Prince Of Wales Wilson Lands Third Ranking Title

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Gary Wilson won his second ranking title in as many months with an emphatic 9-4 victory over Martin O’Donnell in the final of the BetVictor Welsh Open in Llandudno.

Wilson made a fast start, taking a 4-0 lead as O’Donnell struggled with the occasion, and was always at least three frames in front. Wallsend’s Wilson doubles his tally of titles this season, having landed the BetVictor Scottish Open crown in December.

He joins Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump as the only players to capture more than one ranking event this season, and becomes the 29th player in snooker history to win three or more, having secured his maiden title in Scotland in 2022.

The £80,000 top prize boosts the 38-year-old from 16th to 12th in the world rankings, and up to fourth on the one-year list. He also moves into contention in the race to qualify for the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker; a deep run at the Johnstone’s Paint Players Championship in Telford next week could earn him a spot in that eight-man invitation event in Saudi Arabia.

Wilson has had times in his career when he has lost confidence in his unorthodox technique, but he has now found a higher level of consistency in his game and faith in his own ability. At times this week he has been outstanding, notably in a 6-4 semi-final win over John Higgins, highlighted by a 147.

O’Donnell was playing in his first ranking final after a career-best run which included a quarter-final victory over World Champion Luca Brecel. The 37-year-old Londoner couldn’t recover from his slow start today but still collects his highest pay day of £35,000 and climbs from 76th to 60th in the world.

Trailing 6-2 after the first session, O’Donnell won a scrappy opening frame tonight to close the gap. He had a clear scoring chance in frame ten, but made just 6 before missing a red to top corner, and Wilson took advantage with 100, the highest break of the match.

Wilson might have stretched his lead but overcut the black when he led 22-16 in frame 11, O’Donnell responding with an excellent 85 to close to 7-4. Frame 12 lasted 42 minutes and came down to a safety battle on the green. O’Donnell was trapped in a tough snooker and missed twice, on the second occasion handing Wilson the chance to pot green and brown to lead 8-4 at the interval.

And the contest was soon over as O’Donnell failed to score a point in frame 13, Wilson sealing it with a run of 43.

“I started well and wanted to boss the game,” said Wilson. “It didn’t pan out that way and I had to grind it out and stay solid. I have had a lot of lows over the years and that makes me determined to win in these kind of games, I knew I just had to get to get it done. My safety was good and I kept my head. I have played well in spells this week though the ongoing challenge is always to play better on the big stage. I want to win more, I will keep trying and hopefully I have got many years left.

“All credit to Martin because he has had a lot of lows too and I know how that feels. He is resilient and keeps coming back for more.”

O’Donnell said: “I have played some great snooker this week so to play like that today and not make it difficult for him is disappointing. Gary still had to pot the balls but he had plenty in the tank. I felt ok at the start but then started missing too many easy balls and got tense. I will learn from today and hopefully there are good things coming for me. I played really well in all my matches apart from today. There are ups and downs in this game and you just have to keep going. I believe I’ll be back in these kind of situations.”

Article by WST.