Let the snooker hangover commence.
After 27 days, which dates back to the start of the World Championship qualifiers at Ponds Forge in early April, the festivities in Sheffield have drawn to a close.
The final Monday when the champion is crowned is always an unusual day as it conjures up a range of conflicting emotions for the hardened snooker fan.
On the one hand there is the relief that it is all over – that the 17-day “Marathon of the Mind”, with snooker from practically dawn until dusk each day, is complete for another year and you can return to a life of relative normality.
Conversely, waking up on the first Tuesday morning after the event’s climax, driven immediately by instinct to accessing the snooker news, order of play, or TV schedule, only to suddenly realise there’s nothing left to look forward to, brings with it a familiar sense of emptiness.
It really is finished.
Some years of course the hangovers are experienced worse than others, depending normally on the general standard and level of excitement generated from the championship itself.
In truth, this hangover might be cured a little quicker than most after a tournament which was enjoyable, but failed to really capture the imagination.
The 2017 edition will be fondly remembered as the 40th anniversary at the Crucible Theatre, and the celebration on the eve of the opening Saturday was a joyous bringing together of all the living past champions – bar a lazy and disappointed Mark Williams who failed to qualify for only the second time since 1997.
This year’s event also produced a worthy winner, with Mark Selby successfully defending his title to add a third global crown to his growing list of accolades.
Perhaps this World Championship will be the one in which people pinpoint the moment when Selby truly began entering the conversation of becoming a member of the pantheon of all-time snooker greats.
The world number one is so far out in front of the chasing pack in the two-year rolling ranking system that, if you took all of his winnings from the 2015/16 campaign off now, he’d still be in top spot by some margin.
At 33, the “Jester” is bang smack in the middle of his prime and could continue to dominate for several years to come if he maintains his seemingly unbreakable will to win.
Selby is currently the 4/1 favourite to defend another major, the UK Championship in York later this year, and sites like Bonus Codes will help keep punters up to date with all the latest free bet offers.
Regardless of what the future might yet hold, the Englishman’s third World Championship triumph will be remembered for some time having staged a remarkable comeback in the final from six frames down.
However, the event as a whole was not quite as memorable.
Except for a few notable ties – most of which involving Ding Junhui – this was a largely forgettable fortnight of action that didn’t provide the magnitude of drama that we come to expect, maybe unfairly, from the sport’s blue riband extravaganza.
Indeed, in terms of thrilling action on the baize Ding was possibly the player of the tournament, featuring in one of only two ties which went the distance before epic encounters with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals and Selby in the last four.
Ding’s confident victory over the “Rocket” had many tipping the Chinese star to finally break his World Championship duck and bring back the trophy to his homeland for the first time.
Selby, though, denied the 30 year-old just as he did twelve months ago in the final showdown, and how familiar a sight might that become over the coming years?
Ding still has plenty of time but, as has been demonstrated by others in the past, one can only suffer from heartache so many times in a career.
Despite the promise of many that the centuries count would be comprehensively broken, the number in fact fell well short of the mark.
There were obviously some standout moments, though.
Marco Fu staged an unbelievable comeback from 7-1 down to Luca Brecel in the first round to deny the Belgian in the only other match that went the distance.
Ronnie O’Sullivan produced an effortless 146 break while Mark Selby’s 143 featured a succession of shots which almost defied belief.
O’Sullivan’s war of words with the authorities added controversial spice to his last 16 clash with Shaun Murphy, who was outspoken in his defence of the latter.
Scotland’s John Higgins proved once more with his run to the final why it’s foolish to ever write him off, while question marks remain over Judd Trump’s credentials on the biggest stage of them all.
In addition, the qualifiers at Ponds Forge continue to provide the perfect prologue of hope and despair, with World Championship berths and Main Tour survival each on the line for many.
Jimmy White and Ken Doherty were two of the early victims, thus losing their tour cards, but World Snooker supremo Barry Hearn responded as expected with a pair of wildcard offers to keep the fan favourites playing professionally for another couple of years at least.
The duo, and all the other players, knows that the journey to the Crucible will continue for another decade after a ceremonial signing of a new contract to keep the World Championship at the theatre until 2027.
It may be done with for this year but it won’t be long until we’re pining for it all to start over again in just over eleven months time.
Hair of the dog, you say?
Well, there’s always Q School – It starts next week in Preston. Bottom’s up.