I hope you've enjoyed this look back at great Crucible moments. In the last of them, I consider the reigning champion...
Two events outside his control conspired to take the shine off Neil Robertson’s world title triumph last year.
The first was the News of the World expose about John Higgins and Pat Mooney. The second was the absurd scheduling that left the Australian and his opponent, Graeme Dott, dead on their feet long before the end.
It’s funny how things turn out. The News of the World have themselves since been exposed for phone hacking and after years in which we were told World Snooker could not influence session times, Barry Hearn has immediately ensured a 7pm start for the two evenings of the final.
And despite all the controversy, Robertson’s capture of the world title remains a heart warming tale. Here was a player who had to uproot himself from the other side of the world at a young age, leave his family and friends behind and, with only £500 in his pocket, attempt to make his way in the snooker world.
He did this not just through his talent but also hard work. At first he found life in the UK difficult to attune to. The climate was so inclement by Australian standards that he couldn’t get out of bed.
Not always self confident, eventually he came to feel part of the circuit and the top players came to regard him as a dangerman.
His early rawness was ironed out and what we saw at the Crucible last year was a tough, take-no-prisoners match player adeptly mixing attack and defence to claim the title.
Neil had a massive escape of course in the second round against Martin Gould, whose 11-5 lead he overturned to become 13-12 in his favour. After this he must have felt like destiny was calling.
He hasn’t had a spectacular season – first time champions often don’t – but won the World Open and was briefly world no.1.
A few off table calamities have enhanced his reputation as not being the best prepared player in the world but he has taken all of this in good part.
And Robertson doesn't complain, even though he has cause to: he sees his family only rarely. He and his partner have a young son but no family nearby to share the load. But Neil is a naturally positive person and takes all this in his stride.
The great moment of his world final came in its aftermath when he was joined in the Crucible arena by his mother, Alison, as they unfurled the Australian flag.
It was the first opportunity she had had to watch him play live as a professional. Due to his success, it looks like she will have another if, as expected, World Snooker announce a full ranking event to be staged in Australia this summer.
As Robertson pointed out to me when I interviewed him last year just as important as how you play at the Crucible is how you cope between sessions.
This is where his personality was a plus. He’s not a panicker, not a worrier. These attributes will hold him in good stead as he attempts to defend the title.
I like Neil and how he plays the game. He has the attitude of a winner. Indeed, he has won all six of his ranking tournament finals.
He doesn’t fear anyone, doesn’t regard himself as inferior to anyone and relishes the big stage.
All characteristics of the greatest names to have landed the World Championship.