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Bingham keen to start well in Championship League

STUART BINGHAM is keen to get off to a good start at this month’s Championship League to help secure his place at the top end of snooker’s world rankings.

Ballrun won the tournament in 2015 by beating pal Mark Davis in the final, but the switch to making it a ranking event during the Covid-19 fallout has upped the stakes for a competition which has taken place behind closed doors since its launch 12 years ago.

And Bingham, currently 13th on the money-list structured world rankings, said: “The new ranking aspect of the Championship League is certainly something to take into account, and with the final stages being held at the end of October it will all be over fairly soon this time.

“When I won in 2015 it was certainly a bit different, with no ranking points involved, but it was still nice to get my hands on that trophy.

“This season I am hoping to use it to get off to a flying start. I think I need to because a couple of seasons ago I had a good year but I’ve got all those ranking points coming off soon, so it could be an important one for me.”

Bingham admits he is not keen on the “cut-throat” nature of the four-frame format used at the event.

But he is happy with its staging at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, which will be used to host several early season competitions including the European Masters, English Open and the Northern Irish Open.

He said: “Walking around there you realise it has a lot of space and it is probably as good as any other venue. It’s also in an area with plenty of amenities around it, like a Wagamama and TGI nearby.

“Last time we were not allowed to go outside because of Covid but this time, as things currently stand, we are. And this time we can book in to stay at any hotel we want.

“The tables played okay there during lockdown in the summer so it is a good choice for staging these events I think.”

Bingham will start his Championship League campaign in stage one, group 12, with three matches back-to-back on Friday, September 18, against Pang Junxu, James Cahill and then Yuan Sijun.

He added: “I think Pang is new on the Tour so he will be an unknown quantity, but I’m sure coming from China he will be a good player.

“James always raises his game and has had some big wins in the last couple of years so I know that will be a tough match.

“I’m pretty sure I played Yuan in Gibraltar when I won there. He’s another of the bright prospects coming through so there’ll be no easy games here, especially over four frames when you have to get off to a good start.”

The Championship League’s first stage will run from September 13 to 20, with 128 players divided into 32 groups of four, and the 32 winners going through to the second stage.

The BallRun E24 – Carty win in echoing Crucible, preparing for Williams, and my all-time top five snooker stars

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Bingham ready for a tough Crucible opener against debutant Carty

STUART BINGHAM says he is prepared for a tough test after drawing Crucible debutant Ashley Carty in his World Championship this weekend.

The six-time ranking event winner from Essex will face Rotherham’s unseeded Carty in a best-of-19 clash over two sessions on Friday (July 31) and Saturday.

World No 82 Carty, 25, held off a late comeback to beat Rob Milkins 10-8 in his final qualifying match and then gave an emotional post-match interview after picking up a result which ensured he kept his Tour card and booked a first appearance at snooker’s top tournament.

Reigning Masters champion Bingham, who is the 14th seed in Sheffield, said: “I remember when I got to the Crucible for the first time it was very emotional for me, so it is good to see how much it means to Ashley. He deserves his place after a great week for him in qualifying.

“He played well against Rob and he has improved over the past couple of years so it will be a tough game, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m driving up as we speak and I’m looking forward to Friday morning and getting going.

“I think I might have seen Ashley play in a ProAm in Leeds but I don’t recall actually playing against him so he will be an unknown quantity for me.

“But I do know he will be match sharp after coming through the qualifiers so I won’t be underestimating him at all, and I know he’ll be enjoying every minute.

“And that is the same from my point of view as I always love heading for the Crucible.

“I was talking to my new coach Gary Filtness last night and this morning, and he said he see how I have switched from being a bit anxious to much more up for it today.

“And that is the case. I really can’t wait for it all to get started now and I’m hoping to make some more unforgettable memories again this year.”

PODCAST: Stuart Bingham Career Milestones – Winning in Wales with Marnie… and redemption after betting ban

Snooker pro Stuart Bingham chats to sports journalist James Colasanti about his 2017 Welsh Open win around the time of the birth of his daughter Marnie, his betting ban, and his tearful comeback win at the 2018 English Open.

 

The BallRun E23 with Cue Creator – Pleased with showing in Milton Keynes, looking ahead to the Crucible, and the best curry house in Laindon!

The Delhi Akash Fusion Indian Takeaway in Laindon, Essex, is offering NHS workers a free meal for a month from July 22, 2020, to say thank you for all their hard work during the Covid-19 pandemic. For further details click here.

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Bingham looking forward to latest Ronnie battle despite cabin fever in Milton Keynes

STUART BINGHAM is looking forward to his latest battle with Ronnie O’Sullivan during the next stage of snooker’s Championship League tomorrow (June 8).

Ball-Run progressed after topping Group 1 following a 3-0 win over Jamie Clarke, and two 2-2 draws with Jordan Brown and Ricky Walden.

The world No 13 is now through to a winners’ Group C on Tuesday where he will face O’Sullivan, Harvey Chandler and yet-to-be-confirmed winner of Group 6, which will be concluded today (June 8).

O’Sullivan has not lost a frame so far in a non-ranking event being played behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes due to the Covid-19 measures.

Bingham said: “It all still feels a little bit odd because I am one of these players who would normally always play in every event I can to keep my sharpness up.

“Playing the first three matches will help – after being in certain situations – and I’ve been practicing the past couple of days, but it does still feel a bit alien.

“I think it is different for everyone but you just have to try and find your feet when the matches start.

“Some players have been practicing throughout the lockdown and some might have only had a week or two since we learned about this tournament.

“You can put in all the hours on your own but when it comes to a match it is a bit different.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow now and I was lucky enough to commentate on Ronnie’s last match. It looks like he is striking the ball well and he is a match for anyone, at any time.

“And when you are not sharp and you are playing someone like Ronnie it is going to be an uphill battle from the start.

“But you just have to keep your focus on your own game and play the shot in front of you.

“It got a bit twitchy at the end in my first group but hopefully I can avoid that again and put on a good show.”

The venue has an on-site hotel, allowing players and staff to be contained on the complex without having to leave, and everyone involved gets Covid-19 testing everyday.

Bingham added: “I came up last Tuesday to do some commentary work and it was a bit surreal.

“I was isolated and did the test – which wasn’t pleasant. I didn’t realise they could put something that far up your nose!

“You have to have it done when you come into the building, and that more or less made up my mind about staying here and not going home.

“Michele brought me up some more clothes and dropped it at the front door at the hotel, and they put it in an airlock and made sure it was all safe.

“And we are in what they call a bubble here. It means you are not allowed out of certain barriers and it is sign-posted where we can and can’t go.

“So there is a bit of cabin fever setting in. Especially after you have your test because after you are marched to your hotel room and you are not allowed out until you get the all-clear. You get the test done around 3-4pm and get the results between 11am and midday the next day.

“Luckily I signed up for Netflix a couple of weeks ago and it is just about keeping me sane. I’ve been watching The Last Dance and After Life, and I’d recommend both if people haven’t seen them.”

PODCAST: Stuart Bingham Career Milestones – On top of the World in 2015

Stuart Bingham chats to sports journalist James Colasanti about his second ranking title win at the Shanghai Masters in 2014 and his crowning career glory to date – becoming world champion at the Crucible in 2015.

PODCAST: Stuart Bingham Career Milestones – Striking gold in Bendigo in 2011

Stuart Bingham chats to sports journalist James Colasanti about his ‘journeyman’ decade after the millennium, first career ranking win in Australia and birth of son Shae in 2011, Premier League win in 2012, and marrying Michelle in 2013.

PODCAST: Stuart Bingham Career Milestones – On top of the world down under in 1996

Stuart Bingham chats to sports journalist James Colasanti about his breakthrough 1996 IBSF World Snooker Championship win in New Zealand and how it kick-started his love affair with snooker. 

The BallRun E22 with Cue Creator – Self-isolating with a cough, surreal trip to Gibraltar, and gutted at Crucible postponement

The BallRun E21 with Cue Creator – Looking forward to winners’ group in Leicester, fine margins at the Shoot Out, and hoping coronavirus does not kibosh Gibraltar trip

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Bingham looking forward to another shot at the Shoot-Out

STUART BINGHAM admits he never enters the Shoot-Out with any expectations at all.

Ballrun will get underway against fellow former world champion Graeme Dott at 8pm on Thursday, February 20, in an event which will see 128 players compete in one-frame matches over ten minutes, with a 15-second then ten-second shot-clock in place.

He said: “It’s not the sort of event you can really practice for. You can break off badly or foul and that can be it for you.

“Funnily enough I was tipping Graeme to do well in this before the draw was made, and now I’ve got to play him.

“I think with the shot-clock you do have more time than you think, although those beeps do hurry you up!

“And there is a lot to it because you have to use the table to your advantage in terms of where you need to be to take your next shot. The crowd also plays a huge part and it can be good to get them onside.

“Because it can be over and you can be out so quickly, I guess you just have to treat it like your stage for as long as it lasts.

“It is still a ranking tournament and therefore important but it is one where you can’t have too many expectations. For a couple of years I got knocked out after flukes, and in another I made the final. So I’ll just take it as it comes.”

Bingham will arrive at the Watford Colosseum on the back of a hard-to-take black-ball final-frame decider defeat in round three of the Welsh Open to Yan Bingtao, who lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Shaun Murphy.

Former Welsh champion Bingham had progressed with wins over Martin Gould (4-2) and Chen Feilong.

And the Essex-based pro started in Wales on the back of a first-hurdle defeat at the Grand Prix to John Higgins – a player who has been a thorn in Bingham’s side many times already this season.

The reigning Masters champion added: “It was tough to take against Yan because I left him needing a snooker with four reds left and I was 34 up with  27 on. I think if I’d potted a black we would have shaken hands and that would have been that.

“But he got me in three awful snookers and stayed calm to see it through. So well done to him.

“I think he is the best player in China at the moment and the fact he only lost to Murphy in a decider shows you how much he has improved. So it was just one of those days, but it will hurt for a while.”

The BallRun E20 with Chamberlain 1875 – Masters’ magical atmosphere, sleep deprivation, haters… and gearing up for the Grand Prix

The BallRun E19 with Chamberlain 1875 – Basildon Sweep, comeback against Kyren… and getting ready for Gilbert

The BallRun E18 with Chamberlain 1875 – Cheering on Fallon at the darts, bad day at the office in Barnsley, and a New Year fitness drive

Chamberlain 1875

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Bingham planning to stay sharp for the Masters with table-time over Christmas

STUART BINGHAM says he plans to spend quite a bit of time on the practice table this Christmas in order to stay sharp for one of his favourite events of the season – the Masters.

