11:13pm Sunday 18th March 2012
By Owen Houlihan
TROWBRIDGE ace Stephen Lee claimed his first ranking title in six years in Ireland last night.
The Wiltshire cueman, the form player on snooker's world circuit for the past two months, thrashed Neil Robertson 4-0 in the Betfair Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in Galway.
It was Lee's fifth ranking victory but his first since the Welsh Open in 2006.
"I didn't let Neil get going, and in these short matches if you don't settle in the first couple of frames then you can lose 4-0," said Lee.
"It's a cracking feeling, it makes all the hard work and travelling worthwhile.
"A big thanks goes to Barry Hearn because he's got all the lads buzzing about the game again.
"I knew I was good enough, I just couldn't cope with playing six tournaments a year. There was so much pressure on every event and it was a horrible feeling.
"The game is in a great situation now and I just wish I was 10 years younger.
"I've got the belief in myself back and I've beaten top players which is very satisfying. I appreciate it more now I'm older."
The 37-year-old has been in magnificent form recently, reaching the semi finals of the German Masters, the last eight at the Welsh Open before making the final of the recent Haikou World Open in China, in which he was beaten 10-1 by Mark Allen.
But the £70,000 first prize in Ireland will also boost the Wiltsire player's hopes of getting back into the top eight in the world.
Lee slipped out of the sport's elite top 16 in 2008, but returned late last year and secured his place at next month's World Championships.
The Grand Finals were the culmination of the PTC series which featured 12 other tournaments across the UK and Europe.
MORE ON THIS STORY AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT AND REACTION IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES
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