Invitational March 13th, 2024

The Jester from Leicester secured his first ever BetVictor Championship League Snooker title in his hometown

Mark Selby has won his first title of the season, beating fellow Leicestershire potter Joe O’Connor 3-1 in the final at the Mattioli Arena in Leicester.

In a winners’ group stacked with former world champions and major winners alike, Selby had his work cut out if he was to leave with the £10,000 top prize and trophy in hand after topping group three back in February.

The calibre of quality in the winners’ group lived up to expectation, with spots in the play offs going down to the final matches for Joe O’Connor.

For four-time world champion Selby, it was a more comfortable affair with the Jester winning five of his six group matches and dropping just eight frames en route to securing his play off spot.

Selby’s only group loss came in a 3-0 whitewash against 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham, and the world number five had the perfect opportunity for revenge in his play off match which saw him face off against Ball Run once again.

Mark was able to avenge his only loss of the group with his own 3-0 whitewash against Bingham, capping off victory with a break of 70 in the final frame.

It set up an all-Leicestershire final against Joe O’Connor, who had downed the tournament’s most successful ever champion in John Higgins with a 3-0 play off win of his own.

Both players were scoring heavy heading into the final, and that trend continued into the final. O’Connor stole the opener with breaks of 47 and 20 after Selby had got in first with a visit of 54.

The Jester fired back with breaks of 74 and 137 in the next two frames to regain control heading into the final frame that was the scrappiest of the lot. Selby’s experience prevailed eventually with breaks of 24 and 30 enough to complete the 3-1 victory, securing the £10,000 top prize and a place in the Champion of Champions later on this year.

Speaking with Phil Yates afterwards, Selby said: “I felt like I played okay over the last two days, I scored when I got the majority of my chances so overall I’m happy with my game.

“It was a tough group with great players in, Joe has done brilliant to get here and he played some great stuff to reach the final today. It was nice to get the win, but if there was anyone who I was to lose to I would have been chuffed for Joe.

“I know there isn’t a crowd but the standard is so tough, to win here in Leicester too is a great feat for myself and would be for any of the other Leicester players.”

Mark Selby will join Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Allen, Gary Wilson and more in the Champion of Champions. More information on the event including ticket information and venue will be published in due course.

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