Barry Hawkins emerged from the Players Championship Grand Final with his second ranking event title after a dominant display over Gerard Greene in Preston.
The Englishman overpowered surprise package Greene 4-0 in the final to land a deserved piece of silverware.
Greene had done excellently all week to reach his maiden final, overcoming Marco Fu in the last four to support his earlier victory over two-time World Open champion Mark Allen.
However, the Northern Irishman had nothing left to offer against an in-form Hawkins who had breaks of 117, 75 and 50 in the final.
It’s marked the end to an interesting tournament that didn’t exactly go by the playbook at all.
Hawkins has steadily grown in confidence since his Shoot-Out triumph in 2012, collecting his first ranking event trophy shortly after at the Australian Open.
His run to the final of the World Championship at the tail end of last season outlined his increase in stature within the game and though he was well beaten by Ronnie O’Sullivan he still gave a decent account of himself on the biggest and most important stage of all.
Most definitive of all perhaps, is the 34 year-old’s progression and quiet rise through the rankings to the point where he is now inside the world’s top four.
That advance was kind of mirrored by his run at the Guild Hall this week, which went largely unnoticed but where he was never really troubled aside from a hard-fought deciding frame encounter with Ryan Day in the last 16.
Hawkins remarked earlier that he anyone who had ambitions of capturing the title would probably have to beat O’Sullivan but it turned out that another player did his job for him despite the ‘Hawk’ finding himself in the same quarter as the five-time world champ.
Hawkins didn’t show any signs of pressure in dismantling the challenge of Yu Delu following the Chinese’s shock triumph over the ‘Rocket’ and supported that with a similarly confident victory over former world no.1 Judd Trump.
Hawkins’ success over the last couple of years has reflected the improvement in a lot of fringe players since the Barry Hearn era began and the influx of new events came into effect.
Before 2010, it was difficult for talented but unproven players to make their mark on the professional scene.
Now, players like Hawkins, and also Stuart Bingham, despite being in the second half of their careers, have been able to take advantage of the opportunities that have been given to them.
The fact that they, and others like them, have taken these chances with such poise and grace is similarly testament to the character they possess.
Hawkins may not go into the upcoming World Championship as one of the favourites but that may suit him down to the ground as he flourishes under the radar.
With only one event to go, the China Open, before the concluding masterpiece, Hawkins and everyone like him will be preparing their Sheffield challenge.