You won’t hear a bad word said about Barry Hawkins and his humility in the moments which followed his victory in the Australian Goldfields Open today was a genuine delight to witness.
The enormity of what he had achieved only seemed to register with Barry as he was being interviewed in the arena. Mention of his wife, Tara, and young son, Harrison, threatened to bring forth a flood of tears but he just about held it together.
Like last year’s nice-guy winner in Bendigo, Stuart Bingham, Hawkins has more than put the years in. He was one of those players everyone knew was good enough to win a big title but this was no guarantee he would actually do it.
In fact, he played superbly in the final. He was positive, went for his shots, took the game to Peter Ebdon and refused to let him dominate.
He outplayed him in every department. Right to the end he tried to win rather than closing the shop, worried he would lose.
As a teenager, Barry was an office junior. His life could have been very different: perhaps more stable but also a lot more boring.
Because though sport is unpredictable, precarious and often gut-wrenchingly disappointing, it can also throw up days like this, the memories of which will last a lifetime.
It’s been a long trip for Hawkins and the other snooker foot soldiers who have supported the three events played in China, Thailand and Australia.
He heads home today with his first world ranking title and the confidence to push on this season and get himself back in the top 16.
Barry isn’t one for tweeting or controversy or complaining. What he does is plays snooker, and today he played the match of his career.
Well done to him.