After each big tournament this season we’ll be reflecting on the latest action, so let’s take a look at a few things learned after the Scottish Open.
A Million Questions
Mark Selby produced yet another clinical display in a final to clinch the Scottish Open title at Jack Lisowski’s expense on Sunday.
Before capturing the English Open in October, the 36 year-old had gone two and a half years since his previous triumph on home soil.
Yet, once the Steve Davis Trophy was in his cabinet, there were the tiniest of whispers that Selby could be the man for the job when it came to the unlikely challenge of landing all four Home Nations crowns in a single season and the £1 million bonus that goes with it.
The growing consensus since the series began in 2016 has been that the feat is impossible, but of course sport doesn’t work that way.
Selby, then, will surely look back with a slight tinge of a regret at his 5-4 quarter-final loss to John Higgins in the Northern Ireland Open last month.
Who knows how long the bonus will be offered for, but if there’s one man dedicated enough to make any sort of challenge in the future, it’s Selby.
The Scottish Open success marked Selby’s 14th victory from his last 15 appearances in ranking event finals, a record 16th of this decade, and a 17th victory in his career overall.
The man knows how to win.
Winning Isn’t Easy
Selby has become the master at making the most of his chances when he manages to get himself into position for glory.
But it wasn’t always that way and, in fact, the “Jester” lost in eight out of his first 11 ranking event finals.
There are more opportunities now than ever before to join the exclusive ranking event winners club.
However, that doesn’t necessarily make it much easier and the majority of events are still won by the same group of seven or eight top stars.
Selby put an end to the hopes of two players bidding for a maiden success at this level in the last couple of rounds.
In the semi-finals, the three-time world champion thrashed David Gilbert, who he also beat in the final of the English Open in Crawley, before his defining 9-6 victory against Lisowski.
After the Scottish Open, Lisowski and Gilbert have finished as the runner-up seven times between them, six of those occurring since the beginning of last season.
You would think that they’d fulfill their ambitions eventually but one just has to look in the direction of Anthony Hamilton, who waited 26 years playing as a professional before claiming his first at the 2017 German Masters.
It can be a tough school, even for the ones with the most pedigree.
Allen’s Semi-Final Block
If you’re Mark Allen, even getting to a final is proving troublesome at the moment.
The Northern Irishman was the defending champion in Scotland but that was the last time he has gone beyond the semi-final stage of an event.
Indeed, since landing the Stephen Hendry Trophy twelve months ago, Allen has lost an incredible eight times in the last four of a competition.
Six of those have happened this season – four in ranking events and also again in the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions invitationals.
In Glasgow, Allen came agonisingly short following a 6-5 reverse to Lisowski in what was a thrilling encounter.
It has been a year of consistency for the 2018 Masters champion but, with no silverware to his name, Allen will probably be relatively pleased to see the back of 2019.