Sunday, 14 September 2014

2014 Shanghai Masters - Crystal clear victory for Bingham

Stuart Bingham - the 2014 Shanghai Masters champion
Stuart Bingham obtained a unquestionable victory of 10-3 over Mark Allen, the recent Paul Hunter Classic champion, in his quest for grabbing the 2014 Shanghai Masters trophy and his second ranking title.

It was back in 2011 when Stuart Bingham was defeating Mark Williams in a cracking Australian Open final, in order to get his first ranking title, so it was about time to see the 38-year-old lad capture another one after having a pretty good season, if I may say so.

Although the final wasn't by far an entertaining one, it had its sparkle here and there, even though many of us would have wanted to see a more balanced result. Unfortunately, after mastering the art of snooker in such an amazing way throughout the entire tournament, it seemed it was no energy left in Mark Allen's body.

Mark Allen - the 2014 Shanghai Masters runner-up
Bingham took his chance and practically flew at 4-0, leaving his opponent way behind and setting not just a physically gap, but also a mental one.

However, Allen battled hard and managed to pull back three frames, ending up trailing by 5-3, just as the last frame of the first session was starting. And if it wasn't for a green, Allen would have pulled back another one. Sadly for him though, the first session ended with Stuart in control 6-3.

The last session was purely dominated by the Englishman, who although has played far from his best, managed to close the deal by 10-3.

The champ at work

After a 35-minutes frame which went Bingham's way (even if Allen scored the highest break per frame - a 42 one) the following three were relatively easy wins as Stuart hit in breaks of 30, 57 and 81 to complete his victory run.

Clearly delighted to have captured his second ranking title, and a very important one, if I may say so, Stuart Bingham was handed the glassy trophy and a cheque of £85,000 after a ceremony that took ages to start (rumours say that the dinosaurs returned).

Sunday, 24 August 2014

2014 Paul Hunter Classic - Allen marks victory

Mark Allen - the 2014 Paul Hunter Classic champion
Mark Allen beat Judd Trump in a tremendous battle of cues and nerves to win the 2014 edition of the Paul Hunter Classic tournament, by 4-2. 

Even though a few weeks ago he was losing to Mark Selby by an excruciating 4-3 scoreline, after leading 3-0, the Northern Irish player managed to overcome his "far from best" form and win the German event.

Over three hours of snooker: this was the lads’ gift for the over-excited audience in Furth and the snooker fans from all around the world, the match itself being a pretty entertaining one, sprinkled with a bit of drama here and there.

The beginning of the match had a very interesting fate, for although Trump made a very fluent 52 break, he missed the yellow ball, later followed by the green with the rest on 16, thus giving Allen the chance to return at the table and add to his previous 16 and 31 breaks a 25 clearance. 

Judd Trump - the 2014 Paul Hunter Classic runner-up
It was perfect 73-73 draw, so the black was re-spotted, a few minutes later Trump's mistake giving Allen the chance to seal his first frame.

However, Trump took revenge pretty quickly with a 92 break for one apiece.

What followed next was a marathon of "foul and miss", in the end though Allen putting his nose back in front with a top break of 33.

Judd managed to win a very scrappy snooker affair whose biggest break was a 27 one, to which he added a 20 break, but Allen moved forward once more, winning a dramatic 5th frame which saw Trump giving no less than 16 penalty points, getting a much needed snooker and a very nice free ball, but failing to take advantage of both of them.

The lads and the trophy
The last frame entered Allen's pocket with a determined 88 break, thus the scoreboard froze at 4-2.

Rolf Kalb interviewed both players, Trump admitting that he has struggled throughout the entire match and got very tired at the end, while Allen, although very happy to have won, mentioned he is still not playing at his best and wishes to improve his game.

The late snooker evening was closed by the ecstatic crowd that burst into cheers when Allen lifted the Paul Hunter Classic trophy (although I don't care too much for this year's one - the glassy trophy looked more like a tribute to the late Paul Hunter than this one) and applauded their champion.

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