MJW11

Williams Wins World Seniors Championship

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48 hours after losing in the final of the Gdynia Open, Mark Williams has this evening defeated Fergal O’Brien 2-1 to win the 2015 World Seniors Championship in Blackpool.

The result earns the Welshman the top prize of £18,000, as well as presumably a place in next season’s Champion of Champions event in Coventry, although the qualification criteria for that tournament has yet to be formally confirmed.

Although it is difficult to read too much into form at a tournament held over the best of three frames, both Williams and O’Brien were clearly the best two players of the week and deserved to make it through to the final.

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For Williams, just getting to the venue yesterday so soon after returning from Poland was something of an ordeal, but it did not show in his performance against Darryn Walker last night as he won with a fantastic total clearance of 140.

Fergal meanwhile had already made back to back centuries against Peter Ebdon in his opening match and would go on to reach the final having made at least a 50 breaks in each of the six frames that he had played up to that point.

Fittingly, the final itself was to be a quality affair, O’Brien taking the opener with a fantastic clearance of 39, before Williams hit back with a good break to force a decider, which he would eventually win to take the title.

There has been considerable debate amongst both fans and supporters as to the merits or otherwise of reducing the age limit to 40 this year and I can see both sides of the argument.

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On the one hand, it was clear this week that those players not currently on the main tour were at a significant disadvantage to those such as Mark and Fergal who are both still competing at a high level. I do suspect now that the days of Tony Chappell reaching the final and Darren Morgan winning the title a few years ago are gone, particularly with the likes of John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan both eligible to compete next season.

But on the other, as a spectacle the performances from the likes of Williams and O’Brien made the action far more watchable than some of that which we have seen over the last few years and more likely to sustain interest of any spectator flicking through the channels.

It is a difficult one and I am in the minority, but I personally think that it is a good move to reduce the age limit and still made for an entertaining couple of days at Blackpool.

Of course though, that is not it for the Circus Tower venue, as the action resumes tomorrow with this season’s Shoot Out event from the venue.

  • Steve

    I think the original thrill of the Seniors tournament was the chance to see past greats back in action and with the chance of winning a World title. That isn’t going to happen now the age limit has been reduced to 40 which is far too young. Was the original intention of the tournament to see it won by a player who is in the top 16 of the main circuit?

    Players such as Swail, McManus, Perry, Mark Davis and King can play next year if they want to, not to mention Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins. Stuart Bingham would be eligible in the next couple of years and Marco Fu in three years. So would players like Thorburn, Johnson and Taylor compete knowing they could face a player in the top ten of the current world ranking list, perhaps even number one?

    If they are going to have more current players in the tournament surely it’s time to ditch the best of three format, especially for the final.

    • arne b

      Dave Hendon at inside-snooker called this event “a day in the sun” for the seniors. It’s a shame the truly “outdated” players don’t get this chance to shine with the low age limit. 45 was perfectly fine – not many top pros are that old (McManus and Ebdon are the oldest T32 players, both turn 45 next season), and many retire before 45, so it’s a good mix and a higher limit would exclude too many. At 40 there are so many top players who are – even in best of 3’s – clearly superior to former stars like Davis, Parrott (the only “senior” semi-finalist…) etc.
      As it stands, the event is completely useless and boring, and with the players you named, it will only get worse.

      • E JONES

        When they first played a senior event in 1991 the age was 40+ but back then Only Main tour players was playing in it.

        its absolutely stupid having players like Cliff Thorburn competing against Mark Williams a bonafied top 16 player who has now managed to bag a spot in the Champion of Champions through the back door.

    • Matt

      The problem is that sky don’t want it for more than two days, so that’s why we are stuck with best of threes.

  • bluelagoon

    I don’t watch this tournament because I’m no senior yet 😉
    But when I will be grey and old I think i want to watch my old heros of the past. In 20 years i would like to see O’Sullivan-Williams-Senior-Match, not Michael White making his first senior title.
    50 would be the right minimum age for this tournament.

  • JIMO96

    Can’t take any event seriously that changes it’s format or entry criteria every year. Plus it’s played over a shorter distance than the world AMATEUR seniors championship. In fact even the European amateur seniors play over more frames. Total joke.

  • Alba147

    39 year old Mark Williams wins the “Seniors” event.

    Mark Allen wants darts-style (read drunk and screaming) audiences.

    Michael Holt and friends bully and intimidate his own fans on Twitter.

    Joe Perry tweets this will be the first time he’s played in the Shoot Out sober.

    *sits back and waits for the next “Why does the mainstream media treat Snooker with such contempt?” whining*