World snooker champ Williams comes to Tunbridge Wells – but he’ll keep clothes on

The 43-year-old Welshman is back at the top of his game, having found his form again in 2018 after a six-year drought without a ranking tournament victory.

Before the semi-finals at the Crucible last year, he said he would do his press conference in the nude if he won the World Championship.

Mark duly achieved sporting notoriety by turning up without his clothes on, through he was told to wear a towel.

He has also promised, tongue in cheek, to perform naked cartwheels if he repeats his feat in April and May this year.

The final, against John Higgins, was described as one of the best ever, Williams winning 18-16 to claim his third world crown.

‘He’s come back on the scene at the top level. His snooker’s entertaining, and off the table he’s a jokable man’

At 43 he was the oldest winner since Ray Reardon in 1978; it was also 15 years since his last title, the longest time span between victories in the history of the tournament.

He will play 10 exhibition frames against members of the public, and it is hoped that he will bring along a replica of the World Championship trophy.

Graham Martin, the owner of the Victoria club, said: “This would be amazing as we have had numerous world champions here, but never the trophy, so there will be great photos for all.

“I’m sure Mark will be well and truly keeping his kit on in Tunbridge Wells, but we will be looking forward to him doing naked cartwheels when he wins the trophy again this season.”

He added: “This is one I’ve been wanting for two years. He’s come back on the scene at the top level. His snooker’s entertaining, and off the table he’s a jokable man.”

FRONT OF THE CUE: Local 11-year-old talent Dylan Smith will play the first frame against Mark Williams

Mark will play 10 frames against members of the public, including the 11-year-old Tunbridge Wells snooker prodigy Dylan Smith, who is currently taking part in a gruelling season of junior tournaments across the South-East.

The renowned referee Michaela Tabb will be attending along with Sky Sports walk-on girl Jade Slusarczyk.

The Victoria Snooker Centre has already played host to an outstanding roster of top professionals and the exhibition events have proved highly popular.

“Evenings like this have always been successful and they mean a lot to us as we feel that we are bringing to Tunbridge Wells what – and who – the people want,” said Graham.

The club had been facing an uncertain future with the plans to redevelop the Royal Victoria Centre behind the premises looking likely to spill over on to the Camden Road entrance.

But Graham says he has been in discussions with the new owners of the shopping centre, British Land, and is reassured by their vision.

“The future of the club is looking a lot brighter,” he told the Times. “We have been in conversation with British Land, who had scrapped the previous owners’ plans.

“And they have now informed us that they are ready to discuss a new lease in the very near future. As I stated at the last event we had in November 2017, we are staying!”

Standard tickets cost £30, with a VIP option including drinks at £60. To buy a ticket, call 07376 015716 or email


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