Mark Williams strips off after beating Higgins in World Snooker Championship final

SNOOKER-WAL-SCO-WORLD

Welshman Williams, 10-7 ahead overnight, led 14-7 and then 15-10 before four-times champion Higgins, a beaten finalist a year ago, rattled off five successive frames to level at 15-15.

To mark his remarkable achievement Williams pledged to "party" in a post-victory press conference which the 43-year-old delivered in just a towel.

Still, Williams built a 14-7 lead, only for Higgins to pull himself back to 15-15 with stunning counterattacking potting to set up a dramatic finale between two players who graduated from the same "Class of '92", along with snooker's box-office star Ronnie O'Sullivan.

This was the oldest Crucible final in history, the combined age of the pair coming to 85 - two more than the Reardon v Perrie Mans final (83) in 1978.

The Cwm cueman had lifted the world title back in 2000 and 2003 but after going through so many lows since, he insists this one was the sweetest of all.

"I thought days like this were absolutely gone, I mean I wasn't even here past year: I watched it in a caravan with some beers". "It's a big occasion for me".

"It's an unbelievable story".

Twelve months later, he was lifting the trophy surrounded by his wife Joanne and kids, and pocketing a first prize of 425,000 pounds following the closest final in 13 years.

He added: I'm so happy I won. "I've just done something I thought I'd never ever do".

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"I'm sure they've enjoyed it".

"I was thinking, "I'm not going to get over the line here".

Having finished runner-up to Selby a year ago, Higgins becomes the first player to lose back-to-back finals since Jimmy White lost five in a row from 1990-94. This time Williams made no mistake, a break of 69 leaving Higgins needing three snookers.

The Scot made breaks of 131, 67, 82, 52 and 62, often after the Welshman had got in first.

Williams thanked wife Joanne for convincing him to keep playing when he contemplated quitting a year ago.

Williams also hinted at something to look forward to in future.

"I would like to say a word about my long-time sponsor Ron Skinner who passed away recently, he did so much for me even in the bad times".

"Last year I wasn't even here", said Williams.

'I don't know where it's come from.

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