Ball-run gets underway at the Triple Crown invitational against Mark Williams in the last of the first-round matches at 8pm on Wednesday, January 15.

Before that the Essex pro has qualifiers against Duane Jones in the European Masters (Dec 18) and Lu Ning (Dec 20) in the German Masters in Barnsley, and Bingham admits it will be a bit of a work-through for him in the festive period.

He said: “I’m going to keep playing through it with maybe a day off here and there, but I’ll keep playing.

“I think looking back I had too much time off in the summer. And I’ve never really done very well at the Masters, so I’d like to change that.

“I’ve got Mark Williams in my first match on the Wednesday night and to be honest that will be the longest I will have been in the Masters for a while because it is last up! So it will be nice to be there for longer than a day!

“So I’ll stay on the table as much as I can over Christmas, even if it is just an hour a day to keep my arm moving and then try and get some games in early January to gear up for the Masters.

“But I’m still looking forward to having a bit of time off with the kids and the family. We are going out locally for Christmas dinner this year. We normally have about 16-18 people round but Michelle didn’t want to do it this year so we decided to go out this time.”

Bingham enjoyed a three-match winning run at the UK Championship at the start of December against Lei Peifan (6-4), Martin Gould (6-4) and Zhao Xintong (6-1) before a 6-4 defeat to John Higgins, who also knocked him out of the World Open and Champion of Champions this winter.

But on Wednesday he suffered a frustrating early exit from the Scottish Open following a 4-2 defeat to Matthew Stevens.

After that match Bingham was subjected to dreadful online abuse from an internet troll in which the poster said highly distasteful things about his family.

Ball-run, who re-posted the comment and tagged in World Snooker to highlight the problem, said: “Nine times out of ten with this sort of thing it is a guy who has bet on me at 2-0 up and I lose 4-2 and they take their frustrations out on social media.

“I realise that I am in the public eye and will sometimes get this sort of thing aimed at me, but when it is vile comments about your family and your kids that crosses a line.

“Normally I would just block them but in this case I tagged World Snooker in to let them know what players have to put up with.

“I also just like to make these idiots famous for a couple of days because I know that they get lots back off of everyone who can then see how poorly they conduct themselves online.”

The BallRun E17 with Chamberlain 1875 – Enjoyable trip to the new Antwerp Snooker Academy, sixth career 147, and a look ahead to the UK Championship

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Bingham hoping to reproduce sensational form in Coventry clash with Higgins

STUART BINGHAM is looking to replicate some of the sensational form he showed at the World Open when he embarks on a bit of a “revenge” mission against John Higgins at the Champion of Champions this week.

Ball-Run caught the eye of the snooker world when he knocked in four tons to beat newly-crowned English Open champ Mark Selby 5-2 in China last week.

It came after scratchy wins over Nigel Bond (5-3) and Jimmy Robertson (5-3), and before a 5-2 last-eight defeat to Higgins, who Bingham will break off against in Coventry at 4pm this Thursday (Nov 7).

The 2019 Gibraltar Open champion said: “One shot changed the match against Selby, he went in off with a chance to go 3-0 up and something just clicked for me. I’ve never played that well in a nine-frame match before.

“I was just in the zone and everytime I went into the pack I got nice splits.

“I didn’t realise I’d made four tons until afterwards and I guess that is the best way to beat Mark Selby. After the way he played in the final at the English Open, I knew it would be tough.

“I’m not sure what clicked but I’d love to bottle it and replicate it all the time, starting in Coventry this week.”

Higgins lost a deciding frame in best-of-11 against eventual World Open champion Judd Trump in the last four.

Bingham added: “I shook John’s hand after our match and said I’d try and get my revenge at the Champion of Champions, and he had a little chuckle.

But I’m looking forward to it. We’ve both just got back from China and will be trying to get over jet-lag in the coming days.

“But Coventry always plays nice and the tables they use are quite generous I think, so hopefully it will be a good match – and a good result for me!”

The BallRun E16 with Chamberlain 1875 – Buzzing to start my title defence against Kacper in Crawley, pleasing form in Leicester… and Driving Miss Daisy!

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Bingham pleased to concede only seven points in dominant win over Borg

STUART BINGHAM said he felt focussed and ready to put on a performance as he restricted his opponent to scoring just seven points against him in a 5-0 qualifying win this week.

Ballrun saw off Maltese pro Alex Borg to book his place at the World Open in Yushan, China, at the end of October, where he will face the winner of Daniel Wells versus Nigel Bond.

The world No 13 said: “It wasn’t until a friend sent me a text that I realised he had only scored seven points, so I guess it was a good performance.

“I felt a bit of pressure going into it but I practiced hard while they were playing in China and I was focussed and ready for this match.

“From the first shot I felt good and I think it was a controlled performance.

“Of course I’m glad to have qualified for the World Open – even though it takes something like 20 hours to get there!

“But it is a top event and good conditions, with big prize money, so I am looking forward to it.”

Bingham has also been busy helping World Snooker with promotional content for this month’s English Open in Crawley (October 14-20).

Ballrun will begin the defence of his title against Poland’s Kacper Filipiak on October 14.

He said: “I think he got on the Tour a couple of years ago and then dropped off before winning an amatuer tournament to get back on.

“I watched him in a match against Wenbo yesterday and, although he lost, he looked okay. So I am ready for a tough match.

“I haven’t got a great record at tournaments when I start as defending champion so hopefully I can change that here.”

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Bingham delighted to agree new partnership with watch specialists Chamberlain 1875

STUART BINGHAM is delighted to have signed a new deal to represent watchmaking specialists and snooker aficionados Chamberlain 1875. 

Ball-run will be a global ambassador for the Swiss-Belgian company, which has created the world’s first snooker watch brand.

The six-time ranking event winner is currently working with designers on a new ‘World Champion 2015’ collection to mark his crowning Crucible triumph four years ago.

There will be three models named Stuart Bingham, Ball-run and The Ambassador, and the new timepieces should be available in October.

The partnership came about after Bingham met the company’s owner Nico Smeets in August at the World Seniors Championship in Sheffield, where Chamberlain 1875 were sponsoring the highest break prize.

That meeting came about after an introduction through mutual friend Suny Singh, the boss at Dunstable Snooker Club.

Bingham said: “People know I like my watches so to get the chance to design my own watch and be an ambassador for a snooker watch is an honour.

“I’m looking forward to creating my own watch now and wearing it on TV.

“It will obviously be snooker based. Marco Fu brought out his own watch out a couple of years ago and I might take a bit of inspiration from him and put the 1-4-7 on the watch in a different colour, or maybe a diamond on there. And with travelling the world all the time maybe a dual timezone function.

“And Nico has been great. He was open with me from the start about what he wants to do and I think it’ll be a good partnership.”

Bingham was in action in Asia at the start of September and wore Chamberlain 1875’s ‘Jester from Leicester’ watch (pictured) during matches – including one in which he beat the man it takes its nickname from, Mark Selby.

At the Six Reds in Thailand he progressed well from a group which also included Ali Carter, Alexis Callewaert and Ken Doherty. He then beat Selby in the first round before a quarter-final defeat to Mark Williams.

And he had a first-round exit at the Shanghai Masters in China this week after losing 6-4 to home favourite Liang Wenbo.

Bingham said: “I played pretty well at the Six Reds considering I’d had a week off before for a family holiday in Tenerife.

“I played well against Selby but made a slow start against Mark Williams and went 4-0 down after some stupid mistakes. In that format you can’t go 4-0 down and he’s too clever to let a lead like that slip.

“And in Shanghai against Liang I left myself a mountain to climb but got it back to 5-4 with a 50 and a 60.

“Then we had a bit of safety battle behind the black and he potted a good red and a blue then fluked a red into the yellow pocket and he cleared up with the reds everywhere.

“It was hard to take but I didn’t feel great and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

The BallRun E15 with Cue Creator – Looking forward to Thailand and China visits, and an off-day against Jordan Brown

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Bingham thrilled to win 10th annual Pink Ribbon event ahead of China clash with in-form Joyce

STUART BINGHAM was delighted to win his second Pink Ribbon title ahead of a crack at his first ranking event of the season in China.

Ballrun won the much-loved charity snooker event on its tenth anniversary last week with victory over Mark Allen in the final.

In 2012 he beat Peter Lines to lift the trophy at the pro-am in Gloucester, which is organised by Paul Mount and has raised over £100,000 for breast cancer charities.

Bingham (pictured with Paul Mount at the event by Monique Limbos) said: “It’s the first time for a couple of seasons it did not clash with any other tour dates so I was delighted to be involved again, and to win it for the second time.

“It’s a great event and I’m always happy to show my support for it and for Paul Mount, who has done so much for snooker.

“It also gave me a bit of a lift in terms of playing as beating Mark Allen is never easy, and hopefully it will set me up to play well in China.”

Bingham enjoyed a 6-1 win over China’s Tian Pengfei to qualify for a first round meeting with Mark Joyce at the International Championship in Daqing on Sunday, August 4.

Joyce has just lost the final of the Riga Masters to 19-year-old Yan Bingtao.

Bingham said: “I’ve often tended to draw people in good form, and that’s what has happened again here.

“Everybody knows that the flights affected Riga, but Mark still had a great week regardless of that.

“He’s a guy I know fairly well and he had come to my house before to practice. And I think he beat me the last time we played.

“He had a bad year last year but he has clearly turned that around so he will be a dangerous opponent, that’s for sure.”

The BallRun E14 with Cue Creator – Charity snooker marathon, sport’s Super Sunday, and a look ahead to Joyce clash in China

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Bingham: New tattoo shows the story of my career… so far

STUART BINGHAM says he is very pleased with his new career-illustrating tattoo – but admits it was one of the most painful experiences of his life!

Ballrun’s back is now completely covered with imagery which depicts animals representing the countries where he has won his six ranking titles.

There are three lions to denote World and English championship success, and a koala to denote his first title win in Australia in 2011.

There is also a Chinese dragon marking the 2014’s Shanghai Masters victory, a Welsh dragon for the 2017 win in Wales, and a Barbary ape for the most recent title at the 2019 Gibraltar Open.

