2021 British Open – Mark Williams is your Champion!

Mark Williams beat Gary Wilson by 6-4 yesterday evening to win his 24th ranking title.

Congratulations Mark Williams!

Here is how the match unfolded (WST):

The Final: Frame By Frame

Frame by frame updates as Mark Williams takes on Gary Wilson in the final of the matchroom.live British Open. First to six frames takes the trophy and £100,000…

Frame one
Williams makes breaks of 24 and 19, running out of position on both occasions. Wilson, trailing 43-8, then plays a loose safety and this time he is punished. Williams adds 39 to draw first blood.
Williams 1-0 Wilson

Frame two
A trio of scoring opportunities allow Wilson to build a 48-0 lead. Williams has half a chance to counter but misses a tough long red to a top corner, letting his opponent back in to add 24 and level the tie.
Williams 1-1 Wilson

Frame three
Wilson is aiming to win his first ranking title tonight and he could do without this kind of misfortune. Trailing 15-1, he attempts to go into the pack off the black, but flicks a lone red and the cue ball goes in-off. Williams clears with 111, his first century of the tournament, to regain the lead.
Williams 2-1 Wilson

Frame four
Williams leads 18-11 when he fails to convert a tough long red to a top corner. The black is close to a side cushion, but Wilson uses blue and pink to construct a fine break of 62 which leaves them all square at the interval.
Williams 2-2 Wilson

Frame five
Wilson has grown into this match and now looks the stronger player. A red to middle sets up an excellent break of 101 to put the Geordie ahead for the first time.
Williams 2-3 Wilson

Frame six
Wilson has an early chance but makes just 13 before missing a red to centre. Williams leads 50-24 when, on a break of 40, he overcuts the pink to a top corner, with two reds remaining. A brief safety exchange is resolved when Williams converts a superb long red to a baulk corner. He adds the black, doubles the last red to a centre pocket, and clears the table to restore parity.
Williams 3-3 Wilson

Frame seven
Is this the Williams surge? The three-time Crucible king fires in another sizzling long red to initiate a run of 75, putting him back in front and two away from victory.
Williams 4-3 Wilson

Frame eight
A missed red to a top corner from Williams, trailing 27-26, hands his opponent the chance to go 31 points ahead with two reds left. Williams later fails on a difficult long pot on the last red, and Wilson adds the points he needs. We’re all square again.
Williams 4-4 Wilson

Frame nine
Williams makes 25 before running out of position, but gets back in with a fabulous long red to a baulk corner. He goes on to make 115, his second ton of the match, to go one up with two to play.
Williams 5-4 Wilson

Frame ten
All over – Mark Williams is the 2021 matchroom.live British Open champion! Wilson has a chance to force a decider but makes only 10 before missing the pink to a top corner. A run of 44 from Williams puts him 52 ahead with two reds left, and when Wilson fails to pot the blue after taking one red, he offers the handshake. That’s a 24th ranking title for evergreen Williams.
Williams 6-4 Wilson

And here is the post-match report (WST):

Williams Lands 24th Ranking Crown

Mark Williams defeated Gary Wilson 6-4 in the final of the matchroom.live British Open to claim the 24th ranking title of his illustrious career.

It’s the second time that 46-year-old Williams has lifted the British Open trophy, 24 years after his first in 1997 when he defeated Stephen Hendry 9-2 in the final.

This evening’s victory sees three-time World Champion Williams move from 11th in the world rankings to 8th, courtesy of the £100,000 top prize.

Having racked up 24 ranking titles, only Steve Davis (28), John Higgins (31), Stephen Hendry (36) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (37) have won more. This is Williams’ first title in a traditional knockout format event since the 2018 World Open.

Defeat for Wilson extends his wait for a maiden ranking title. He’s now lost both of the finals he has appeared in during his 11 seasons on the professional circuit. Wilson’s only other title match came at the 2015 China Open, when he was defeated 10-2 by Mark Selby. The Wallsend cueman leaves Leicester with the consolation of the £45,000 runner up prize.

