The Welshman had been in the doldrums for a couple of years after a dismal run of form.
Ryan Day has won the 2021 Snooker Shoot Out after a 67-24 victory over Mark Selby in the final at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on Sunday.
The 40 year-old pockets a handsome sum worth £50,000 for what was the third ranking title of his career.
Since 2019, Day has struggled badly with his game and a place in the top 16 in the world rankings descended to a battle to stay within the game’s top 50 of late.
The ranking points earned from this triumph will see him rise back into the top 32 in the official world rankings standings.
Day is additionally now guaranteed a spot in the upcoming Players Championship, in which the top 16 on the one-year rankings list can only qualify, while a place in the Champion of Champions later this year could also be on the cards.
It’s not a bad string of rewards for seven frames worth of effort, as the Shoot Out once again produced a somewhat unexpected champion.
Day won five matches on Sunday to lift the trophy aloft, including a nail-biting fourth round fixture in which he pipped last year’s runner-up Zhou Yuelong at the buzzer with a 40-37 scoreline.
Victories over David Gilbert and Mark Williams followed to set up his clash against Selby, who actually boasted the first opportunity in the ten-minute final.
Yet, the latter broke down on 24, and after Day got in with a nice pot to the middle pocket, he compiled an unanswered run of 67 to seal glory.
Selby was bidding to break the record for winning the most consecutive ranking event finals, but instead his streak ends on 11 to match Stephen Hendry’s old haul.
Whether this will act as a platform for him to return to the higher echelons remains to be seen, as the Shoot Out’s format is far removed from the others on the calendar.
Ryan Day has won the Shoot Out, beating Mark Selby in the final. It has to be said, that’s an unsatisfying way for Selby’s run of ranking event final wins to end. #snooker
— Nick Metcalfe (@Nick_Metcalfe) February 7, 2021
Selby bemoaned its inclusion as a ranking event after his defeat, which may be construed as a touch of sour grapes at failing to eclipse Hendry’s record.
However, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have a point, and many other players and fans feel the same way.
It’s simply ludicrous that an event with greatly altered rules – shot clocks, fouls resulting in ball-in-hand, and more – should influence the ranking situation.
Although often criticised for their drunken outbursts and chants, not having a crowd this year definitely impacted on the enjoyment of the event as well.
The artificial crowd that was implemented was a farce on Thursday’s opening day, and although its timing improved as the weekend progressed, there was never any sense that it was adding to the overall atmosphere or excitement of the competition.
As the latest Shoot Out speed king, “Dynamite” Ryan Day won’t mind too much about all of that, though.
The former world number six will head to the Welsh Open next week, his home event, with a welcome boost in confidence.
Featured photo credit: WPBSA