The design also includes the name of Bingham’s son Shae, and the centre piece is his 2015 World Championship trophy.

The work was done by Wickford-based tattoo artist Paul Boxall (pictured with Bingham). His company is Brothers in Arts Tattoo and Paul can be found on Instagram at user name @paulboxalltattoo

Bingham said: “I’m really pleased with it but having it done absolutely killed at times and I can’t recommend having a tattoo done on your shoulder blades!

“A couple of years ago I didn’t have a single one and now I have quite a few.

“It was actually Mark King who started me off and he said, ‘Once you get one done you won’t stop.’ And he was right.

“I’ve got Marine’s name at the top of my arm and next I want to get the sleeve done.

“But I am definitely a bit short on space on my back now so if I win a few more titles then I think they’ll have to go on top of my shoulders!

“I met Paul when Marnie was ill and we were at Basildon hospital. His son was in the opposite bed. He recognised me and we got chatting. So I guess it was just meant to be.”

Ballrun’s season started with a 4-1 defeat to China’s Li Hang at the Riga Masters qualifiers.

But he has just enjoyed a 6-1 win over China’s Tian Pengfei to qualify for a first round meeting with Mark Joyce at the International Championship in Daqing (August 4-11).

Bingham added: “I didn’t start too well against Li Hang and the the wheels fell off a little bit. I was trying to find my game and a bit rusty.

“So was not looking forward to my second game, and he made 116 in the first frame. But I settled down and potted a few balls and played okay in the end.

“Now I am looking forward to Daqing. I think I’ve got to the semi there before and the tables run nice so hopefully I can have a good run.”

The BallRun E13 with Cue Creator – Birthday treat, extended summer break and looking to break back into the top eight

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Bingham admits he never hit top form at the Crucible this year

STUART BINGHAM admits he never really hit top gear at the Crucible this year, despite holding good leads over two fellow world champions before his second-round exit.

Ballrun went out of the 2019 World Championships following a 13-11 defeat to four-time world champion John Higgins, who has since progressed to a semi-final meeting with Dave Gilbert.

The clash with the Wizard of Wishaw was an epic back-and-forth and thoroughly enjoyable to watch, but 2015 world champion Bingham felt he never really produced his A-game.

He said: “I think I started this match with a bit of confidence lost after what happened with Graeme.

“So to go 4-1 up was unbelievable because I didn’t feel good in my own game. And it going 4-4 made it interesting for the next session.

“We both threw everything at each other and it was a good session, and I really enjoyed that. It is just a shame I couldn’t come out on top.”

Bingham led 8-1 at one stage in his first-round win over 2006 world champion Graeme Dott – which ended in as a nerve-wracking 10-9 victory.

Ballrun said: “I think 8-1 was flattering and then we had the second session when he just took the game to me.

“I didn’t really get much of a chance in the first four frames and I think I was lucky to go 9-4 up instead of 8-5.

“And everyone knows what happened after that. I had a couple of chances to wrap it up and in the end managed to hold it together to win the decider.”

Bingham lost frame 16 after three consecutive misses and admits it was a moment to forget.

He said: “That more or less summed up what was happening on that night. I’ve never done it before. Normally if you miss twice you just make sure you hit the ball on the third shot.

“But wherever I was going I was leaving a red on so I thought I would just try to hit the red half ball and leave the white on the top cushion.

“As I’ve hit it I don’t know if I’ve just cued across the white or it has rolled off a little bit or what. But I knew as the ball was half way down the table I could be in trouble here.”

Bingham and fellow pros are now waiting to see the new calendar for next season from World Snooker, which is due out next week, but is likely to return to action in a qualifier in early June.

The BallRun E12 with Cue Creator – world opener against Dott, men to beat at the Crucible, and flying up to Sheffield!

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Bingham thrilled with China maximum but rues missed opportunity

STUART BINGHAM was predictably delighted with his fifth career maximum at the China Open – but admitted his last-eight exit left him thinking the event might have been one that got away.

The Essex star put together an expertly controlled 147 in a 6-3 win over Peter Ebdon in Beijing. It earned him a tidy £27,000 and means there are only four other players who have had more maximums in competitive snooker.

And incredibly Ballrun’s latest maxi came exactly a year after his last – at the same tournament, in the same round (last 32) in the same frame (seventh) – and after a re-rack!

Ballrun said: “For that moment it is the ultimate frame, I suppose if is like a hole-in-one in golf – but harder as it requires 36 perfect shots!

“I felt in control throughout the break and I’ve felt that I’ve been knocking on the door in the last few tournaments to make a max.

“My main goal would be to knock in a 147 at the Crucible and I’ve come close a few times there. But I think any time you do it, it’s a great achievement.”

Bingham beat Elliot Slessor (6-0), Ebdon (6-3) and Rod Lawler (6-1) before a 6-5 quarter-final defeat to Jack Lisowski in Beijing.

He added: “I think there was definitely a good chance for me to get to the final, and I was playing well enough to maybe even win it.

“I’ve always found the conditions at the China Open play really nice. You’ve had Selby winning it the past few years and Neil this time around. It brings out the best in the best players.

“So to lose 6-5 to Jack on the black was hard. I didn’t start great at 3-0 down but once I got my teeth into it I felt like I had it. But the balls just didn’t split for me in the decider and he has pulled out a great clearance.”

Bingham now has a short break as he prepares for his latest appearance at the World Championships when snooker’s main event gets underway on April 20.

Ballrun will be seeded 12th and will face a qualifier in his opening match on Tuesday, April 23.

* And stuartbingham.com will have a pre-tournament podcast with Ballrun next week.

The BallRun E11 with Cue Creator – Glory in Gibraltar, busy recent run, and a look ahead to Ronnie clash in Wales

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Bingham hoping to blow off some steam at the Shoot-Out

STUART BINGHAM says he is looking forward to “a bit of relief” from a relentless schedule when he breaks off at the Shoot-Out on Friday (February 22).

Ballrun gets underway against Matthew Stevens in the shot-clock ranking event at Watford Colosseum tomorrow.

It comes days after Bingham lost the Welsh Open final to Neil Robertson (9-7) and beat Chen Zifan (6-2) in a China Open qualifier – and just ahead of the Indian Open and Players Championship events.

Bingham, a Shoot-Out finalist in 2014, said: “I think the Shoot-Out now feels like a bit of everything.

“It is a bit of relief and a bit of fun – but then also because of the ranking points there is a little bit of pressure on it.

“Those points can make a hell of a difference. I think at the moment I am ninth on the Tour Championship, where you need to be in the top eight.

“And a few people around me have not entered the Shoot-Out so it can make a difference when it comes to getting into something like that.

“But you can’t really prepare for it – it is literally on that ten minutes and whether you play well or not.

“And your opponent comes massively into it because they have to miss a ball and leave you up or foul or whatever.

“A couple of years on the trot my opponent has fluked the first red and made 40 – and that’s your tournament over. So we’ll see how it goes.”

And five days on from defeat to Robertson, Bingham was philosophical about going so close to claiming his second Welsh Open crown in Cardiff (the pair are pictured above in a photo from World Snooker).

Ballrun, who hit 11 centuries during a week in wins over Ali Carter, Matt Selt, Martin O’Donnell, Robbie Williams, Zhao Xintong and Joe O’Connor, said: “It was good to be in a final but obviously I’m gutted about the way it finished.

“I’d been playing solidly all week and beat some good friends along the way, and they had some good words for me about it.

“Funnily enough it is on Eurosport right now. I played some really good stuff and also missed some absolute sitters – and there is another one on the screen now – so I think I might turn it off!”

In early February it was a second round exit at the World Grand Prix for Ballrun following a 4-0 defeat to Kyren Wilson. That came after a 4-1 opening round win over Zhao Xintong.

The BallRun E10 with Cue Creator – Zhao test in Cheltenham, chilly trip to Berlin, and why it was good to be back at Ally Pally

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Bingham shows class in Coventry ahead of his Masters return

STUART BINGHAM is looking forward to his Masters return – but admits he could not have a bigger first hurdle to overcome.

Ballrun, who missed last year’s event because of a ban, starts on Monday (Jan 14) at 1pm in front of a sell-out Ally Pally crowd against seven-time Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Bingham said: “It’s the elite 16 and it would be special to win it. It is the biggest invitation event and, in terms of titles I’d still like to win, it has got to be joint second for me with the UK.

“It will be tough of course starting off against Ronnie and I think the key for me will be enjoying it.

“I’ll probably only have one or two percent of the crowd on my side.

“I played him a few years ago in the semis there and it can get a bit off-putting if, say, the white is going near the pocket and people are shouting, ‘get in’. But that’s what you have to deal with the backing he gets.

“But I feel like my game is there and I was gutted to lose in the semis at the UK before Christmas as I felt as if I could have given him a good run in that final.

“But it will be tough, I think my record is something like 14-3 in his favour, so that’s what I’m up against.

“And it was hard missing the Masters last year. It was the first time I’d missed it since moving into the top 16 in 2011.

“I did watch it just to get the vibes back for the game a bit but I can hopefully make amends for that this year.”

Bingham will arrive at the Masters in good form after booking his place in the Championship Winners’ Group at Barnsley Metrodome on March 13-14.

Ballrun beat world No 1 Mark Selby in the Group 4 final at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on Thursday evening after other notable wins over others including Ali Carter and Luca Brecel.

Bingham said: “It is an event I won in 2015 and I’m glad to get through again.

“I don’t know how I won my first frame against Luca, I maybe had a bit of the rub at the right time.

“But I kicked on and felt good all day after that and I felt my game was in good shape.”

The BallRun E9 with Cue Creator – Semi-final heartache in York, Ronnie’s record-breaking win, and Scottish Open opener against Tian Pengfei

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Bingham ready to face challenge of unorthodox Sunny Akani

STUART BINGHAM admits he will need to bring his A-game to overcome the unusual style of rising star Thai Sunny Akani in their UK Championship clash tomorrow evening (Dec 6).

Former Asian junior champion Akani (pictured), 23, who has seen off Eden Sharav, James Cahill and Jak Jones to progress to the fourth round, has a distinctive approach to his shots and uses the rest in an unorthodox way.

Ballrun said: “He is one of the new breed of players coming through and has had some good results, so I am expecting a tough game.

