A new snooker superstar was born as Blackpool’s James Cahill pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Coral UK Championship by defeating Ding Junhui to win a place in the fourth round.
A remarkable match at the York Barbican saw the 18-year-old former Highfield pupil edge out the world no.3 6-5 in a match which finished at 12.40am.
Cahill, ranked 100, stormed into a 5-1 lead in the best of 11 match and had opportunities to close out an incredible 6-1 win.
Instead the Chinese star showed why he is so highly ranked by powering back to 5-4.
Cahill looked sure to win as he moved into a 68-0 lead in the 10th frame, leaving Ding needing snookers.
But Cahill missed a straightforward red over-reaching with the rest and gave Ding the opening he eventually seized to take an epic frame lasting almost an hour and level the match at 5-5.
The momentum was with Ding, who took a 32-point lead in the decider but then missed a red and the Blackpool man showed no nerves as he hit back.
He sank a left handed blue into the middle pocket and a nerveless double to take a difficult break to 56 before closing out an 80-32 success.
Cahill, who only won his place on the professional circuit last year and was still seeking sponsorship before the tournament, said: “It was the worst feeling in world when Ding started coming back and the shots got harder.
“I could have won it at 5-1 and then when I was 68 up with 59 on the table at 5-4 he could have shaken my hand, but he got a snooker and made two amazing pots.
“But I wanted to show everyone I don’t give up. I didn’t come all this way to give up in the decider. I got my chance and handled it quite well. I’m chuffed to bits.
“I quite like the big occasion and it’s what I play for. I’ve practiced hard and it paid off.”
Cahill meets Mark Davis, who he has never played before, in the last 16.