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Weymouth-bound Selby on cue for Triple Crown
MARK Selby is now bidding to become only the fourth snooker player in history to complete the Triple Crown in a single season after lifting the Masters trophy at the weekend.
The world number one, who is set to hold an exhibition night at Snookes in Weymouth on February 9, claimed his latest title with a 10-6 victory over defending champion Neil Robertson in the final.
And having secured the UK Championships back in Dec-ember, the 29-year-old is now targeting his first World Championship crown.
The past 10 months have witnessed a huge turnaround in fortunes for the Jester from Leicester after a debilitating neck injury at one stage left him fearing for his career.
However, he will now head to the Crucible in April as the hot favourite and on current form it is going to take a lot to stop him.
Looking ahead to the World Championships, Selby said: “I’ll go there trying my best to achieve it but there are a lot of great players out there.
“It is going to be tough, but it’s still a long way away yet.
“It’s just unbelievable at the moment.
“At one stage I didn’t know whether I was going to be playing again and now I’m sitting here after winning the UK Championship in December and the Masters in January, so I’m really happy.”
The only three players to have achieved the Triple Crown in a single season are Steve Davis (1987/88), Stephen Hendry (1989/90, 1995/96) and Mark Williams (2002/03) and Snookes manager Mark Cottingham sees no reason why Selby cannot join that illustrious group.
He said: “In the Worlds last year he could hardly bend down to play a shot but since sorting that neck problem out, he has gone out there and proved why he is the number one and been absolutely brilliant.
“He didn’t actually play that well during last week but he fought back from 5-1 down against Stuart Bingham and 4-1 down against Graeme Dott to eventually get through.
“On form, I thought Neil Robertson would beat him in the final but Mark came out a different player and thoroughly deserved his victory.
“He is a great match player and a great tournament player, and the fact he now has a shot at the Triple Crown is fantastic.
“The Welsh Open is the next big tournament, which starts the week after he comes to us, and then it is the World Championships in April, where he is now going to be the hot favourite and rightly so.”
Selby’s forthcoming exhibition night in the resort promises to be a fantastic event and Cottingham is even hoping he may bring one or two pieces of silverware with him.
He added: “I have contacted Mark’s manager to see if it is possible that he can bring the big triangular trophy that he won for the Masters with him.
“Fingers crossed that can happen because it would be a great photo opportunity for everyone and make what is already going to be a special night even better.”
During his visit to Snookes, Selby will display his skills by taking on local players, all under the watchful eye of professional referee Michaela Tabb.
Tickets are still available at £20 each but they are selling fast. They can be bought from the club or by postal request to Snookes, 9-10 Caroline Place, Weymouth, DT4 8NW. The club can also be contacted on 788593.
Cottingham said: “There are a few tickets still available but not many, so people need to get in contact as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”