Finals

Perry Prizes Players Championship

Joe Perry has won the 2015 Players Championship after a 4-3 triumph over Mark Williams in Bangkok.

Perry had won two minor-ranking Asian Tour events before this week - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Perry had won two minor-ranking Asian Tour events before this week – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

In doing so, the Englishman has finally captured his maiden ranking event title after 24 years as a professional on the Main Tour.

We waited almost three years for a first-time ranking event champion but, like buses, two came along in quick succession.

Welshman Michael White got his hands on the Indian Open trophy early in March and now Perry becomes the latest member of the elite band of competitors to have emerged victorious in a ranking tournament.

It looked for all money that White’s countryman Williams was going to race away to a comfortable win, what would have been his 19th ranking success, when breaks of 64, 57 and 103 helped him to an early 3-0 advantage.

However, his opponent dug deep thereafter to grind his way back into the contest and, in the process, placed a significant amount of pressure on the 40 year-old’s shoulders.

While Perry was making all of his important shots, Williams was beginning to falter with the winning line in sight and runs of 50 and 56 forced the unlikely decider.

Despite missing a red when on a break of 54, World Seniors champion Williams was unable to make a telling counterattack and Perry duly potted the necessary balls for a career-defining victory.

It was perhaps fitting that the Englishman was able to achieve the feat from a deciding frame climax, having been on the wrong end of many important close matches himself throughout his career.

Not least of these was his 10-9 defeat to close friend Neil Robertson in the final of the Wuxi Classic at the outset of this campaign.

Perry is a well-liked individual on the circuit, highlighted by the ‘Gentleman’ nickname tag he carries.

Most would not begrudge him this moment of glory and, along with collecting a cool sum of £100,000 for his efforts, the 40 year-old will also move into the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time in his carer.

For Williams, it marks a disappointing end to what has been another great week for the two-time world champion.

Having come so close in a number of tournaments in recent months, Williams will surely wish that he could have translated at least one of those into silverware but there are still two events left before the season’s conclusion.

With a £38,000 runner-up prize, Williams is now guaranteed his automatic place at the Crucible next month and must be considered as one of the challengers for the title such is his current level of form.

All plaudits for now go to Perry, though, who will proudly fly to the China Open next week as a ranking event winner.

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