STUART Bingham admitted to being relieved after denying Graeme Dott one of the greatest Crucible comebacks of all-time.

The Bowers Gifford-based snooker star held an 8-1 lead before Dott fought back to take the World Championship first round contest to a deciding frame.

But Bingham sealed a 10-9 victory and the 2015 world champion is still unsure as to how he allowed the Scotsman back into the clash.

“I’m relieved to have got through to the second round,” said Bingham.

“I am pinching myself that I am still in the tournament and I haven’t got a clue what happened.

“Graeme came at me all guns blazing and I don’t know how I ended up winning.

“I had to hold my nerve at the end and I was shaking.

“I missed a red while stretching a bit in the final frame, but he missed a red as well and it left one open for me and that was the only way I think I was going to win.

“My arm felt like it was someone else’s but I’m just relieved to have won.”

Bingham headed into the World Championship in fine form, having already secured silverware at the English Open and Gibraltar Open this season.

But had Dott - the 2006 world champion - completed the fightback from a seven-frame deficit, it would have only been topped by Dennis Taylor’s 18-17 defeat of Steve Davis in the 1985 final in terms of greatest deficits overcome at the Crucible. Taylor came from 9-1 down to clinch the title on that occasion.

Scotland’s Dott faced the daunting 8-1 scoreline following the first session, but came roaring back into the tie with composed breaks of 114, 70 and 77 to close the gap to 8-4.

However, Bingham still looked on course to claim a comfortable victory when he pinched the last frame before the mid-session to lead 9-4.

Dott narrowed the gap to 9-6 before Bingham gave away the 16th frame in extraordinary circumstances.

He forfeited the frame after three consecutive fouls, while attempting a thin safety shot, incurred the three-miss rule.

And Bingham was fearing an early exit after the errors.

“The three misses really proved that everything was going wrong,” added Bingham.

“After that you start thinking it’s not going to be your day and that you better prepare for a deciding frame because that’s the way it’s going.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever done that and I’m eager to make sure it won’t happen again.”

Dott took the next two frames to ensure a decider but, after both men spurned opportunities to clinch the most dramatic of victories, Bingham came out on top.

The 42-year-old’s reward is a second round meeting with John Higgins and Bingham knows he must improve.

“I have come home to practice ahead of Saturday,” he confirmed.

“I will have to play better against John if I want to progress.”