Shaun Murphy began the Maplin UK Championship in a slump but his capture of the title means he will start 2009 in a confident frame of mind.
The final was a curious affair. Marco Fu didn’t play particularly well while Murphy produced his best form only in patches.
The match got bogged down with many mistakes but this made it all the more gripping. Around 2 million BBC2 viewers were still watching after midnight.
I have to say, though, that if snooker is to appeal to a younger audience then it has to start its major finals at an earlier hour. Don’t forget, in the burgeoning market in central Europe they are an hour ahead of the UK.
Murphy had the good grace to admit that the standard had not been great and Fu was, as ever, sporting in defeat.
Shaun becomes the 17th winner of the UK Championship and the tenth player to have won the world and UK titles.
It was about time he won another big tournament. He was very consistent last season but failed to capture a ranking event. I’d have to ask him but guess he would probably prefer losing in four first rounds and winning the UK Championship than, say, getting to five quarter-finals.
I admire his unshakable self-belief. This is an important asset in any sport but particularly in one like snooker where mental strength outweighs physical attributes.
With a major title under his belt he will be a real danger man for the rest of the season.