Mark Williams had not won a ranking title since 2011

Mark Williams was delighted to end his six-year wait for a ranking title by winning the Northern Ireland Open.

The 42-year-old from Cwm, near Ebbw Vale, fought back from 6-3 down to beat teenager Yan Bingtao 9-8 in Belfast.

“It means a lot. I’ve been stuck on 18 ranking tournaments for a long time and to finally get off that and get the 19 was unbelievable,” Williams said.

“I’ve been trying and playing well all season, I knew I was playing well enough to compete at the minute.”

Yan was bidding to become the youngest winner of a ranking event, but two-time world champion Williams won the last two frames.

“I felt really comfortable to be honest… I wasn’t nervous, didn’t shake or anything, just felt really relaxed because I knew I was playing well,” he added.

That was the Welshman’s first ranking title since his 2011 success in the German Masters and Williams puts his renewed confidence down to working with specialist coaches Steve Feeney and Lee Walker.

“A lot of things have changed: Lee Walker has got me in with him and Steve Feeney, sighting the ball is totally different to what I’m used to and that’s mainly the reason I’m playing a lot better,” Williams added.

The result will bolster Williams as he prepares for the UK Snooker Championship in York, which runs from 28 November-10 December.

Williams faces England’s Paul Davison in the first round on the morning of Thursday, 30 November.


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