John Higgins is back in the winners circle once more after running out a 9-3 victor over Ben Woollaston in the final of the Welsh Open In Cardiff tonight.
This title,a record breaking fourth win in the event & his 26th ranking titles in total., will feel very sweet indeed for Higgins,who must have wondered in recent times if indeed his tournament winning days were over.
That was a question many snooker fans were asking as well as he struggled in tournament after tournament to get any sort of run going to boost his confidence.Such was his fall that the prospect of having to qualify for the Crucible looked a real possibility.Those worries are gone now though and he can very much look forward to lining up in Sheffield in April as he goes in search of a fifth world title.
Of the final itself,Higgins,by virtue of experience alone started as a warm favourite against his young opponent who was appearing in his first ranking final.and it was the Scot who got the better of the opening exchanges to lead 3-1.
The next two were shared,before Woollaston got within one again at 3-4 with one frame left in the session.That final frame was to prove the pivotal moment in the match as Woollaston lead it 59-0 before Higgins countered to leave it hinging on a battle on the green,that was finally resolved by a fluke from Higgins.
This gave him a 5-3 lead going into the night and he never looked back,taking the four frames he needed to seal a 9-3 win
Woollaston no doubt will feel disappointment that he couldn't reproduce the form that had seen him reach the final,but he can look back with pride on a fine week and use the experience the next time he finds himself at the business end of a big tournament.
As for Higgins,well seeing him holding aloft a trophy is something we are well used to over the last 20 yrs,but,as I already said it,was something we feared we would not see again.Now that he has done it who is to say its not the first shoots of a rich autumnal harvest in the career of the Wizard of Wishaw.