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Clive Everton reports
"Williams showed astonishing resilience to win"
 real 28k

Mark Williams
"I've come back in the last two games, which is nice"
 real 28k

Matthew Stevens
"Everything looked good for me at 13-7"
 real 28k

Monday, 1 May, 2000, 22:51 GMT 23:51 UK
Williams wins epic snooker final

Williams (left) held off the challenge of his compatriot
M Williams 18-16 M Stevens

Mark Williams beat Matthew Stevens in a thrilling all-Welsh final to win snooker's World Championship in Sheffield.

The new world number one, who had been trailing 13-6 earlier in the day, produced a brilliant fightback to force his way back into contention in the evening.

And Williams held his nerve in a see-saw final session to triumph 18-16 and become the first Welshman to win the world title since Terry Griffiths in 1979.

Second time lucky: Williams gets his hands on the trophy
It was the closest final since Stephen Hendry beat Jimmy White 18-17 in 1994.

"At one point it looked like Matthew was going to run away with it," said Williams, who becomes the first left-hander to win the world crown. "But I managed to keep in there and did quite well to come back."

Stevens admitted he had blown his big chance: "Everything looked good at 13-7 - but Mark played brilliantly to come back and that's why he's world number one."

The match, which was played in a superb spirit between two great friends, produced one of The Crucible's great spectacles.

I was going to buy a Ferrari, but now that I've lost it will probably have to be a Mini.

Matthew Stevens
Williams, who admitted to being jaded when he fell 10-6 behind at the end of the first day, rediscovered the form that has made him the most feared potter in the business.

Last year's runner-up looked to be heading for more disappointment when he trailed his 22-year-old opponent 13-7 in the afternoon session.

But anyone who saw the 25-year-old in action in his marathon semi-final, when he overhauled John Higgins' 15-11 lead by reeling off six frames in a row, will have known not to write him off.

And Williams halted the Stevens juggernaut and took the last four frames in the afternoon to reduce his opponent's lead to 13-11.

Stevens missed his chance to take the title
He continued his resurgence in the final session, claiming three of the first four frames to level the match at 14-14.

Stevens was still able to produce the vintage break-building that had taken him so far in the tournament and a 120 clearance gave him his fifth century of the final and 11th of the fortnight.

Nerves appeared to affect Stevens, though, when he missed a straightforward red in the 31st frame and Williams took advantage to go in front for the first time since he led 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.

The pressure caused a string of awful mistakes from both players in the next 37-minute frame - comfortably the longest of the match - but Stevens finally edged it to pull level at 16-16.

But a superb break of 56 took Williams one up with two to play and he did enough in the next frame to claim the 242,000 winner's cheque.

Frame-by-frame scores (Williams first):

50-62 28-84 (77 break) 56-33 23-103 (103) 65-18 76-61 (Williams 57) 123-0 (123) 35-75 (65) 24-64 37-91 (85) 21-59 0-117 (111) 7-114 (114) 79-6 (59) 22-73 (73) 68-0 (63) 0-133 (108) 48-66 106-0 (106) 54-55 81-0 (80) 79-34 71-46 79-37 77-33 (77) 0-67 (67) 75-6 74-0 (67) 16-120 (120) 61-13 70-66 29-60 76-8 (56) 73-21

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See also:

01 May 00 | Sport
World Snooker collated results
01 May 00 | Sport
Williams feels the strain
29 Apr 00 | Sport
Stevens reaches Crucible final
Links to other Sport stories are at the foot of the page.