People see Ronnie O'Sullivan and think this is easy – Lee Walker hits career high with Seniors win

May 9, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

Lee Walker
Lee Walker lifted the World Seniors Championship title at the Crucible (Picture: Andy Chubb)

Lee Walker enjoyed the highlight of a career lasting nearly 30 years when he won the World Seniors Snooker Championship on Sunday night, reminding people that the game is not as easy as the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan make it look.

The 46-year-old beat Jimmy White 5-4 at the Crucible to win the Seniors title for the first time, bouncing back from 3-1 and 4-2 behind to put out the Whirlwind.

After a long career on the baize that has seen just one ranking semi-final, it was an emotional win for Walker in Sheffield, especially after a great run which saw him down Tony Knowles, Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty and defending champion David Lilley before White in the final.

‘Without a doubt [the best moment of my career],’ Walker told the BBC. ‘I was thinking towards the end there of [Welsh Open champion] Joe Perry and the older guys that have won tournaments. I know this isn’t a ranking event, but I think my days of winning ranking tournaments are done, but I’ll take this and I’ll cherish it forever.

‘You’ve just got to keep going, it’s never over. There’s a lot of pressure out there, I wanted to win, Jimmy wanted to win.

‘It’s a title, playing at the Crucible. Everybody thinks it’s easy because they see Ronnie, John Higgins, Mark Williams playing and they don’t miss anything, but actually this game is not that easy. I’m absolutely over the moon.

‘It’s great, to come here and play in front of this crowd in the one-table set-up at the Crucible. Only a select few people get to play that, it’s an absolute dream come true.’

Having won the Seniors title on three occasions, White has now been runner-up two years on the spin, but the 60-year-old was full of praise for the new champion.

‘Make no mistake, I think I’m too old to play two matches in one day,’ said the Whirlwind.

Jimmy White and Lee Walker
Jimmy White narrowly missed out on another Seniors title (Picture: Andy Chubb)

‘He played much better than me today, I missed a few balls earlier in the session, managed to go 3-1 up, didn’t really play well. 4-2 up but didn’t really get chance to clinch the match. But fair play to him, I’m delighted for him.

‘I’ve played okay in bits and pieces. Maybe I’ve run out of steam today, but I can’t take nothing away from Lee.

‘His safety was excellent, he took his chances and fair play to him.’

White will be back on the main tour next season and added on Twitter: ‘Thanks everyone for the support last night and a massive well done to Lee. How I was cueing gives me lots of confidence for next season.’

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