Peter Ebdon’s dramatic capture of the China Open title in Beijing today was reminiscent of those of Doug Mountjoy at the 1988 UK Championship and Jimmy White at the 2004 Players Championship.
Like Mountjoy and White at the time of their respective triumphs, Ebdon is in his 40s, dropping down the rankings and apparently on the wane.
He had done nothing all season to suggest he could win this title, failing to advance beyond a last 32 of any of the other major tournaments.
The first session was a grind despite Ebdon making two centuries. Only six of the scheduled nine frames were played and the last of these was touch and go for a while.
The reason for the pull-off was to “give the players a break” but it strikes me that if they wanted a break they should have played more quickly.
The third session of the famous 1985 world final ended at 6.20pm. The final session began at 7pm and ended just after midnight. Imagine what time it would have finished with two extra frames to play. Would the fabled 18.5 million still have been tuned in at 1.30am?
Not that this was the fault of Maguire. Ebdon knocked him out of his rhythm early on although Maguire’s discipline at the table did not waver in the opening session.
He staged a terrific comeback in the evening and started to score more heavily but just when Ebdon looked like he’d burned out, he got it together again.
The decider wasn’t particularly pretty but Ebdon, to his credit, held his nerve to get over the winning line.
It’s his ninth ranking title and his first since he surprisingly won this tournament three years ago.
He sets a new record for the longest gap between winning his first and most recent ranking title.
This was a very different form of snooker to the swift, punch and counter punch heavy scoring of the UK Championship final.
But snooker’s strength lies in its capacity to deliver a variety of matches, performances and styles.
Today’s final wouldn’t have been to everyone’s taste but many others would have loved the slow burning drama of it all.
Ebdon today recorded his 300th competitive century, only the fifth player to achieve this feat.
It capped a remarkable week for him in which he has beaten five top 16 players and unexpectedly returned to the game’s winners’ circle.
He is in many ways an eccentric character and lacks the flair of some other top players. But, my word, what a trier and what a performer under pressure.