Veterans Mark Williams and John Higgins contesting World Championship final

Barry Hawkins plays a shot

Barry Hawkins is aiming to reach his second World Championship final

"I knew Higgins could win this final but I wasn't so sure about Mark Williams but he's shown he can".

The 2000 and 2003 champion finished strongly to build a 10-7 advantage against old rival John Higgins as the pair prepare for one last push for another Crucible title on day two of the marathon best-of-35 battle.

Williams then added the third and fourth - despite Higgins compiling a break of 55 in the latter, the highest of the match so far - to give himself the flawless start.

'Now we're in the world final playing for £425,000.

"We were 15 and he hammered me 6-1 and won five grand", Williams said. When me, John and Mark were growing up, we played a lot of junior tournaments against each other. It made us tough.

Higgins, 42, and 43-year-old Williams have the highest combined age of any pair of finalists during the 41 years the tournament has been held at the Crucible, while the victor will be the oldest world champion since Ray Reardon in 1978.

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Both players are aiming to become the oldest champion since Ray Reardon, who was 45 when he triumphed in 1978, and shared four centuries and eight further breaks of 50 or more.

Williams crossed the finish line against Hawkins just moments away from midnight on Saturday.

The Welshman even had time to eat some of a front-row fan's confectionery as he won the first four frames of the match, despite not scoring particularly heavily.

However, a late flurry from Williams earned him a three-frame lead heading into day two, leaving Higgins - runner-up past year after throwing away a six-frame advantage over Mark Selby - to continue giving chase.

Yet Higgins finally found some luck as more missed chances from the duo fell in the favour of the four-time world champion, taking frame ten with a break of 51, before a similar story unfolded in the eleventh with Higgins producing an impressive 127 to move within one frame of the Welshman. "It's been proved in the quarters and the semi and it'd be great to have that back-up in the final". It's 18 years after he first won it and 20 years after I first won it. "It would be wonderful to match Ronnie as well - he's the best player ever in my eyes, so if I got to the same number of titles, it would be an incredible feeling".

Carrick had his picture taken with the World Championship trophy before the players arrived in the arena.

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