A brilliant Ali Carter won the Paul Hunter Classic trophy after a 4-3 victory over Shaun Murphy on Sunday in Furth.
It marks Carter’s first professional title since he returned to the sport following his successful battle with lung cancer less than a year ago.
This time 12 months ago the ‘Captain’ missed the second European Tour event because he had more pressing concerns to worry about – such as undergoing chemotherapy.
In an adult life that has been blighted by illnesses – he also must deal with his long-term Crohn’s disease and previously overcame a bout with testicular cancer as well – this weekend’s victory in Germany will be an emotional one to savour for him, his family, friends, and fans.
Carter won the General Cup, an invitational event in Hong Kong, in his first event upon his return to the sport last October, and just like on that occasion it was fellow Englishman Murphy he pipped for glory in a deciding frame thriller.
The 36 year-old had opened up a 3-1 advantage with runs of 61 and 54 but saw his opponent, who had earlier in the day come from 3-0 down to deny Mark King in the semi-finals, mount a comeback to draw the scores level.
By winning the sixth frame on the black it appeared as though Murphy had gained the initiative but missed a pink to the middle pocket in the final frame, allowing Carter in for a steely break of 95 to capture his maiden European Tour title.
Perhaps fittingly for the two-time World Championship runner-up, this victory came in an event honouring the great Paul Hunter, who devastatingly lost his life to cancer almost nine years ago.
For Carter, it was a momentous achievement just to get back to the baize at all following his treatment.
However, being the tough competitor that he is it was inevitable that he was going to then seek success.
So it’ll be interesting to see where he can go from here and if he can carry this form into the bigger ranking events as he attempts to climb back up the rankings list.
For now, though, he can revel in the fact that he is among the winner’s circle again, something which seemed very unlikely a mere year ago.