Stuart Bingham has fulfilled a boyhood dream by last night becoming World Champion for the first time after beating Shaun Murphy 18-15 in a tense final.It looked to be going the way of the Magician after he came from 15-12 behind to level things up in Sheffield but Bingham won a crucial 31st frame which took over an hour to gain some momentum and get over the line to claim that top prize of £300,000.
Ballrun would be the first to admit that he has not got the best record at the Crucible having only previously been to the Quarter-Final stage so it was all new for the Basildon potter to play on the one table format.After playing as a professional for some 20 years and not winning anything,Bingham must have thought his career was never going to come to anything but after wins in Australia in 2011 and being a regular in the top 16,he has kicked on at this late stage of his career to take the Premier League & Shanghai Masters aswell as the big one in Sheffield last night.
The final can definitely go down as one of the best in history in terms of quality and it was nip and tuck all the way to the end with neither player looking the likely winner.There were six centuries and 24 50+ breaks in the end which shows the level players have to compete at nowadays to win this illustrious title.
“At 15-15 I thought my chance was gone, my arm felt like someone else’s and nerves sort of got to me,” said Bingham, who joins Ken Doherty as the only player to win the world title at amateur and professional level. “But we had a marathon 31st frame and I pinched it on the colours, and from then on I played pretty solid.
“I got through my first round against Robbie Williams with a bit of a cold, and then went from strength to strength. I had a great win over Graeme Dott and then a great, great win over Ronnie. I was worried playing Judd, because I needed to capitalise on my chance. I could easily not be sitting here, Judd had a kick when it was 16-16. As Shaun said, sometimes your name is on the trophy.
“In the last frame I was just playing one ball at a time. I actually didn’t realise I’d won the frame until the crowd clapped, then I looked at the score and realised.
“I was the underdog against Ronnie and Judd, but when I came out for the final I might have had 80 per cent of the crowd and I just thought ‘wow’. It’s just unbelievable to be sitting here as world champion.
“Just to witness and experience the final, I didn’t care if I won or lost to start with. In the first session I came out at 4-4 and then I thought ‘I can do this.’ Then we had a good battle until the end.”
Murphy said: “I’m disappointed, nobody wants to lose in the final. But the way Stuart played all the way through the tournament, he played like a champion. When I went 8-4 up he wasn’t worried about it, he played like a winner all the way through the match. Sometimes in sport people are meant to win things. Stuart is a massive fan of the game, he loves snooker more than life itself, he fully deserves to win this tournament. I’m disappointed to lose but I’m very, very happy for him and his family.
“I know how hard it is to win this championship. He made such a nice break in the last frame. I can have no regrets really, I feel I’ve played some really great stuff throughout this championship. There can only be one winner and again unfortunately this year it wasn’t me.
“It seemed to be very good scoring throughout the final, good tactical play, not many missed chances. I thought we put on a really good show.”