Mark Williams lived up to his favourite’s tag by capturing the World Seniors Championship on his first attempt on Tuesday.
The two-time Crucible world champion was by far the best player throughout the two day’s of action and overcame Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien in the final to lift the title in Blackpool.
There had been much debate prior to the tournament of whether or not the age limit for entry should have been reduced from 45 year-old to just 40.
Many argued that the change would result in the old-timer’s having next to no chance of attaining glory in an event that was initially set up in 2010 to remember forgotten champions.
The likes of Williams and O’Brien are still fighting strongly on the Main Tour, with the former back inside the world’s top 16 following a run to the final of the Gdynia Open this past Sunday.
While the long-retired John Parrott did manage to reach the last four – though it must be said without having to beat any current pros – most of the competitors from the 1980s offered little in terms of resistance against their much younger contemporaries.
This, for me, diminishes the general aura surrounding the competition, with it now lacking the charm that it boasted in previous editions.
Next season the likes of UK champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and Welsh Open winner John Higgins will be eligible to enter; if they do the dynamic of the tournament will have then changed completely.
Regardless, for Williams it represents a solid victory and continues his resurgent run of form this season.
The Welshman arrived from Poland with little time to spare on Monday evening but knocked in a brilliant 140 total clearance in his opening round win over Darryn Walker.
In his victories over Dominic Dale, Parrott and O’Brien he compiled breaks of 64, 80 and 74 as he lost only one frame in total despite the short best-of-three format.
While the triumph might not rank among his greatest achievements, collecting the 18,000 pounds winner’s cheque will certainly make him feel like the trip was worth his while.
The action continues at the Tower Circus from Wednesday to Friday with the single frame Shoot-Out, in which most of the top 64 in the world rankings are taking part.