DARREN Morgan couldn’t help but feel that a golden opportunity to lift silverware at the Crucible had slipped through his fingers after losing to Jimmy White in the World Seniors Championship final.

White, a six-time World Championship runner-up in Sheffield, finally got to taste trophy success in the confines of snooker’s spiritual home with a 5-3 defeat of the Newbridge cueman.

The pair had met in the semi-finals of the World Championship 25 years previously, with White winning 16-8 before going on to lose to Stephen Hendry for the fourth time in a Crucible final.

For Morgan, 53, the seniors tournament, which he won in 2011, it was his first time back at the famous Yorkshire venue in nearly two decades.

He began with a 3-0 win over Willie Thorne, edged out John Parrott 3-2 and then dispatched seven-time world champion Hendry 3-1 to secure a place in the semi-finals.

While White, 57, beat James Wattana, Morgan eased past Irishman Leo Fernandez, and after reaching the showpiece it looked as though Welshman could go all the way.

“After beating Willie and John, I played Stephen, my nemesis, in the quarter-finals,” said Morgan. “He always managed to find a way to beat me – and did it so many times.

“I won on this occasion and played very well against Leo in the semi-finals.

“I pinched the first frame of the final with a great clearance, and at that point I felt so comfortable.

“I wanted to impress and made a break of 55 in the second frame. There was one red left and I’d have potted it eight times out of 10.

“It wobbled in the jaws of the pocket, Jimmy knocked it in, and instead of being 2-0 up it was 1-1.

“With the way I was playing, if I’d have gone 2-0 up then I think it would have been an easy night’s work for me.

"I was also 50 points up when Jimmy led 4-3, but there was a lot of pressure out there and it didn’t go my way.

“I gave it everything I had, sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it doesn’t.

“The fact I made the final, beat the players I did to get there, and it took a professional to prevent me winning the title says a lot about how I’m still playing.”

He added: “If it wasn’t me he was playing, I’d have loved to see Jimmy lift the trophy after what he has been through at the Crucible.

“To say it was gutting to lose would be a big understatement. I haven’t felt like this for a long time.

“Going into the tournament, I was way out of my comfort zone because I hadn’t played in anything like it for such a long time.

“To start with, just to get the chance to go back to the Crucible was enough for me.

“It was quite emotional when I walked into the arena. Lots of memories came flooding back.

"It wasn’t too dissimilar to the atmosphere of the World Championships. If you’ve got the chance to play there then you’re not going to turn it down, it’s what every player aims for.

“For some of the guys it was their first time playing at the Crucible, something maybe 70 per cent of players over the years have never experienced.”

Had he won, Morgan, who travels to Turkey in November to defend his world masters crown, would have secured invitations to half-a-dozen events on the senior tour.