Given the quality of recent finals, the Welsh Open
(played at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff) clash was not quite of the same standard, at least in terms of the fluency of break-building displayed by the players (see Digital Journal's report of the previous ranking tournament
). This may have been influenced by the weight of expectation. Stuart Bingham
, after winning the world championship a couple of seasons ago, has struggled to live up to his world title win; whereas Judd Trump
, so long held up to be a future world champion has only sporadically taken his individual match form into enough wins to clinch major titles.
Both players were far stronger in their semi-final matches. Bingham impressively demolished Robert Milkins 6-0, aided by runs of 127 and 101. Trump had a slightly harder game against surprise semi-finest Scott Donaldson, overcoming the world number 76 by the score of 6-3. Trump began impressively enough, compiling a break of 131. However, his 4-1 lead became 4-3 before he found his form again.
The final, refereed by Colin Humphries, began solidly for Bingham as he won the first four frames. The second frame was key. First in with a 64 break, Trump broke down and Bingham stepped in to make a solid 65 break to win the frame on the black. Breaks of 69 and 74 were enough to give him a solid mid-session advantage. The score became 5-0 after a safety-led fifth frame.
Trump then eased his way back into the match, winning the sixth and seventh frames (the latter with breaks of 68 and 58 to win the frame 130 points to nil). Bingham ended the session 5-3 up, aided by his highest break of the match 87.
In the second session Trump was dominant, winning four of the five opening frames. He achieved this through smaller breaks and tactical play, while Bingham showed clear signs of nerves and his cueing was less sure than it had been during the first session.
At 8-7 to Trump it appeared as if the flamboyant English player would win. However, Bingham dug deep. Winning the sixteenth relatively comfortably he then made a break of 55 and this was enough for him to win his first major title in two years.
The frame scores were (Bingham first):
69-45 (69), 65-64, (JT 64, SB 65), 74-1 (74), 61-21, 35-63, 0-130 (68, 58), 87-0 (87), 50-61
1-91, 63-48 (63), 0-69, 36-74, 62-52, 31-66, 46-64, 71-57, 79-25 (55)
On clinching the match, and wining £70,000 ($85,000), Bingham won his fourth ranking title in total and his first since the 2015 World Championship.