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HIGGINS BACK TO NAILBITER; UK SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP: Fired-up John locked in thriller.

I want to be an ambassador for the game.”

Scottish compatriot Stephen Maguire is well placed to progress to the next phase after building a commanding 6-2 lead over Irishman Ken Doherty during the opening session of their first-round clash.

Ulsterman Mark Allen leads Leicester qualifier Tom Ford 4-0, Meanwhile, three-time Masters champion Mark Selby has plenty of work to do to keep his hopes alive of winning the pounds 100,000 first prize. All rights reserved.

The Wishaw Wizard – still No.2 in the world rankings despite his extended absence – pocketed breaks of 105 and 100 for a blistering start.

Now he’s desperate to get his career back on track and prove doubters wrong. He said: “I’m more determined than ever to succeed.

Byline: NEIL GOULDING

SHAMED snooker star John Higgins made a storming start to his first match in the UK since copping a six-month suspension for bringing the game into disrepute.

COPYRIGHT 2010 Scottish Daily Record Sunday

No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.

Doherty compiled breaks of 93, 49 and 83 but 2004 UK winner Maguire controlled proceedings with runs of 84, 45, 44, 137 and 127.

CAPTION(S):

Powered Higgins was found not guilty of match-fixing following a sting operation by a national newspaper – but still landed a hefty pounds 75,000 fine plus pounds 10,000 legal costs and a six-month ban.

Back for good: Higgins in action

Chinese cueman Ding Junhui, a UK winner five years ago, also has one foot in the next round after he powered his way into a 7-1 lead over Welshman Matthew Stevens.

But Lee, a four-time ranking event winner, bravely rallied and won the next two frames with runs of 82 and 73 to level matters at 2-2. A composed break of 91 made it 3-2 Higgins but the 35-yearold found it tough going as Lee kept snapping at his heels to dent his hopes of a treble of UK crowns.

The triple world champion racked up back-to-back centuries in his first two frames at the 12BET.com UK Championship in Telford.

But the Scot, who was given a warm welcome by fans, finished locked at 4-4 against Englishman Stephen Lee after the opening session of their best-of-17 frame first-round match.

Breaks of 64 and 61 saw Lee edge ahead for the first time in the match but Higgins won the last frame of the day thanks to a break of 64 to leave it all square.

Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. He finished tied at 4-4 after the opening session of his match with ex-Shanghai Masters champion Ricky Walden.. Hopefully I’m back for a long time and winning tournaments

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