The ability to play high quality snooker only gets you so far in the game. The ability to perform under pressure is what all great champions have in spades.

Mark Williams was a junior boxer and his all round toughness extended to the mental strength that saw him prevail in one of snooker’s most exciting ever finishes.

He trailed Stephen Hendry 9-6 in their Masters final and Hendry thus looked likely to win his seventh Wembley title.

However, Williams did not lie down and came back to 9-9 and then from 0-56 to force a re-spotted black.

By now, the atmosphere inside Wembley Conference Centre was more akin to a heavyweight boxing clash.

Hendry played the black to a side cushion. Williams considered attempting the double but the cue ball was so close to the opposite side cushion that it made it a very difficult pot.

He went for it, missed, and left a half chance, which rattled the jaws of the green pocket before staying out.

After several more shots on both sides, Williams left a chance to a middle pocket but it was far from straightforward with the cueball so close to the side cushion. Hendry’s expression as his sized the pot up said it all.

And he missed it to leave Williams a much easier pot to the green bag, which he knocked in for victory.

Of all the many great Masters moments, this stands out as the most thrilling.

Watch the end here.


jamie said...

I thought this would top the list, the atmosphere was electric. My mom would not let me stay up for the finish, but as a Hendry fan that was the right thing in end. I still don't like watching the miss to the middle. Im suprised you limited it too three moments. I believe this tournament has thrown up more great finals than any other. This is my top 5 masters moments.

1. Ronnie O'Sullivans performance v Ding in 2007 final. I was buzzing for afterwards as it was the best I have seen anyone play this the great game. It was poetry in motion. I dont think people talk about it enough.
2. Paul Hunter comeback v Fergal O'Brien. More poignant now, but at the time it was sensational snooker 4 centuries in six frames. It was also aide by sex at the interval so I've bumped it up a place.
3.Higginsv O'Sullivan final 2006- 2of the best players I have seen going toe for toe at their best or near to. Capped off by one of the best pressure clearances ever seen.
4. 1994 FINAL-Alan McManus ending Stephen Hendrys five year winning streak in a tense 9-8 win.
5. Davis coming from 8-4 behind in 1997 to win 10-8 against the rocket.

Anonymous said...


I read in the January Snooker Scene that following the forthcoming Wembley Masters that Hazel Irvine is going on maternity leave and will miss the World Championship.

Do you have any news on who will replace her as the main presenter at The Crucible? I really hope it's Rishi Persad, over the last 18months I feel he has been a welcome addition to the BBC studio carrying out an exellent job like he does with the beeb's World Bowls coverage.

Dave H said...

Jamie - I would have done more but didn't have time I was moving house and then had to go down to the Championship League

Supaselby - I'd imagine it will be Rishi and Ray Stubbs for the BBC at the Crucible

Rich P said...

Funny, I think the complete opposite. Rishi is an awful presenter, very lifeless and very lacking when it comes to snooker knowledge. You seriously think he does an excellent job? There are so many better presenters out there but there are reasons why he's landed the job.

I do miss the days when snooker had two great anchormen in David Vine and David Icke. Obviously Vine retired and Icke decided his future didn't lie in snooker! Hazel has done a decent job but Vine will always be the master.

Anonymous said...

I like Rishi. It sounds like he takes the game more seriously than Hazel. I often think her tone is a bit too social - this also extends to showing JP and Steve favouritism when they are still in the tournament which I don't really like.

Anonymous said...

Rishi is decent at snooker and at horseracing. He doesnt proclaim to be an expert, so those who act like he does should take heed.

Those that just dont like him are entitled to that opinion as everyones different and one persons idea of boring may be someone elses idea of thorough.

Anonymous said...

Hen, may i say, as a lifelong Hendry fan that this choice is a really GOOD one!

I didnt like the result and i still dont like watching it, even though it was a tricky shot with so much at stake, but still its about as dramatical as the Masters has got, so, good pick.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Rishi

Anonymous said...

Higgins v O'Sullivan was one of the best and most exciting matches I've ever seen. Ronnie needs someone who can challenge him consistently, at the moment he's not getting that.

Anonymous said...

As a huge Hendry fan I find this one tough.He had so many chances to win.He had the pink at 9-6 up and the brown which he almost fluked when 22 up with 22 on in the decider as well as the black to middle.It was the best match of all time though.It also had the extra dimension of Hendry and Williams being close friends.Hendry was as close to winning as he could possibly be but still lost.