Ronnie O’Sullivan secured a record seventh UK Championship title by defeating Mark Allen 10-6 in the final, becoming the most successful Triple Crown event winner in snooker history in the process.
O’Sullivan, 43, eclipsed Steve Davis’ tally of UK crowns and Stephen Hendry’s haul of 18 major titles on a memorable night at the York Barbican.
A winner of five World Championships and seven Masters titles, O’Sullivan also became the first player to retain the UK trophy since Hendry back in 1996.
O’Sullivan had opened up a commanding 6-2 lead at the halfway stage and quashed any hopes of an Allen fightback in the evening session to deny the Masters Champion his second Triple Crown silverware of the season.
“History is fantastic, I can’t believe it,” O’Sullivan told BBC Sport.
“Mark is an unbelievable competitor, if he doesn’t win a world title I’ll be so surprised because it’s not just about talent, it’s about bottle and courage and he’s got that in abundance.
“It’s great to create history, it’s great to beat The Nugget’s record and amazing to beat my hero’s record because Stephen [Hendry] was the ultimate player.
“I’ve still got eight world titles to get so I’m chasing that one but that’s another thing altogether.
“If I’d have lost today I’d have been very disappointed but it’s payback time now, the fans have supported me for so long and I just need to play with a smile on my face and enjoy it.”
It was Allen who clinched the first frame of the match before O’Sullivan fired in a break of 101 in response, but only for Allen to make a 74 and regain the lead.
O’Sullivan, however, reeled off five consecutive frames with breaks of 85, 54, 66, 57 and 65 to coast into a 6-2 interval lead.
He then took frame nine to extend that foothold after the restart before Allen finally stopped the rot with a 56 break in frame ten.
The Antrim ace followed up with a fine break of 105 to trail 7-4 before ‘The Rocket’ secured back-to-back frames to move to the verge of victory.
Allen, though, dug deep to produce breaks of 68 and 72 to clinch frame 14 and added a 59 in the next to close the gap to 9-6 behind.
But any hopes of a miraculous turnaround were crushed as O’Sullivan waded in with a break of 78 to secure the £170,000 top prize.
Allen joked: “It’s a part of history I didn’t really want, if I’m honest!”
“I didn’t come out here to lose but you have to appreciate what Ronnie does.
“To beat Steve Davis’ record of UK titles and to beat Stephen Hendry’s record of Triple Crown events, he’s something special.
“Hopefully he p*sses off to his break-away tour!”
“Playing really is the ultimate examination of your game, you have to be sharp in all aspects and I was just slightly out today.”