STUART BINGHAM said his Welsh Open win felt almost as sweet as becoming world champion after taking his first title for two years with a nail-biting victory over Judd Trump in the final in Cardiff.
Ballrun was 4-0 up but trailed 8-7 heading into an epic finale before steeling himself to level with a brilliant clearance which concluded with a gutsy double on the pink and a celebratory fist-pump (pictured below).
The Basildon star, 40, then kept his nerve with a match-winning clearance in the decider to add the coveted Home Nations title to his 2011 Australian Goldfields Open crown, the 2014 Shanghai Masters title and, of course, his fairytale 2015 World Championship triumph at the Crucible.
It was a sweet moment for Bingham, whose wife Michelle had surprised him by traveling up to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff with their new baby girl Marnie to see him win the £70,000 prize.
STUART BINGHAM says he plans to regain fitness and focus for the season’s run-in after a very disappointing February.
The world champion’s difficult follow-up season to his Crucible win continued last month with first-stage exits at the Welsh Open and the Gdynia Open.
The 4-3 defeat to Scot Fraser Patrick last week in Poland cost Bingham a place alongside the European Order of Merit’s top 24 at the Ladbrokes Player Championship in Manchester in late March.
Ball-Run has also just missed out on a place at this week’s winners’ group of the Championship League after three wins and three defeats saw him edged out of a semi-final spot in the final qualifying round.
STUART BINGHAM admits there are probably 60 other top-ranked players he would rather face this evening at the BetVictor Welsh Open than the dangerous Anthony Hamilton.
World champion Bingham beat world No 68 Hamilton twice in December – at the UK Championships and then at the German Masters Qualifiers – but on both occasions the Essex pro was impressed by his rival’s performance.
Bingham, whose match in Cardiff gets underway at 8pm, said: “I spoke to Anthony at the Shoot-Out and we said we had probably not played each other for about five years and now we will have played three times in as many months.
“I’ve said before I don’t think his ranking reflects his ability and there are probably 60 players in the top 64 I would rather play than him at the moment.