WORLD number one Mark Selby suffered the fright of his tournament life – but remains in the Betway UK Championship.

The 2012 winner in York squeezed past James Jones 6-5 in a final frame thriller at the York Barbican, in a game he led at no stage on the frame count until it really mattered.

Selby, who did not play well, had to show all his famed grit and determination to somehow come through – hitting 67 in the final frame - when it seemed at so many points that he was about to join world champion Stuart Bingham in heading for the exit door.

Selby said: “Jamie deserved to win the match. He played great and hit two centuries, a few more breaks, and every time he got chances he seemed to be winning the frames in one visit.

“I was just scraping through. I don’t know how I’ve won the game.”

He added: “I was just happy still being out there at 5-5, the way he played I had no right to still be out there after ten frames.

“I thought to myself ‘as long as I get one chance I will be happy’ but the way I was playing I probably needed five or six.

“I managed to get two and did a good break and held myself together well. That’s probably the best frame I’ve played all match – right at the end when I needed to.”

Jones, who beat Selby earlier in the season on his way to the last four of the Australian Goldfields Open, got off to a flying start – breaks of 53 and 133 establishing a 2-0 lead.

Selby fought back, helped by a run of 54 in the third, to level at the interval but he was always playing catch-up.

He trailed 3-2 and 4-3 before levelling the match at 4-4.

Selby twice needed snookers in the eighth frame, but Jones went in off the pink when escaping and the Leicester star hammered home the colour before snicking in a thick black with the rest.

But he missed a straightforward pot early in the next and Jones, who had ten minutes earlier looked shell-shocked, responded with a superb 111 to move only one frame from victory.

Selby was hanging on for dear life as Jones pushed his way to the brink.

The Jester from Leicester has nine lives, though, and, after Jones missed a thin cut red into the bottom corner that would have left Selby needing snookers, the 2014 world champion produced a nerveless finish – framed by a superb pot on the final yellow and an even better pink – to force a decider.

After Selby had first chance in the decider, it looked once again like Jones would take his chance when his opponent, having to swerve to hit a red hanging over a pocket when obscured by the yellow in baulk, left him in the balls.

He could not take advantage and Selby produced his biggest break of the match when it mattered to scrape through by the skin of his teeth.

“I just can’t really believe I am sat here the loser,” Jones reflected. “I played really good in that game. I lost quite a few frames that I should have won so I could be sat here a 6-2 winner.

“Selby always hangs on. I was the better player I think and I think he will agree with that but he seems to hang on, pinch a couple of frames and then he hits me with a break in the end.

“It’s the sign of a champion, like he is, and I can only aspire to be like that.”