Best of Masters snooker 2021 - Chalk drama, Ronnie O'Sullivan's naughty shots and a laughing fit
We reflect on a brilliant Masters 2021 in Milton Keynes as Yan Bingtao claimed his first Triple Crown title. Featuring Kyren Wilson’s lighter, Stuart Bingham’s chalk, Ronnie O’Sullivan’s unique ability with a snooker cue and Stephen Maguire’s giggles in the hilarious setting of an, err, interview studio.
The tournament was handed a banana skin before it had even begun, with the event switched from the traditional setting of Alexandra Palace to Milton Keynes' Marshall Arena due to the coronavirus situation, but the world's top 16 players (minus the Covid-stricken Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski) still put on a show.
"I can only speak for myself, but when you compare the number of positive test results we have in our sport compared to others, we are a complete minority," said Murphy.
"That’s because our players respect the rules, our players respect the public who are paying their wages and watching them perform and we want to be here performing for everyone.
Murphy berates 'idiot' footballers who don't respect Covid rules
"Maybe some of the footballers earn too much to care. Maybe they’re not bothered about that. There was one footballer who has been done several times. I’m not sure who he is, he had a big party at his house on New Year’s Eve.
"We’re supposed to all be in this together, it doesn’t quite feel like that at the moment. And I would hate it if my sport, the sport I’ve been in love with for 30 years, and that I know brings so much joy to so many people, was stamped on because of some of these idiots in football."
The sports news landscape was littered with stories of players breaching guidelines over the festive period as coronavirus cases soared across the country.
Drama in the final
And so to the final. It's all ifs and buts now, but Higgins actually had the chance to open up an 8-5 advantage on Yan in Sunday's best-of-19 showdown.
The Scot appeared to attempt a double on the final black, an exceptionally bold strategy, but fluffed it which allowed his opponent to return to the table and pinch the frame.
Had it been a three-frame margin, rather than one frame, it may have been a different story.
'Unbelievable' - Yan steals frame as Higgins misses double on final black
"Another unbelievable frame in what's turning out to be an unbelievable final," commentator Dave Hendon summarised perfectly.
Maguire in hysterics
There's no better way to finish than with Stephen Maguire's grin. We all need some comic relief in these difficult times, and fortunately Maguire was on hand to provide it.
The 39-year-old had to leave an interview with Eurosport's Rachel Casey after getting a fit of the giggles. If you're going to do one thing today, make sure it's watching the below video. It's amazing.