It was Williams who got off the mark first, taking a tightly contested opening frame. Wilson responded by winning the second to restore parity at 1-1, before a superb century run of 111 moved Williams ahead once more.

The steely Wilson refused to wilt and ensured they went into the interval all square, after composing a break of 62 to make it 2-2.

When play resumed Wilson moved up a gear with a century run of 101 to lead for the first time at 3-2. A superb long red to the baulk corner from Williams helped him to claim the sixth frame and claw himself back level. He then regained the lead after making 75 to take frame seven and lead 4-3.

It was all square once more when Wilson took a fragmented frame which lasted 32 minutes. However, Williams moved to the verge of victory after converting a run of 115, from a fine long red, to lead 5-4. Wilson had the chance to force a decider, but spurned his opportunity by missing a pink. Williams punished him with a break of 44 to get over the line.

“I honestly thought my career was finished five years ago. Another five years on and I’m 46 years old and number eight in the rankings,” said Welshman Williams. “I am a little bit fortunate to win it really. There were two, maybe three matches that I should have lost. I managed to win them and it was as if the tournament was destined for me.

“Everything seemed to go my way. Each time I looked like I’d get beat, someone would miss something and I’d do good clearances at the right times. I played really solidly tonight. I missed a few balls, but overall I played really well.

“I felt good out there every match, even when I was just whacking 20 breaks in. I made a few good breaks today. I’m just over the moon to get over the line in the end.”

Wilson said: “It is very difficult to take the positives straight after losing, but obviously getting to the final in one of the first events of the season is a great start. I can get some money on the board straight away and push myself up the rankings. It does take some pressure off, but I am bitterly disappointed. I was so determined to win this tournament.”

Mark Williams is an authentic character and he has been excellent value in this tournament on and off the table. Mark seems to have this gift to be able to take all snooker things, good or bad, as they come. He doesn’t seem to beat himself up when not playing great. In general he’s grateful for the life snooker has given him. He likes to remind himself how his father, who was a miner, took him down the pit one day when he was about 15, how scared he was, how hard that work felt. He didn’t want this to be his life and worked extremely hard to make the most of his talent. He deserves everything he gets. He’s also giving a lot back to the sport that gave him a good life.

I was very critical of the format at the start of the tournament but it actually worked rather well. I’m still of the opinion that it should not be named the “British Open” though as it has nothing in common with that prestigious comp of the past. But it did deliver tension aplenty, we got to see many players lower down the rankings on television and I was impressed by many of them. Because the matches are so short, they were often quite tactical, the complete opposite of the Shoot Out. It’s a shame that – by all accounts – the conditions were not great.

And, whilst Mark got to happily drive home last night …


Other players were heading to Leicester for the 2021 Northern Ireland Open qualifiers that start today.



2 thoughts on “2021 British Open – Mark Williams is your Champion!

  1. Yes, I don’t have a problem with short formats per se – there are indeed some benefits. But it is too short for a tournament worth £100000, and will undoubtably influence the rankings of players in the 50-80 zone disproportionally. I also don’t like the direction: are best-of-11’s now to become the norm for the World Championship? Probably yes, perhaps even at the Crucible in time. The movement towards shorter and shorter formats seems like just pandering to a culture of ‘instant gratification’ and isn’t good for the development or integrity of the game.

    Now we have 5 days of qualifiers for the NI Open, played on just 2 tables. Once again, the strategy is to fill the calendar by thinning out the matches. That means that a tournament loses its impact. I really hate the way these Home Nations events have been wrecked by the qualification procedure. They were compact, inclusive events; now they are a sprawling mess. It doesn’t look as if there are any spectators permitted.

    • there aren’t. I have been told by one player that they can have just one person with them and that person can’t sit in the arena when they play…

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