Well, what can you say?

John Higgins has once again proved his strength of character to win a fourth world title following an engrossing World Championship final in which he repelled the challenge of the spirited Judd Trump 18-15.

Higgins got the snooker he needed in what proved to be the concluding frame and then spectacularly doubled the pink before slotting home the black for victory.

It comes a year after his world was sent into turmoil by damaging tabloid newspaper accusations surrounding match fixing.

The nuances of the case have escaped many who would rather think the worst of someone successful – and thus end that success – than the facts.

But Higgins has grabbed the second chance he was granted with both hands. It says a lot about him that he could win his first tournament back from suspension and then, at the UK Championship, his first TV event too.

To land the world title for a fourth time propels him into the snooker stratosphere. In the modern era only Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ray Reardon can claim more world titles and the effort and application he displayed at the Crucible this year was formidable.

Credit, though, must go to Trump for the way he played. This exciting, entertaining, personable player gained many supporters throughout the event and is clearly set to be the game’s next superstar.

The final turned on a single shot this afternoon. Leading 12-9, Trump went for a very difficult thin blue using the rest.

Had it gone in it should have been 13-9. But he missed and it was 12-10.

There has been much discussion as to whether this was the ‘right’ shot. I wouldn’t criticise Judd because the way he played got him to within touching distance of the title.

What is indisputable, though, is that Higgins, who prior to this had been on the ropes and struggling, was given a huge injection of confidence when he won that frame and did not lose another in the afternoon session.

I thought Trump endured a poor run of the ball overall, particularly when going into the reds, but he will be back and the bad news for the rest is that he can only improve.

But Higgins and the way he plays the game is the standard everyone else must aspire to. He has played the best snooker of the season and brings the curtain down on a campaign in which the sport has been reinvigorated.

It was my pleasure to have spent time with his father, John senior, backstage at tournaments enjoying the odd drink and laugh.

He would have been proud of his boy for the way he applied himself at the Crucible this year.

It was a great performance in a great match that brings a great season to a close.


Anonymous said...

...and so say all of us!

This was truly a spectacular performance by John - not just tonight, but continuously since last November.
I am proud that the sport which I follow more closely than any other, has such a formidable World Champion with such an admirable fighting spirit.
It's another reason for the butterflies to flutter when I think of this fantastic last year for snooker - what a fairytale ending!
Dave, is it correct that John is now the only person apart from Joe Davis to win World titles in 3 different decades. And also the player, again except for Joe Davis, to have the longest gap between first and last/most recent world titles?

It is a great thought that the new snooker season is only weeks away. Long may it continue/ Thank you so much Barry Hearn.

dub_brother/jibjib said...

Good piece Dave and Higgins certainly deserves respect for his snooker.

Have to take issue with this part though:

"The nuances of the case have escaped many who would rather think the worst of someone successful – and thus end that success – than the facts."

I've read the judgement and I've read the interview with David Douglas on the Sporting Intelligence website, and frankly they both say "trust us, he's innocent" and very little else. There's precious little meat on the bones.

John should be appearing on stage at the Crucible every night of the year if he was really fearing for his life during that meeting.

So, for all there is to admire in John Higgins' snooker over the last fortnight, I find myself unable to cheer for his victory. Snooker needed Trump to win tonight but, alas, he'd already lost the match with that missed blue in the afternoon session. At least we can agree about that part.

Maza said...

Some tweets:

From snooker legend Jimmy White on Twitter: "Fair play. Well done to John Higgins and well played to Judd Trump - the start of a new major star... Got to congratulate John and his family especially with the loss of his father! I hope he dedicates it to him! God bless John Higgins senior."

BBC Sport pundit Steve Davis: "Only John Higgins could have beaten Judd Trump today. I think John Higgins is the best snooker player I've ever seen in my life."

From footballer Michael Owen on Twitter: "What a snooker final. In fact, what a tournament. Glad to hear snooker is making great strides next year to get back in the big time."

From footballer Wayne Rooney on Twitter: "Higgins. What a legend. The last two years he has had. He is an inspiration to us all. Well done. Truly happy for him."

Maza said...

