Robert Milkins claimed the first ranking title of his career by defeating Kyren Wilson 4-2 in the Gibraltar Open final on Saturday.
The Milkman had never previously gone beyond the semi-finals of a ranking tournament since turning professional in 1995.
However, the 46-year-old ended his long wait for silverware as he became the oldest first-time victor since the late Doug Mountjoy at the 1988 UK Championship.
The world number 43, who had only won three matches all season prior to this week, also landed the top prize of £50,000; giving him the biggest pay cheque of his career.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he told Eurosport. “I’ve worked all my career for this. I can’t believe it really; it’s a dream come true.
“To be honest, no I didn’t [see it coming]. Things haven’t been going well for me recently. I didn’t even see a match coming; I’ve only won three matches all year.
“I don’t know where it’s come from, but I’m glad it’s here because I certainly haven’t got much time left [as a professional].
“We love Gibraltar; it’s one of the best venues. Even without the snooker, we just love being here. The fans have been great.
“The standard’s that good so going into the World Championship and next year, I could have been struggling to stay on the tour. It’s just changed it all around for me.”
Beaten six times previously in ranking event semi-finals, it was a lucky seventh for Milkins as he overcame Jak Jones, who had defeated Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham earlier in the day, to reach his maiden final.
The Milkman delivered an early blow with a brilliant 71 counter clearance snatching the opening frame after Wilson was in first with 59.
He then controlled the next two frames, with a top run of 62 moving him to the brink of a remarkable victory.
Appearing in his 11th ranking showpiece – and first of the season – Wilson had dropped just two frames prior to his 4-3 victory over Ricky Walden in the semi-finals.
That denied Walden the BetVictor European Series bonus of £150,000, which subsequently went to John Higgins after the four-time World champion edged out Mark Allen.
The Warrior kept his hopes alive with a break of 65 before clawing the deficit to a single frame as the pressure began to build on Milkins.
The Gloucester cueist required multiple opportunities in the next, but dragged himself over the line to become the 72nd different ranking event winner in snooker history.
“Rob has been on the tour for many years and this is a special moment for him,” Wilson added.
“I just wasn’t there at all, to be honest. I just lost my cueing on the table.
“I settled quite early [in the opening frame] and probably could’ve left Rob quite cold, but he made a really good clearance. It was really twitchy after that.
“I just tried to make a fight of it from 3-0 [down]. This amazing crowd deserved a good match, so I just tried to do my best.”
Gibraltar Open 2022 Results
Saturday March 26
Judd Trump 0-4 Ricky Walden
Jordan Brown 3-4 Jamie Jones
Jimmy Robertson 0-4 Ding Junhui
Tom Ford 0-4 Kyren Wilson
Neil Robertson 1-4 Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham 4-1 Soheil Vahedi
Lyu Haotian 2-4 Robert Milkins
Ben Hancorn 4-3 Ben Woollaston
Ricky Walden 4-1 Jamie Jones
Kyren Wilson 4-1 Ding Junhui
Stuart Bingham 0-4 Jak Jones
Robert Milkins 4-2 Ben Hancorn
Kyren Wilson 4-3 Ricky Walden
Jak Jones 2-4 Robert Milkins
Kyren Wilson 2-4 Robert Milkins