“And he’s very deliberate in the way he plays shots, with a unique pre-shot routine, and it is hard not to get involved and watch it.

“And the way he uses the rest under his arm is also very distinctive and he plays it as though he is not even using a rest, with the cue on top of his hand. It is one of those things you have to see.

“And although he is not slow he takes his time on shots so that is something I will have to be ready for.

“But in his win last night he made four or five breaks over 50 so I will need to be at my best to progress.”

Bingham has beaten James Wattana (6-0), Kurt Maflin (6-5) and David Gilbert (6-2 and with a 145 break) so far this week at the York Barbican.

He added: “To be fair to Kurt he played very well and I am a bit fortunate to still be in after that match.

“He made five breaks over 50 to win his frames but in the decider he was on 40-odd and missed an easy green and that let me in.

“I started off like a house on fire against Dave and got in straight away and made a 145 then missed on 102 when I was on for another 145.

“Dave has improved his game this year and I knew I was in for a good game and I had to be on my game to beat him but I got the job done.”

The BallRun E8 with Cue Creator – Why the Home Nations million pound prize will never be won, comedown after English Open joy, and this month’s return to the UK Champs

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Bingham cherishes “priceless” family moment after English Open win

STUART BINGHAM admits having his wife and children there to enjoy his English Open win made it “priceless” after a testing year for his family.

Ballrun gave a tearful winner’s speech after claiming the title and £70,000 top prize with a 9-7 win over good pal Mark Davis in Crawley on Sunday evening.

It was the Essex star’s first ranking title since the 2017 Welsh Open and first since returning from a three-month ban for breaching betting rules.

Bingham and his wife Michelle, along with daughter Tegan, 15, son Shae, seven, and baby Marnie, 22 months, all posed with the Steve Davis Trophy for the cameras on another memorable night for the family from Bowers Gifford.

Marnie stole the show by playing with the shiny confetti as she sat on the snooker table, and Shae took his place sitting on the sofa between his dad and star Ronnie O’Sullivan for the live post match TV interview.

Bingham’s manager Gary Purkiss was also the butt on an inside joke as he took his seat on the sofa when host Andy Goldstein referred to him as Bingham’s dad!

Bingham said: “It might not have happened like that as Michelle was going to leave Marnie with a friend. But I said I wanted them all up there in case I got my hands on that trophy. I said, ‘I want that picture’.

“And last night when we were trying to get to sleep Michelle said she was so happy that she did bring all of them because we could never get that back. So it was priceless and another occasion we will never forget.”

The victory meant Bingham is now one of only 18 players to have won five or more ranking titles, and saw him jump from 15th to 11th in the world rankings.

It also earned him a place in the Champion of Champions tournament in Coventry next month, a spot at February’s World Grand Prix, and a likely berth at March’s Players Championship.

Bingham beat Duane Jones, Hossein Vafaei, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Ricky Walden and Stephen Maguire on route to the final with Davis.

But Sunday’s win was slightly bitter-sweet as it came against a close friend in Davis, who had reached his first ranking final in 27 years as a professional.

Bingham, 42, and Davis, 46, have been friends for over 20 years, they practice together, regularly play golf together and their families often socialise together.

Bingham said: “I’ve played Mark a number of times and always find him hard to beat.

“He gets through all his qualifiers but had never really produced it out on the main stage.

“But over the last week he produced it by beating John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan really well, so he will take a lot from that.”

Next up for Bingham is a match with Scotland’s Eden Sharav on Sunday, October 28, at the International Championship in China.

Bingham said: “I think that will be a tough match. He had a good run in the English Open before Ronnie beat him.

“So it will be a tough game as I am sure he will want to topple my form after my good week in Crawley.”

The BallRun E7 with Cue Creator – Thoughts ahead of matches with Chen Feilong and Duane Jones…and why I hate losing to Mark King!

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Bingham: Future of snooker in China looks very promising

STUART BINGHAM says it is great to see snooker flourishing in China after kicking off his Shanghai Masters campaign with an impressive win.

Ballrun had a 140 break as he beat 17-year-old Chinese amateur Fan Zhengyi at the game’s richest invitational this morning (Sep 10).

And Shaun Murphy’s withdrawal from the 24-man event – which has a prize fund of £725,000 – due to personal reasons means it has already guaranteed the Essex star a quarter-final spot.

Bingham, who won the Shanghai Masters in 2014 when it was a ranking event, said: “I think most of the tournaments from now on will grow in prize money so that’s great for the game and the players of course.

“But here in China, when one tournament makes the prize money big, the other tournaments seem to follow suit so the future of snooker in China is looking good.”

Ballrun arrived in China after a good display at the SangSom 6 Red World Championship in Bangkok, Thailand.

He topped group C, which contained James Wattana, Shachar Ruberg and Mark King, then beat Marco Fu 6-2 in the last 16, before a 4-6 defeat to eventual champion Kyren Wilson in the last eight.

Bingham said: It’s not nice losing but if you do to the eventual winner then it isn’t so bad.

Kyren went 2-0 up and I pulled him back to 2-2 but he won the next three and it was an up hill struggle from there.

“I got it back to 5-4 but he saw it through. But it is always a good tournament and I’ve made some great friends in Thailand so hope to go back next year.”

Bingham also admitted it was a relief to secure three important qualifier wins last month after a 4-1 Indian Open success against Chris Totten, 5-4 China Championship win over Craig Steadman, and 4-3 European Masters victory against Jamie Jones.

He added: “I was very relieved to get my season going after the disappointment of the first two tournaments.

“I played okay in three matches, scored well against Chris, and okay against Jamie Jones, but I felt that could have gone either way.

“My last match with Craig Steadman was a bit strange. He played well to go 4-2 up from 2-2 at the break and then I think I dragged him down because I haven’t got a clue how I won it eventually 5-4 on the final black.

“But those three wins have given me some momentum now for the upcoming tournaments and I look forward to go deep in few hopefully.”

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Bingham looking to rediscover snooker mojo during week of qualifiers

STUART BINGHAM admits he will be just trying to rediscover his enjoyment for the game during a week where he will play three qualifiers in Preston.

Ballrun faces Chris Totten in the Indian Open at 4pm on Wednesday (Aug 15) and then Jamie Jones in the European Masters (Saturday, 1pm) before a meeting with Criag Steadman in the China Championship (Monday, 10am).

It comes after back-to-back defeats for the Essex pro at the start of a campaign when a hospital visit for his son was his top priority.

Bingham said: “The way this season has started I would just be happy to get myself going this week, and if I could perhaps qualify for two out of three I think I’d be happy with that.

“These best-of-sevens are always a bit of a leveler and all three of my opponents will give me tough matches, I know that.

“But this will be more about just getting my enjoyment of the game back really, and if I can start well against Chris then hopefully I can build from there.”

Bingham is one of a number of top players who will not be playing at the Paul Hunter Classic between August 22-26 in the Stadhalle, Furth, Germany.

He explained: “After Preston I have earmarked that time to spend with my family, and it is also the case that tournament is quite low in terms of prize money now.

“It is a shame because I know it is a popular event with the fans and attracts good crowds, but that’s just the way it is.”

Ballrun travelled up to Preston on Tuesday afternoon and he bumped into singer James Bourne from the pop group Busted.

Bingham added: “I think he is from Southend, so not too far from where I live, and he said he liked to watch snooker.

“But I was not too sure who he was at first, and he didn’t know me – which made another guy sitting nearby chuckle as I think he realised who I was.”

The BallRun E6 with Cue Creator – Why I chose snooker not golf, early season defeats… and how hospital visit put things into perspective

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Ballrun ready to face Chinese duo as season gets underway in Preston

STUART BINGHAM admits he is “itching” to return to action as his season gets underway with qualifiers against two Chinese players in Preston this week. 

Ballrun breaks off against Niu Zhuang at 7pm on Tuesday (July 3) for a spot at the Riga Masters, and then faces Zhang Andu at 7pm on Friday with a place at the World Open up for grabs.

The world No 13 has enjoyed an extended summer break with his family at home in Essex and feels refreshed and focused heading into the new campaign.

Bingham said: “I’ve had a nice summer and played a bit of golf in recent weeks but now I am itching to get back on the table.

“I don’t think I have played Niu before but I recognise him and I will not be underestimating him of course.

“I have played Andu a couple of times and I used to practice with him at the Grove in Romford. He’s a good player and probably a bit underestimated.

“With the Chinese players I have found that they can play some bad matches and lose focus, but they can also pull great performances and results out of the bag at any time.

“But as always the key for me will just be concentrating on my own game.”

Bingham also revealed he has had a chance to get some useful work done with his coach Terry Griffiths this summer.

He added: “I saw him in Gloucester a couple of weeks ago and we had a bite to eat and spoke about my game and career, and the next day worked on some things on the table.

“He his a very funny guy when you get to know him and a real character, but he also really knows his stuff so when he talks you listen.

“It’s great to be working with Terry again for this season and I hope it will help with putting some good results together.”

The BallRun E5 with Cue Creator – Summer break, working with Terry, upcoming qualifiers… and the World Cup

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Bingham aiming to ‘hit the ground running’ in the next campaign after season to forget

STUART BINGHAM admitted it had been a season to forget despite some encouraging results – and vowed to “hit the ground running” in the next campaign.

Ballrun made the final of the European Masters in October, losing to Judd Trump, and the final of the Romanian Masters in March, where he lost out to Ryan Day.

After his return from a three-month suspension for breaking betting rules, the Basildon-based pro also made the quarter-finals of the Gibraltar Open and China Open this spring, and knocked in the fourth maximum of his career at the latter event.

But Bingham, who finished the term ranked world No 13, admits it was year he will want to forget overall.

He said: “It is hard to reflect on it without thinking about the ban, but what happened either side is positive for me.

“Working with Terry Griffiths this year was good and I look forward to doing that again next season.

“So I have things to work on and I am hoping to hit the ground running after having a little bit of time off.

“I’ve got some exhibitions over the next couple of weeks but I’ll just enjoy the time off with my family and spending some time at our caravan.

“So in terms of performances I think it was a good season really without the ban, which puts a sour taste on it.”

The 2015 world champion saw his tilt at snooker’s biggest prize in 2018 ended by a first-round 10-7 defeat to Jack Lisowski and felt he had just run into a man in great form.

