Mark Selby is the 2016 Betfred World Champion after he held off the determined comeback from Ding Junhui to claim the title in the end by a scoreline of 18-14.
Coming into this championship there were plenty of question marks over which Mark Selby would show up here after he missed the last two tournaments due to personal reason,but really we should have known better as what we got was the hard as granite match player we been used to seeing over the last ten years.
There are times in matches and indeed torunaments,where you just think this man surely can't win,but time and time again he digs deep into his reserves and produces something from nowhere to get a result.At times it isn't pretty,but much as some people complain of his style what must also be acknowledged is an unquenchable will to succeed that one can only admire.
As for the match itself the damage was really done in that early burst from Selby where he lead 6-0.From there Ding did his absolute best to get back,twice getting within one frame,but crucially Selby immediately responded on each occasion and Ding could never quite manage to get level.This happened last night when he closed to 8-7 & again today at 11-10,but each time Selby won the next two to build that three frame cushion.
Coming out for the final session the lead stood at 14-11 and that quickly became 16-11 as Selby looked to put a lid on things quickly.There was still time for one last surge from Ding.closing it to 16-14,but when a lengthy 31st frame went to Selby the writing was on the wall and he finished it in the next to seal the 18-14 victory.
A wonderful moment for Selby then,as he saluted his loved ones on potting match ball,but heartbreak for Ding who has undoubtedly been the player of the tournament.The fact he had to qualify is laughable when you see the way he played here and you would hope,with confidence now restored we will see the real Ding Junhui next season ,building towards another assault at the one big title to allude him thus far.
As for the tournament as a whole I'm not sure I agree with some of those saying that this has been thebest championship in years.Yes we did see some great snooker,but with the best will in the world and regardless of how well he played,I don't think a 45 year old Alan McManus reaching the semi finals reflects well on the quality of the tournament.
It was also once again disappointing to see the tables dominating the chat on social media.Big bounces, kicks & over the generous cut of the pockets all serve to make a game,which is decided so much on fractions,a bit of a lottery.
It wasn't all bad though and there were a few things we can all get excited about.
The emergence of Kyren Wilson has been the story of the season and here we saw again just why many are tipping this young man as a future world champion.Just how he does next season will be fascinating to watch.
Other off the table positives were the announcement of the new 10 year deal with Eurosport which may include coverage of the qualifiers for net years championship.Their dedication to snooker has been superb and such a deal can surely only see the sport grow even more on mainland Europe.Now if only they'd get rid of Colin Murray!!
Also announced today we had a two year extension to the BBC deal,which after some newspaper reports in recent months is huge a relief and the best news of all,that the championship will be staying at the Crucible for the next ten years.
So thats it for another season,as we toast again our 2016 champion Mark Selby.They say the Crucible is a marathon of the mind and this year Selby proved once again he is the sports ultimate marathon man.
Talk to ye all soon