Controversial Moment In Snooker Final As Foul Called On Selby Shot

Hendry now tops the Crucible charts with seven wins in Sheffield, while Steve Davis (6), Ronnie O'Sullivan (5) and Higgins himself (4) also rank among the tournament's most prolific champions.

Selby is eight years Higgins' junior, and clinched the championship for the third time in four years.

Selby's winning momentum from Sunday's evening session carried into Monday's early frames as he took the opening two to close within one of Higgins at 10-9.

Higgins eventually stopped the rot to end Selby's five-frame run, but the latter then won a mammoth 44-minute frame to trail just 10-11 going into the mid-session interval.

The best-of-35-frame match in theory allows a player to recover from such deficits, as Dennis Taylor proved when coming back from 8-0 adrift of Steve Davis in their 1985 final.

"I'm only 33 but I feel about 53", Selby said on Saturday night after a draining semi-final win against Ding Junhui.

"From 10-4 down to get to 10-7 yesterday, I was over the moon as I had nothing left". John outplayed me most of yesterday.

"There's times out there at the Crucible where you can't wait to get away and talk to your friends or your coach, to try to pull yourself back together again and put a sticking plaster on your brain". "To have three world titles is unbelievable and to be one of only four players to defend the title (at the Crucible) is something I could only dream of".

Selby has been snooker's No 1 player for 116 consecutive weeks now and his record £375,000 winner's cheque means his position at the top of the world rankings is more or less cemented for another year.

But nearly two decades since his first world title in 1998, Higgins is adamant he will have m ore opportunities to taste victory at the Crucible Theatre.

A break of 86 in the ninth gave Selby some much-needed respite before the errors crept back in - an undercooked roll up to the green in frame 11 a particularly costly example.

Selby felt he had hit the black but went on to lose the frame which cut his lead to one frame.

"I really believe that, because he really is granite, and he's really tough to play against".

However just when it seemed as if Selby was sinking without a trace he got a bit of luck as Higgins misses the pink whilst opening the pack. Mark cleared up under extreme pressure. 'Absolute granite. He's a fantastic champion'.

Selby then wrapped up victory with another nerveless break of 75. "I'm proud of myself but he was too good on the day". I just came up short to a great champion. A poor positional shot from Higgins opened the door for the defending champion to pounce for the opener and, after losing a scrappy second frame, he took the third with breaks of 62 and 58 to move 2-1 in front.

  • Julie Sanders