Kyren Wilson survives Jak Jones fightback to win World Snooker Championship

Kyren Wilson has conquered the Crucible (Picture: Getty Images)

Kyren Wilson has won the World Snooker Championship for the first time, beating qualifier Jak Jones 18-14 in the Crucible final.

The Warrior was competing in his second World Championship showpiece after falling short against Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2020, but was never behind in this win over the world number 44, although it got nervy late on.

The runner-up fought hard after a disaster of an opening session to make the game competitive, but ultimately could not recover from the nightmarish start which saw him lose the first seven frames.

The Welshman got within three frames at points and Wilson was certainly feeling the pressure at 17-14 ahead, but he found his way over the finish line.

Jones enjoyed a highly unexpected run to the final after coming through qualifying, shocking the likes of Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham along the way.

The Welshman’s £200,000 prize money for finishing runner-up is four times his previous biggest payday, while he also enters the world’s top 16 for the first time, so it has been a monumental time for him, regardless of defeat.

The champion, though, pockets £500,000 for his exploits, climbs to a career high of world number three and takes home the iconic silver trophy.


Jak Jones’ unlikely journey ended as World Championship runner-up (Picture: Getty Images)

Wilson did the damage in the opening session of the match, racing into a 7-0 leadin his second Crucible final as the qualifier struggled to deal with the circumstances of his first.

The Warrior made breaks of 129, 52, 66, 62, 125 and 90 in that perfect start to the contest for him, although Jones managed to stop the rot in the last frame of the first session, making 65 to avoid a session whitewash.

The Welshman managed to put that nightmare opening session behind him in the next two, acquitting himself far better and the second and third stanzas proved to be very level.

The first six frames of the second session were shared, but Jones took the next two and looked set to take the 17th and final of the night, making a 64 and leaving Wilson needing a snooker.

However, the Warrior battled on against the odds, got that required snooker and won the frame on the black to finish the night 11-6 ahead rather than what would have been a much nervier three-frame gap.

Jones came out swinging on Monday afternoon, winning the first two with half-centuries, but Wilson took the next two. The Welshman again fired after the interval, winning the first two with half-centuries, but the Englishman won the final two frames to go into the evening 15-10 ahead.

Paul Collier refereed his fourth Crucible final and last professional match (Picture: Getty Images)

Wilson claimed the first of Monday night to leave things looking pretty bleak for Jones, but the underdog fired back in style, knocking in his first century (105) since the quarter-finals, just his third of the tournament.

The 28th frame ended in the most dramatic fashion after Jones forced a re-spotted black and then had a glorious chance to make the most of it but rattled the yellow pocket.

After moments of tension, Wilson sent an audacious double round three cushions and into the corner pocket, seemingly intentionally, to go one from victory, but Jones kept his cool to make a half-century in the next and make the mid-session interval 17-12 behind.

Jones was desperate to keep his miraculous tournament alive and had the crowd on edge in the next as he threatened a maximum break which ended on 96, then took the next to go back within three.

Things were extremely nervy in the Crucible at this stage, with Wilson doing his best not to wilt but suffering with the pressure of getting his hands on the trophy for the first time.

He held himself together in the 32nd frame, making a break of XX to become world champion.

Wilson was rewarded for his brilliant start to the match (Picture: Getty Images)

The 32-year-old had been to a final and two semi-finals before this year, but was not widely being tipped for success this time round after a forgettable season.

He made a mockery of the naysayers, though, as he strolled to early wins over Dominic Dale and Joe O’Connor, before an impressive victory over John Higgins in the quarter-finals.

That set up a semi-final clash with Dave Gilbert which was perfectly level through two sessions, the two inseparable at 8-8, but then Wilson powered ahead, eventually winning 17-11.

Jones’ run to the final was remarkable as he arrived at the Crucible as a qualifier and sprung a series of surprises to make the final.

The Silent Assassin beat Zhang Anda and Si Jiahui in the first two rounds before stunning world number two Judd Trump in the quarter-finals and former champion Stuart Bingham in the semis.

He admitted he was ‘knackered’ in the final after his efforts to reach that stage and ultimately just could not keep up with Wilson in the showpiece.

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