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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Hector Nunns

Shaun Murphy's mad taxi dash before almost pulling out of Judd Trump victory

Shaun Murphy played through pain to claim a stunning comeback victory against Judd Trump at the UK Championship.

The 40-year-old former UK champion edged past the Juddernaut 6-5 in York despite strongly hinting before the match that he might have to withdraw with back and neck problems.

But the world No.13, who is on painkillers and did stretching exercises in his seat, made three centuries as he roared back from 5-3 down.

Murphy has dropped a few hand grenades around the Barbican Centre this week.

He claimed world No.1 and seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan was a poor ambassador for snooker - for continually saying how insignificant the game is in his life.

And in the same rant he said Trump – who recently criticised those running the game – was one who sat on the sidelines moaning rather than seriously working to bring about positive change.

Then Murphy had said at around 11am: “In terrible pain today with my neck/shoulder. Started getting worse two days ago and I could hardly play at all yesterday.

“Going to try everything to be ready to play at 1pm but right now it’s not looking good.”

But he promptly knocked in the first of his hat-trick of tons in the opening frame – and then hung tough when it mattered.

Murphy said afterwards: “I was very close to pulling out. The problem and pain I have got with my neck and back area is angered by playing. It didn’t go, but I played through it.

Judd Trump knew Murphy would still perform (PA)

“I got a taxi to find a massage gun before the match, because I couldn’t bend down and practice on Wednesday night.

“The first four fifths of the match were agony, very painful. But you either quit, or carry on. I probably reached and stretched for a few shots that I shouldn’t, that may yet come back to bite me.

“That comeback has to be up there with the best of my results in the last couple of years. But I have never been a quitter and didn’t let my head drop.

Trump said: “I had seen the tweet he did in the morning – but him knocking in a century in the first frame put all doubt to bed.

“He was fine out there. He played like he wasn’t injured. And if he was, maybe he should stay injured.

“I never believe anything I read on Twitter. People exaggerate and try and take the pressure off themselves. People handle it in different ways. But I knew it was going to be a battle.

“I didn’t really get much chance from 5-3 up, maybe a couple of half-chances in the decider. And I had been frozen out for 30 minutes. The way he played at the end, he deserved to win.”

Three-time UK winner Ding Junhui set up a quarter-final clash against Ronnie O’Sullivan following a comfortable 6-1 victory over Wales’s Jamie Clarke.

Former world No1 Ding, 35, is currently ranked down at No.38 with now seven players from China above him in the list.

Ding has lost his last seven games against O’Sullivan but beat him in the UK three years ago on his way to the title.

He said: “It is always a great occasion playing Ronnie. He is the best player, and it will be very difficult. I have some good memories of beating him in big tournaments though he has won more.

“I usually get some Chinese students coming to support me in York. But I enjoy these games, it is what big tournaments should be all about and the crowd will cheer for their favourite.”

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