Mark Williams has become world champion once again – the first time in 15 years – after winning one of the greatest Crucible finals in recent history.
The Welshman came through an 18-16 winner after his opponent John Higgins produced a sensational comeback to take the match into a gripping and tense finale.
Williams, 43, becomes the oldest player to have won the World Championship in 40 years after a 45-year-old Ray Reardon landed snooker’s biggest prize of them all in 1978.
Becoming world champion for a third time completes a remarkable comeback journey for Williams who a year ago was considering packing in the sport completely after failing to qualify for the World Championship. Twelve months on he is at the very top once again.
And make no mistake, this is not a one off – Williams has had a season to remember winning three major events and has now become the most successful player of the season after netting the record-high £425,000 top prize.
Earlier in the day it looked as if Williams was going to cruise to victory with possibly a session to spare after he blitzed his way into a commanding 14-7 lead against the Scot.
But Higgins did as Higgins does – produce his best when his back is against the wall and he came back from 14-7 behind to level at 15-15 midway through an enthralling final session.
However despite winning five frames on the bounce from 15-10 down, Higgins could not stop Williams taking charge once again as he dominated frame 31 before a break of 100 in the next placed him on the verge of victory.
Williams looked like completing an 18-15 win before an unbelievable twist saw the Welshman miss the frame and match-winning pink in the corner pocket only for Higgins to produce an incredible 65 clearance to keep his hopes alive at 17-16.
But under the most intense pressure Williams delivered another fantastic break of 69 in the next frame before potting a stunning long red to seal the deal.
In an incredible final, it ended with Mark Williams on top of the world once again for the first time in 15 years. A remarkable story which will be remembered in snooker folklore.