Mark Selby and Martin Gould react to classic European Masters final


Mark Selby edged an epic European Masters final (Picture: Getty Images)

Mark Selby edged out Martin Gould 9-8 in a superb final of the European Masters on Sunday evening, handing the Jester from Leicester the first ranking title of the season.

The epic struggle looked set to be one-sided when Selby raced into a 4-0 lead, but Gould was not to be brushed aside, winning the next five frames to take an unlikely lead.

There was then never more than one frame between them, with Gould knocking in a break of 96 to level the match up at 8-8 and take it into a decider.

The three-time world champion showed his class in the 17th frame, making a 72 to claim the title, his first European Masters crown, and the £80,000 top prize.

‘I’m really over the moon,’ said the 37-year-old. ‘I played well at the start of the match and in the second session I missed a few.

‘You are going to do that in a best of 17 match, you can’t pot everything. I thought Martin played fantastically well from 4-0 down to put me under pressure. I’m really happy how I held up in the last frame when I got a chance.’

Selby claimed his 18th ranking title with the win in Milton Keynes, putting him joint sixth on the all-time list alongside Neil Robertson.

It also handed the reigning English and Scottish Open champion an incredible record of winning his last 10 ranking finals, putting him only one behind Stephen Hendry’s record of 11.

Hendry also holds the record for 11 straight seasons of winning a ranking title, which Selby is now just one behind on 10.

‘A few years ago I was getting to finals and getting beat, not converting them. I’ve gone on a run since then,’ he said. ‘To win the last 10 finals I’ve played in is incredible.

‘You are playing the top players in the game every time in a final. To win 10 on the trot is an incredible feat and something I need to be proud of.’

Ranked number four in the world, Selby is looking to reclaim the top spot he held for over four years from 2015-19, but a position Judd Trump has a firm grasp on currently.

‘I always set goals every season,’ Selby explained. ‘One of my goals is to get back to number one. Judd is miles ahead in front, but in a year he will have to defend six tournaments and if he doesn’t win those six tournaments he will lose a lot.

‘That is my aim to get to number one. It is going to be difficult, but that is what keeps me working every day and practising hard.’

Martin Gould is rediscovering some of his best form (Picture: Getty Images)

Gould enjoyed a fantastic run to the final, beating Trump 6-3 in the semi-finals as he continues his incredible return to form.

The 39-year-old has been through some mental health struggles, which saw his results suffer and lead him to consider retirement, but he has come through the other side and is enjoying the game again.

Gould was thoroughly impressive in qualifying for the World Championship and then demolishing Stephen Maguire 10-3 in the first round, now he has reached the final of the first ranking event of the season and it looks like a bright campaign is ahead.

‘It’s gutting to have come up short but it was a great final,’ he said. ‘Both of us scored heavily and both of us made mistakes. We will pot balls we shouldn’t and miss some we shouldn’t miss.

‘All I want to do is enjoy playing snooker. If I do that I can produce what I have done this week. There are a lot of positives to take.’

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan conqueror Aaron Hill motivated by attack on young players in snooker

MORE: Mark Selby reflects on ‘phenomenal’ Ronnie O’Sullivan performance in World Snooker Championship semi-final

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