John Higgins came into the Shanghai Masters without any sort of form after a disappointing 2011/12 season and without much snooker under his belt in the current campaign.

He leaves Shanghai as champion after an astonishing comeback which reaffirms his position as one of the game's all time greats.

He was 7-2 down to an inspired Judd Trump but, as he did from the same position against Mark Williams in the 2010 UK Championship final, recovered to win 10-9.

Trailing 5-0, Higgins made a maximum, the sixth of his career but first since 2004.

It all adds up to one of his best ever performances in a professional career spanning 20 years.

It is 18 years since Higgins won his first ranking title. Shanghai yields him his 25th and he moves above Ronnie O'Sullivan in third place on the overall list with Steve Davis's total of 28 now in touching distance.

It was a classic match but also one of the greatest finals never seen because it was not live on television outside of China which is, to put it mildly, a great shame.

The match, and indeed the semi-finals, prove what we all knew: that snooker is still capable of delivering high drama, particularly if the stakes are high in a major tournament with a big first prize.

This was an excellent tournament with big crowds, even if there were far too many interruptions because of cameras and phones.

Trump will obviously find the defeat hard to take. He got better and better as the week went on and played very well in the final.

He played his full part in the drama on the Grand Stage but the class of '92 are still a formidable bunch.

Higgins, O'Sullivan and Mark Williams were products of a special time which will never come again in the UK, the snooker boom which belongs now to another age: terrestrial television with only four channels meaning that snooker was front and central in the affections of large parts of the nation.

The world has moved on. Snooker is now thankfully more global in terms of its calendar but it will clearly take time for talents of the future to develop into the world class players of Higgins, O'Sullivan and Williams's pedigree. 


Anonymous said...

Those posters commenting that Ron and John were no longer the best players in the game during the rankings discussion have been left looking vaguely ridiculous. One is the world champion and the other has just moved into pole position in the provisional rankings. Higgins has always suffered from patchy form, it was obviously only a matter a time before his ability reasserted itself. I'm sure Judd will get some Twitter stick about blowing it but Higgins has done this to virtually everyone at some point.

Anonymous said...

Good summary Dave.

I watched the evening part of the match on the interweb, great great match, i was hoping higgins would get over the line becasue u think trump needs to come down of his high horse a bit before more people will endear to him.

Why didnt eurosport show it? Surely Dave you know of the reasoning behind it?

Like him or not, Higgins is an absolute rock of a match player, the last long red he knocked in the last frame, well hard to put words on it.

Would be sick for anyone with a bet on trump! Trump nearly 40 ahead with higgins in trouble !!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful match, a true classic with Higgins back to his best. Shame I couldn't watch it!

ali said...

Well done John.

Shame brit eurosport didn't even show the 147. The least they could do is some proper highlights given they did not show it live.

Ray said...

Eurosport gave such great coverage up until today that it was criminal not to show one of the greatest ever finals live. It's happened before and I can't see it changing anytime soon. It's so disrespectful to the many snooker fans who have followed this tournament.
Judd should not be downhearted for long because he did his best and you can't do more than that. He showed great respect and dignity when speaking of Higgins' win and proved he was a true sportsman in the Federer class. Long may it continue.

Anonymous said...

When comparing players of different eras the number of ranking titles stat is relatively meaningless because the number of ranking titles contested each season has fluctuated so much over the years. In fact another favorite, the centuries count stat will also becoming increasingly meaningless for era comparison as players play far more frames these days.

as players play far more frames a season.

Anonymous said...

Who was it that famously said its time for the young guns and an end to the 'deadwood'?

Anonymous said...

Ben Harrison!

Anonymous said...

Well done John Higgins! What a storming fightback!

That said, i do notice there still seems to be a lingering mistrust displayed towards him by some fans over the NOTW saga.

On almost every Youtube video where Higgins lost a match, there will be the inevitable snide remarks that say John accepted $$$ to lose this match or something similar along the line.

And of course, there was the famous heckle at last year's WC when an audience member shouted, "how do you swallow 300 thousand John?"

Anonymous said...

Absolutelly gutted that Higgins won...i just can't think positive about him after that you know what, i try but i can't...

Anonymous said...

Eurosport did show ALL the final live on the Eurosport Player, including the sniffer dogs checking the stadium row by row during the interval!

There was no commentary, which is a shame, and the sound level was painfully quiet. The BBC record commentary realtime on each frame, whereas it would appear that Eurosport do the commentary at the time the programme goes out - please correct me Dave if I am wrong.

Many have said on this forum that the Eurosport Player has problems. I had those same problems a year ago, but I have changed broadband supplier to a proper company and this has fixed it. I watched all 7 days last week live on the player and only once did I have to click the mouse to keep it going.

In reality the Player is the only way to watch the conclusion to Eurosport snooker because they clearly have higher (audience) rated programmes to show at the weekends.

Anonymous said...

all through Selby's Reign being WN 1 meant nothing all of a sudden with John Higgins its proof hes one of the Best.

Double Standards at it best.

