Naked promise kept after snooker world champs win

Tonya Becker
May 9, 2018

Mark Williams won the Betfred World Championship for the third time by beating John Higgins 18-16 in one of the all-time great Crucible finals.

The three-times world champion looked forward to returning to the Crucible next year and promised to outdo himself if he defended his title. I had to wear the towel on the orders of Barry Hearn (chairman of World Snooker) otherwise I would just have walked in, just crying.

Scooping the Crucible crown, 15 years after his last triumph, at the age of 43 ensured Williams became the oldest victor of the tournament since fellow countryman Ray Reardon, who was 45 when victorious in 1978.

The only downside for Williams, other than getting to show off his tattoo sleeves and beach-bod, was it got all got a bit nippy in the media room.

At 43, Williams became the oldest victor of the sport's biggest prize since fellow Welshman Roy Reardon won his sixth and final world title in 1978.

Williams, previously triumphant in 2000 and 2003, lost in the final round of qualifying past year. "Last year I wasn't even here".

"I was just practising for them the last time I won this tournament", Williams said of his sons. "I've been playing some unbelievable stuff this season and I felt I could have a good run here".

But defeat was a huge blow for Higgins, 42, who lost in the final for the second year in a row after blowing a 10-4 lead against Mark Selby 12 months ago.

"Last year I wasn't even here, but in the caravan having a beer having failed to qualify".

If he wins the World Championship next year Williams has vowed to go nude again, saying: "I'd cartwheel round here naked". I can't believe I beat him really because he's one of the best there's ever been. Frame 30 followed a familiar pattern as Williams got in first and made 47 before missing a red to a top corner, and Higgins ruthlessly punished him with a 62 clearance to square the match for the first time since 7-7.

"It was an unbelievable occasion and great to be playing in front of this crowd again against an incredible player like Mark", said a gallant
Higgins. The Welshman, however, held his nerve in the next frame, a break of 69 taking him over the line. I got a little bit emotional towards the end as well.

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