Mark Williams claimed his third World Snooker title after edging out John Higgins 18-16 in a compelling final at the Crucible Theatre.

The Welshman's last success came in 2003 when he defeated Ken Doherty in the decider.

In a concluding session where the drama was relentless when Higgins drew level at 15-15 there was an unexpected shift in momentum.

Williams reeled off two frames in a row, the second with a 100 break, but then missed a pink in the next frame that was match ball.

Higgins cleared with a run of 65, taking the frame, but Williams was not to be denied glory.

He made 69 in the next to leave Higgins needing snookers, but they did not come. It was not his night, but it very nearly was. 

Afterwards Williams said: "It's unbelievable. Twelve months ago I wasn't even here. I watched it in a caravan.
"To play John in a final is an experience in itself.

"You've got to expect a comeback because when you're 50 or 60 in front he's the best I've ever seen at clearing up and that includes O'Sullivan.

"I was thinking, 'Jesus I'm not going to get over the line here'.

"I knew at the end if I didn't get enough he was going to clear up again. But I'm over the moon." 

Williams thanked wife Joanne for convincing him to keep playing when he contemplated quitting last year.

And after saying earlier in the tournament that he would go naked to his press conference if he won the title, Williams said he would go through with that plan.

He said: "As long as Barry Hearn isn't going to fine me or discipline me I'll have to do it."

And the Welshman was true to his word.