Monday, 18 February 2013

On-fire Maguire back on podium at Newport Centre

Stephen Maguire - the 2013 Welsh Open champion
It's been quite some time since we've seen Stephen Maguire lifting the trophy of an important, major ranking competition. Actually, if I recall well, it was back in 2008, when this furious Scot got his hands on the China Open trophy and got to do the victory dance.

So, it must not come as a shock, especially since the lad has been in a pretty great shape recently (winning  no less than two PTC event this season) that he won the 2013 Welsh Open tournament, after a thrilling cues-crossing with Stuart Bingham, ended on a 9-8 scoreline.

It's been a genuine roller-coaster for both players and both of them had changes to win the final, but in the end it came down to how each of them handled pressure. And interestingly enough, Maguire was the one who prevailed the pressure test. I say this only because the guy has a well-known issue with pressure. 

The Scotsman was the one who broke the ice with two breaks of 71 and 62, but Bingham followed with a 56 to win his first frame of the day. Maguire stroke again this time with a great 114 to get at 3-1 as the interval was kicking off, but as soon as the mini-break was over, Stu got back on track with a 79 to pull back a frame.

Stuart Bingham was soooo close to get his 2nd ranking title
Another beauty (aka. 110 break) was being created from Maguire's cue tip as he was now flying 4-2 up, but the first session was ending on a draw, Bingham recovering with runs of 55, 78 and 41.

Hours later the lads re-entered into the arena, warmly welcomed by the Chinese ref  Zhu Ying (also known as Ivy), who is actually the first Chinese referee in the history of snooker to get in charge of a major ranking final.

The game began, but the story was different. Maguire's passion, fury, eagerness ... you name it, was nowhere to be found. Instead, he started getting on by the "hit and hope” strategy, which soon proved to be a horrible idea.

Bingham put his nose in front, for the first time since the start of the match, with a great 73 break and although Maguire responded with a 71 during the next frame, he looked shaky.

So what a better time to prove Bingham is in the final with a reason too, than now? When his opponent was all over the place?

A brilliant 118 break was putting the 36-year-old player from Essex back in the lead at 6-5, while a scrappy 12th frame was giving him a two-point lead and a great start for this last session.

A Magus special
This was when the interval kicked off and most likely when Maguire re-thought his strategy of winning this final, for when he returned into the arena he was a changed man. Still a bit edgy here and there, but clearly more determined, he managed to pull back two dramatic frames.

The first one was won on the black, while the second one got a pretty fluent 42 break as a back-up.
At seven apiece the game was on. 

Maguire fired a break of 77 to get one step closer to the finish-line, leaving Bingham with a lot to deal. Still, the Englishman who in 2011 defied all the odds and won the Australian Goldfields Open in great style, managed to overcome the pressure and forced the decider after a brilliant 58 clearance.

The last frame, even though made a scrappy debut, had Maguire's name written all over it. And that break of 82 points that the Scotsman hit, restated the fact that he was in charge of the match's faith.

No surprise to see Maguire punching the table once he knew he was leaving Bingham behind and he had one hand on the trophy, nor the fact that when Rob Walker asked him about the victory the intense animal from just a few minutes ago was complete gone, in his place being just a man, a simple man ... who was just over the moon with happiness.

No comments:

snooker blog

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

.