WORLD champion, International Championship winner and now the UK Champion – 2016 has been a year Mark Selby will never forget.
The world number one completed his best year in snooker with an impressive 10-7 win over Ronnie O’Sullivan to lift his second UK Championship title and £170,000.
And in doing so, Selby became the first player in 15 years to win the World Championship and UK Championship in the same year – his opponent O’Sullivan being the last.
The victory also meant Selby had joined a small club of players to have won each of the Triple Crown events (World Championship, UK Championship, Masters) on at least two occasions.
In a high quality final at York’s Barbican Theatre, Selby showed the snooker world why he is the number one star on the planet with a fantastic performance showcasing superb safety play and break building of the highest calibre.
And Selby, who beat O’Sullivan to lift his first World Championship title more than two years ago, secured the title in beautiful style with a match-winning break of 107.
But it was O’Sullivan, chasing his sixth UK Championship crown, who made the brighter start winning two of the first three frames with breaks of 124 and 63.
And the five times world champion was on course to make it 3-1 until a missed blue changed the course of the match as Selby responded with breaks of 67 and 63 to go 3-2 ahead.
The Leicester star then won another close fought frame to go 4-2 up before he then took charge of the final winning the next two frames to go 6-2 ahead at the halfway mark.
And Selby stretched his lead to five frames at the start of the evening session but the final would not prove to be a forgone conclusion.
Breaks of 56, 80 and 134 saw O’Sullivan roar back into contention reducing his deficit to 7-5.
But Selby responded in true world champion style with a break of 137 in the next frame to go back to 8-5 ahead.
However, O’Sullivan then made breaks of 130 and 82 to make for a thrilling conclusion to the final with Selby leading 8-7.
But once again Selby’s response was of that of a true champion – a break of 134 put him n the verge of glory before he wrapped up the match in clinical fashion with a run of 107 – the sixth century break of the match.