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article imageNo-Trump Game: Higgins regains World Snooker crown

By Alexander Baron     May 2, 2011 in Sports
Sheffield - A report on the final of the World Professional Snooker Championship at Sheffield, which saw John Higgins win the title for a fourth time.
At the end of a fortnight of some of the highest quality snooker the world has ever seen, the surname Higgins will be engraved on the trophy for the 6th time. Alex (Hurricane) Higgins won the title in 1972 and 1982; the unrelated John Higgins in 1998, 2007, 2009, and now 2011.
Overnight, 21 year old Judd Trump led by 10 frames to 7, but for the third time in this championship the Scot staged an impressive comeback. With Higgins 17-15 ahead, commentator Steve Davis told BBC presenter Hazel Irvine that in his opinion, he was the greatest (all-round) player of all time. High praise indeed from a six time world champion, but Higgins showed exactly what Davis meant in the tactical final frame when after requiring two snookers he ground his opponent down, clearing the table to the pink, and leaving the cue ball tight up behind the black at the top of the table. When Trump misjudged the angle, Higgins had the frame, the match and the title in the bag.
It was a bitter sweet victory; in February, Higgins’ father died, and prior to that he had his name dragged through the mud by a tabloid newspaper in an attempt to entrap him in a match fixing scandal. Although he was totally exonerated, such is the high standard of professional snooker that he was fined £75,000 by the sport’s governing body, the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association, and banned for six months for failing to report the attempt. The WPBSA also set up an Integrity Unit to guard against further such attempts and any other aspect of corruption.
Earlier, supremo Barry Hearn promised that snooker would conquer the world in the near future, a project he has been working on since the 1980s, and which is now coming to fruition. For the first time there are now more ranking tournaments outside the UK than inside. This is a very important development especially for players from India and the Far East, where the game has literally exploded over the past few years. At the moment, overseas players have to relocate to the UK at least temporarily in order to pick up ranking points and qualify to compete in the World Championship. These new developments will allow players to qualify in their home countries. On Friday, Chinese professional Ding Junhui picked up a cheque for £52,500 as a losing semi-finalist. He will return home to the adulation of a country that has thirty million regular snooker players, more than the rest of the world combined. How many potential future world champions could there be amongst them?
Meanwhile, Judd Trump will make the somewhat shorter journey home to Bristol with the runner up’s cheque for £125,000, and John Higgins – already ranked number one in the world - will take his wife and young family back to Scotland with a cheque for £250,000.
More about snooker, Crucible Theatre, World championship, John Higgins
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