7     Shokat Ali 4     Adrian Gunnell 9
  Sean Storey 9     Sean Storey 9     Sean Storey 8
  Judd Trump 9     David Roe 2     Rod Lawler 9
  Patrick Einsle 0     Judd Trump 9     Judd Trump 7
  Robert Stephen 4     Andrew Norman 5     Michael Judge 9
  Peter Lines 9     Peter Lines 9     Peter Lines 1
  Chris Norbury 6     Mike Dunn 9     Mark Davis 5
  Jamie Jones 9     Jamie Jones 4     Mike Dunn 9
  Ian Preece 9     Paul Davies 8     Dave Harold 9
  Roy Stolk 8     Ian Preece 9     Ian Preece 3
  Alfie Burden 4     Jimmy Michie 9     Gerard Greene 9
  Ben Woollaston 9     Ben Woollaston 5     Jimmy Michie 7
  Andrew Higginson 9     Joe Delaney 9     Fergal O'Brien 7
  Mark Boyle 4     Andrew Higginson 5     Joe Delaney 9
  Paul Davison 5     Tony Drago 9     Ricky Walden 9
  Issara Kachaiwong 9     Issara Kachaiwong 7     Tony Drago 1
  Lee Page 5     Stuart Pettman 6     Marcus Campbell 9
  David Morris 9     David Morris 9     David Morris 8
  Liang Wenbo 9     Jamie Burnett 9     Jamie Cope 4
  Alex Borg 4     Liang Wenbo 7     Jamie Burnett 9
  Mark Joyce 6     Robin Hull 9     Jimmy White 4
  Jeff Cundy 9     Jeff Cundy 8     Robin Hull 9
  Matthew Couch 6     Scott MacKenzie 9     Tom Ford 7
  Dene O'Kane 9     Dene O'Kane 3     Scott MacKenzie 9

Century breaksEdit

[7]

Televised stage centuriesEdit

Qualifying stage centuriesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Ronnie O'Sullivan forfeited his quarterfinal match against Stephen Hendry by walking out when Hendry was ahead 4–1. The match was handed to Hendry as a 9–1 victory as a result of O'Sullivan's default.[44]

ReferencesEdit

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