Anonymous said...

Three world titles from the last six championships mean he's one of the best. Getting back to number 1 just reaffirms what we already know.

Anonymous said...

Quality vs quantity.

Play everything and become number one. With the new money list it will be more fair, because winning will be rewarded, not just playing every tournement there is.

The double standard is fair treatment because of the fact that Selby is not worthy of being treated the same as greats like Higgins.

He isn't an all time great but an under-achiever. Ok, a consistent under-achiever who plays in everything.

Quality vs quantity.

Anonymous said...


What was the reason for this not being shown on Eurosport? It's not the first time it shows good coverage of an event during the week but come the final on a Sunday it somehow disappears from the schedule's radar.

I know you will be keen to defend the broadcaster as it rightly deserves credit for showing snooker that others are not willing to cover, but it has to be said that it doesn't help it's credibility as a channel, even if the weekend schedule is likely to be busier with other sporting events that are on. Eurosport player costs money and it not an ideal alternative for most people.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Do you think it's time we stopped talking about Higgins, O'Sullivan and Williams as the three greats of their era?

I think that would have been the case up to about 6-7 years ago, but Higgins and O'Sullivan have clearly achieved more than Williams now and sits clearly below his two adversaries. It's a shame because Higgins and O'Sullivan, despite instances which have tarnished their characters, have always remained true to the sports, whereas I don't think Williams endears himself to fans by talking about money being his main / only motivating factor, the Crucible being a shocking venue, etc, etc. It's not what the fans want to hear.

Dave H said...

I commentate for Eurosport, I don't speak on their behalf. However the problem always at weekends is the amount of sport. Yesterday it was Superbikes (the biggest rater on the channel) and cycling. Snooker's problem is that nobody knows how long it will last, which makes it difficult to schedule. Great shame considering the standard of the final, which must rate as one of the best ever.

Anonymous said...

really gutted i didnt see it live when i seen it was 7-2 to trump and last night seen that higgins was 8-7 up i nearly fell of my chair, no one else would have come bac like that not even ronnie i think..then i watched the highlights on eurosport and seen judd didnt bottle it he was just outplayed and doesnt have the sameexperience or safety knowledge as higgins it was truly entertaining right up to the end..just a shame after great coverage all week not being able to watch the final live..really disapointed as its not the same watching highlights..

Anonymous said...

Quite a bit of the final here.


Anonymous said...


could you put forth to Barry Hearn that a tournament could be held in the Far East in places like Singapore and Hong Kong?

I have lived in these parts (i am still living in Singapore) and i know there is a sizable interest in watching quality live snooker.

Snooker fans, pool fans and even members of the general public would turn up if the tournament manages to secure big names attendees like O' Sullivan, Higgins, Robertson, Trump, Williams, Ding and the old guns like Davis and White (give them wild cards or something).

Stephen Hendry turning up to do an exhibition match(and later his commentary) would draw in a mega-crowd as well.

Anonymous said...

Higgins is a worthy number one. Having Selby at the top is a bit like having Everton at the top of the premiership. Hes just not in the same class and doesnt entertain.

Anonymous said...

If they can't show finals at weekends, then why don't they play them during the week?

Surely, there's nothing that says that snooker finals have to be played at a weekend. If they played them during the week, then Eurosport could show them.

Anonymous said...

Eurosport Player costs roughly the same as a UK pint of lager, per month.

Just add the commentary to the streams and at least everyone with decent broadband (including any Bikers) would be happy.

Anonymous said...

Dave your reluctance to critisise europsort speaks volumes.You continue to talk up their coverage but say nothing when they fail to show the final.Whats the point of showing the competetion from the start and then ignoring the final?What a joke of a channel!Dave have some bottle!

Newsfox said...

Sorry state of affairs when snooker has been bumped on a sports-only channel which can't afford anything decent. Still, snooker gets great rating but I think Eurosort draws in a certain crowd whereas snooker is often watched by casual viewers/channel hoppers. Show that Barry Hearn needs help to turn snooker around. I'm available Baz.

Alain (not Robidoux) said...

For those who want to watch the final in full:




Anonymous said...

Let's cut Dave a bit of slack...he's basically saying he agrees and is disappointed but he can't really say it openly on here as he is in a compromising situation with Eurosport being an employer and an excellent commentating job.

Dave commentating for Eurosport is a bit like Ryan Giggs playing for Wales. They are grateful to have him but it's not his fault they are pants. Lol

Anonymous said...

re 7:45 absolutely cut Dave some slack

Last time I checked, critcising your employer is classed as Gross Misconduct - the punishment, dismissal. Not something we would want.

IAN1959 said...

Eurosport is great, it's British Eurosport that is rubbish. Other
countries seem to get all the final stages. I watched the first session of the final live on German Eurosport, which is free to air to all Europe at the old Astra 1 position. Unfortunately German Eurosport in not fro air so getting to watch snooker is a bit of a lottery.
I still don't know why they can't record the whole final and show it at a later date on British Eurosport. Perhaps they just don't care.