Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Mark Williams rules the world despite John Higgins' epic fightback

Mark Williams rules the world despite John Higgins' epic fightback

The 18-16 success made him the oldest victor of the tournament since 45-year-old Ray Reardon in 1978 and Williams fulfilled a promise to hold his press conference naked - although he wore a towel to protect his modesty.

Williams won seven consecutive frames from 7-7 to lead 14-7, and despite a rally from Higgins to 15-15 he closed out victory in the 34th frame, in the closest final since 2005.

Welshman Ray Reardon won his sixth world title in 1978 at the age of 45 to become the oldest victor of the event.

"That's me lost in two finals in a row and it's heartbreaking".

"If there is another world title in me, that would be unbelievable".

"Last year I watched this in a caravan having some beers". "It's a big occasion for me. I thought these days had all passed to be honest".

"It's an unbelievable story".

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Williams last World Championship came 15 years ago and he was clearly delighted to once again take home snooker's top prize and a record £425,000 in prize money. He previously joked after his second round win over Robert Milkin: "I would come in here naked and do the press conference", before adding later in the tournament, "I'll come in here starkers, don't worry".

"I enjoyed that one more than the other ones I've been in".

"I was thinking, "I'm not going to get over the line here". The Welshman became the oldest victor since compatriot Ray Reardon in 1978 with an 18-16 victory over Scot John Higgins. It is one of the best breaks under pressure that I've ever seen'.

From 7-7, Higgins lost the final three frames of Sunday evening's session and his poor run continued into Monday afternoon.

However, the Scot incredibly reeled off five on the spin - thanks to breaks of 131, 67, 82, 52 and 62 - to level at 15-15.

Williams thanked wife Joanne for convincing him to keep playing when he contemplated quitting past year.

Williams, who as a teenager was a keen amateur boxer, looked stricken but bounced back off the ropes, stopping the rot by nudging back in front and then firing a break of exactly 100 to move one away from victory. Past year he did not even qualify for the finals.

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