Judd Trump ripped up the Crucible record books on Monday night on the way to winning his maiden Betfred World Championship.
On the day the Royal family welcomed a new prince, snooker received a new king as Trump thrashed four-time champion John Higgins 18-9 to bank £500,000 and become the first snooker player to earn over £1m in a season.
It was a breathtaking display of snooker – Higgins described Trump as “unplayable” and an “unstoppable machine” – as he powered to victory in Sheffield.
At a venue that has witnessed some late, late finals, the margin of Trump’s emphatic victory meant his coronation came just as Coronation Street was starting.
In fairness, both players contributed to a final brimming with quality as records tumbled.
There were 11 century breaks, the most made in a professional match, to reach 100 centuries at this year’s tournament, smashing the previous record of 86, set in 2015 and equalled in 2016.
Trump’s individual tally of seven tons also equalled the record for any match, held by Stephen Hendry and Ding Junhui.
“I’ve worked so hard for this. It was an amazing final,” said Trump.
“John is such a great player, I always seem to raise my game (against him) and still don’t beat him. This is probably the best I’ve ever played in a major final – but I still didn’t feel comfortable coming into tonight.
“I can’t put it into words how well I played. That’s what you’ve got to do to beat John... He’s one of the greatest to play the game.
“From where I was at the start of the season, it’s an incredible achievement. The results have really paid off this season.”
Trump, the youngest world champion since 27-year-old Australian Neil Robertson lifted the trophy in 2010, resumed on Monday with a 12-5 overnight lead.
The standard had been set with seven centuries in the opening 13 frames on Sunday, and the scoring levels continued on Monday.
All 10 frames boasted a break of 50-plus, including two maximum 147 attempts, as four more centuries were chalked up.
Higgins – who became the first player to lose three successive Crucible finals since Jimmy White in the Nineties – potted an amazing double on the final red, but missed the 15th black to falter on 113.
Higgins, 43, contributed to the scoring with frame-winning breaks of 60, 67 and 70. But Trump was on another level as he responded with a bombardment of heavy scoring, knocking in 101, 71, 126 and 104, the latter seeing 13 reds and blacks drop before his 147 attempt ended.
But it was enough to give Trump – who had already won the Masters, Northern Ireland Open and World Grand Prix this season – a 16-9 advantage, meaning he needed just two more frames when he returned for Monday night’s final session to clinch his first world title and avenge his 2011 final loss to Higgins.
This proved a mere formality as Trump knocked in breaks of 94 and 62 inside 30 minutes before punching the air in celebration.
“I was the lucky one, I didn’t have to pay for a ticket,” joked Higgins.
“I was lucky to get nine frames. Good luck to him. This is the first of many (World Championships), I’m sure.
“He produced a standard that’s incredible. I gave it everything, but he was just unplayable.
“Playing my third final in a row is brilliant and I’m delighted to get there, but I came up against an unstoppable machine,” he added.
Trailing 12-5 overnight, the odds were stacked against the 43-year-old Scot despite recent history.
He was on the wrong end of a comeback against Mark Selby in the 2017 final as the Leicester potter overturned a 10-4 deficit.
And last year Higgins clawed back from 15-10 down against Mark Williams in the final to level at 15-15 before eventually losing 18-16 to the Welshman.
But Trump was in sublime form over the two days and after reeling off eight successive frames from 5-4 down the Bristol potter was always on course to become only the 11th player to have won snooker’s Triple Crown.
He won the UK Championship in 2011 and was crowned Masters champion in January.