Gary Wilson pays emotional tribute to former mentor after Scottish Open glory | Football
Gary Wilson won the first ranking title of his career at the Scottish Open on Sunday night, and his former coach Stan Chambers who sadly passed away last year was on his mind.
The 37-year-old, who first turned pro back in 2004 and has been to two finals previously finally got his hands on some silverware thanks to a comprehensive 9-2 win over Joe O’Connor, who was playing in his first big final.
Wilson played brilliantly, with two centuries and three half-centuries, ending the weak perfectly after a fine run which saw him beat the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Kyren Wilson and Hossein Vafaei.
In a classy winner’s speech, The Tyneside Terror hailed O’Connor, but also paid tribute to Chambers who was a huge figure in North East snooker, coaching players of all ages, doing a huge amount of charitable work, organising tournaments and dedicating his life to the baize.
He died last year at 85 years old and was well-deserving of the brilliant words from Wilson in Edinburgh.
‘I want to make a special mention to Stan Chambers who was a massive North East snooker fanatic for years and years and years,’ Wilson told Eurosport after his victory.
‘He sadly passed away last year and he would have really liked to be here, he believed I could win one and there was times when I believed maybe not.
‘Just a massive shout out to Stan, wherever he is, I know he’s looking down, and he’ll be proud.’
Jimmy White added on Eurosport: ‘I’m glad he mentioned Stan Chambers from the North East, because Stan did a lot for kids, got kids going.
‘He was there with Gary when he was 12 or 13, I played exhibitions for him. Unfortunately he passed, but I’m glad Gary gave him a mention because fantastic for snooker he was, Stan.’
O’Connor’s run to the final was spectacular, beating Zhao Xintong, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams, Ricky Walden and Neil Robertson before falling short in the final.
Wilson may have picked up a heavy win, but he was impressed with the 27-year-old who he thinks will go one step further in future.
‘I want to say a massive congratulations to Joe,’ said Gary. ‘He played awesome the first few frames and it probably wasn’t noticed – his first final and he was potting them off lampshades.
‘He put us under some pressure when you want an easy ride and to get a few frames ahead and relax a little but he didn’t let me. He will win a tournament one day, I think it’s without a doubt.’
The Leicester player said: ‘I have had an amazing week, beaten a lot of top-16 players and just unfortunately today I didn’t play my best.
‘But congratulations to Gary, he played amazing and he fully deserved the win. But I fully enjoyed the atmosphere tonight and loved every minute of it.’
Wilson nets £80,000 for his first ranking title, while O’Connor wins £35,000 for his first runner-up prize after a memorable week in Edinburgh.
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