He said: “I don’t think Jack could’ve played much better in the circumstances. It was an open game and he hardly missed a ball really, simple as that.

“I didn’t play badly but missed a couple of balls when it mattered, but all in all I just came up against someone who was hot on the day.”

Ballrun also praised the quality of this year’s Crucible final, which saw Welshman Mark Williams claim a thrilling victory over fellow veteran John Higgins.

He added: “The clearance John Higgins made at 17-15 was just unbelievable. And for Williams to then after that put together his break was just amazing.

“He’s obviously had a good season and topped it off with his third world championship, so well done to him.”

Bingham is now looking forward to a well-earned break from the game before returning to competitive action in a qualifier for the Riga Masters on July 2.

The BallRun E4 – Jack Lisowski, the Crucible’s even playing field… and flying a two-man plane!

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Bingham pleased with fourth career 147 and Crucible spot secured in China

STUART BINGHAM admitted it was job done after hitting a fourth career 147 at the China Open on his way to securing his place at this year’s World Championship.

Ballrun beat Matthew Stevens (6-5), Ricky Walden (6-5) and Graeme Dott (6-2) before losing 6-0 to Neil Robertson at the quarter-final stage in Beijing.

The 2015 world champion and now world No 12 is now watching the qualifiers to see who he will face in round one at the Crucible this year on Tuesday, April 24.

Bingham said: “I was gutted with how it went against Neil, I did not turn up and he said after it was probably the best he had played all year.

“But going there was about securing the top 16 place so I guess it was job done.

“To come through 6-5 against Matthew Stevens from 5-3 down and to beat Ricky with a max – which is always hard to win a match when you get a max – was pleasing.

“That win over Ricky secured my place so was the most important.

“I felt really comfortable against Graeme Dott, so to get to 12th when I was looking at 15th or 16th was very important and I’ll certainly take the positives from it.

“They make the draw for the World Championship on the Thursday before the tournament so I’m looking forward to that. But for now it is a case of getting over my jet lag from China and getting back on the practice table.”

Bingham earned half of £42,000 in prize money in China – along with Ronnie O’Sullivan – for his maximum break in the seventh frame of his last 32 win over Walden.

It is the fourth 147 of Ballrun’s career, the others coming against Walden in the 2012 final of the Wuxi Classic, in 2005 in a Masters qualifier against Marcus Campbell, and in 1999 in a UK Tour event against Barry Hawkins.

Bingham said: “I felt pretty calm about it to be fair and I was fortunate to get the chance to make it happen.

“It was 3-3 and I was about 20 in front but was busting to go to the loo, and Ricky needed to go to.

“When we walked back in the ref had racked the balls up but we hadn’t said re-rack.

“We went to the tournament office and they ended up getting a picture of how the table was – so in the end I said let’s just start the frame again. And that was the one I made the 147 – so I guess it was just meant to be!”

The BallRun E3 – Final defeat to Ryan Day in Romania, Players Championship permutations, and crunch clash with Matthew Stevens in China

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Bingham looking ahead to crunch clash with Stevens in China

STUART BINGHAM is looking for a positive run in Romania this week ahead of a hugely important clash with Matthew Stevens in China early next month.

Ballrun will face Welshman Stevens in his opening match at the China Open (April 2-8) knowing a victory will go a long way towards securing his top 16 spot and an automatic place at the 2018 World Championship.

But before that he will take on Aussie Neil Robertson in at the Romanian Snooker Masters invitational at 7pm on Wednesday (March 14).

Bingham said: “I’m looking forward to Romania. It will be the top 16 bar a couple, so it should be good quality.

“And it is a venue I’ve played at before in an exhibition against Ronnie O’Sullivan. that was in front of a crowd of about 2,000 and the atmosphere was great.

“I’d like to have a good run ahead of my match with Matthew in China, which could be vital in my own race to the Crucible.

“I’ve just had a look and I am 15th in the rankings ahead of the Players Championship so that match in Beijing could be crucial for me.”

Bingham reached the last eight of the Gibraltar Open last week with wins over Andrew Higginson (4-0), Mark King (4-2), Noppon Saengkham (4-2) and Ken Doherty (4-1).

The Essex pro went out in the quarter-finals to China’s Cao Yupeng, who lost the final to Ryan Day.

Bingham said: “It was just some bad form from me early on against Cao and then he took advantage by not missing a ball in the final three frames. And that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

The BallRun E2 – Thoughts ahead of Jackson Page match and win over Chen, and why beating Mark Williams was especially sweet

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Bingham eyes up likely clash with Mark Williams in Preston

STUART BINGHAM admitted it was “job done” after his good showing at the Shoot Out set up a likely clash with in-form Mark Williams at the Grand Prix in Preston next week.

Ballrun’s three wins at the single-frame event in Watford were enough to secure his top 32 spot, despite a last 16 defeat to Mark Davis on Sunday evening.

Bingham said: “Mark potted a great long red to get in and then played well to be fair to him.

“I played a decent snooker and that gave me a chance when I was in the middle of the reds.

“I thought I was on one but at the last minute – as I was about to pull the trigger – I thought, ‘that doesn’t go’ and I missed it.

“In a normal match I would have taken my time – but with the clock ticking in the Shoot Out you don’t get that chance.

“But the main thing going into this tournament was to keep my place in the top 32 and I did that, so it was job done.

“I think it has left me 31st and that means I am 99 per cent certain that means I will play Mark Williams in the first round of the Grand Prix.

“He is the player of the season so far but I guess he might feel he could have got an easier match than me, and I am just happy to be there.

“My next target  is to qualify for the Players Championship, and I might even need to win a tournament to do that, but my game is in good shape so I’ll give it my best shot.”

The BallRun E1 – Stuart Bingham on win over Jimmy White, Shoot Out preview, and German Masters glory for Mark Williams

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Bingham: Ban has cost me at least £150,000

STUART BINGHAM admits he cannot wait to return to action after a suspension from snooker which has cost him at least £150,000.

Ballrun will play legend Jimmy White in the China Open Qualifiers at the Barnsley Metrodome at 7.30pm on Sunday (Jan 28) after serving half of a six-month ban for betting breaches.

Bingham learnt about the ban AFTER flying out to China in late October to prepare the International Championship and had to return to the UK before his scheduled match with Robbie Williams.

He has since had to sit out tournaments including the Shanghai Masters, UK Championship, Scottish Open and snooker’s most prestigious invitation, the Masters, at Alexandra Palace this month.

The Essex pro says legal fees, guaranteed tournament takings and likely event earnings, along with the £20,000 fine have hit him hard in the pocket. It has also seen him slip down snooker’s money ranking list, which will mean he gets harder draws at future competitions.

The world No 12, who gave a full response to the sanctions at the time, said: “What I did was stupid but it was my own fault and I now have to move forward.

“It had lots of repercussions and I have felt the consequences. For example, I was due to play an event in China in July but I am now not going because of the ban.

“Now all I can do is get back on the table and work hard to rebuild.

“I think I have always been in the top 15 percent of players who work hard on the Tour so now I need to stay mentally strong and get back to going deep into as many tournaments as I can.”

Bingham’s last competitive match was a 4-3 defeat to Hossein Vafaei at the English Open on October 19 and he is delighted to be making his comeback against “boyhood hero” White.

Ballrun added: “You know what you get with Jimmy, he is a tough competitor and he always plays the game correctly.

“He is someone I have always looked up to but my focus needs to be on me because the biggest battle will be how I play after my time out.”

 

 

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Potted History

Stuart Bingham was born in Basildon Hospital on May 21, 1976, and is the youngest son of Eddie and Maureen. He has a brother called Lee.

He started his school days at Swan Mead Junior in Basildon and finished them at Barstable School.

The player nicknamed Ballrun joined the amateur ranks of the snooker world in 1990 and made his mark by winning the IBSF World Snooker Championship in New Zealand in 1996 with an 11-5 win against Stan Gorski in the final.

Bingham at the Crucible in 2000 PIC: Tom Shaw /Allsport

After breaking into the top 32 in 2006, Stuart continued to progress by entering snooker’s heralded top 16 for the first time in 2011.

That came after he had claimed his first ranking title at the Australian Goldfields Open in 2011 with a 9-8 win over Mark Williams.

Stuart with the Australian Goldfields Open trophy in 2011

That success in Bendigo proved a seminal win and sparked an incredible late flourish in the career of a player often dubbed a ‘Journeyman’ pro.

Stuart soon became one of the most consistent players on Tour and claimed the Shanghai Masters trophy in 2014 by beating Mark Allen 10-3 in the final.

Stuart with the Shanghai Masters trophy in 2014

But his crowning glory would come a year later when the Essex boy claimed one of sport’s greatest prizes by becoming world champion following a thrilling 18-15 win over Shaun Murphy at the Crucible.

The 2015 world champion with (flanking Stuart, left-to-right) brother Lee, mum Maureen, dad Eddie, wife Michelle, son Shae and daughter Tegan

Stuart picked up his fourth full ranking title in February 2017 when he beat Judd Trump 9-8 to win the Welsh Open.

2017 Welsh Open champion

Ballrun has also been runner-up in the 2012 Wuxi Classic, 2013 and 2019 Welsh Open, 2016 World Grand Prix and the 2017 Shanghai Masters.

And he has won the non-ranking 2012 Premier League Snooker as well as the 2015 Championship League. At the start of 2018 he had compiled nearly 300 century breaks during his career. And a maximum at the 2019 Northern Ireland Open took him onto six career 147s.

2018 English Open champion

And when he claimed the English Open title with a 9-7 win over Mark Davis in October 2018, Stuart became only one of 18 players to have won five or more ranking events.

Ballrun’s sixth ranking event win came after a 4-1 victory over defending champion Ryan Day at the 2019 Gibraltar Open.

2020 Masters champion

His latest magical night on the baize came in January 2020 when, at the age of 43, Bingham became the oldest Masters champion by defeating fellow Essex pro Ali Carter 10-8 in a thrilling and fluctuating final at Alexandra Palace. That left him with two out of the three Triple Crown events to his name.

Stuart has been coached by former world champion Terry Griffiths since April 2017 and has worked closely with Essex-based businessman and close friend Gary Purkiss since the start of his career.

Former world champion and Welsh snooker legend Terry Griffiths is Stuart’s coach

Away from the table, Stuart is a handy golfer and a supporter of charities including the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which gave great support to his late father-in-law Terry Shabi.

