SO HOW is the snooker hangover going for all of you?
The 2014 Dafabet World Championship final was one of the closest the sport has seen in recent years, but that was not the only moment this year’s Championship will be remembered for…..
The Old Green Baize editor Nigel Slater looks at several of the many highlights from this year’s Crucible showdown.
1. CLOSE SHAVE FOR SELBY
Mark Selby produced an impressive comeback display to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan and be crowned world champion for the first time. But things could have been totally different for the Jester from Leicester had he not win his opening round final frame decider against Michael White!
The talented Welshman, who made the quarter-finals of the competition last year, pushed Selby all the way and forced a final frame shootout when he levelled the match to make it 9-9.
But Selby, like he has done several times before on crucial occasions, managed to take the match by the scruff of the neck thanks to a brilliant and match-winning break of 57 in the final frame. Selby then beat Ali Carter, Alan McManus and Neil Robertson to reach his second world final.
2. CRAFTY KEN ROLLS BACK THE YEARS
There was something quite nostalgic and special when Ken Doherty produced the first shock of the tournament when he beat Stuart Bingham in the first round.
Having gone 3-0 down early on, it looked like the former world champion would suffer a big defeat to the Basildon star but Doherty battled back to claim a surprising win.
3. WASLEY BEATS DING!
Who would have thought when the World Championship got underway, just a few days later would see the then world number 73 Michael Wasley be one of the top trends on Twitter.
Well that is exactly what happened when the 24-year-old came back from behind to beat the season’s top star and the then provisional number one in the world Ding Junhui.
Wasley produced one of the biggest shocks the Crucible has ever seen when he bounced back from 6-2 down to knock out the man many tipped would finally land destiny after winning five major events during the season.
Returning to the arena just at 11pm after the players were forced to come off in the afternoon session, Wasley at 9-8 down came out all guns blazing forcing a final frame decider with a superb attacking break of 103.
And what followed next went down in Crucible folklore as the final frame produced many moments of tense drama with both players producing excellent snooker despite being under the most pressurising of circumstances.
But it was Wasley’s day as he got the better of a tense final frame – a frame he will remember for the rest of his life!
4. O’SULLIVAN FIGHTS BACK WHEN IN DANGER
Despite a comfortable first round win over Robin Hull, things were not quite as comfortable for Ronnie O’Sullivan when he met Joe Perry in the second round.
To the surprise of many, O’Sullivan’s two-year defence of the World Championship crown was in significant danger of coming to an end when Perry led 9-7 going into the final session on the middle Saturday at the Crucible.
And a shock exit looked even more on the cards when Perry battled his way to an 11-9 lead at the mid-session interval – going just two frames away from a memorable win.
But the defending champion was having none of it as a superb fightback helped the five-times world champion on his wayto the quarter-finals. From 11-9 down, O’Sullivan played some flawless snooker, winning four frames on the bounce including breaks of 124 and 113 to seal the win in superb style.
5. DALE FIGHTBACK PROVES IN VAIN
O’Sullivan’s thrilling win was not the only comeback to make the headlines during the competition.
Days later Welshman Dominic Dale, playing at this stage of the World Championship for the first time in 14 years, looked set for a disappointing exit to what had been a successful Crucible campaign when he trailed 11-5 to last year’s finalist Barry Hawkins.
But what looked to be a forgone conclusion proved nothing of the sort as Dale brilliantly won seven frames on the bounce to go one frame away from beating a stunned Hawkins after being so far adrift.
The world number four then forced a decider stopping the rot with a break of 66 before a break of 65 saw him home and in the semi-finals. Dale’s fightback proved in vain but it just showed what drama the Crucible can create.
6. CENTURY OF CENTURIES DELIGHT FOR ROBERTSON
The World Championship may never see anything like it ever again.
Australian Neil Robertson put his name in snooker’s history books, possibly forever, when he became the first man to hit 100 century breaks in a single season.
Robertson achieved the historic feat during an epic quarter-final encounter against Judd Trump and produced the moment during the middle of a brilliant comeback which saw him defeat the Bristol ace after trailing for most parts of the contest.
Despite two near misses in his second round win against Mark Allen, Robertson clinched century number 100 potting the final green in the 22nd frame which led to a massive cheers from the man himself and an enthusiastic Crucible crowd who got to see the historic scenes.
Completing a wonderful achievement, Robertson then had the momentum to get over the winning line – coming back from 11-8 down to break Trump’s heart.
Will anyone make 100 centuries in a single season again? I doubt it, making Robertson’s achievement even more special.
7. SEMI-FINAL DRAMA AS SELBY AND ROBERTSON PLAY OUT THRILLER
This year’s World Championship semi-finals could not have been more contrasting!
As O’Sullivan booked his place in his third consecutive final with a day to spare, Selby and Robertson were locked in a tense battle which proved engrossing and entertaining to watch.
Arguably one of the best semi-finals the Crucible has seen, the players seemed like they more in the ring rather than on a table as they kept knocking each other blows (in the snooker sense) in an enthralling battle. Everytime Selby looked clear ahead, Robertson then battled back to be in contention.
But it was Selby who held his nerve closing out a 17-15 win to make his second world final.
8. SELBY FIGHTS BACK TO WIN FIRST WORLD TITLE
Unlike the previous two years, snooker’s biggest event had a final to remember as the sport welcomed a new world champion.
It seemed a dominant O’Sullivan would secure world title number six when he took an overnight 10-7 lead.
But a dramatic third session saw a determined Selby take command winning five of the six frames which were played – most notably the last frame of the session when O’Sullivan missed a frame ball pink he would normally pot ten times out of ten.
And Selby continued to have a foot on O’Sullivan – something no snooker fan has seen in recent years – as a mixture of hard-fought defensive and brave attacking play saw him lift the prestigious trophy for the first time.
Having been knocking on the door for some time, Selby’s time came on Monday night as he lifted the world crown. There maybe more to come.
Have we missed anything out? What were your favourite moments this year? Email your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @oldgreenbaize.