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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.