Stuart and wife Michelle with baby Marnie at the 2017 Welsh Open

Stuart married Michelle in the summer of 2013. They have three children, Tegan, Shae and Marnie, and are proud to be part of the Basildon community.

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Bingham: I broke the rules but never betted on my own matches – and I won’t appeal the suspension

STUART BINGHAM has issued the following statement on the decision of the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee on Monday, October 23, 2017:

“I accept entirely I have breached the Association’s Rules which relate to betting on snooker and I am truly sorry that I have done so. I did not attach sufficient importance to those rules and I now realise that was a mistake.

“I have never been and never will be involved in any form of match-fixing and I am grateful to the Association for confirming that there has never been any suggestion whatsoever that I was doing anything to influence match outcomes nor engaging in any corrupt activity.

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Bingham in China early to prepare for International Championship

STUART BINGHAM says he has flown out to China early to readjust to the conditions ahead of next week’s International Championship.

Ballrun will face fellow Englishman and world No 63 Robbie Williams in Daqing at the ranking event which will see the champion take home the £150,000 top prize.

Bingham said: “I think I played Robbie at this tournament before and he is starting to show what a good player he is at the moment.

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Bingham riding wave of good form into the English Open

STUART BINGHAM admits he is “riding a wave” of some excellent form at the moment and wants to use it to have an extended run at this week’s English Open. 

Ballrun beat Welshman Lee Walker 4-0 yesterday at the Barnsley Metrodome and will face the winner of today’s clash between Essex rival Mark King and China’s Fang Xiongman in his next match on Wednesday (October 18).

Bingham reached the final of the European Masters in Belgium earlier this month and since then recorded a 5-1 victory over promising German Lukas Kleckers in a qualifier for the Shanghai Masters.

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Bingham takes positives from run to final in Belgium

STUART BINGHAM felt he had an added to steel to his game in his run to the final of the European Masters in Belgium.

Ballrun lost 9-7 in a nip and tuck final to defending champion Judd Trump on Sunday evening in Lommel.

But wins over Mitchell Mann (4-2), Graeme Dott (4-0), home favourite Luca Brecel (4-2), world champion Mark Selby (4-2) and rising Chinese star Zhou Yuelong (6-4) gave the Basildon pro the belief that hard work with his new cue and new coach Terry Griffiths is now starting to pay dividends.

Bingham, who arrived back home at 5am this morning after getting the ferry back with his manager Gary Purkiss, said: “Of course I am disappointed because it does feel like another one that has gotten away.

“I think I have now lost in finals to Ricky Walden in the Wuxi Classic, Stephen Maguire at the Welsh Open, Shaun Murphy at the Grand Prix and Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Champions of Champions, and to John Higgins in an invitational, so I could easily have about eight titles now rather than four.

“But I have to be happy with the week over all and last night I out-scored Judd and I think he said he felt I outplayed him.

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Ballrun ready to weather The Storm

STUART BINGHAM is looking forward to facing his practice partner and friend Sean O’Sullivan in a qualifier tomorrow – and admits the young Londoner is an emerging talent.

World No 9 Bingham takes on the 23-year-old from Whitechapel on Tuesday (Sep 26) in Preston as he bids to secure a spot at November’s International Championship in China.

O’Sullivan (pictured), nicknamed The Storm, is in his fourth season on snooker’s top Tour and Ballrun knows he is not to be taken lightly.

He said: “I’m good friends with Sean, he has the support of a nice family and I regularly practice with him.

“He is improving all the time, he has a good cue action and a great long game that creates chances for him.

“He perhaps needs to work on his break-building a bit but he is a dangerous opponent for sure in a best-of-11 so I’ll have to be at my best.”

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Bingham ready for shoot-out with promising Jones at the Indian Open

STUART BINGHAM said he would welcome a “score fest” against Welshman Duane Jones at the Indian Open if that is how their match pads out.

Ballrun, who beat Chen Zifan to qualify, starts his campaign against Jones (pictured above), 24, tomorrow (September 13) in the fourth ranking event of the season in Visakhapatnam.

Bingham said: “I have never played him but I have heard from other players he can score well if he gets going.

“But if it is a score fest I would welcome that because it suits my game and I would back myself to come out on top.

“That said, if it is a bit cagey then I guess I’ll have to try and use my experience to tie him up a bit. We’ll see, but I am looking forward to it.

“It is a nice venue, we are a stone’s throw away from the beach and it is 35 degrees, and it does feel a bit like a place you would go on holiday. But when we get underway – I’ll be all business.”

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Bingham hopes to take fighting chance against Maguire to stay in the Six Reds

STUART BIGNHAM admits he will need to get “on a roll” against Stephen Maguire tomorrow afternoon to progress at the Sangsom Six Red World Championship after a win and a defeat from his opening two games in Bangkok.

Ballrun beat Kamal Chawla 5-2 but lost 5-1 to home favourite Akani Songsermsawad today to leave himself needing at least a 5-2 victory against Scot Maguire to secure a Group E top two spot in Thailand.

The world No 9, who lost a dramatic final to Ding Junhui last year, said: “It is 30 degree heat outside and the air con here is pretty strong and the tables are playing pretty slow, which is a challenge, especially as I am getting used to a new cue.

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Bingham admits he didn’t take his chances in Yan defeat

STUART BINGHAM admits he paid the price for not taking his chances in the 5-3 defeat to Yan Bingtao at the Evergrande China Championship.

Last season’s Rookie of the Year Yan (pictured) carried on his strong start to the season with an eye-catching win on the opening morning in in Guangzhou.

Ballrun said: “I had good preparation before heading to Hong Kong and got there a couple of days early to get use to the time difference and meet with a potential sponsor.

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Bingham gets thumbs up from Griff after three wins from three

STUART BINGHAM joked he finally managed to impress his new coach Terry Griffiths after three wins from three in qualifiers this week.

Ballrun beat Chen Zifan 4-1 in the Indian Open and Tian Pengfai 4-1 in the European Masters, then triumphed 5-1 against Me Xi Wen today (Aug 8) to secure his spot at next month’s World Open in China.

It was an excellent return on a week of back-and-forth trips on the train to the Preston Guild Hall and proof the world No 9 is adapting well to his new Cue Creator cue and the guidance of Welsh legend Griffiths.

Bingham said: “I got a seven-out-of-ten mark from the Griff after the Chen match – but that came down to a three after Tian! And that was probably fair enough as my highest break was 36, but I got the job done.

“But Terry is spot on and a good laugh. He knows when to have a joke and when to be serious and what he says gets me in the right frame of mind.

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Bingham faces Chinese trio in week of qualifiers

STUART BINGHAM is hoping to kick-start his season as he embarks on qualifying matches against three Chinese players at Preston Guild Hall this week.

Ballrun starts his busy schedule against against Chen Zifan in the Indian Open at 4pm on Tuesday (Aug 1), then faces Tian Pengfai in the European Masters on Friday, and he finishes against Me Xi Wen in the World Open next Tuesday.

He said: “I saw Chen play a bit at the Academy in Sheffield when I was there for the World Championships and he looks good.

“I don’t know a lot about any of them to be fair but I think it will be more about how I play – and if I play as well as I can I should win.

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Bingham hits the greens during quiet month on the baize

STUART BINGHAM made the most of a quiet month for him on the snooker Tour by dusting off his golf clubs for charity. 

The world No 9 was part of a four-man team in action at the Celebrity Golf Classic at Hanbury Manor in support of the President’s Sports Club and The Essex Disabled Sports Foundation.

Ballrun and fellow sporting stars including Nigel Mansell, Kriss Akabusi, Luther Blissett, Micky Hazard and Ozzie Ardiles took part in the event in Ware in early July.

Bingham (pictured second from the right at the top) said: “It was on one of the par threes and with the old hickory clubs. It makes it a bit of a showpiece.

“I didn’t do as well as I could have but still got 33 points and our team, which was me and three guys on a corporate day, came about middle of the pack.

“But it was a great occasion and I was honoured to take part and, importantly, it raised the profile of a great Essex-based charity.”

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Bingham keen to put new cue into action

STUART BINGHAM was very pleased with the feel of his new cue this month – and is now itching to use it in top-class action.

The 2015 world champion has been supplied bespoke equipment by the Cue Creator team, an American company which is headed up by the Sharp family and uses cues manufactured by McDermott Cues made in Menomonee Falls.

Bingham started using it on the practice table on the weekend and says it immediately had a positive impact on his game.

Ballrun said: “I got it after Riga and used it for practice and I knocked in a ton and four or five fifties, so it feels good. It just feels like it has a bit more life in it than my old cue, and I hope that margin of improvement can pay off for me.

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Bingham ready to resume close encounter with Mark Davis

STUART BINGHAM will be looking to sneak ahead in his all-square career head-to-head record with good friend Mark Davis in Latvia this week.

Ballrun, 41, and the Battler from Hastings, 44, have played 22 times and it is 11 wins apiece heading into the best-of-seven at the Kaspersky Riga Masters on Friday morning (June 23).

They can barley be split on frames won either, with Bingham on 76 and Davis 73 – or on the golf course for that matter.

Davis is world ranked number 37 and has reached four ranking semi-finals and has won the Six-Red World Championship three times, and Bingham is braced for another nip-and-tuck battle.

The world No 9, who beat Li Hang to book his place at the Arena Riga, said: “Mark is just a solid player, he is consistently seven out of ten and you just have to play very well to beat him. I guess that is why the record is so close.

“And we are good friends too, with go for meals together and our wives get on, and I share the same birthday as his son.

“I’ve played him at golf at few times in the past. It is pretty even there too, although I did used to get the better of him a bit when I was playing off five or six.”

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Bingham looking forward to taking on all-comers in charity fundraiser

STUART BINGHAM says he is looking forward to the challenge of playing all-comers in a charity fundraiser in Essex this Friday night (June 9).

The 2015 world champion will be taking on enthusiasts in single frames at Rayleigh Lanes Snooker Hall (which you can get directions to by clicking here) if they make a £20 donation to the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

The 24-hour snooker marathon event has been organised by Bingham’s long-standing friend Peter Ward and is being held in memory of the world No 9’s late father-in-law Terry Shabi, who passed away in March 2014 at the age of 62.

Bingham said: “I’m not sure I will be able to make it through the whole 24 hours but I am looking forward to doing my part, and I am looking forward to playing any punters who want to take me on.

