After a hiatus lasting 15 years, Mark Williams reached the World Snooker Championship finals facing his opponent and fellow “class of ‘92” member John Higgins on Monday afternoon. This win emerged out when only last year, he lost out in the qualifying round to a little known, Stuart Carrington and even had thoughts about retiring. His family believed he still had it in him and urged him to continue. And now, a year later, he sure has proved his mettle in the game. Williams started training under a new coach: Stephen Feeney.
The Welshman player (Williams), was already tied with the Scotsman (Higgins) on the Sunday evening match at stage one, by 7 – 7. Mark displayed some excellent potting schemes blasting off Higgins to maintain a 15 – 10 lead before mid-session. However, Higgins came back with a bang after having potted ten red and black balls, to a close 147 break. But, he still needed a round of exceptional session to accomplish his return in the game.
Williams demonstrated a matchless long red at the beginning of frame 20 which pounded the middle of the pocket; scored five scores of 50 in first four frames leaving fewer chances for Higgins to recover back in the game. The 43-year-old Williams is renowned for playing his matches with pure tact, with carefully scanning the table, calculating the angles, and then mentally establishing the end result.
Once in the game, the Welsh potting machine was already in a lead by 11 – 7, he took some time by squinting, crouching and covering his eye, carefully inspecting the ball, before pocketing a shot no one saw coming.
Nonetheless, Williams faced his share of mistakes too, first in his second frame, missing a dicey red ball, but luckily for him; even then Higgins collapsed under the noticeable level of stress forming around him and let Williams back in the game. Weirdly enough, it was a flying insect that was positioned close to the black ball interrupted a frame-winning visit.
With the commencement of the game, post interval; the Wizard of Wishaw exhibited his splendid recovery abilities, to show his opponent that he is not down until the 35 frames run out. The final came to a 14 – 9, with Higgins fixing up the frame but eventually became tough for him with missing onto acute red in the corner. Mark came in to claim the final frame of the session and requiring only three more to win his third world title, by defeating Higgins in an 18 – 16 in the classic finals and rounding off an amazing year.
Williams has also become the oldest champion to win a title, since 45-year-old, Ray Reardon in 1978. He now holds a total of three World Championship titles, with the other two ones winning in 2000 and 2003 respectively. “I went out there to enjoy it. Win or lose, I can honestly say I didn’t really mind‚” said Williams, on being asked about his win. Mark, as promised, stripped off naked to attend the media conference wearing nothing but a towel post win.