Mark Williams snooker

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Mark Williams of Wales poses with the trophy after winning the Final match against Mark Selby of England on day 7 of the 2023 Cazoo British Open at the Centaur on October 1, 2023 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

British Champion Mark Williams Admits He Thought His Winning Streak Was Over

sportswales

By David Williams

Mark Williams has admitted he thought his trophy-winning days were behind him before he lifted the British Open title.

The Welsh legend rolled back the years to finally see off Mark Selby’s spirited fightback and take the title with a 10-7 victory in Cheltenham.

At 48, Williams, a three-time world champion, is the second oldest winner of a ranking title – his first having come in 1996.

“It was unbelievable towards the end, and both of us were feeling the nerves a bit – how I managed to win that last frame, I don’t know,” Williams said on ITV4.

“I never expected I could still get to finals at 48 and to win, playing someone like Mark Selby, what can I say? These things don’t come along too often at my age, so I am just going to enjoy this one.”

Selby paid tribute to Williams’ efforts.

“He played amazing, I can’t remember him missing too many long balls – when he was at his peak he was doing that all the time and he sort of rolled back the years today,” Selby said.

“It wasn’t to be for me, I felt like I was fighting against it all day… but (in general) I feel good about my game. I dug in and gave it my all like always.”

Williams’ win means he becomes second only to Ray Reardon when it comes to winning titles in the later part of his career. Reardon is the oldest, winning the Professional Players Tournament at the age of 50 in 1982.

Williams had opened up a 3-0 lead in Sunday’s first session following breaks of 110 and 55.

Selby, 40, came back to snatch a frame before the interval with his own half-century clearance.

After Williams moved further ahead again with a clearance of 133, Selby fought back with breaks of 98 and 73 to end the session trailing just 5-3.

Four-time world champion Selby took the first frame of the evening session with another century to close up again, only for Williams to respond and move into the interval with a 7-5 lead.

But Selby continued to dig in and secured back-to-back frames to cut the deficit back to just a single frame.

The Cwm cueman ground out the 16th frame having trailed 56-0 with a 69 clearance to put him on the brink of victory.

Selby was 54-18 ahead in the next when he went round the back of a red up the table, handing Williams a free ball.

Williams took his opportunity, sinking the black before going on to clear up, taking the frame 59-54 and with it a 25th world ranking title.

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