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Bingham hopes Griffiths can help him back to his best

STUART BINGHAM hopes his new coach Terry Griffiths can help him return to his very best on a consistent basis.

Ballrun has only shown glimpses of the form which saw him crowned 2015 world champion, although he notably won the Welsh Open this season.

Retired Welsh great Griffiths, 69, who won snooker’s top prize at the Crucible in 1979, asked Bingham if he would like to work with him in February and the partnership will start in early June.

Bingham, 40, said: “It’s an honour for me really and you can’t get better help than from someone who has been there and done it.

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Bingham: Crucible buzz always gives me ‘butterflies’

Listen to Bingham’s interview ahead of the 2017 World Championship by clicking here.

STUART BINGHAM admits he still gets “butterflies” every time he walks out at the Crucible to stake his claim to be a sporting world champion.

Ballrun, 40, was 23 years-old and world ranked 92 when he made his debut at the home of snooker in the year 2000.

Since then has qualified to break off at the famous venue nine times – memorably winning the title in 2015 with victory over Shaun Murphy in the final – and is now world No 3 and a married father-of-three.

But ahead of the start of his latest tilt at the crown this Sunday, he says the thrill of stepping out in Sheffield is as great as ever.

Bingham said: “When I think about the walk-out it gives you butterflies.

“Above my table at home I have a nice mural of me there in the semi-finals and it gives me butterflies thinking I am going to play there in a couple of days’ time. It’s brilliant and I can’t wait.”

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Bingham: China was a fun trip but I did not click against Wilson

STUART BINGHAM says it was a typically enjoyable trip to China even though he never really felt his game clicked before a last 16 defeat to Kyren Wilson.

The world No 3 is a firm fans’ favourite in East Asia and was happy to again sample the culture as he took part in this year’s China Open.

Ballrun, who beat Scotland’s Scott Donaldson (5-3) and Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham (5-2) before a 5-2 defeat to fellow Englishman Wilson in Beijing, admitted: “To be honest I did not feel I played that well in the first two matches even though I had little spurts of form in frames here and there.

“And I got found out really against Kyren. From 2-2 to 4-2 down I missed one chance where I was in the balls and should not have missed. And he punished me fully for it.”

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Bingham: Donaldson has found his feet on Tour so will be a tough test in China

STUART BINGHAM says he has been impressed with Scott Donaldson’s progress this season and is braced for a tough test against the young Scot at the China Open.

Donaldson (pictured), who has just turned 23, enjoyed the best result of his career last month when he beat China’s Zhou Yuelong 5-0 to reach the semi-finals of the Welsh Open.

And although he lost to Judd Trump, who in turn lost to Bingham in the final, Donaldson collected £20,000 in prize money which saw him move up from 77 to 67 in the world rankings.

Donaldson also beat Bingham 4-3 in a European Masters qualifier in September and Ballrun is preparing for another battle when they square off in Beijing on Monday, March 27.

Bingham said: “Him getting to the last four of the Welsh Open shows he is starting to find his feet on Tour.

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Stuart Bingham comment on betting investigation

STUART BINGHAM has admitted to breaking World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) rules on betting on matches involving other players.

The world No 3 found out in December that allegations were being investigated by Nigel Mawer, the chairman of the WPBSA’s disciplinary committee.

And in a follow up meeting with Mawer in January, Bingham confirmed he had placed accumulator bets on the outcome of other matches because he did not know it was against the governing body’s rules to do so.

Bingham is now awaiting the conclusion of the investigation before he discovers the penalty.

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Coventry clashes were good preparation for Llandudno

STUART BINGHAM says his solid showing in the Championship League over the past week was the ideal preparation heading into this month’s Players Championship in Llandudno (March 6-12).

Ballrun progressed from Group 6 with three wins from six in Coventry and then won six out of six in Group 7 to move into a semi-final with Mark Selby.

And although he missed out on a final with John Higgins and the chance to secure a place in the Winners’ Group after a 3-2 defeat to the world No 1, Bingham was happy to get some solid match practice.

He said: “I’ve gone through the group stage yesterday with six out of six and played some good stuff and against Selby it just came down to one error in the decider and he cleared up.

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Welsh win felt almost as good as the worlds

STUART BINGHAM said his Welsh Open win felt almost as sweet as becoming world champion after taking his first title for two years with a nail-biting victory over Judd Trump in the final in Cardiff.

Ballrun was 4-0 up but trailed 8-7 heading into an epic finale before steeling himself to level with a brilliant clearance which concluded with a gutsy double on the pink and a celebratory fist-pump (pictured below).

BinghamFistPumpWelshOpen

The Basildon star, 40, then kept his nerve with a match-winning clearance in the decider to add the coveted Home Nations title to his 2011 Australian Goldfields Open crown, the 2014 Shanghai Masters title and, of course, his fairytale 2015 World Championship triumph at the Crucible.

It was a sweet moment for Bingham, whose wife Michelle had surprised him by traveling up to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff with their new baby girl Marnie to see him win the £70,000 prize.

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Hamilton success is richly deserved

STUART BINGHAM was thrilled to see Anthony Hamilton win his maiden ranking title – despite a grueling semi-final defeat to his friend at the German Masters.

Ballrun was out of sorts in the 6-4 loss in Berlin and the Sherriff of Pottingham, 45, went on to claim a memorable comeback win over Ali Carter in the following day’s final.

World No 2 Bingham was not at his best but put in a solid week with wins over Alfie Burden (5-2), Yu Delu (5-3), Zhang Yong (5-3), David Gilbert (5-4) and the highly-rated Yan Bingtao (5-2) to reach the last four.

But after fighting back to 5-4 from 5-1 down against Hamilton, a mistake in his break-off in the tenth frame – when Bingham hit the blue – gave Hamilton a chance to close the match out.

Bingham said: “Beforehand I was in the toilets with Anthony as we were putting on our bow ties and I said, ‘I hope you are as nervous as me?’. He said, ‘Yeah, I’m twitching big time at the moment!’.

“Obviously playing in front of 2,500 people, and waiting around all day to play, made it hard to enjoy when it finally started.

“I was gutted with my own performance and put on Twitter that I was very disappointed. But I texted Anthony late last night to say I was well chuffed for him.

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Bingham hopes to take charge in Wattana clash

STUART BINGHAM says he will be looking to take charge of his match with veteran James Wattana this week at the China Open Qualifiers.

Ballrun’s clash with one-time world No 3 Wattana, 46, is scheduled to get underway at 2.30pm on Thursday (January 26) at the Guild Hall.

The China Open will be in Beijing between March 27 and April 2 and is the last counting tournament before seeding for the World Championship is determined.

Thailand’s Wattana, a three-time ranking title winner and a pioneer for Asians in the elite snooker game, now gets wildcard places at events on the World Snooker Tour.

Bingham said: “I’m not sure how active he is now on the Tour but I’ve seen he has picked up a few results in recent years so I’ll give him every respect.

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Baby Marnie’s arrival means I’m ready for the Masters, Bingham

STUART BINGHAM says the birth of his daughter this weekend has given him a great boost and refreshing perspective heading into his Masters opener against Joe Perry on Monday evening.

Snooker’s world No 2 and wife Michelle welcomed 8lb 2oz Marnie Rose Bingham into the world at Basildon Hospital at 5.26pm on Saturday. Mum and baby are doing well and due to be back home in Basildon early on Sunday evening.

Ballrun said: “I’ve been waiting for the baby to arrive since the Scottish Open last month really, so things have been a bit up in the air.

“So it has been really handy having the snooker room at my home because it has meant I can look after Michelle and then pop out for some practice when I can.

“And although the baby was late, there were no complications and it was a very emotional and special day for me and our family.

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Bingham all ready for a night at the darts

STUART BINGHAM is looking forward to one of his guilty pleasures today as he makes what has become an annual trip to the World Darts Championship.

Snooker’s world No 2, who has been a big fan of the arras for over a decade, will take a seat in the VIP section at Alley Pally to watch some of the game’s greats battle it out from the oche.

Ballrun, who started going to the event when it was staged at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet in 2004, said: “I was actually going to give it a miss this year and just watch it on the telly because my wife Michelle is heavily pregnant.

“But my manager Gary asked if I was going to contact them so I sent them an email and they were kind enough to offer me a ticket.

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Bingham ready for tough Joyce test in Glasgow

STUART BINGHAM says he will not be underestimating Mark Joyce ahead of their opening match at the Coral Scottish Open tomorrow (December 12). 

World No 2 Bingham is ranked 43 places above Joyce (pictured) but feels the Walsall-based potter, 33, will provide a tough start at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

Bingham said: “Mark is a good guy and he has come and stayed and practised with me before, so I know he is well capable.

“He is one of those players just outside the top 32 who is perhaps a bit underrated so I won’t be underestimating him, as he is another dangerous player on the Tour.

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Bingham still ‘baffled’ by defeat to Yu

STUART BINGHAM admits he is still “baffled” as to why he suffered a shock 6-4 defeat to Yu Delu at the Betway UK Championship in York on Saturday.

World No 2 Bingham started with an opening round 6-0 win over Adam Stefanow and led world No 62 Yu 4-3 before the Chinese star (pictured) took the final three frames, closing with breaks of 66 and 70, for a place in the last 32.

Ballrun said: “I’m still a bit baffled by it really. I don’t know. I’ve been playing so well for six weeks or so, so maybe I was a due a bad game. You can’t keep riding the wave.

“The hardest thing is if I had lost 6-1 – then fine. But he played just as badly as me so that’s why it is even harder to take.

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Bingham: Missing Belfast was tough – but I needed a break

STUART BINGHAM says it was a wrench to miss only his third tournament in five years this week – but admitted it was time to finally take a breather after a grueling couple of months on Tour.

Ballrun beat Neil Robertson (4-2) but lost his second match to Ding Junhui (6-4) at the Champion of Champions last week after driving to Coventry just 24 hours after arriving home from China.

And the world No 2, who had just lost to John Higgins in the China Championship final, admits the rigours of the Tour finally caught up with him against Ding and that is why he pulled out of this week’s Coral Northern Ireland Open.

He said: “The last event I missed was the China Open when my father-in-law passed away in 2014 and the one before that was the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany five years ago when my son was born. I really don’t miss many.