Contrary to popular belief, Bruce Springstein in not the boss. That would be John Higgins.


So pleased he won.

147 said...

Have too agree with 12:42 ,pity Trump did,nt win

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful match, one of the best for a long time. There is so much to look forward to with Trump in the top 16. I can't wait until next season and the only frustration is that the BBC are cutting their coverage at a time of such growth in the sport. John Higgins is an undisputed all time great now, what a performance. Well done and thank you lads.

Anonymous said...

John Higgins SUPERSTAR

Judd, your time will come!

Betty Logan said...

Judd Trump is a complete maniac though! Poor old Ted Lowe, I think we all suspect how he went...

Patrick Lindon said...

"The nuances of the case have escaped many who would rather think the worst of someone successful – and thus end that success – than the facts"

I disagree. I don't think it is good for the sport that someone who has brought the sport into disrepute should be successful at its showpiece event. It would have been better for snooker if Trump had won. That is not to deny that Higgins is a great player - clearly he is.

Also, wasn't the six-month "ban" a joke? The snooker season doesn't start properly until the autumn, by which time most of the ban was up!

Anonymous said...

David i am getting ******* sick of those on here who are saying or implying John Higgins cheated (either directly or indirectly by saying the ban he got was lenient etc..)

The facts are folks:


He was caught on camera agreeing to do wrong
He explained to WS his actions and why he said what he did, under pressure.

NOW, whether you believe that or not is up to you, but hes not been found guilty of it by anyone.

What he has admitted to and been found guilty of is failing to report the illegal approach.

Now, i think 6 months for failing to approach is about right.

And to the ignorant person who thinks the snooker season starts in November ish....its easy to look up how many ranking points were on offer prior to Johns ban coming up.

I have no gripe with anyone judging him or having an opinion, but if the facts above lead you to think he CHEATED, youre wrong.
If the facts above lead you to think he WOULD HAVE cheated, then that is your opinion, but IFs are IFs and im glad you all have a crystal ball to judge someone with.

Well done John. Top Bhoy!

Dzierzgul said...

I was rooting for Higgins throughout the match but at 10-7 for Trump I thought it's all over. And then Higgins did what the greatest do: produced his best snooker when it mattered most. He truly is a legend and fantastic player and for me the championship couldn't end better (well, except for one thing: Hazel definitely shouldn't have tried so hard to drive him to tears).

And there was that spectacular final entrance of the players. Well, welcome to Barry Hearn's brave new world. And Barry, as always, was right. After long, difficult season players were in strong shape - and so the championship went really great. Without changing the format, without shot-clocks, without changing miss rule. Just proper snooker played at the excellent level.

odds-n-sods said...

All I can say about John Higgins is that he continues to be a very lucky man, not great for the sport by any means.

Anonymous said...

I hope that was Higgins last win. Im sick of looking at him bawling every time he wins a tournament

Rob said...

Betty why do you have to make weird and tasteless remarks about everything, even the death of Ted Lowe? Just sod off please.? Sodding internet weirdos...

Sorry to the blogmaster to be unpleasant, but I had to say it

As for Higgins yes I do agree with a previous poster, it's not actually good for him to win really. I would have preferred Trump to win and I was expecting him to. Sorry to say it but I knew it was over as soon as they said on BBC coverage that Judd had tweeted during the interval "Win or lose, what an atmosphere".

Capitulation.... winners don't even think "win or lose" at that moment let alone say it. Judd maybe next time just grit your teeth and pack the tweeting in just for 5 minutes?

I guess the semi final took it out of him and Higgins is such a solid player... Judd just was overcome by "the occasion". I really thought he had big balls and Higgins' age would catch up with him

The thing about the Higgins situation... as you said David, the problem is the facts have escaped a lot of people but they're not all people who are just looking for someone to get angry at.

The fact is it was never made clear enough to the general public the crucial explanation that the sting operation by the NOTW was so convincing that Higgins was actually in fear for their lives because he thought it was the Russian mafia. That's why he was "agreeing" to it.

I don't seem to remember the BBC reports being very clear about it. Of course they, just like everyone else, ran it as top story when the allegations first came out. But then when he was cleared they just gave relatively cursory coverage.

