Joined: 30 Nov 2017
|Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 2:04:48 am Post subject: When Higgins got in his groove
|When Higgins got in his groove
It’s an unbelievable story really,” said Mark Williams. “Two months ago I was thinking about chucking it in and here I am now, bollock naked, doing an interview having just won the 2018 world championship, beating John Higgins 18-16. Where’s it come from?”
The Welshman was not alone in asking the question. Players and fans alike were trying to get their heads round a final that swung one way then the other over the course of its two days, and required 34 of the maximum 35 frames to reach a verdict. For the media, they had to adapt to the sight of Williams conducting his first press conference as champion in nothing but a towel – and that a gesture towards modesty made only at the insistence of the promoter, Barry Hearn. Talk about a winning streak.
Williams, as a joke of course, had pledged to speak to the press in the buff in the event of becoming champion. He had failed to qualify for this tournament in 2017 and this time last year was actively contemplating retirement, only to be persuaded otherwise by http://www.cardinalsofficialauthenticonline.com/cardinals+rodney+gunter+jersey his wife, Joanne. In 2018, however, Williams http://www.packersauthenticofficials.com/WOMENS-RICHARD-RODGERS-JERSEY.html has come on strong, winning two ranked tournaments already before his triumphant return to Sheffield – and all at the age of 43.
The battle between two graduates of the Class of 92 was just another subplot in a final with no end of them. Williams and Higgins first played each other in the 1994 Thailand Open. Higgins won his first of four world titles in 1998. Williams won his last of two before this in 2003. Theirs was the oldest pairing in the history of the final and Williams is the oldest champion since his fellow Welshman Ray Reardon in 1978.
“I went out there to enjoy it. Win or lose, I can honestly say I didn’t really mind‚“ said Williams, whose calmness was the defining aspect of his performance. “I was just enjoying the occasion and it felt amazing. I got a bit emotional in the end but deservedly so, as it’s a big occasion for me. To be honest, I thought these days had all passed.”
For Higgins the feelings were different, of course. The Scot lost last year’s final, beaten by an exhilarating comeback from Mark Selby. For much of this final day it looked as if Higgins might achieve a similar feat for himself. Trailing by three frames overnight and at one point 14-7 down, Higgins came back to level the match at 15 frames each only for Williams to clinch it at the last. Asked if this was a more satisfying way to lose, the 42-year-old was concise. “Pain is pain‚” he said.
When Higgins got in his groove, he played the final’s best snooker. He hit four Samson Ebukam Authentic Jersey century breaks, including the highest of the match, of 131. Some of his clearances, particularly at the start of the evening session when he won four frames in succession, were breathtaking. He really, nearly pulled it off.“I came in tonight and Mark was ahead by a couple of frames. I cleaned up on him a couple of times and at 15-14 I did it again,” Ryan Callahan Jersey Higgins said. “For the next two frames after that I played a couple of really bad shots at the height of the pressure. But then Mark missed the pink at 17-15 and I’ve knocked the red into the middle and cleaned up.” The pink that bobbled out of the top pocket in the penultimate frame was the type Juston Burris Jersey Williams had been making consistently throughout the match. But in the final evening session funny things began to happen. Williams was unable to build on his breaks, tapping out around 40, and Higgins just kept clearing the table. At one point in the session the Scot had a potting accuracy of 99%.