Mark Selby lifted the Steve Davis Trophy after a resounding 9-1 victory over David Gilbert in the final of the English Open on Sunday.
The 36 year-old completed the rout in double-quick time to land a 16th career ranking success – level with Neil Robertson on sixth in the all-time list.
As well as pocketing £70,000 for his exploits, Selby will now receive an invitation through to next month’s Champion of Champions in Coventry.
A close showdown was expected but the end result couldn’t have been much more one-sided as Selby rose to the occasion in Crawley.
The “Jester” was featuring in a first final on home soil since he claimed the last of his three World Championships in 2017.
Since then, Selby has recorded a few victories in China but has largely struggled for peak form and, as a result, lost his long-held position at the top of the world rankings earlier this year.
The Leicester man looked every bit the dominant force of old at the K2, though, as he compiled a brace of century breaks and additional runs of 97, 88, 85, 79, and 68 in an immense display of high scoring prowess.
Gilbert had little to show in response, constructing a nice 101 break to at least avoid the whitewash.
It marks the fourth occasion that Gilbert has been denied at the last hurdle in a ranking event, and the third in just over a year.
The “Angry Farmer” is begrudgingly accepting the unwanted mantle of being the best player to have never triumphed at this level of competition.
There wasn’t much the 38 year-old, who narrowly lost in a dramatic World Championship semi-final in May, could have done this time as his esteemed opponent simply proved to be too strong.
Gilbert rises to a career-high of 11th in the world rankings and will undoubtedly put himself into these kinds of positions again if he plays to this standard, but the longer he goes without etching his name onto silverware the harder it’ll become.
@markjesterselby well done. See you at champion of champions !
— Barry Hearn (@BarryHearn) October 20, 2019
Selby, who was appearing in a 25th ranking event title decider, knows all about winning when it matters most.
In dominating the conclusion and lifting the Steve Davis Trophy, the three-time Masters champion underlined how form might be temporary, but class is always permanent.
Rivals will be concerned that Selby might have finally awoken from his slumber and it will be interesting to note whether this success can reinvigorate his fight to reclaim the top spot among the highest echelons.
Selby will head to the Northern Ireland Open in November as the last man standing in the hunt for an unlikely bonus of £1 million – awarded for the tall ask of winning all four Home Nations crowns.
💬 “I’m quite emotional”@markjesterselby takes a seat after spending all day on his feet!
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) October 20, 2019