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.