‘If the guy had been any closer I would have knocked him out’ - Stuart Bingham furious after UK Championship exit

John Higgins (right) and Stuart Bingham during day eight of the Betway UK Championship at the York Barbican.
John Higgins (right) and Stuart Bingham during day eight of the Betway UK Championship at the York Barbican.
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A fuming Stuart Bingham crashed out of the Betway UK Championship after a mobile phone interruption.

The world No 12 was locked at 4-4 against John Higgins, and in the balls, when a mobile phone rang out at the York Barbican.

The interruption disturbed Bingham’s concentration, he missed the red, and gave a sarcastic thumbs-up to the culprit in the crowd.

It proved to be a pivotal moment, as Higgins nipped in to steal the frame before a 50 break helped the Scot secure a 6-4 win and a quarter-final spot.

“It’s just a sickener,” said Bingham. “Some idiot left his phone on and I had a chance there to win the frame to go 5-4 up.

“I missed and that put me in a bad frame of mind. It’s just pathetic. I had the frame in my hands. If the guy had been any closer I would have knocked him out.”

Higgins added: “I don’t think the gentleman even heard the phone, it kept on going on and on.

“Stuart is sure to be kicking himself because he was in front and he could have put the foot down.”

Higgins is through to the UK quarter-finals for the 14th time – and remains in contention for a fourth title.

“The two of us really struggled, we brought each other down,” admitted 44-year-old Higgins. “I’ll get on the practice table tomorrow and try and iron out a few little things.

“I’ll try get a bit of rhythm into my cue action because it wasn’t really there at all today. That match is behind me now and I can look forward.”

Higgins will play China’s Yan Bingtao, who thrashed former world champion Neil Robertson 6-1

Last year’s runner-up Mark Allen is also through to the last eight thanks to a nail-biting 6-5 win over world No 42 Kurt Maflin.

Norway’s Maflin – who had been 3-1 and 5-4 ahead – missed a crucial brown to the centre pocket in the deciding frame, allowing Allen in to secure victory.

“Kurt played well throughout the game I didn’t feel like he was going to miss at any point,” said Allen.

“The only way that I could have won at the end was for him to go for the brown and miss. I know how aggressive Kurt is and he would have fancied that brown all day long.

“But maybe a bit of inexperience at these big events cost him there.”