WELSH snooker ace Mark Williams showcased his mastery on the green baize, clinching his third British Open title in a hard-fought battle against formidable opponent Mark Selby. The 48-year-old veteran, displaying remarkable composure, outlasted Selby’s spirited fightback to emerge victorious with a final scoreline of 10-7.
From the very onset, Williams asserted his dominance, maintaining a consistent lead throughout the match. Despite Selby’s determined efforts that narrowed the gap to a single frame at 8-7, Williams showcased his resilience and expertise, grinding out the final two frames. Reflecting on the intense contest, Williams admitted, “It was unbelievable towards the end, and both of us were feeling the nerves a bit.”
Williams’ triumph is not only a testament to his enduring skill but also a historic achievement, making him the second-oldest winner of a ranking title in the sport’s history. The record for the oldest winner is still held by Ray Reardon, who clinched the Professional Players Tournament at the age of 50 in 1982.
Acknowledging the challenge posed by Selby, a four-time world champion, Williams expressed his astonishment at his own victory, especially given his age. He confessed, “How I managed to win that last frame, I don’t know… These things don’t come along too often at my age, so I am just going to enjoy this one.”
The match, marked by intense back-and-forths, saw both players demonstrating their exceptional skills. Williams initially surged ahead, securing a three-frame lead in the first session through impressive breaks of 110 and 55. Selby, refusing to back down, responded with breaks of 98 and 73, trailing 5-3 by the end of the second session. The seesaw battle continued as Williams extended his lead to 7-5, only for Selby to stage yet another comeback, setting the stage for a nail-biting climax at 8-7.
In the penultimate frame, Williams showcased his class with a break of 69, positioning himself for the win. Seizing the moment, he capitalized on Selby’s missed opportunity, potting the black and sealing his victory, marking 26 years since his first British Open triumph in 1997, and adding to his previous success in 2021.
Williams’ remarkable feat not only cements his legacy as one of snooker’s greats but also serves as an inspiration to sports enthusiasts worldwide, underscoring the timeless allure of skill, determination, and sportsmanship on the snooker table.