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Bingham Raging After Higgins Defeat

Stuart Bingham was left furious by a mobile phone interruption at a crucial moment of his 6-4 defeat against John Higgins at the Betway UK Championship.

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Higgins goes through to the quarter-finals in York while Mark Allen is also through to the last eight thanks to a nail-biting 6-5 win over Kurt Maflin.

Bingham was among the balls in frame nine, with the score at 4-4, when a mobile rang. Fans are always told before matches to turn their devices off, but this time the warning went unheeded.

“It’s just a sickener,” said world number 12 Bingham. “Some idiot left his phone on and I had a chance there to win the frame to go 5-4 up. I missed and that put me in a bad frame of mind. It’s just pathetic. I had the frame in my hands. If the guy had been any closer I would have knocked him out.”

Bingham had earlier led 2-0 before Higgins fought back to 4-4 with top breaks of 93, 78, 58 and 61. The crucial ninth frame went Higgins’ way and he gained the advantage in the tenth with a run of 50. Bingham had one chance to counter but after making 35 he missed a difficult pot with the rest to a top corner, and that proved his last shot as Higgins sealed victory.

Wizard of Wishaw Higgins is through to the quarter-finals of this event for the 14th time and remains in contention for a fourth title. He meets Yan Bingtao or Neil Robertson on Friday.

“The two of us really struggled, we brought each other down,” admitted 44-year-old Higgins. “If I’m playing someone like Neil in the next round, if I play like that I might as well not turn up. I’ll get on the practice table tomorrow and try and iron out a few little things. I’ll try get a bit of rhythm into my cue action because it wasn’t really there at all today. That match is behind me now and I can look forward.”

As for the phone interruption, Higgins added: “I don’t think the gentleman even heard the phone, it kept on going on and on. Stuart is sure to be kicking himself because he was in front and he could have put the foot down.”

Last year’s runner-up Allen was pushed all the way by world number 42 Maflin but eventually made it through to a meeting with Gary Wilson or Nigel Bond.

Norway’s Maflin had leads of 3-1 and 5-4, making breaks of 81, 113 and 128. Allen made a vital 68 clearance to win the tenth frame from 34-0 down, and he also trailed 53-0 in the decider. World number seven Allen countered with 40 before missing the penultimate red. Maflin later fluked the last red to lead by 21 points and went for a do-or-die pot on the brown to centre pocket, but it hit the far jaw, letting Allen in to clear for victory.

“Kurt played well throughout the game I didn’t feel like he was going to miss at any point,” said Northern Ireland’s Allen. “The only way that I could have won at the end was for him to go for the brown and miss. I know how aggressive Kurt is and he would have fancied that brown all day long. But maybe a bit of inexperience at these big events cost him there.

“I can’t criticise because I miss shots but I’m sure he might look back on that brown and think he should have played safe. Maybe that is the only thing he’s missing to get him to that next level because in my opinion he’s a top player. He was the better player, some of his long potting was frightening at times. He scores heavy and pots crazy balls.

I always fancy myself when it goes close. I think a great quality to have is to fancy the job in these deciding frames even in these big events. I always back myself.”