Williams beats Higgins to win third world title

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Mark Williams proved to be a man of his word, stripping off for the post final press conference, after the Welsh man landed his third world title.

It's the third time the Welshman has won the championship.

The 18-16 success made him the oldest victor of the tournament since 45-year-old Ray Reardon in 1978 and Williams fulfilled a promise to hold his press conference naked - although he wore a towel to protect his modesty.

Almost true to his world - he later disclosed that Barry Hearn ordered him to wear the towel - Williams strolled to the media room with some interesting tattoos on show.

Williams is the oldest world champion since his fellow countryman Reardon won in 1978 at the age of 45.

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And whether he's still with the Pelicans remains to be seen; New Orleans wants him back, but he'll be a free agent this summer. After Games 1 and 2 at Oracle Arena, the Pelicans let it be known that they weren't happy about the free-throw disparity.

After a thrilling 18-16 win over John Higgins in the final at the Crucible, Williams walked sheepishly past the media before slipping his towel off when safely behind the press conference table.

Williams held his nerve and landed a title that he himself saw as a massive ask only a year ago, when he told reporters that he would strip off in the press conference should he win the trophy.

"Actually, if I won it again next year, I'd do it again". "I'm going to keep my mouth shut next year, not say anything stupid and end up like this!"

The player, who failed to even qualify for last year's World Championship, said of his family: "I'm sure they've enjoyed it".

"I wasn't giving in easily, and even when Mark was closing me out at 14-7, I wasn't really getting clear-cut chances and missing easy chances", he added.

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Moments before, the Welshman had said of his win: "It's unbelievable". I did not think there was another title in me 12 months ago.

Another trademark clearance from Higgins, 82 from 47-0 down, got him within two frames.

Higgins paid tribute to a "great champion" and said: 'The last frame was just a joke there for him to play that well under that pressure. "I've just done something I thought I'd never ever do".

"Today I was 13-7 behind and I was anxious if I would take it to the fourth session, I didn't want to lose with a session to spare".

A missed pink in the next frame allowed Higgins back into the game and made it 17-16.

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Hedman assisted on the second Palat goal and a Steven Stamkos power play goal on an empty net in the final minute to clinch it. The Lightning forward elicited a clear sigh of relief as he finally got on the scoring sheet for the first time this series.

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