UK Championship: 2018 finalist Mark Allen edges past Kurt Maflin

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Mark Allen beats Kurt Maflin after tense final-frame decider
Betway UK Championship
Venue: York Barbican Dates: 26 November-8 December
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app from 30 November

World number seven Mark Allen won a thrilling final-frame decider against Kurt Maflin to move into the quarter-finals of the UK Championship.

He is joined by John Higgins after the world number five came from behind to win 6-4 against Stuart Bingham, who was twice distracted by a phone ringing,

"Some idiot left his phone on and it cost me," world number 12 Bingham said.

In a dramatic match, Northern Ireland's Allen took a scrappy, nervy 11th frame for a 6-5 win.

Maflin's second ton helped him lead 5-4, but twice UK Championship runner-up Allen levelled, then held his nerve to set up a quarter-final tie with Gary Wilson or Nigel Bond.

Allen digs deep to progress

"I know I can handle the pressure when it goes close," Allen said. "I always back myself to clear up when I need to and that is not a quality a lot of players have."

Norway's Maflin, the world number 42, had started superbly with breaks of 81 and 113 helping build a 3-1 lead, but 2018 finalist Allen took the next three, highlighted by a stunning 126 clearance.

London-born Maflin, 36, had a great chance to win the decider after fluking a red but missed a tricky brown into the middle pocket and 33-year-old Allen stepped in to clear up the colours.

"I am devastated for Kurt," Allen added. "He is such a good friend of mine. He is a class act. It's only a matter of time before he breaks through.

"Kurt played well to go 3-1 up and I was proud of how patient I was after the interval. I should have gone 5-3 up then Kurt showed his class to go 5-4 up and you are thinking the worst.

"But maybe a little bit of inexperience at the latter stages of tournaments is all that cost him in the end."

Higgins profits as phone drama halts Bingham

In the other round-four match on Wednesday afternoon, Higgins came from 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 down to beat Bingham.

Three-time UK champion Higgins admitted he rode his luck in his win over Bingham, who was left furious when he was twice disrupted by a mobile phone ringing with the match delicately poised at 4-4.

Three spectators were also taken out after falling ill, to further disrupt the flow of a scrappy encounter lacking true quality.

Stuart Bingham
Stuart Bingham was distracted by a phone ringing when on course to win frame nine

"I am over the moon," said Scotland's Higgins, 44. "The guy's phone rang twice when he should have gone 5-4 ahead and I managed to nick it.

"The two of us were really below par. I wasn't competing in the early part of the game. Stuart will be kicking himself. He should have went 4-1 or 5-1 up. I just hung in there and things went my way."

Bingham, the world number 12, said: "Ninety times from 100, I win the frame to go 5-4 up. John did and after that it's hard to clear your mind.

"It's frustrating. John was there for the taking. He didn't play well but I couldn't get going."

Higgins, making his 20th appearance in the last 16 of the UK Championship, has never won the event in York - his last crown having come in 2010 in Telford.

He now faces Yan Bingtao in the quarter-finals, following his remarkable 6-1 win over twice champion Neil Robertson.

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