Selby defeats Higgins to capture third world championship crown

Mark Selby produced an outstanding comeback against John Higgins to win his third World Snooker Championship at the Crucible.

Selby, the defending champion, had trailed Higgins 10-4 at one point on Sunday evening. But the ‘Jester from Leicester’ then proceeded to win the three final frames of the Sunday session to trail Higgins 10-7.

The turning point of the final was the Monday afternoon session, when Selby rolled off six of the seven afternoon frames, including breaks of 67, 58 and 72 to take the upper hand.

In the final session he took three of the first four frames. Then, after the mid-session interval, Higgins came firing back with a superb break of 111.

In the 31st frame the match was marred by controversy. Selby was up by 47 points before rolling up behind the black.

It was unclear if the cue ball had touched the black but referee Jan Verhaas called a foul. Selby questioned the decision, and thanks to television replay, score maker Brendan Moore checked the incident on TV saying the cue ball had hit.

However, Moore looked from another angle and was unsure if the balls had touched. Verhaas then decided to stick with the original decision and the foul stood.

Higgins came back to the table and, after a scrappy safety battle, he managed to win the frame to put the scores at 16-15.

Selby produced outstanding snooker with a break of 131 to lead 17-15 in the penultimate frame.

The 16 players pose outside the Crucible on the eve of the 2017 World Snooker Championships.

Higgins had a chance in the final frame, producing a break of 19. After an extended play, Selby managed to secure his third championship with a break of 75.

He is only the fourth player to defend their title at the Crucible and the world number one following in the footsteps of Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Selby told the BBC: “To have three world titles is unbelievable and to be one of four players to defend it is something I could only dream of.”