“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” Vince Lombardi.
Warrior Kyren Wilson appeared in his first maiden World Championship final over the weekend, as the 2020 BetFred World Championship came to an end.
It had been 17 days of tears, sweat, and joy as 32 players battled on the baize with no crowds, apart from day one and days 16 and 17, but it still gave us some dramatic moments.
For 28-year-old Kyren, reaching his maiden World final was a significant achievement as the semi-final against Scotland’s Anthony McGill was a draining and tense affair.
That match turned out to be a Crucible classic with a deciding last frame that saw both McGill and Wilson make mistakes and, according to McGill at the end, the snooker gods had stolen it from him.
Going into the final, Wilson was up against the best player to ever hold a cue in Ronnie O’Sullivan. He was on for his sixth World Championship title to equal Steve Davis and Ray Reardon.
WSS end of a fantastic Betfred World Championship now I’m preparing for the Rokit Seniors event by another recover and alterations pic.twitter.com/geR7p1XiIk
— WorldSnookerServices. Tournament installers (@snookerservices) August 16, 2020
The first session saw the 44-year-old Rocket race into a 6 – 2 lead but in the second session, as both men looked tired and drained from their epic semi-final matches. Ronnie looked the more tired as the Warrior battled in the second session to reduce his arrears to just three frames to a 10 – 7 overnight trail.
But in the third session, it appeared both men had had good night rests and O’Sullivan, who had been complaining he couldn’t get a cue action, seemed to up the gears as he won the session 7 – 1, to go 17 – 8 needing just one to become World Champion for the sixth time.
A break of 96 in the evening session for the Rocket sealed the deal for the win.
O’Sullivan said after: “I was happy to get one world title at one stage. Once I got to four I knew I could call myself one of the greats, because that’s how many times John Higgins had won it. Anything above that and you are in fantastic company.
One thing I have got is longevity. I go in and out of form and my mind can wander sometimes. Then I get a bit of a taste for it again and want to see if I’ve still got it, so I try to have a go at it as I have done in this tournament.
When you practice for five or six hours a day it’s because you want to know whether you are hitting it straight enough to stand up under pressure.”
O’Sullivan said Kyren is a top top player and he will be standing here at some point as a winner. He also said he was ahead of his generation of players.
He added: “Not to put too much pressure on him.”
For 27 years, O’Sullivan has been entertaining and dazzling audiences with his incredible skills on a snooker table and 1997 is still a memorable year for fans who watched him compile the fastest maximum break in snooker history at 5 mins 20 seconds (now revised to 5 mins 8 second).
In 2001 he won his first and now, 19 years after, he’s won his sixth. An incredible feat of longevity at 44.
Pundits such as Steve Davis, whom Ronnie now has the same amount of titles as said it was now possible for Ronnie to go on – if he so wants to and win a seventh World title to equal Stephen Hendry.
Last season, he made more by being the first player to achieve 1000 centuries.
Proud is an understatement.
What an experience for the first time he’s ever been in the final!
I can guarantee now that he will be in many more finals at the crucible for years to come.
Now, get me a beer! pic.twitter.com/UBETpt2lQ5
— Taylor Wilson (@Taylor8wilson) August 17, 2020
Wilson said after it was a dream come true, and added: “I’m not going to beat myself up too much. It was a dream come true to play Ronnie in the final. I really struggled in the first session yesterday. We both had a bit of a hangover from the semi-finals. I’m a fighter. I tried to just relax, let the shackles off and go for it.”
O’Sullivan pocketed 500K and is now back to World no 2.
2019 World Champion Judd Trump, who was knocked out by Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals is still World no 1.
But for Wilson, he can take heed of this…
As the song by Chumbawumba says: “I get knocked down, but I get up again. you are never going to keep me down.”