x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Robertson overcomes Dott to triumph

Australia was toasting its first Crucible champion after Neil Robertson ground out an 18-13 victory over Graeme Dott.

Neil Robertson kisses the World Championship trophy after his 18-13 victory over Graeme Dott.
Neil Robertson kisses the World Championship trophy after his 18-13 victory over Graeme Dott.

Australia was toasting its first Crucible champion after Neil Robertson ground out an 18-13 victory over Graeme Dott. The likeable 28-year-old with the scruffy blond haircut suggested earlier in the championship he was not a fan of morning starts, but evidently morning finishes are more his thing. The match finished at 12:54am local time, matching the latest finish - John Higgins completed his victory over Mark Selby at at the same time in 2007. As he became the first champion from outside the British Isles since Canada's Cliff Thorburn in 1980, Robertson wrapped himself in an Australian flag and saluted the crowd before lifting the trophy. "This is absolutely perfect," he said.

But just as snooker urgently needed a rush of good publicity, the final proved to be a wholly dispiriting conclusion to the World Championship. Marathon frames made it a gruelling final session, hardly the advert for the sport Barry Hearn would have wanted after the tribulations of the past two days. In securing his title, Robertson maintained his perfect record in ranking event finals, stretching it out to five wins from five appearances. The record books show Australia had a world title to celebrate in 1952, when Horace Lindrum triumphed, but that was the year when the sport's leading players staged a boycott and to this day in many circles he is not regarded as a credible world champion. Robertson certainly is, and the world title is a natural progression for the left-hander after his four previous ranking titles. * PA Sport