STUART BINGHAM was thrilled to see his stablemate Rory McLeod claim his first ranking title – despite his own early exit from the tournament in Germany.
World No 61 McLeod, who is 44-years-old and snooker’s only black professional, beat China’s Tian Pengfei in the final of the Rhur Open on Sunday, October 12.
Bingham lost his opening match 4-3 against Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien but still had something to celebrate when McLeod (right), who also works with SightRight coach Stephen Feeney, triumphed at the European Tour event.
Ball-run said: “I saw something on Twitter about Stephen Hendry criticising the standard of the players who made the final here but I don’t agree with that because I just think the tour is just so competitive now from top to bottom.
“And I am so happy for Rory because he works hard and deserves his win. It’s great that he is a SightRight stablemate too, of course.
“And the really nice thing to see was how relaxed he looked in the final. He’s a good player anyway but taking his chance like that bodes well for him in future events.”
Leicestershire’s McLeod is now waiting to discover if his win will earn him a spot alongside world champion Bingham at the Champion of Champions event at Coventry’s Rioch Arena in November.
Bingham was 3-1 up at one stage against O’Brien but remained upbeat after the defeat.
He said: “Fergal came from behind to beat me in Australia too – so he is becoming a bit of a pain for me! I guess he just had the luck of the Irish!
“But I felt good and played well and in the end it just came down to a black along the top rail that I went for and missed.
“But that’s fine because I would always want to have tried to go for the win and lost than come away wondering if I should have gone for it.”
Bingham was also in reflective mood after the match on October 9 as it was exactly nine years since the death of charismatic snooker star Paul Hunter at the age of 27 after a battle with cancer.
He said: “The loss of Paul always puts results on the snooker table into perspective because he did such a lot for the sport and had so much left to give.
“I still remember that I was driving back from playing golf at Crondon Park when I heard the news, and I almost crashed the car. And he might be gone but he’s never forgotten by the players on the tour.”
Bingham will now play in an exhibition match with ex pro Jason Pegram in Harlow( ) before a trip to Newcastle with his wife Michelle for a black-tie event featuring a Q&A with the world champion.
Then International Championship which starts on Sunday, October 25, in Daqing.he will jet off for China to prepare for the