What a year it has been on the World Snooker Tour.
2016 has brought us maiden titles, maximums, and a whole host of magic moments that have made it one of snooker’s most exciting and memorable years. As we head into what’s set to be another jam-packed year of snooker in 2017, join us as we take a look back at some of our best bits from the last twelve months.
O’Sullivan Schools Hawkins for Sixth Masters Title
Making his first TV appearance since the World Championship eight months prior, the Rocket returned to the big stage at the 2016 Dafabet Masters – and in some style. Dispatching Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham en route, O’Sullivan went on to thrash Barry Hawkins 10-1 in his eleventh Masters final – becoming the first ever player to win ten consecutive frames in a Masters final. O’Sullivan clinched his sixth Masters title, equalling the record set by Stephen Hendry.
McGill beats Wilson for Maiden Title in India
In a final between two rising young stars tipped for success on tour, the 2016 Indian Open came to a climax in the city of Hyderabad last July. Beating Kyren Wilson 5-2 in the final, Anthony McGill took home the £50,000 top prize in winning his first ranking title. Last year also saw McGill reach the quarter final stages of three more ranking events – the Riga Masters, World Open and European Masters.
Liang Wenbo Wins Coral English Open
Another player to win his first career ranking title in 2016 was China’s Liang Wenbo – this time dispatching Judd Trump in an epic final to take home the title and £70,000 top prize. The highlight, however, was his trademark celebration which was earned him the ‘Firecracker’ nickname – just take a look at this!
O’Sullivan’s 147 Snub
Who could forget this? After learning that the rolling prize for a maximum break stood at *just* £10,000, O’Sullivan opted to go for a 146 as he believed the amount ‘wasn’t good enough.’
You’ve got to love him.
(…and then of course, this man rolls up and sinks the maximum like a boss!)
Selby Tops the Charts
It’s fair to say that Mark Selby absolutely owned 2016. In winning both the World Championship and UK Championship for a second time, snooker’s man of the moment became one of only six players to complete the Triple Crown more than once. In holding his position at the #1 spot in the world rankings for the whole of 2016, his current run stands at 99 weeks at the time of writing. An incredible achievement. Take a bow, Mark!
Carter Back in Business
2016 was a big year for Ali Carter, winning his first ranking title since recovering from cancer and returning to the tour. In beating Joe Perry 10-8 to win the World Open in Yushan, he also regained his place in the top 16 of the world rankings. Get in, The Captain!
John Higgins on Fire
Another man who made 2016 his year was four-time World Champion John Higgins, who enjoyed a blinding run of form towards the end of the year. In winning the inaugural China Championship in Guangzhou and Champion of Champions back-to-back, Higgins took home an eye-watering £300,000 in prize money from the two invitationals alone.
After beating Stuart Bingham 10-7 for the title in China (in which he made three consecutive centuries to win), Higgins then took to the stage in Coventry just two days later. Battling jetlag and a marathon stint in China, Higgins went on to beat fellow tour heavyweight Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-7 in the final.
Mark King wins Northern Ireland Open
And then of course, this man provided us with one of the most memorable and moving moments of the year.
Mark King ended a 25-year wait by winning his first ranking title in 2016, beating Barry Hawkins 9-8 in a dramatic final. And then he gave this acceptance speech…