John Higgins reacts to Players Championship Snooker victory
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Williams takes on Higgins in the quarter final of the Cazoo Masters, with coverage underway from 7pm on BBC Two. While Williams disposed of defending champion Yan Bingtao on Sunday, Higgins eased past Zhao Xintong to book a quarter final spot against his old rival. Both players are members of the esteemed Class of ‘92 along with Ronnie O’Sullivan, and together they have continued to dominate snooker, despite their advancing years.
Speaking to Eurosport on Sunday, Williams praised his 46-year-old rival, saying: “He’s getting older, greyer and balder. I’m getting older, greyer and balder.
“There would be a fantastic crowd and it would be just like the crucible back in 2018. It would be brilliant.”
Williams was referencing the pair’s memorable World Championship final in which the Welshman prevailed 18-16 against the Scot to claim a third world title 15 years after his previous triumph.
Yet, that year the build up to the final was marred by William’s fierce row with fellow snooker player, Morgan.
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Months earlier, the pair had clashed at the Welsh Open and things boiled over once more after the Rhymney Valley Snooker League banned Morgan for 12 months for refusing to compete in a singles final against Jackson Page.
Morgan pulled out of the encounter as it was to be played on Page’s practice table at a snooker club owned by Williams.
Morgan wrote on Facebook at the time: “By me forfeiting the final to my opponent for refusing to play him on his everyday practice table they have seemed fit to ban me for 12 months which rounded the day [his birthday] off perfectly.”
Despite Rhymney Valley Snooker League insisting Williams was not involved in the decision to ban Morgan, the 55-year-old continued: “He can deny it all he wants and say what he wants.
“I took a lot of flack at the Welsh Open when I called him a keyboard warrior and a cyber bully, but for whatever reason he was against me, he can’t let up.
“When he sticks something out there he has a lot of followers and he is very successful, doing unbelievable at the minute, then everyone gets on the bandwagon at my expense and he sits back and has a good laugh about it.
“I’m 100 percent [sure] that if he did not get involved the final would have been played on another table in the club.
“I’m sure Jackson Page wanted to play the final and I don’t think he would have been too bothered where it was played.”
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After booking himself a place in the final against Higgins, Williams responded by retweeting a jibe aimed at Morgan.
The message, from twitter user Chris ‘Reggie’ Brown said: “I bet Darren Morgan is spitting feathers!
“I wonder if Higgins will ask you to play on a club table rather than a star one?
“I’m backing you tomorrow so no more of them dodgy blacks please!”
The build up to Williams and Higgins’ encounter this year has been tame compared to 2018.
The two snooker stalwarts, who also met in last year’s World Championship as Williams beat Higgins 13-7 in the last 16, have a “healthy” rivalry.
Williams told Eurosport: “Maybe 10,15 years ago we were more rivals.
“Now the likes of me and Mark are not one and two, or three and four in the game, but we’re still in the top echelons of the game and still win events.
“Now it’s a more healthy rivalry. When I played him in the world final you look across and see his family growing up, my family growing up.
“You think to yourself it’s special times when you’ve grown up with this guy for the best part of 30 years.”
Watch ‘Live Snooker: The Masters from 7pm on BBC Two.
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