What too many people just don't seem to realise, is that the BBC just is almost as equally full of weird hacks who couldn't give a flying crap about anything that goes on outside of the Circle Line, and love when someone gets smeared but aren't that excited about corrections. Central London is a putrid swirling vortex of pissed up f*$#kwits and that includes the Beeb apart from a handful of interesting docus they still make... Unfortunately you don't seem to be allowed to point out that the BBC is a shade of its former self without being called a right wing nutjob...

Perhaps also because the judge didn't make it clear enough in his verdict. Either way that explanation has not been properly made clear. Its not neccessarily a casual fan's fault if they don't know all the facts in this case. its just the way the press is in this country and that affects people and something has to change.

Rob said...

Oh... by the way... that's just my opinion!

massambullah said...

The Prize for winning the Snooker World Championship's was 250,000 pounds.

Takes the shine off a bit when you know Judd earned more than that in frame when he missed the pink.

hated the suck up biased coverage by the BBC. Hazel Irving must have been devastated when Higgins beat him

Rob said...

massambullah what do you mean about Trump earning that much in a frame? Cant tell what you're getting at...

Anonymous said...

lets face it since john was found not guilty hes played some of his best snooker and had great results since. lets just say(and its only an opinion)if he was guilty what a result hes had cus it seems to have inspired him as if to have been given a second chance he may think he wouldnt get. that said he still had to produce the goods. i really hope his version of events were true but cant quite beleive him, as much as i would love to.

Anonymous said...

massambullah @ 2.18. What an ignorant fool you are.

New Trump Fan said...

Trump was the peoples champion yesterday. COM'N TRUMP No.1 for the 2011/12 season!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent comeback ( Again) from John.

Well deserved win, against a player whose style did look intimidating.

I think that Trump's shot choice leaves much to be desired though.

A lot of reckless risky plants were played, and to be honest, how many frames did he win in one single scoring visit.........not really very many.
Hit a lot of shots much to hard, and in the end he did let Higgins off the hook slightly.

Once John got going properly he won quite a few frames from 30 to 60 points behind, and he scored much more heavily in the 3rd session which basically did most of the damage, winning it 6-2.

I think steve Davis was more or less right. ' the best player hes seen' in terms of resilliance, effort, and calmness under pressure.
He is definately the best player Ive seen in clearing up and counter attacking a 50 or 60 point defecit.

Allied with usually very heavy scoring, and a very good 'B' and even 'C' and a superb defensive game he is definately the most complete player ever.

I was getting annoyed at WT's commentry though, it was 'Trump's great at this, Trump's great at that'
'Higgins fortunate here, Higgins fortunate there'

Too bad WT wasnt in the final mini-session when Higgins actually won, I think WT would have been stuck for something to say.........
As much as I like WT though.

Betty Logan said...

Hmmm, I think you need to take a look in the mirror, Rob, because most of the contributors on here just come to offer their views (thoughtful or otherwise). Unfortunately there are a few people who do come here and post abuse and personal insults towards the other regular contributors. Internet forums and blogs always seem to attract a handful of these types of people. Personally I think it is these people — those who launch personal attacks on others — who are the "weirdos", I mean you have to be a bit twisted to verbally abuse someone who has done nothing to you...

Maximum Plus said...

"Trust us, he is innocent" is not good enough. Anyone with an open mind who looks at that footage can only reach one conclusion. Higgins had considerable neck to plead innocence in this matter. Why wasn't the complete unedited footage made public? Why the polarised dichotomy of sanction handed out to Mooney and Higgins? They were both there at that meeting.

Of course Higgins took his chances, effectively got away with it and very much made the most of second chance. The bigger culprits, in my view, are the arbiters who made such a dtermination - a complete deriliction of duty. Snooker doesn't need anyone player at any price.

Last night, when higgins was handed that trophy, one year to the day of his depicable behaviour, ensured a dark night for snooker. And BBCs complete repeated glossing over the matter was as pathectic as it was expected.

Well played Judd, you are the light and the future. Your day will come.

Betty Logan said...

