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.
“And fair play to him because he showed his class to get over the line with that ton, and it was just one of those matches where he had the run of the ball at the right time and he took advantage of it.
“But I felt I was getting back to something like my best over the week, and my focus really started to return in my match with Sean O’Sullivan last week.
“And I was particularly pleased with my semi-final win in Belgium because I did not play great and still won, and that is not something I always did during the first 15 years of my career. And it is good to be able to do that.
“Reaching the final can only be a positive thing and I will draw confidence from it but for now it is back to the practice table.”
Bingham beat Sean O’Sullivan 6-1 in a qualifier on September 26 to book his place at this winter’s International Championship in China.
Ballrun is next in action against German Lukas Kleckers, 21, in a Shanghai Masters qualifier on Friday morning (October 13).