Imagine...Waking up at the age of 45, and you find on the side board the World Snooker Championship trophy sitting there, waiting for you to kiss it and lift it again - for a private pose in the mirror. You've been playing since you're 20s, and it's taken at least another 20 years to win the top prize and play at the iconic venue The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.

Much of the night before was a blur, but all you remember is a crowd of people snapping photos of you with this trophy. And that's all you the snooker world celebrates the oldest World Champion since Ray Reardon - at 43, here's food for thought.

Expect success much later

How old do you have to be, to win the top prize in snooker now? Early 30s? Late 30s? Or early 40s? Since 2015, Stuart Bingham, yes, there are parallels here with Mark Williams, was 38 when he won the World title. That was, at the time, considered "old". But he has been surpassed by Williams who won his third World title at the age of 43. Bingham, of course, is now 41, and still competing at top level, and there's no doubt that if form is found, like Mark Williams, he could be lifting a second World title at some point in time well into his forties.

Records are there to be broken

John Higgins has reached two World fnals in succession and was 41 and 42 respectively. There's still a chance John could make it third time lucky next year!

Who knows, he could equal Mark's achievement and be the joint second oldest World Champion. And not forgetting Ronnie O'Sullivan, still eluding that sixth World title. who won five ranking events this season.

There were 20 snooker ranking winners this season, and the average age of them was - 37. Last season that average was lower, it was around the low 30s mark.

This season may have been a freak one. As it may well be unlikely that three players will serve up 10 ranking event wins between them again.

But, what it does reveal is that to win in snooker now, you need to wait that little bit longer to get on the winning podium and to hoist that trophy. Indeed, if you start in your 20s, you're unlikely to win until your mid 20s - unless you're super-talented.

Shaun Murphy was 22 when he won his one and only World title and was a qualifier at 150 - 1 to win. But that was an exception. Since then, he's been in two World finals and lost - but, again, like those in the 30/40 bracket he is another most likely to win another World title at some point.

The exception this season was Belgium's Luca Brecel, who was 22 when he won the China Championship this season - the youngest player to win a ranking event in the 2017/18 season. The oldest is of course Mark Williams - at 43, to have won that trio of World titles over an 18 year period! Mark Williams also has in the modern era now the longest gap between winning two World titles - 15 years.

Records are there to be broken - and with the kind of players still around, that could well be achievable for some!

Shaun Murphy, for example is 35, and was the second youngest World Champion at 22. Just think - if he won a second World title within five years (well capable) that gap win by Williams would be beaten.