SHEFFIELD: Mark Selby defeated fellow Englishman Sean Murphy to claim a fourth World Snooker title on Monday (May 3), as a crowd allowed for more than a year was allowed for the first time in a British-held sporting event.
Selby named Jester from Leicester, winning his nerve 18–15 in a tense evening session and claiming the title for the first time since 2017.
The 37-year-old led 10-7 after Sunday’s first two seasons but Murphy prevailed in Monday’s opening frame and surprisingly came to a close of 10-9 when Black failed in the final 19 frames.
Selby gave Kale an 11-8 lead and went ahead 17–13.
But with nearly 1,000 fans, all covering the face, desperate to see some late drama Murphy scored consecutive centuries to close within two centuries.
Murphy, who won the 2005 title as a 150-1 qualifier, looked to narrow the gap to one frame, but he missed a crucial last raid and Selby agreed to give a winning nod and take the title.
“To win it four times is something I could only dream of,” Selby said. “I felt Shawn did brilliantly during the match. He is a great, great player, a great ambassador for the game.”
Murphy said it was extra special to play in front of an overcrowded crowd at the iconic snooker’s venue.
He said, “There is nothing without sports fans and we are all thrilled to be back and have a full house tonight.”
The Bank Holiday Finale was an important moment for the British game as crowds were allowed inside a capacity for the first time in more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Master of the ceremony Rob Walker said it was none other than a crucible roar as players were resumed on Monday in front of 980 fans, all of whom had a negative COVID-19 test.
“Moves the last snooker,” he said. He said, “You cannot start the lightning, but as we have felt you have felt it and we have heard the crucible roar.”
The tournament, initially part of the government’s pilot scheme to ensure that fans could return safely to sports and cultural venues, was initially limited to a capacity of 33 percent, with 75 percent allowed for the quarter-finals and semi-finals.