Thursday, 15 September 2011

Selby tops rankings amid controversy

Welcome back readers!

After a little over a week sunning myself in Marrakech, I have returned to controversy on the baize.

Mark Selby's dramatic 10-9 win over Mark Williams in the Shanghai Masters final on Sunday has gone down like a storm after an incident in frame 17 the Welshman claims cost him the title.

Referee Eirian Williams has come under attack after judging an escape from a snooker by Selby hit red instead of pink.

After a lengthy stoppage the decision went Selby's way and proved the turning point for his run of three staright frames to clinch the title from 9-7 down.

I'm probably too late to cast any real judgement on the incident and make any point that hasn't already been covered, but I do sympathise for Williams (Mark) who has seen his temperament questioned this week.

Selby's comeback is the fourth in a string of matches where Williams has let what looked unassailable leads slip in big matches.

Two of the others were against John Higgins at last season's UK and World Championship. The most recent was in Australia where Stuart Bingham bounced back from an 8-5 deficit to win the title dramatically 9-8.

Williams is at the stage of his career where legendary status is already guranteed, and to a certain extent, he's playing with greater freedom than ever before. But by the same token, these slip-ups are not the hallmarks of the great champion of Williams we know.

While luck has played its part, Williams has built a reputation as one of the best players for seeing out matches. The same cannot be aid of him from his most recent form.

Saying that, I don't expect this succession of clincher's disease syndrome to affect Williams' ability to win a few more titles yet.

The controversy, whether handled rightly or wrongly, is the reason we watch the sport. The drama, thrills and spills give every sport its cutting edge. I guess this final for that reason we go down in the sport's history but I hope it doesn't overshadow the great success of man-of-the-moment Mark Selby.

Victory in Shanghai lands him his third trophy of the season  following success at the Wuxi Classic and PTC4 event. The Jester from Leicester is playing arguably the most clinical snooker of his career and shining in Shanghai takes him to world number one.

According to Snooker Scene, he becomes only the ninth player to occupy that spot since way back in 1976. That's no mean feat in itself. As I've said before on the blog, this is reward for his consistent performances over the last 12 months.  But at least now he has a major ranking title to his recent armoury as well.

Well played Mark!

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