STUART BINGHAM admits he had mixed feelings about his run to the semi finals of last week’s Dafabet Gibraltar Open.
The world champion showed a return to form as he beat Craig Steadman, Ding Junhui, Thor Chuan Leong, Nigel Bond and Mark King before a 4-0 defeat to Micheal White in the last four.
White lost to Marco Fu in the final of the European Tour’s Event Five, but Bingham was left to reflect on his own ultimately limp exit.
Ball Run said: “If someone had told me I would get to the semis before the tournament I would have snatched their hand off after the form I have been in so far this season. But I cannot be happy with the way I played in that match with Michael White.
“My performance was a bit flat and I’m not sure what the problem was but I was one of the players whose sleep was disrupted because of Christmas parties in the hotel we were staying at. It was very nice place, but that didn’t help.
“After watching it back I can see how much Michael wanted it so fair play to him. But the good thing is it has put me 23 in the rankings when I need to get into the top 24. So that is certainly a silver lining.”
Bingham will next be in action at 7pm on Friday, December 18, against Welsh pro Daniel Wells, 27, in the German Masters Qualifiers. If he wins he will progress to a match on Saturday night and a chance to book his spot at the 918.com sponsored event in Berlin.
After than Bingham and his wife Michelle will fly to Belfast to be guests at the televised 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards show on Sunday evening.
It has also just been confirmed that Bingham will face Ding Junhui at the Dafabet Masters at London’s Alexandra Palace on Sunday, January 10, in an opening-round match that will start at 7pm.
Bingham beat Ding in his second match at the Gibraltar Open and has a good recent record against the Chinese star, but the Essex pro says he will be taking nothing for granted as he bids to win his first-ever match at the event.
Ball Run said: “My coach Steve Feeney thinks I have beaten Ding the last seven times I have played him, but I can’t remember exactly.
“But, like me, he has not had the best of seasons so far so he will be determined to get his 2016 off to a good start too, so I will have to play well to win.”
Bingham also wanted to send his condolences to the family and friends of a young snooker player from Romford who lost his battle with cancer last week.
Grove Academy member Billy O’Connor, 18, passed away on Wednesday, December 9. His funeral will be in Dagenham on Tuesday, December 22, and further details are here.
Bingham said: “When I met my wife Michelle at the Grove, Billy was playing there, and he must have been about ten at the time.
“I think he has been battling cancer for about four years and I believe he wanted to go to Q School next year so it is very sad news and I’d like to send my best wishes to all those who were close to him.”
* Bingham’s appearance on Question of Sport will be screened on BBC One on the evening of Monday, January 4. Ball Run was on captain Matt Dawson’s team alongside Essex County Cricket Club star Ravi Bopara (pictured below).