It was an emotional night in Newport as John Higgins moved to third in the all time list of ranking event winners with a terrific display of matchplay snooker to win the Welsh Open.

Higgins won seven of the last eight frames to beat Stephen Maguire 9-6 to land a 23rd ranking title.

It was the first event since the death of his father and, once again, he did his family proud.

Maguire was left to rue a few missed chances. He had got ahead in several frames but was unable to kill them off.

But Stephen need not beat himself up too much: Higgins had been a man on a mission all week and he eventually got the result.

I'm pleased for him. I knew John senior and he was a larger than life character, sociable and good fun, who acted as a guiding hand for his son.

Had he never taken John into a club when he was nine he may never have become a player at all.

It would take many years for him to overtake Stephen Hendry at the top of the all time winners list as he is still 13 titles ahead.

But Steve Davis's tally of 28 titles could be overtaken and, with Ronnie O'Sullivan currently demotivated, Higgins can pull away from his friend, contemporary and rival.

He reminded us today of how good he is. It's one thing to have skill but knowledge of the right shot to play and temperament are also so important.

John Higgins has it all in spades and in this form will go to the World Championship in two months time as the man to beat.


Maza said...

Well done to the best player in the world.
Just for a second, if you imagine his 'b' game was a seperate player, that player would probably be ranked top 8.

Arguably the best all round player of all time.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Maza. He is playing snooker at a standard that is head and shoulders above every other professional including Williams who only performs occasionally to that level.

He must have so much confidence in his ability right now that he is without doubt the man to beat in Sheffield, one year on from the start of his nightmare he has something to put right. O'Sullivan in his quarter or not, I dont think he really cares, he has some history to write come the first monday in May.

Anonymous said...

Sure, overhyping everything is Journalist's trade. But please, Dave. Unless Higgins wins 3 more world titles and 70+ titles in total he's nowhere bear Davis - in every aspect. And as for making his family proud, that he did back in May, talking about the ways professionals can use to lose frames and matches.

He's a good player who's currently playing good snooker - nothing less, but, since May, nothing more.


Betty Logan said...

Have you seen the new "projected seedings" (i.e. the old provisional rankings)? Williams is something like 7000 points clear at the top now (and has the PTC to come which Higgins doesn't). Williams will have to seriously stuff up to not finish the season ranked number 1. The last time we had a player under 30 finish the season in the top spot was O'Sullivan in 2005.

Dave H said...

I said he could overhaul Davis's record of 28 ranking titles if he won six more

How is that 'overhyping'?

Anonymous said...

Many congratulations to John for winning the Welsh Open while (arguably) not playing at his absolutely, brilliant best. Very pleased for him and it just goes to show how good he is.

One thing I do wonder about though...when mentioning the way John plays his matches it's referred to as "hard matchplay" yet when Mark Selby does the same, it's called "negative play"?

In my opinion they have similar/identical styles of play. Both are very heavy scorers when they get in, yet both also possess the innate ability of knowing when a shot is asking too much. This is when they decide to "close the door" on their opponent.

Yes, I'll be the first to admit that John's record of winning tournaments is better than Mark's but I firmly believe Mark will start winning...it takes time in the strong field we have nowadays.


Dave H said...

Jurgen - it was Selby who labelled himself negative

Sonny said...

When Maguire played Selby he demonstrated how a positive attacking approach can win you matches. When he played Higgins he demonstrated how being too positive and crossing the line into pushing the boat out can lose you matches.

Congratulations John Higgins, a true champion of our time and snooker Grandmaster.

kimball said...

The winner is undisputed and the longer into the match, the better
Higgins played, but frame by frame
it could have been 1-7 and even 1-9.
So what stopped Maguire in the tracks
at 40-50 breaks?
Nerves, bad memories from the semifinal in Sheffield, or the toll of the tuff earlier matches?

Anonymous said...

Dave, as the seedings for the Crucible is now confirmed, I would like to see your preview on it.

Redandblackblog said...

Higgins is now 5/1 favourite for the World title with most books with Ronnie generally available at 6/1. This is the first time that Ronnie hasn't been a favourite across the board for a long time. Was going to back Higgins but just feel with the short price and surely the fact that the season will catch up with him at some point that there has to be better value out there.

Anonymous said...

Im sick of weepy Higgins finals. The rocket will blitz him in Sheffield

Anonymous said...

I have to confess that I missed Joihn Evans interviewing the finalists after the game last night.
"Stephen, you lost tonight but tell us about your tank full of pet sharks and piranhas"

Mike said...

I'm not a Ronnie O'Sullivan fan but I'm a man who compared O'Sullivan and Higgins since they started their professionel career. And to be honest. Ronnie has more abilities than Higgins and if O'Sullivan uses his full potential,he is gonna demolish Higgins at Sheffield.

Anonymous said...

@Betty Logan

You maybe right to forecast MJW as No.1 at the end of the season. And he definitely deserves it.

But it is amazing that John Higgins just went up to One Year's No.7 without any Shanghai, World Open and all the PTC/EPTC events he missed. This is pure class on the table, regardless what happend in the Ukraine.

Anonymous said...

r+bblog you are wrong

for the welsh on easy odds 3 days before it higgins was joint fav with ron on several. ron was fav on 2 and higgins outright fav on 5. thats with about 15 bookies, so ron wasnt outright fav for the welsh at that time. higgins was joint with most and fav if you take an across the board average (akin to sp in horseracing)

Anonymous said...

Unless Higgins has a mental fortitude beyond that of any human I've ever met I think he'll struggle for a few months now. I think the enormity of what he's been through this past year is bound to strike him and he will need some time to recover. His emotions carried him through in Wales, and I'm very glad they did, but the nervous energy will run out and then he will need to rest and heal.

Anonymous said...

is he perhaps winning cus he knows hes been given a second chance unlike quinten haan . i was in a ladbrokes shop recently and over heard someone saying that he would never trust betting on snooker ever again cus of john.


I am delighted for Higgins. Not only did he successfully defend the title, He won the first tournament to be played(from start to finish), since his father passed away. I am sure John Higgins Senior, will be very proud and was there in his own way. R.I.P. John Higgins Senior. Well done, John Higgins Junior.