David Lilley claimed the 2021 World Seniors Championship title with a 5-3 victory over defending champion Jimmy White at The Crucible.
The 45-year-old, making his debut in the Seniors’ show-piece, denied ‘The Whirlwind’ a hat-trick of titles as he scooped the £15,000 top prize in Sheffield.
The Newcastle ace had narrowly defeated 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty 4-3 in the Quarter-Finals on Saturday before overcoming Northern Ireland’s Patrick Wallace 4-1 in the Semi-Finals on Sunday afternoon.
He began the final strongly by storming into a 3-0 lead, but only for White to reply with three consecutive frames of his own to level up.
Lilley, however, edged a pivotal seventh frame before sealing the deal in the eighth to become the latest new name on the prestigious trophy.
“I’m a bit speechless, I didn’t think I’d get this emotional to be honest,” Lilley told BBC Sport.
“Jimmy’s my hero, he’s defending champ and how he’s not won the Worlds I’ll never know.
“I just went back to basics, just walked into the shot, tried to stay as still as I could, pause on the backswing and just point and shoot.
“It was the concentration that kept me going because if I was doing that, I think would have just fallen apart.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed at the minute, I’m just so happy.”
Lilley began the final superbly with a break of 74 in the opening frame before edging the second and dominating the third to extend his lead.
White got off the mark in style prior to the interval with a break of 85 and stepped up the fightback with a break of 63 to trail 3-2.
The six-time world finalist then kicked off the sixth frame with seven reds and seven blacks before seeing his hopes of a maximum end, but that 56 break proved sufficient to claw him back onto level terms.
However, White was left to rue multiple missed chances in the following frame as Lilley seized his reprieve to stop the rot and regain command at 4-3.
The two-time English Amateur Champion then secured victory in style with a break of 69.
“He played very well,” admitted White. “The first three frames tonight, I had a few bad safety shots but he played well, he’s very strong.
“I had a chance to go 4-3 up and didn’t get position on the brown and he did a good dish and played well the last frame.
“Good luck to him, he played well and deserved to win.”
The World Seniors triumph also secures Lilley a place in November’s Champion of Champions in Bolton alongside the likes of Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Mark Allen and Neil Robertson, plus a minimum of £12,500 in prize money.
World Seniors Championship 2021 Results
Sunday May 9
Igor Figueiredo 1-4 Jimmy White
Patrick Wallace 1-4 David Lilley
David Lilley 5-3 Jimmy White