September 2 2014 Latest news:
Friday, May 23, 2014
When Mark Selby steadied himself to pot a routine black off its spot and finally become world snooker champion, it was not only his lifelong dream he was realising.
Perched high up in the Crucible’s family seats, and increasingly put under the spotlight by live television cameras, his Ipswich born-and-raised wife Vikki Layton waited with bated breath.
The 36-year-old, a former professional pool player who represented Suffolk and the Republic of Ireland, was urging her husband to complete his recovery against defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan more than anyone.
“That last clearance was just amazing,” she said.
“When he went to pot the black I thought ‘he’s going to be world champion’ and was jumping up and down like a lunatic which did not help!”
Mark battled back from 10-5 down to beat O’Sullivan 18-14 in a final watched by almost six million people on May 5.
He dedicated the trophy to his father, David, who died of cancer when he was aged 16. Vikki raced down to the snooker table to pose for pictures alongside her emotional husband.
She was also pregnant with their first child.
“We kept it a secret so Mark could concentrate on the world championship,” she said.
She is now 13 weeks pregnant and is due to have the baby in November.
“I am really excited and looking forward to it,” she said.
“We will see how much it changes us. It will probably mean more travelling for Mark trying to get away!”
The former Holywells High School (now Ipswich Academy) pupil has twice travelled to China to support Mark this year.
She tours through Europe with him and attends major UK tournaments.
“It is not a glamorous lifestyle but because I played at a high level I understand the practice and focus it takes for Mark to be one of the best,” she said.
The couple still make time to visit Vikki’s parents in Ipswich, though. They can be seen at the nearby Gainsborough Labour and Social Club, enjoying a game of pool.
“They all watched Mark win the title at the club,” Vikki said. “I can’t wait until we go back and show off the world title.”
They first met through the professional pool circuit. Mark, 30, a former world pool champion, said a friend helped them exchange phone numbers before he finally found the courage to ask her out.
They got together in 2006 and she left Ipswich to move in with the so-called ‘Jester from Leicester’ two years later.
In 2010, Mark proposed to her on a gondola in Venice. They tied the knot in Cancun, Mexico, a year later.
He said: “Winning the world title for the first time was a fantastic feeling and achievement, and to be expecting our first child in the same year is a dream come true.”
The couple now have an extra £300,000. But judging by their recent past, they will most likely remain grounded.
When Mark won the Masters in 2008, he asked Vikki what she would like with an extra £150,000 in the bank. ‘A £28 lamp’ came the reply.