Can Judd Trump finish the job?

Judd Trump’s overnight 10-7 lead over John Higgins has put him in with a massive chance of winning the snooker World Championship.

Trump started the tournament with a shock victory over Neil Robertson and his amazing run has just continued from there, he now has just one more day to negotiate and he could well be world champion.

That’s where the problem lies. Will Trump ultimately run out of gas and choke in sight of the winning line, like Rory McIlroy did at the Masters just a few weeks ago?

Standing in his way is John Higgins, the ultimate competitor and punisher of anyone who wobbles on the home straight. Higgins has a track record of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s almost like he can smell it when his opponents nerve starts to go in sight of the finishing line.

So far Trump has been fearless and has just played his natural game. That is what has got him this far and if he can do the same tomorrow, it will see him crowned world champ.

Trump is the bookies favourite and is a best price of 8/13 with Betfred. With the lead he has, if he were playing anyone other than Higgins, he would be much shorter.

I think this is just a matter of white line fever for Trump, he either gets it, or he doesn’t and becomes world champ.

A sad day for sport

It was poignant that ‘Whispering’ Ted Lowe should pass away just a few hours before the start of the 2011 snooker World Championship final. If that were not bad enough, only a matter of hours later Sir Henry Cooper also passed away.

I grew up listening to Ted Lowe and his voice was unmistakable, he is up there with the all time broadcasting greats for me, Sir Peter O’Sullevan, Bill McLaren, Harry Carpenter, Dan Maskell, Kenneth Wolstenholme and Richie Benaud.

Sir Henry Cooper was another legend of sport, the only boxer to ever be knighted and apparently the perfect gent. Cooper’s most famous boxing moment came in defeat to – the then called – Cassius Clay in 1963, but this is somewhat a misrepresentation of Cooper’s successful boxing career.

According to boxing writer Colin Hart, Cooper is supposed to have lost the will to live having lost both his wife and twin brother over the last couple of years.

Lowe was 90 and Cooper 76, rest in peace.

Magnificent John Higgins

I believe I have just watched the greatest win in the snooker career of John Higgins. The comeback tonight wasn’t just from 7-2 and 9-5 (requiring a snooker) down, it was his own personal comeback from the self inflicted nightmare of the last 8 months.

I’ve rightly given Higgins some stick on this blog for his good fortune in only receiving a 6 month ban for bringing the game into disrepute, when the consequences could have been far worse for him.

I am also prepared to give credit where due and tonight the way John Higgins fought back to beat Mark Williams in the 12bet.com UK Championship final was just unbelievable. It showed what a true champion Higgins is.

At 9-8 down the great Steve Davis described Higgins as the most complete player to ever pick up a cue, saying that only he could have come back from where he did to win this match. Complements don’t come much better than that.

O’Sullivan’s 147 Tantrum

On the day that World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn launched snooker’s new integrity unit, how stupid was it of Ronnie O’Sullivan to try and leave the arena on 140 with only the black left to pot, as he thought it wasn’t fair that there was no prize money for completing a 147 maximum.

With just four thousand pounds on offer for the top break, O’Sullivan claimed that it wasn’t worth it after he had paid the tax. And then in response to getting asked if he needed the money, he responded with “Twenty-five (thousand) would have been nice so I could have gone on holiday.”

Pretty insulting to the people who had paid to watch his match.

With match-fixing allegations also rife in snooker, it would have been all that Barry Hearn needed, to see O’Sullivan exit the arena without properly completing the frame, and if it hadn’t been for referee Jan Verhaas’ intervention, then thats what would have happened.

I was though, impressed with what Hearn had to say on radio after the event. Pulling no punches he didn’t pander to O’Sullivan in a way previous others in Snooker’s governing body have done in the past.

Hearn said no man is bigger than the game and that snooker could survive without Ronnie, as there is plenty more where he has come from. He also said that O’Sullivan has made millions from snooker and owed the game plenty in return, and that he would have been up on a disripute charge had he not potted the black.

Last January, snooker turned a blind eye to him leaving the arena in the middle of the presentations and showing total disrespect after he lost 10-9 to Mark Selby in the final of The Masters, we heard all the usual excuses, like ‘Oh it’s the way Ronnie is, he has his problems’, etc.

For years now we have had to listen to O’Sullivan saying how he dosen’t love snooker, how he is going to quit, or go and play pool in America.

Barry Hearn said he wants him to be his flag-bearer for his new snooker era. He was probably hoping to have a similar relationship with O’Sullivan, to the one he has with Phil Taylor in the darts. A relationship that sees them both make plenty of money out of Taylor’s unique talent, and Hearn’s marketing ability.

Today’s comments sounded like a warning for O’Sullivan, that maybe Hearn isn’t prepared to stand for much more of his tantrums and disrespect for the game and it’s fans.

I think it’s high time he was taken to task for continually running down the game of snooker with his negativeness, if he dosen’t want to play snooker then he should clear off and let the others that do get on with it.