Victory came on his debut in the competition.
David Lilley ended Jimmy White’s reign at the Crucible Theatre, beating the Whirlwind 5-3 to become the world seniors snooker champion on Sunday in Sheffield.
The 45 year-old prevailed in a tight affair to stop White’s hopes of a threepeat following his recent World Seniors Championship successes in 2019 and 2020.
The latter had been on an eleven-match winning streak at the Crucible Theatre, but he was always chasing his opponent after a slow start in this year’s final.
Lilley, who beat Ken Doherty in the quarter-finals and Patrick Wallace in the last four, didn’t show many nerves at the beginning of the contest and won the first three frames with a top break of 74.
White responded with contributions of 85, 63, and 56 to evoke memories of last year’s victory over Doherty when he fought back from 4-0 behind to prevail in a decider.
At 3-3, the 59 year-old probably became the favourite but a missed opportunity in the seventh frame allowed Lilley in for a reprieve, which he took with open arms to retake the lead.
Lilley, who represented one of the players who qualified for the tournament back in January, then stopped any hopes of a final frame with a title-winning break of 69 to become the 2021 world seniors snooker champion.
The Englishman’s biggest victory of his career comes with a champion’s cheque worth £15,000 and a potentially lucrative invitation into the Champion of Champions next season on the Main Tour.
“I’m a bit speechless, I didn’t think I’d get this emotional. Jimmy is my hero – he’s everyone’s hero. I really don’t know what to say – I’m just so happy,” Lilley said after defeating the former UK and Masters champion.
Unfortunately, there was no crowd in to enjoy the action over the course of the four-day event, but the World Seniors Championship was broadcast on BBC’s digital platforms and the Red Button in addition to the Matchroom.Live streaming service.
Featured photo credit: WSS