The 29-year-old from Tamworth lost 4-3 to Robin Hull and 4-2 to Tian Pengfei with a tour place at stake, but still dealt with the pressure of the final event and finished with a 4-1 victory over Allan Taylor at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.
Breaks of 51 and 87 put Gilbert 3-0 ahead, and although Taylor pulled one back with an 84, Gilbert completed the job with a 61 in frame five.
"It's been a long couple of weeks," admitted Gilbert, who played at the Crucible in 2007, losing to Stephen Hendry. "In the first event against Robin Hull I was 3-1 up and in the balls to win, but got a kick on the yellow and missed. I was 30 seconds away from winning, and 20 minutes later I'd lost. I was in bits after that.
"After losing to Tian Pengfei in the second event I was fine, because I knew I hadn't played very well. I played well in this one, especially yesterday when I was 3-1 down to Bobby Cruickshanks and came back to win 4-3.
"In the last couple of years I've had a terrible attitude and taken snooker for granted. I hardly practised and I didn't enter the EPTC events so I put myself in the position of dropping off the tour. I realise now how much I love snooker and I want to give it a proper go. I'm going to enter all of the events, and the way the rankings work now, you can see yourself making progress within the season.
"I've worked for my dad in the past - even when I was in the top 48 I was working and only practising snooker two hours a week, when others were doing ten hours a day. I'm going to knock the work on the head now and put everything into snooker."
Sheffield's 22-year-old Adam Duffy sprung a surprise by beating former Scottish Open champion David Gray 4-2 to earn a main tour place for the first time. It was a blow for former top 16 player Gray who also lost in the final round of event two.
Gray led 2-0 today with a top break of 67, then Duffy made a 67 of his own to win frame three and squared at 2-2. Gray was unlucky to go in-off when in the balls in the fifth and Duffy capitalised to go ahead, before sealing victory in the next with a top run of 40.
"It's not sunk in yet that I'm on the main tour," said Duffy, who won the Paul Hunter Scholarship in 2009 to train free for a year at the Academy. "After that year I had a bit of a lapse, but recently I've been working hard and it has paid off.
"I had a bit of luck this week because in an earlier match against Stephen Rowlings, I was 3-1 down and had a problem with my tip. I managed to nick the fifth frame, then the match was pulled off so I went home and changed my tip. After that I didn't miss a ball. I also went to see Del Hill in between matches and he gave me some good advice.
"I only live close by so it will be great playing in the World Championship qualifiers next season because a lot of friends will come down to support me. My target is to get into the top 64."
Duffy is a close friend of Judd Trump and was at the Crucible to see him lose to John Higgins in the World final. "I'm going to go down to London to practise with Judd...and hopefully play him in a tournament next season!" added Duffy.
Also making his debut on the tour next season will be Stuart Carrington. The 21-year-old from Grimsby scored a 4-2 win over Stephen Craigie, who missed out on joining his brother Sam on the circuit. Carrington, who only dropped four frames during the event, was 3-2 up after breaks of 66 and 83. He got a kick on 50 in the next, but Craigie couldn't clear up and Carrington secured victory by clearing from last red to blue.
"It's a dream come true to turn pro, especially as I have come very close before," said Carrington. "In 2009 I finished second to Jimmy Robertson on the EASB tour - if I'd won a couple more frames over the season I would have been top and got a main tour place.
"I felt really positive this week and it was the best I have played for ages. Next season I'm just going to try to win as many matches as I can and stay on the tour, then the following season I'll be aiming to push on up the rankings," added the player who used to practise with Grimsby's Dean Reynolds.
Kurt Maflin was in fantastic form as he cruised to a 4-1 victory over Martin O'Donnell. Maflin, originally from London but now living in Norway, fired in breaks of 66, 86, 128 and 85.
"I'm over the moon to be back on the tour," he said. "There was a bit more pressure today because it's the last event, but I played well and didn't feel nervous.
"Last season I qualified for the China Open (losing 5-4 to Ding Junhui) and made a 147 in a PTC event, but otherwise it was horrible. I'm definitely looking to make more of an impact next season.
"Living in Norway makes it a hell of a lot harder for me. I don't have anyone to practise with there, so I come over to the UK four or five days before each tournament. I've got a girlfriend there, we've been together ten years and we have a little boy. I am thinking about coming over to the UK full time as it would help my snooker, but it's something I need to discuss with the family when I get back to Norway."
Final round results
Kurt Maflin bt Martin O'Donnell 4-1
20 - 62 (53), 67 ( 66 )-1, 86 ( 86 )-17, 128 ( 128 )-0, 86 ( 85 )- 12
David Gilbert bt Allan Taylor 4-1
70 ( 51 )-12, 86 -20, 87( 87 )-1, 6 - 84 ( 84 ), 78 ( 61 )- 24
Adam Duffy bt David Gray 4-2
85 ( 67 )- 32, 45 - 8, 6 - 67 ( 67 ), 13- 64, 30 - 60, 27 - 63
Stuart Carrinton bt Stephen Craigie 4-2
95 ( 66 ) - 1, 34 - 64, 126 ( 83 )-0, 0 - 62, 59 - 45, 84 ( 50 )- 49
Ball by ball scoring and results from tournaments