I got a bit ahead of myself, admits Hawkins

Barry Hawkins at Preston Guild Hall (photo by Michael Ellison)
Barry Hawkins at Preston Guild Hall (photo by Michael Ellison)
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Barry Hawkins admitted to an overriding sense of relief after he survived a late comeback from Ryan Day, winning 10-7 to claim the World Grand Prix crown at Preston Guild Hall.

Hawkins, from Ditton in Kent, admitted it was a huge relief to finally clinch the match.

“At 9-3 I got ahead of myself, missed the red and then he reeled off three frames in next to no time,” he said.

“You can miss anything under that sort of pressure and I’m 
absolutely delighted to have got over the line.”

Day was the first to go in front during the match, edging a tactical battle with some outstanding safety shots in the opening frame.

Hawkins, who thrashed Liang Wenbo 6-1 in the semi-finals, showed great composure on the baize to pull level before claiming back-to-back centuries to open up a 3-1 lead.

A number of fouls slowed Hawkins’ momentum and allowed Day to reduce the deficit momentarily.

Day’s chance to take the lead in the match was soon halted by another superb 129 break from Hawkins and the runner-up at last year’s Masters finished off the afternoon session with another century – his fourth of the final already.

The first frame of the evening was always going to be key in determining the winner of the match and it was Hawkins who moved one step closer to claiming the £100,000 prize, notching up a 128 break.

Day, who produced a stunning performance to peg back Marco Fu in the semi-finals, threatened to pull off a similar comeback, winning four frames without reply and move 9-7 behind on the night.

The Welshman knew there was no margin for error if he was to have a chance of winning the fina.

But Day missed a high-pressure red, handing the frame and the match to Hawkins.

Meanwhile, Guild Hall could become a permanent venue for the snooker tour again if there is enough interest, according to World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

The UK Championship was held at the venue for 20 years but left in 1997.

“I will be looking at it and evaluating the audience figures on TV as that is important to my sponsors,” Hearn said.

“And I’ll be evaluating the live gate.”