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Gilbert Secures First Ranking Title

Gilbert had previously lost in the final of the 2015 International Championship, 2018 World Open, 2019 German Masters and 2019 English Open.

David Gilbert defeated Mark Allen 3-1 to secure his first ranking title at the BetVictor Championship League in Leicester.

It’s a landmark moment for Gilbert who first turned pro in 2002, and had lost his four previous ranking finals. The 40-year-old from Tamworth guarantees himself a place in the Cazoo Champion of Champions, and with £33,000 banked he is well on his way to qualifying for the Cazoo World Grand Prix.

In the 253rd and final match of the tournament, Allen got off to the perfect start with a clearance of 102 in the opening frame. The Farmer responded immediately, taking the second and third frames.

The final frame was a cagey one, a break of 57 early on meant Gilbert was in pole position and he eventually converted it to seal the title and take home the trophy.

World number 23 Gilbert said: “I’m only used to loser’s speeches, so I don’t know quite what to say. It’s fantastic, a great start – last year was quite tough so to open with a win is brilliant. Hopefully, I can start playing well again and compete in other tournaments too.

“I always felt I could do better, I know I will never be the best player in the world, but I always felt I could go a bit further and have some bigger moments, so I am glad I stuck at it.”

Allen’s progression to the final came more simply than expected after back-to-back 3-0 and 3-1 wins over Tom Ford and Bai Langning. Those two wins came off the back of an early draw for reigning champion Kyren Wilson against Bai.

The evening session began with Wilson drawing against Ford ending any hopes of reclaiming the title, handing Allen a spot in the final against Gilbert. Allen couldn’t have warmed up in any better way for the final, beating Wilson with breaks of 126, 127 and 146 to wrap up group stage action.

Gilbert’s route through in Group 2 started with a loss against his closest competitor Cao Yupeng but he recovered from there on, beating Ryan Day 3-0 to be at three points at the break. Cao’s defeat to Ali Carter meant Gilbert was still in contention. Gilbert then beat Carter 3-1, meaning Cao had to beat Day 3-0. Day took the first frame against Cao, meaning it was Gilbert who moved to the final.

And that set Gilbert up for his career best moment so far.