NEIL ROBERTSON’S 10-5 victory over Liang Wenbo at York on Sunday night makes him the eighth player to have won the UK Championship title on more than one occasion.
The Australian contributed a maximum break – the 115th ratified 147 in snooker history – during the afternoon session and was the stronger player under pressure in the evening to land the £150,000 first prize.
The £44,000 147 prize, plus the £100,000 Robertson won for triumphing at the Champion of Champions last month, together with the rest of his earnings this season, take his haul for the campaign to just over £330,000, around what he earned throughout the whole of last season.
But while money is welcome, glory is all for top sportsmen and Robertson joins Steve Davis, Doug Mountjoy, Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ding Junhui as multiple winners of the UK Championship.
What is there left to say about the Australian? He is not just a modern great but an all-time great, now with 11 ranking titles to his name plus much more besides.
All areas of his game were stellar at the Barbican Centre but in particular it was his ability to pounce in close frames when the pressure was on which set him apart from the rest of the field.
Robertson is a strong-willed, single minded character driven by a desire to prove himself, which was certainly a characteristic of both Davis and Hendry. While Liang soaked up the atmosphere and let his emotions show, Robertson wisely kept his own counsel and just played. He did well not to allow the nervous energy of his opponent to transfer to him.
He is 33 and that is young these days in snooker, with a paucity of talent coming through the ranks compared to previous eras. So Robertson is surely good for several more high profile titles in the next few years.
The tournament as a whole was gripping, with many close matches, comebacks, freak results and talking points.
The Barbican crowd played their part. The snooker world already knew that York is a lovely city but the support the event received helped create an atmosphere which brought the best out in the players, or at least those players who grasped the nettle.
Several high ranked players did not but Robertson’s attitude was exemplary and his game held firm to round off a memorable few weeks in which his big match temperament was shown to be among the best there is.
When the Masters gets underway next month he will be one of the favourites. How could he not be? When everything is running smoothly for Neil Robertson he looks like one of the best there has ever been.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.