BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Sport
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Clive Everton previews the all-Welsh final
"I expect Stevens to play more freely"
 real 28k

Saturday, 29 April, 2000, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Inspired Williams stuns Higgins

Mark Williams' win will enter Crucible folklore
Snooker's Embassy World Championship final will be an all-Welsh affair after Mark Williams beat John Higgins in one of the finest semi-finals ever seen at The Crucible.

Williams produced a scintillating fightback to recover from 14-10 down at the start of Saturday evening to secure an amazing 17-15 triumph.

The new world number one faces compatriot Matthew Stevens, who held his nerve to see off Joe Swail's gallant challenge 17-12, in the final on Sunday and Monday.

Wales is now guaranteed its first World Champion since Terry Griffith in 1979.

Higgins humbled

Williams had looked all but beaten when he trailed 1998 champion 13-8 in the afternoon.

Higgins watched his title hopes slip away
But he was at his sensational best in the evening to pot his way back into contention, before completing a stunning comeback that shattered Higgins.

Balls disappeared from all angles as Williams drew level at 15-15, before taking the 31st frame of the contest with more breathtaking play.

Higgins, who had himself produced a superb fightback earlier in the semi-final with a run of eight frames in a row, looked helpless in the face of Williams' revival.

The Scot could suddenly do nothing right and a missed green in a tense finish gave Williams the 17-15 victory.

The art of holding firm

Williams insisted he could still play "miles better", despite producing such inspirational snooker on his way to the final.

"I think I just held it together a bit better than John," Williams said after his semi-final win.

"You can't get more pressure than that, especially with the crowd getting into it.

"But I started to flow towards the end and really began to enjoy it. It's great to fight back like that and especially here in Sheffield."

'I bottled it' - Higgins

Higgins was visibly shocked after seeing his big lead shot to pieces in the epic last-four clash.

Higgins had needed just three frames to win when he started the evening session - but he lost the last six frames as he slipped to a 17-15 defeat.

"It was really disappointing," the Scot admitted. "My mind just wasn't there."

When asked about the green he twice missed during a nail-biting final frame, Higgins replied: "I had those two good chances and bottlled it."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

29 Apr 00 | Sport
Stevens reaches Crucible final
28 Apr 00 | Sport
Swail makes Stevens sweat
26 Apr 00 | Sport
White sunk by on-song Stevens
24 Apr 00 | Sport
Higgins battles past Davis
26 Apr 00 | Sport
World Snooker results
19 Apr 00 | Sport
'Slow' Davis creeps through
16 Apr 00 | Sport
Hendry in shock defeat
Links to other Sport stories are at the foot of the page.