Sunday, 9 December 2012

Final thoughts

An outstanding week at the UK Championship looks as if it will get the great final it so definitely deserves.

Picture by Monique Limbos
Friends off the table but fierce rivals today on it, Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby lock horns in pursuit of the UK Championship title.

Murphy won this event back in 2008 of course, but for Selby this is his first taste of a final in the event.

The plot is as thick it as it comes with two very established players looking to cue their way to a relatively overdue piece of major silverware.

Murphy has had a great week. All the of his experience throughout his career seem to have dropped nicely into place.

At times he's had to play clever snooker and show composure when the balls have not quite been going his way. This is a sign of his maturity.

Picture by Monique Limbos
But the biggest development in York for the Magician has been the return to his more natural out and out attacking style of play.

He produced the finish of his life to win five frames on the spin to beat Ali Carter 9-8 in the semi-final, playing the kind of snooker to match that which earned him the 2005 World Championship crown.

This was a timely reminder of his outrageous potting abilities; a weapon he shouldn't hold back from using. If he manages to recreate the form he showed to end Carter's hopes there might not be a player in the world who could stop his charge towards the title. It was gripping stuff.

The challenge for world number one Selby is to keep him under control and produce his very best shotmaking .

The Jester has looked happier playing this week than he has for a long time, despite not yet producing his best. He's had to rely on well-crafted match snooker to battle his way through the rounds and overcome some daunting deficits.

Selby is a tough opponent and has proved on many occasions that he's capable of turning it on under the biggest pressures. The big match atmosphere could easily ignite him.

He'll be looking to employ a mix of attack and defence to to etch his name on the trophy for the very first time.

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