Veteran Nigel Bond proved himself a champion sprinter as he triumphed at the Snooker Shoot-Out at the Tower Circus.
The 45-year-old from Derbyshire, who lost to Stephen Hendry in the 1995 World Championship final, pocketed the £32,000 top prize at the Circus Arena as reward for winning six consecutive single-frame, 10-minute matches.
In an all-English final Bond proved too strong for 34-year-old Robert Milkins, the Gloucester potter who stunned favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-finals.
O’Sullivan had made two centuries and a 90 break in his previous four matches and looked to be cantering towards the title until Milkins halted his run.
World number 37 Bond knocked out Joe Jogia on Friday, Stephen Lee on Saturday, and yesterday reeled off victories over Rory McLeod, Mark King, Marcus Campbell and Milkins.
With the format encouraging accelerated play around the table, Bond was a surprise finalist but proved himself a master of the format, the last man standing out of an initial field of 64 players.
He beat Milkins, a place ahead of him in the world rankings, by 58-24.
Bond, who won the 1996 British Open, said: “It’s nice to be a champion after all these years.
“It’s been a fantastic weekend.
“There’s been great crowds.
“All the players have enjoyed. It’s been a fantastic event.
“I came to see how far I can go. Anybody can win it, as you’ve seen.
“I knew I was hitting the ball fairly well and felt okay in myself. It suited me down to the ground.”
In his semi-final, Bond knocked out Marcus Campbell who in the last eight had produced a shock by beating world champion Neil Robertson.
Milkins, who received £16,000 for his weekend’s efforts, praised Bond and said: “He played really well, he’s a worthy winner. It was fantastic. Not a bad three days’ work.”
The sport’s governing body the WSBPA are to investigate Saturday’s Caesarscasino.com Snooker Shoot-Out match between Jimmy Michie and Marcus Campbell because of suspicious betting patterns.
The governing body were contacted by bookmakers who were concerned about the amount of bets placed on Campbell to win the one-frame shoot-out, which ended in a 32-21 victory to the Scot.
The matter has been passed on to David Douglas, head of the WPBSA’s integrity unit, for a thorough and immediate investigation.
WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said: “We take the threat of corrupt activity very seriously and we are treating this matter with the utmost urgency. We have the mechanisms in place to make a full investigation.”