The night was tense and not just for Stuart Bingham and Shaun Murphy! I had a bet on Stuart Bingham and at 15-15, the nerves were as bad as 16-16 with Judd Trump in the semis! :-) But he got across the line in the end with an 18-15 victory at the Crucible to win his first World Championship.
The 38-year-old from Basildon, Essex held his cool when the pressure was on to become the oldest snooker world champion since Welshman Ray Reardon won the title at the age of 45 in 1978. Murphy, 32, had previously won the title in 2005.
Having led 14-11 coming into the last session, momentum swung Bingham’s way once again after Murphy drew the match at 15-all when the pair engaged in a tactical battle which Bingham won to go one frame ahead. As well as the title and cup, Bingham won a cheque for £300,000 and moves up from tenth to second in the world rankings.
Former Shanghai Masters winner and now World Snooker champion Bingham said,
“At one stage at 15-15 I thought I was going to do Shaun’s [runner-up] speech. It was a 64-minute frame to go 16-15 and that really calmed me down. It gives everybody hope that it can turn around. We don’t know if he truly believed he could win this two weeks ago but he played like he did. When he needed to be focused, by the end he was calmer than anyone in the room. It shows that nice guys can be winners. To beat Shaun in the final tops everything off. Twenty years as professional – blood, sweat and tears on the road. Qualifying in places like Prestatyn and Malvern. So many family and friends have backed me. It is unbelievable.”
On the way to the final Bingham, nicknamed Ball-run Bingham, bet Robbie Williams, Graeme Dott, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump on the way to the final.
So happy for you Stuart. Very well-deserved indeed! Well done! :-)