Double celebration for Selby

Mark Selby celebrates with the trophy after beating Ding Junhui at the Crucble Theatre
Mark Selby celebrates with the trophy after beating Ding Junhui at the Crucble Theatre
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Mark Selby missed out on the Vardy party but was the star guest at celebrations in his honour in Sheffield after landing a second World Championship title.

The Leicester cueman potted glory at the Crucible, beating Ding Junhui 18-14 in a match that finished just minutes after Claudio Ranieri’s phenomenal Foxes clinched the Premier League top prize.

England striker Jamie Vardy, a friend of Selby’s, was hosting a gathering of Leicester players and it would be perhaps excusable if they missed the finale to the snooker at the Crucible.

Selby, a committed Leicester fan who paraded the World Championship trophy at the King Power Stadium in 2014 after his first world triumph, was thrilled by the city’s double success.

“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I don’t know what’s more of a shock – me winning it twice or Leicester being Premier League champions.”

Selby had blocked out the football from his thoughts, and only learned at the end of the final how Tottenham’s crucial match at Chelsea had ended. The 2-2 draw left Tottenham seven points behind Leicester, with just six to play for.

“I didn’t know until afterwards. One of the guys who was sat just to the left of me is a big Leicester fan, so after I got back to my seat he said to me it was 2-2 and Leicester were champions,” Selby said.

“I knew going out there that the game was kicking off, but I tried not to think about it too much because I didn’t want it to distract from what I had to do.

“Hopefully in another two years I’ll come back and win it again and Leicester will be Premier League champions again.”

Selby pointed at smiling wife Vikki in the crowd as he crossed the winning line, joy and satisfaction detailed across his face. She and daughter Sofia joined him amid ticker-tape trophy celebrations.

Selby said: “It’s a great, great feeling.

“To win it once was a huge achievement and something I’d always wanted to do – but I never dreamt of winning it twice.

“I’m quite emotional. When you look at people who’ve won it twice, to join that elite group is something special.”

By becoming the sixth player to win the world title more than once at the Crucible, Selby had due cause to celebrate long into the evening, at the tournament’s official champion’s reception.

“I’m really tired at the moment but I’m sure I’ll last the night,” he said.

Selby led the final from start to finish and was a worthy winner, collecting snooker’s biggest ever prize cheque of £330,000 to go with the silverware.

Ding could only look on enviously as Selby collected the trophy.

China’s first World Championship finalist said: “Five years ago I was in the semi-final and this year was one step up, so maybe next year I’m going to win it.”