Major Robertson

Neil Robertson lifted the UK Championship trophy for the first time last night and in doing so became only the eighth player to complete snooker’s ‘Triple Crown’.

Furthermore, the Australian becomes the first player from outside the United Kingdom to make the achievement of collecting the World, UK and Masters crowns – after Steve Davis, Terry Griffiths, Alex Higgins, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

It is fitting that Robertson joins this illustrious band of names as he has been a star player on the tour over the course of the last seven years.

The triumph marks his ninth ranking event title, on a par with John Parrott, Peter Ebdon and Ding Junhui, and puts him only one behind legend Jimmy White.

It also ensured that none of the six ranking tournaments so far this season have been won by a UK or Irish player – the traditional hotbed for the sport.

Robertson adds to the Wuxi Classic he won at the outset of the campaing while Ding captured three in a row and Marco Fu claimed the Australian Open in which Robbo was also runner-up.

The final on Sunday was very much a tale of two halves.

Robertson’s safety game was non-existent in the opening exchanges and Selby, galvanised by a 130 in the first frame, created a 5-1 early advantage.

However, Robertson won the last frames of the afternoon session, the second with a 123, to ensure that he was only two back at the break.

That appeared to spur him on as he was a changed player when the evening’s play commenced.

Selby still managed to take the first frame to regain a three-frame cushion but a faster and more confident approach from his opponent saw him reel off five frames in succession to transform a 6-3 deficit into an 8-6 lead – a run that included two further centuries.

The defending champion finally stopped the rot in the 15th frame and had a superb chance to level the encounter in the next before dramatically missing the final black to leave it over the bag.

A grateful Robertson sank that to go to the brink of victory and duly grabbed it at his first opportunity with a 57 in the last for a 10-7 success.

The triumph avenges Robertson’s defeat to Selby in the final of the Masters at the beginning of 2013 as they continue to build on a thriving rivalry.

Their fortunes in ranking event finals could not be any more different, though.

Robertson has now nine ranking event titles from 13 finals but Selby’s 10 appearances have yielded only three titles.

The pair’s clash on Sunday also determined who would finish the calendar year as world no.1, with Robertson deservedly taking the accolade.

A fitting conclusion to an entertaining competition then, one that lasted just shy of two weeks and certainly boasted the feeling of one of the big majors.

There were some critics at the start with regard the format and venue but both turned out to be fine.

There may have been 128 players but 14 out of the top 16 seeds contested the fourth round while the final was between the world’s highest ranked.

York, meanwhile, is a beautiful city befitting of any major championship and, although a somewhat small city, produced big crowds almost every day.

Whether the UK will be back in Yorkshire next season remains to be seen but the 2013 edition can be regarded a success. 

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