Brilliant Bingham takes final lead


Published: Monday 4th May 2015 by The News Editor

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Stuart Bingham was producing the best snooker of his life in the biggest match of his career and almost made a maximum break in the final of the Betfred World Championship.

He was 8-4 adrift of Shaun Murphy at one stage on Sunday, but the match had a vicious twist in store for the 2005 world champion.

As Murphy’s game deteriorated, so Bingham found exceptional form, and after closing the gap to a single frame overnight, on Monday he strung together four frames in succession to open a shock 12-9 lead.

It meant the 38-year-old from Basildon, the oldest first-time finalist at the Crucible since Ray Reardon, had taken eight of the last nine frames.

And it also meant Murphy was in a state of mid-match crisis.

As events turned so drastically, Bingham looked entirely unfazed. He had said before the final that he barely cared how he would perform, so thrilled was he to reach the final two days of the tournament.

But that was proving a red herring. He levelled the contest with an assured break of 87 as play resumed on Sunday afternoon, and a run of 51 helped him lead for the first time, at 10-9 ahead.

Then came Bingham’s brush with 147 glory, as he skilfully sank 14 reds, each time followed by the black, but ran cruelly out of position as the magical figure approached.

From the black, he looked to nudge the 15th red, by a side rail, towards the middle pocket, but nestled up so close with the white that it became almost impossible to pot. Bingham did his best to cut the ball home, but it was beyond him.

Had he made the shot, added the black and followed up with the colours, it would have been worth £30,000. He and Murphy, however, were playing for a cheque of 10 times that amount, and, maximum or not, it took Bingham further clear.

Murphy joined in the applause for the break, as Bingham rued his close call.

A run of 50 in the next frame helped the pre-match underdog move three frames clear, with the second half of the afternoon session – another four frames – becoming hugely significant. Murphy could surely not afford to fall any further behind.

Published: Monday 4th May 2015 by The News Editor

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