“But I realised at the Champion of Champions that I was just running on empty and needed to take a break so I took a week off completely and only started practicing again yesterday.

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Jet-setting Bingham ready for Coventry

STUART BINGHAM says he will be raring to go in his Champion of Champions opener against Neil Robertson – despite only stepping off a plane from the Far East 24 hours earlier!

A run to Saturday’s final of the China Championship – and an eventual 10-7 defeat to John Higgins – meant Ballrun touched down in the UK yesterday and headed home to grab a night’s sleep before he has to get on the road to Coventry to face the Aussie on Tuesday.

The gruelling schedule has been the price of success for Basildon pro Bingham this season with two semi-finals and two final appearances in the last four events.

But the world No 2 says he would have it no other way and will be ready to be a serious contender again for the coveted Champion of Champions title.

He said: “By the time I start against Neil I will have literally been home for 24 hours. I got in today and turned the telly on and they’ve just started playing.

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Bingham: Liang was inspired – but I’m happy with my game right now

STUART BINGHAM admitted he just met a man playing “inspired” snooker after another near miss at the English Open – but says he is very happy with his own solid form heading into next week’s International Championship in China.

Ballrun lost a sensational 6-5 semi-final to Liang Wenbo (pictured), and the player they call the Firecracker went on to end Judd Trump’s 14-match winning run in Sunday’s final to win his maiden ranking title and the new Steve Davis Trophy – and secure his place at the Champion of Champions (CoC).

It means Bingham – who has made a final and two semis in the last three tournaments – now needs to win in China to secure his own CoC spot, although a good run and win for a champion who has already booked a spot is likely to be enough to earn the World No 2 his place at next month’s coveted event in Coventry.

Bingham’s English Open campaign began with a remarkable 4-3 comeback win over Robert Milkins and he says that reprieve made him feel like any other success in Manchester felt like a bonus.

He said: “I think 9,999 out of 10,000 times I was out in that situation against Milkins but he got a kick, things changed and I took advantage.

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Bingham happy to be back challenging for titles again

STUART BINGHAM says it felt good to be a genuine contender for top titles again – despite two final-stage defeats during a grueling schedule in Asia last month.

After being pipped to the Six Reds crown by in-form Ding Junhui in a final at the start of the month, Ballrun lost a thrilling semi-final 6-5 to world No 1 Mark Selby (pictured) at the Shanghai Masters at the end of September.

Bingham then had to immediately fly back to the UK for two sets of qualifiers in Preston, but has now had time to reflect on his near misses in Thailand and China.

He said: “It is a bit like pulling teeth against Mark, but it was another one that just got away.

“I was gutted to come up a little bit short – especially after the close defeat to Ding at the Six Reds – but I took the positives away.

“And it is nice to just be back in the later stages of the tournaments again.

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Bingham honoured to take place in Shanghai history

STUART BINGHAM says he will be honoured this week to play his part in the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Shanghai Masters.

Bullrun won the event in 2014 with a 10-3 final victory over Mark Allen and he was asked to take part in promotional work for its special occasion this summer.

The event will run from September 19-25 and Bingham starts on Wednesday (Sep 21) against Wales’ world No 39 Jamie Jones.

World No 2 Bingham said: “I was lucky enough this year to do some promotional work with the Shanghai Amateur Masters when I was invited out to China to see some of their emerging players.

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Bingham critical of Ding call at Champion of Champions

STUART BINGHAM has criticised the decision to give World Championship runner-up Ding Junhui a spot at this year’s Champion of Champions – ahead of World Seniors champion Mark Davis.

Mark Selby’s win at the Paul Hunter Classic means there are only five tournaments left for a player to secure one of the three remaining spots out of 16 at the £100,000 event in Coventry in early November.

There are 24 qualification spots available and if one player occupies more than one – as is the case with the top two, which are occupied by defending Champion of Champions winner and UK Championship title holder Neil Robertson – another spot becomes available (the current list is set out above).

It means Davis faces a nervy wait over the next couple of months, while Ding – who lost to Mark Selby in the final at the Crucible in May – is guaranteed his place.

It also means Bingham’s chances of getting a spot through his ranking as World No 2 are over.

Ball Run explained: “A few years ago when Ding won five tournaments they only had 14 champions for 16 spots and Shaun Murphy and Mark Davis qualified through the rankings, I think.

So in early August it looked like there needed to be a few different winners from then, to stop me getting in as the world No 2. So it looked like I had a good chance.

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Bingham ready for Essex derby with Wilson

STUART BINGHAM faces ­another ‘Battle of Es­sex’ at the Paul Hunt­er Classic – and this­ time he is determined to claim the bragging rights.

Ball Run was knocked ­out by Ali Carter in ­the last ranking event as the Chelmsford-based pro went on to record a memorable title win at the World Open in China.

Carter will be at the­ Stadthalle in German­y to defend his Paul ­Hunter Classic crown ­too, but it is Southe­nd’s Sydney Wilson, 2­6, who will be Bingha­m’s first opponent ea­rly on Saturday afternoon (August 27).

Wilson is world ranke­d 87 and learnt his trade u­nder the late Vic Har­ris, who also helped ­world No 2 Bingham wi­th his game at the st­art of his career.

Bingham said: “I know­ Sydney a little bit ­and I think he practi­ses at Ali Carter’s c­lub in Witham now.

“He has had some good­ results and there wi­ll be a bit of local ­rivalry there again, b­ut I feel it is one I­ should win if I play­ my A-Game.

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Bingham: My shot at world No 1 has gone – but I’ll challenge again

STUART BINGHAM admitted his “big chance” at becoming world No 1 was ended with defeat to Ali Carter at the World Open – but Bull Run plans to work his way back into the running for top spot over the next couple of years.

Heading into the season’s third ranking event in China last month, Ball Run had a chance at becoming only snooker’s 12th-ever top ranked player if he won the title with current leading Mark Selby being knocked out early on (the full permutations are excellently explained by @ProSnookerBlog here). 

But a nip-and-tuck 5-3 loss in round two to bogeyman and eventual champion Carter, after an opening 5-4 win over Stuart Carrington, means Bingham would now need a sensational run of results to challenge again this season, with Selby about £80,000 clear on the money list (the top 10 is pictured below).

The 2015 world champion explained: “That was my big chance gone. I won in Shanghai two years ago and also at an Asian Tour event and I’ll have those points coming off so this was probably my last chance at world No 1 for the foreseeable future. I would need another two good years now to be in contention.

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‘Fernandez ban shows why corruption in snooker is never worth it’

STUART BINGHAM says Leo Fernandez’s ban is a stark reminder that corruption in snooker is “just not worth it”.

Ireland’s Ferandez, 40, has been suspended from the sport for 15 months after he admitted he deliberately played a foul shot in a World Championship qualifier in April which enabled others to profit from betting.

Bingham, 40, said: “I turned pro at the same time as Leo in 1995 and we came through together so this came as a shock to me.

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Bingham looking forward to Indian Open return

STUART BINGHAM is looking forward to his return to the Indian Open after a three-year absence from the event.

Ball Run last played in the tournament in New Delhi in 2013 when he lost 4-3 in the last 16 to Pankaj Advani and did not enter the following season after the dates of the event in Mumbai were changed from October to March due to local elections.

It was not staged in the last campaign but it is back this month (July 5-9) in Hyderabad and Bingham gets underway against Lincolnshire rookie Steven Hallworth, 20, in round one on Tuesday.

Bingham said: “It will be good to compete in the event again and I am looking forward to the trip and the warm welcome we get in India.

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Bingham rues bad luck in Riga

STUART BINGHAM was left cursing some dreadful luck which saw his exit from the Riga Masters with defeat to eventual finalist Michael Holt.

Ball Run was 3-2 up in the first-to-four clash and in control of the frame he needed for victory when his promising crack at the first tournament of the season was ended at the last 16 stage.

He said: “How I lost from there is a joke – I felt it was a million to one shot he would beat me from there.

“I was 36 up after laying a snooker and just had to roll one in to stay on the black. There had been some kicks in the tournament but this one jumped on me and he pinched the frame to make it 3-3.

“Then he broke off in the next frame and left me shot to nothing and I got a really bad kick and he made 69 to win. I was left scratching my head to be honest.

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Bingham: Selt’s ban is “harsh” and trolling needs to be tackled

STUART BINGHAM says Matt Selt’s two-tournament ban for ‘offensive’ tweets is “harsh” and is concerned about the growing problem of internet trolling.

Selt (pictured), 31, felt the governing body’s decision to exclude him from this month’s Riga Masters and August’s Paul Hunter Classic is “draconian” after he was punished for a Twitter exchange with a member of the public.

And he received some sympathy from Bingham, who has been repeatedly subjected to online abuse on social media for many years now.

Bingham said: “I do not know the specifics of Matt’s case but I do know it does not help when you get abused by online trolls.

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Birthday boy Bingham looking for solid start in Preston

STUART BINGHAM is determined to start his season right over a week of qualifying tournaments at Preston Guild Hall which will define his summer.

Ball Run will start the new campaign at the Indian Open Qualifiers (May 28-30), the World Open Qualifiers (May 31 to June 2) and Riga Masters Qualifiers (June 3-4).

Bingham warmed up this week by practicing with world No 77 Martin O’Donnell and 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy and says his game is in a good place after the short off-season break.

He said: “I was practicing on my own but felt I needed to play some other players and see how that went.

“I played Martin the other day and I came out on top, so that was a good sign because he is a good player.

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Bingham blasts “joke” plans for the Shoot-Out

STUART BINGHAM has warned the “joke” decision to make the Shoot-Out a ranking event could cost a top player a place at the Crucible.

World Snooker announced today (May 11) that money earned at the shot-clock timed, one frame knock-out tournament will count towards the sport’s money ranking list when it is next staged in February 2017.

The competition will be opened up to all 128 of the Tour’s players and not just the top 64 seeds, as has been the case since it started in 2011.

And world No 2 Bingham is one of a number of critics of the decision, saying it could see snooker’s biggest stars failing to qualifying for the biggest tournaments because they dropped prize money at a tournament which is supposed to be “a bit of fun”.

The 2015 world champion, who made the Shoot-Out final in 2014 (pictured above) but has gone out in the early rounds in the past two years, said: “I think it is an absolute joke. My last two defeats in that tournament came after my opponents fluked reds then made 30s. How can you have ranking money riding on a set-up like that?