JOHN HIGGINS struck a fantastic maximum 147 break to send the York Barbican crowd into raptures this evening - but he has still exited the williamhill.com UK Championship.
The Scotsman was trailing 5-2 in his second round match against Mark Davis when he produced the fabulous break - potting 15 reds, 15 blacks and all the colours - to receive a standing ovation from all sides of the auditorium.
It was the first maximum at the UK Championship since Ding Junhui achieved one against Higgins in Telford in 2008.
A rolling £10,000 prize was on offer for any player who hit a 147.
It sparked a trademark comeback from the Wizard of Wishaw, but he was hugely disappointed to lose 6-5.
In an extremely tense finale, he had the perfect opportunity to clear up and take victory after Davis missed a red when 53 points ahead.
But he twitched on the final pink and, following a brief safety exchange, Davis sank a nerveless pot into the corner to clinch a quarter-final match against Matthew Stevens.
"Who knows?" Higgins said when asked where his 147 came from. "I am gutted. Normally clearing up in the last frame I would do it okay but I was all over the place.
"I played a bad yellow, a bad green, got lucky, played a terrible brown, a bad blue and then just twitched the pink trying to play it with a little bit of side to come back for the black. I'm gutted.
"I didn't deserve to win that match. Mark played better than me and he made better pressure clearances."
Davis hailed the win as the best of his career.
He said: "It's at the top, without a doubt. A massive BBC event, massive tournament and I have not got a good record against John at all.
"It's the best result for a very long time. No one rates John higher than I do and to do it when he has come back from 5-2 makes me feel good."
In the other match tonight, Neil Robertson booked a quarter-final against Mark Selby after beating Barry Hawkins 6-2.
Robertson, who was workmanlike, was unhappy with the table conditions despite his victory.
"It was the worst table I have played on as a professional," he said. "It made it almost unplayable for both of us and you can't really analyse it (the performance). You just had to try and pot the balls in front of you and, luckily, I potted more than Barry. The match was a shocker to watch."