Aaron Canavan was the surprise winner of the 2018 World Seniors Championship on Saturday after a dramatic final day in Scunthorpe.
Both semi-finals and the final went the distance in a thrilling conclusion to this year’s edition, with Jersey’s Canavan holding his nerve at the death to see off former professional Patrick Wallace on a re-spotted black.
Canavan, who had earlier beaten China’s Cao Kaisheng 3-2 in the same fashion, looked to be heading for the runners-up prize when favourite Wallace established a 3-1 advantage in the final.
However, Canavan dug deep and won the two frames necessary to force the match into a deciding frame, which on the World Seniors Tour always consists of a re-spotted black – a ball he duly potted for a memorable victory.
The 42 year-old, who has never played a professional match in his career, receives not only the trophy and the £10,000 top prize, but also an invitation to compete in next month’s World Championship qualifiers in Sheffield.
Jason Francis, the hard-working promoter from the Legends Exhibition circuit who has developed the ever-expanding World Seniors Tour, repeated the tagline “Dare to Dream” throughout the season of qualifiers that were held in the UK, Ireland, and as far afield as China.
It’s perhaps fitting that one of those qualifiers indeed fulfilled his dream by lifting the trophy in front of a big crowd on Saturday night.
The tournament was beset by unfortunate withdrawals of three major stars in John Parrott, Willie Thorne, and Tony Drago before a ball was even struck in anger and seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry’s immediate demise in the first round wouldn’t have done much help to reinvigorate interest from the outside.
However, the quartet on the final day conjured up brilliant drama befitting of the conclusion to any major championship and a worthy winner in Canavan was crowned.
The final stop on the inaugural World Seniors Tour will be the Crucible Theatre in April, when eight competitors line up for the prestigious Seniors Masters in Sheffield.