Mark Selby successfully defended the Paul Hunter Classic after ending a remarkable run from Joe Swail to claim the trophy for a second time in Furth.
The world no.1 looked in good nick throughout the final day and was rarely troubled after requiring a deciding frame to edge rookie Robbie Williams in the last 16.
The ‘Jester from Leicester’ whitewashed Friday’s 147 hero Ken Doherty before a 4-2 triumph over India’s man of the moment Pankaj Advani gave him a final berth for the third time since 2008.
And there was to be no mistake for the second successive year, surrendering only the solitary frame to ensure he keeps the trophy, etched with an image of the late Paul Hunter, for another 12 months.
The final was a one-sided affair that hinged significantly on the second frame when Swail had an opportunity to square proceedings following an unexpected miscue from his opponent.
But the Northern Irishman couldn’t manage the clearance and after going 3-0 down the writing was on the wall – even for a player notorious for completing unlikely comebacks.
Despite dropping the fourth frame, Selby comfortably took the next to finish the victory and, with it, confirmation of his return to form.
The 29 year-old ended last season in bad health having suffered an injury in his neck but all of that seems to be behind him now as he takes a further stranglehold at the top of the world rankings.
The day and the tournament, though, belongs to ‘The Outlaw’ Joe Swail.
Having dropped off the Main Tour last season, many people believed it would be the end of one of the sport’s great characters – especially after he took the decision not to contend Q-School in May.
However, he has been galvanised by the PTC series early in this campaign, which allows both professionals and amateurs to enter.
After beating former world champion Shaun Murphy in the fourth round, Swail enjoyed consecutive nail-biting deciding frame wins over Andrew Norman and Barry Hawkins respectively.
Indeed, the climax to his match with Australian Open champion Hawkins was so dramatic that he doubled the final black to clinch a thrilling victory, but unfortunately had nothing left to offer against Selby.
Swail can be content in the knowledge that, with the top 8 players in the PTC Order of Merit who are not already in the Top 64 in the world rankings guaranteed a spot on the Main Tour, he should be all but assured a return to the professional scene this time next year.
Nobody will begrudge him that as he has always been one of the most likeable players on the circuit, often performing with a smile on his face which was evident today as he enjoyed every moment of being in the limelight again.
A word also on the crowd. It almost goes without saying now that the German support is excellent but they deserve to be mentioned because the numbers that turn out to watch the game, and the enthusiasm they show for it, is a breath of fresh air and long may tournaments being held in the country continue.
The full list of results and draw can be viewed by clicking here.
Categories: Snooker News