Welsh Open 2011 - the final (part II)

15:02:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

John Higgins along with his mum
If you were to look the words spectacular and determination in the dictionary you would find them next to John Higgins` picture. It was one of the most dramatic and emotional nights that snooker has had in his years of being such a dear sport for many of us. The final of 2011 Welsh Open tournament was a real cracker with mixed emotions, with tears and laughter, but more over with showing the whole world who’s the man of the moment. Are all these making sense? :-)) Well, they are for me, because that’s how the second session of this year’s Welsh Open was ;-)

It was 5-3 in favor of the Glasgow boy - Stephen Maguire when John Higgins stormed out to steal one frame at a time, but not only to draw, but also to take the lead. And that...in just a few moments.
The 9th frame saw Higgins missing a red into the right middle pocket, so Maguire came to make a 30 break, just before he missed a blue. So, one more chance for Higgins, who hits a 30 break also and misses a red with the rest. It was the same story as in the previous session....or wasn’t it? Stephen returns as to pot the remaining colors, but he misses the pink! He misses the pink! And so John "steals" the frame by potting the remaining balls.
The next frame saw Maguire making a nice and steady 48 but the pressure was on at the moment so he missed a red by a mile, permitting Higgins to take over with a break of 48 and to add some more balls along the way. That was the moment when "The Wizard of Wishaw" draw at 5-5. Now the game was on and both players were starting from zero. Four frames were needed so one of them will cash the big prize at the end of the evening.

John Higgins - the 2011 Welsh Open champion
The 11th frame was a crucial one, for any of the boys could have taken the lead, and when you are one frame away from your opponent things are clearer and a bit easier. Maguire started with a 44, so Higgins took his chances as to build himself a winning break – unfortunately it wasn’t possible as he broke the bunch of reds and remained with no position to attack any balls. So the safety shots made themselves known to the public, John committing several fouls that brought his opponent 12 points; still his breaks of 38 and 25 were enough as to take the lead for the first time in this match.
And like that wasn’t enough, to shake Maguire’s confidence a bit more, John hit a beautiful 75 to make the score 7-5 in his favor. You should never underestimate a Wizard ;-)

During the 13th frame, Maguire replayed in the same way, with a 75 beauty to win his first frame of the evening, but that was going to be the last one, as well for Higgins stormed out by hitting in breaks of 54 and 66 to put himself with one foot and four toes more closely to that trophy :-)) The score was now 8-6.
Needless to say that the next frame (also the last one) was a very tight battle and one that could have seen Maguire pulling one back, but in the end the one who dominated the game won.
As Stephen lets a lose read after breaking into the reds, John takes his chances and makes a beautiful 72 break, as he loses position and can’t continue it. And that meant that Maguire was in need of two snookers, snookers that he got because of Higgins` fouls. Still the battle wasn’t over, as it was raining with safety shots. Maguire had plenty of chances to pot the brown (that was the ball they were playing it safe) but the tension was so high that he missed it several times (as well as Higgins, by the way). In the end "The Wizard" pots it and tries his luck with the blue, a ball that didn’t want to be potted, but Maguire had had enough so he heads towards his mate and practicing partner to congratulate him for the victory.

Stephen Maguire - the 2011 Welsh Open runner-up
It was a perfect score of 9-6 for John Higgins, who more emotional than ever received his award, not long after he was interviewed by Rob Walker and said to him how did he feel during this competition. It was crystal clear that the man was overwhelmed with tons of emotions and when Rob asked him about his dad, he burst into tears. He has won this trophy for him and ... well, what more can I say then...congratulations! He came into the second session tearful as a child as he heard his father’s favorite song played as an intro melody, Eirian gave him a hug and he started the battle. You know, as well as me, that snooker is first of all a mental sport, and second of all a strategy one - so to go there after such a dreadful event, like losing someone dear, to go there just for that person and to win something for him...well, that deserves a round of applauses!

Stephen Maguire has proved he is one of the best players in the circuit. We all know he has a bit of a temper, but the tried hard to hide it, so he could focus on the game and he succeed it. It was so nice to see him potting like a king and having so much fun around the table. He deserves to be looked at as a great player! My sincere congratulations to him too!

It was, without doubt, one of the most entreating and breathtaking final of them all. It had all the ingredients to succeed and occupy a special place in our hearts. Snooker is definitely back, the people love it and the players are doing their job better than ever before. The Welsh Open tournament is no longer a shadowed competition!!! ;-)

To end, here’s John Higgins` intro song :-)