World Snooker should be grateful John Higgins didn't sue them for loss of earnings; the matches under discussion weren't even WSA events and therefore it is highly questionable that the WSA had any legal jurisdiction in this case. Personally I would have liked to have seen that principle tested in court, but Higgins probably didn't want to enter into a protracted and expensive legal battle so opted for the slap on the wrists.

Anonymous said...

It's really a disgrace to see Davis being so ready to declare ROS then Williams and now Higgins the greatest player of all time - anyone but Hendry. Davis had 15 years to get over the fact that Hendry and not him became a legend of snooker, and he is jealous still.
Too bad this man is representing players in WPBSA board, however meaningless the whole board is.


kildare cueman said...

Betty, Higgins was charged with bringing the game into disrepute and failing to report the incident.

The World no 1 and recently deposed World champ saying on tape that he can and will lose on purpose is surely disreputable even amongst the most litigious of us.

He wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court. He messed up. He got punished. Game over.

Patrick Lindon said...

@ Anonymous (typically)

"Now, i think 6 months for failing to approach is about right"

So you think that a person who brought the game into disrepute is an appropriate person to represent the sport as its world champion?

Betty Logan said...

The WSA obviously doesn't agree with you there Kidare, because those were the reasons the WSA itself gave for dropping the charges against Pat Mooney. The WSA would have received legal advice in this regard, so they obviously had serious concerns about their jurisdiction over the World Series. The WSA may have a rule that members have to report approaches, but a court may find that the player is only bound by those rules in regards to the WSA's own events. An organisation can set any rules it wants, but it doesn't mean they are legally enforceable. I suspect neither side wanted to test that argument in court which is why the ban was so short, but if the WSA had banned Higgins for a season or more, effectively ending his career then he would have had nothing to lose by going to court. If the World Series had been a WSA event then Barry Hearn said himself he would have thrown the book at Mooney.

Anonymous said...

yes i do patrick

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

I do believe John is indeed a well worthy champion, regardless of what some people think/say/claim about his alleged "cheating".

As someone mentioned before already, he hasn't cheated or thrown games/frames away. He was charged with failing to report having been approached, was fine and banned accordingly and since then he's simply let his cue do the talking.

I love the new impetus that Trump has brought to the game and surely he'll be a world champ before long but to then now say he should have won is weird. At the end of the night, Higgins got 18 frames, Trump didn't. In front of millions of people watching on TV, with the best ref the game has to offer, and a crowd of almost 1000 people...how could he have cheated his way there?

A more than deserved win. MJW and RoS had him reeling yet he failed to roll over...instead he did what every sportsman should do...battle and hope to come out victorious.

Nothing shaming about that but pure dedication and determination.


kildare cueman said...

Betty, you're still not getting my point.

The jurisdiction, or event, is not relevant. If a WSA member gets drunk on holidays and gets into a fight and is in the papers, he can be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

Pat Mooney is not a WSA member and therefore WAS outside WSA jurisdiction.

Had Higgins, or any other player, been found guilty of match fixing, he would probably been banned for life, but he was charged with the lesser disrepute offence, an undeniable charge in this case, and was punished accordingly.

Anonymous said...

i dont think if a player got drunk on holiday / got in a brawl and the WSA tried to punish them for it that it would stand up if challenged in court.

Betty Logan said...

Exactly, anon, if a player gets drunk on his own dime and his own time I don't think the WSA could legally enforce a sanction against the player, but if he did it at a venue or on his WSA expenses account then it becomes a WSA matter. The WSA has had plenty of rules in the past that collapsed under legal scrutiny: Tony Knowles didn't meet the convoluted criteria for turning pro so he threatened legal action because he believed the rules violated employment law, and the WSA had a quick change of heart; Hendry and Williams successfully sued the WSA under Eurorpean competition laws over rules forbidding them from entering non-WSA sanctioned events. The WSA may have a disrepute rule, but I'd bet a months wages that a court would only enforce it up to the point it covers WSA events.

Anonymous said...

which is what i said betsy

Anonymous said...

Dave - are there any details on this ranking event in Australia - is it really happening after the world cup?


Hi David.Every credit to Higgins.