Wilson Defends Edinburgh Crown

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Gary Wilson defeated Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 9-5 to win the BetVictor Scottish Open for a second year in a row and retain the Stephen Hendry Trophy in Edinburgh.

The Wallsend cueman dramatically lifted a maiden ranking title here in Edinburgh 12 months ago. On that occasion Wilson thrashed Joe O’Connor 9-2 to claim the title. Despite the resounding nature of his maiden triumph it came after 18 years of toil as a professional, two final defeats and three semi-final losses.

The year which followed saw Wilson fail to capitalise on the momentum acquired from his breakthrough victory. However, Edinburgh will be a city which is forever embedded in the Englishman’s snooker psyche, with the Scottish capital once again providing the venue for a moment of glory. Wilson openly admitted to struggles with his form in the early stages this week, but battled through to the final where he showed his class.

The semi-finals saw Wilson come back from the dead to earn his place in the title match. He required three snookers in the deciding frame against Zhou Yuelong, but forced a re-spotted black and eventually deposited it to clinch the most dramatic of 6-5 victories. A more comfortable performance today saw him take full advantage and capture his second ranking title and the £80,000 top prize.

Saengkham tastes defeat in his maiden ranking final appearance. However, he can reflect on a week which has seen him finally break through the semi-final barrier at the fifth time of asking. He defeated the likes of Ali Carter and John Higgins on the way to the final and takes home the runner-up cheque of £35,000.

The afternoon session saw Wilson establish a commanding advantage, moving 6-2 ahead coming into tonight’s finale. When play got underway run of 81 extended the gap to five frames, before Saengkham came firing back with breaks of 132 and 97 to stay in contention at 7-4. However, Wilson crucially took the last before the mid-session to leave himself needing just a solitary frame for victory at 8-4.

After the break it was Saengkham who edged a tight 13th to remain in it, but it was a short lived reprieve. Wilson composed a match winning 53 in the next to get over the line and clinch the title.

“This game is crazy. I was absolutely nowhere for quite a while and didn’t expect anything this week. Slowly but surely I found a little bit and a little bit more, to the point where I am actually quite proud of myself for the final. I’ve wanted to play in a final again and play in a solid way like I used to play when I was younger. I felt like I played that way,” said 38-year-old Wilson.

“I was so relieved just to get one (a first ranking event victory) and I thought that whatever happened after that I didn’t care. I managed to eventually get one. Even after that I was struggling loads and I just managed to find a little bit of a game out of nowhere.

“There is something about certain places, where you feel comfortable and happy. I felt like that last year and I feel like that again this year. It didn’t seem like a year. It seemed like a few months.

“I want to say all credit to Noppon. He’s put on an absolutely incredible performance. I know it is his first final. I remember my first final and I was absolutely nowhere. To pot the balls he does is unbelievable. You can’t leave the white anywhere but the cushion or he is just going to slam a long ball in every time.”

Saengkham said: “I have to give all of the credit to Gary. In the first session he was very strong. He scored very heavily and he controlled everything with the safety game. I had so much pressure because he didn’t miss and was very good.

“I promise I will be back one day. I have to say thanks to all of the fans. Thank you.”

Article by WST.