Kurt Maflin beats John Higgins at World Snooker Championship despite 147 break

Evergrande 2019 World Snooker China Championship - Day 5

Kurt Maflin has beaten the four-time world champion John Higgins at the Crucible (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)

Kurt Maflin has downed the four-time world champion John Higgins 13-11 in a remarkable victory in the second round of the World Snooker Championship

Higgins made a 147 break in the 12th frame of the match, the first at the Crucible since Stephen Hendry managed the feat in 2012, but it didn’t see him kick on to victory against Norway’s number one.

Maflin, who was making his first appearance in the second round of the World Snooker Championship, showed barely a flicker of nerves throughout the contest, despite the pressure of facing the Crucible legend.

The Scot showed his class in multiple frames, pinching them from 50-60 behind, which were almost as impressive as the maximum break.

The match was poised at 8-8 going into the final session and when Higgins grabbed a lead at 11-10, it seemed that he had got his man, but the underdog battled hard to win the next three and get over the line and into the last eight.

He didn’t make a century in the match, but 11 half-centuries were enough to get him into the quarter-finals for the first time.

‘From 8-8 after this morning I was a little bit disappointed, I should have been at least 9-7 up,’ said Maflin.

‘I just gave it everything I could tonight, but he just makes it so tough, he’s so hard to beat, you can never get rid of him.’

Higgins took an early lead in the epic struggle, winning the first two frames, but Maflin showed he was not there to be bowled over, winning the next four on the spin.

It took a century (101) from the Scot to stop the rot in the eighth but Maflin rounded off the first session with a break of 81 to take a 5-3 lead.

The Norwegian dropped the first frame on Thursday morning but breaks of 64 and 97 opened up a substantial lead again at 7-4.

The Wizard of Wishaw was in a sport of bother but that’s when he produced his most potent spell, knocking in a maximum break of 147 in the 12th frame, his first ever at the Crucible.

It was a stunning display, but equally imporatant was the close and scrappy next frame which Higgins won to make 7-6 in Maflin’s favour.

The underdog was not to be deterred, making 81 in the 14th frame, but Higgins won the next two with a pair of half-centuries and the second session ended at 8-8.

Norway’s number one looked unruffled as he came out for the deciding session, winning the first two frames with Higgins scoring just nine points.

He perhaps just started to feel the nerves at this stage, though, as the four-time world champion delved into his famous pool of resolve.

Higgins won the next three frames to take an 11-10 lead, his first since the first half of the first session.

Maflin looked in serious trouble, missing balls he hadn’t been missing, and Higgins looked in his element, pushing for the finishing line.

However, Maflin showed incredible bottle to arrest the slide, making breaks of 80 and 75 to retake the lead and go within one of victory.

He got in early in the final frame and came close to securing the win in one visit, but eventually broke down on 63, keeping the Scot alive.

They slugged it out for a while, but Higgins broke and left Maflin the chance to get over the line, which he took.

The Viking sets up a quarter-final tie with either Anthony McGill or Jamie Clarke, meaning a qualifier is guaranteed to be in the semi-final.

MORE: John Higgins makes the first 147 break at the World Snooker Championship for eight years

MORE: Kurt Maflin relishing John Higgins clash and believes he can win World Snooker Championship

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

General Sport

Share your story or advertise with us: Whatsapp: +2347068686071, +2348053062268, Email: [email protected]