Snooker journeyman Bingham dispatches Murphy in epic World Final

After starting tournament as a 50-1 outsider Bingham claims the crown in a classic Crucible final


Stuart Bingham, described by BBC pundit John Parrott as "one of the most popular players on the circuit", has become the oldest first time winner of the World Snooker Championship.

The 38-year old from Basildon, who started the tournament as a 50-1 outsider, held off a late charge from Shaun Murphy to win a gripping final 18-15.

The crowd at the Crucible theatre in Sheffield was treated to a topsy-turvey climax to the event, with Bingham recovering from 3-0 and 8-4 down on the first day to go 14-11 up in the penultimate session before Murphy came storming back to level the match at 15 frames a piece.

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"At 15-all I thought my chance was gone," Bingham admitted. "My arm felt like someone else's and nerves sort of got to me. We had a marathon 31st frame and I sort of pinched it on the colours and from then on I played pretty solid."

That 64-minute frame will be remembered for quite some time as the players battled for supremacy with a series of superb safety shots. Eventually the pressure told and seven consecutive misses by Murphy following a snooker, gave Bingham the impetus to snatch the frame and go on to take the £300,000 winner's cheque.

Murphy, a previous winner at the Crucible in 2005, was gracious in defeat: "I came up against an inspired Stuart Bingham. Sometimes your name is just on the trophy. There's not a player alive who doesn't deserve it any more than Stuart. He played like a champion."

Bingham's popularity has been an ongoing theme as his fairytale tournament unfolded and he beat arguably the sport's two-most talented players - Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump - in the quarter- and semi-finals. It has been a "Cinderella story came true for this late developer", says Eurosport, which describes Bingham as an "honest, smiling, sometimes teary and largely unassuming bloke from Basildon".

However, the BBC reports that it was a less than charitable remark from a fellow professional prior to the 2011 Australian Open which spurred him on to his achievement. Speaking after his triumph, Bingham said: "Thanks to Mark Allen. He said I had no bottle and since then things have changed."

The title is the culmination of 20 years of hard work for Bingham who for the first 15 years of his career had not won a single ranking tournament. His success, says the Daily Telegraph, has "provided hope to all those journeying sportsmen that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel".

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