An intriguing, dramatic first day of the Betfred.com World Championship final has left Judd Trump eight frames from becoming the second youngest winner of the title.

Trump, a few months older than Stephen Hendry when he won for the first time in 1990, is 10-7 up overnight against John Higgins.

His fanbase growing all the time, he received a huge cheer as he was introduced into the Crucible and once again stepped up to the occasion.

And again flamboyant shot-making – including the last black he powered in to complete his 103 break in the 12th frame – was the order of the day.

Higgins’s problem was that he wasn’t scoring heavily enough. He competed well tactically and made a couple of good clearances but his highest break was just 64. This surely has to go up if he is to win a fourth world title tonight.

My only concern for Trump is that there were a couple of frames where he was 50-60 ahead and couldn’t close the shop in the way Higgins would do. But for these he could be even further ahead.

But Trump still seems completely unaffected by the whole experience. His little asides to the camera and his obvious enjoyment of the whole experience have been refreshing.

Today is Jimmy White’s 49th birthday. The symmetry is perfect. White famously never won the world title but has graciously sent his best wishes to Trump.

He recognises in this left-hander something of his own early days and the entertainment it is bringing the public.

So it’s the biggest day of the snooker year. 17 days of competition – and the 2010/11 season – ends tonight in Sheffield with the 84 year-old trophy being presented.

If Trump wins the title this evening then this will be a day still talked about many years from now, like the other iconic days snooker has experienced during its rich, varied history.

This exceptionally talented young man has the world at his feet.

Destiny awaits. It’s up to him now.


Anonymous said...

When was the last time that the China Open winner went on to win the world championship?
When was the last time any player won 2 consecutive ranking finals?
It isn't very usual, is it?

kildare cueman said...

Experienced snooker watchers will be aware that the script for todays final will be as follows;

Higgins moves up a gear and determinedly draws level pretty quickly. Trump starts to miss crucial balls. Higgins kicks on and pulls away. Higgins finishes with a couple of immaculate frame winning breaks. The weepy Higgins clan eulogise further about John senior. Willie thorne sees the best break, pot and safety shot that hes ever seen, and Trump is patronised by everybody about how its only a matter of time blah blah....

That would be the most logical outcome but is it the one that will happen?

I'm not so sure.

Trump, while he can miss easy frame balls, was magnificent in the last couple of frames against both Ding and against Selby in the China final.

In other words, in the two biggest games hes played to date, he produced his most clinical form at the juncture where he needed to get over the line.

These feats, will leave no doubt as to his ability to conquer any semblance of clinchers disease that may arise.

I think the biggest threat to a Trump victory, will be Higgins' ability to snatch frames with late clearances that he had little or no chance in.

Higgins had a poor second session yesterday but he had poor second sessions against both O'Sullivan and Williams. He could, and should, have been 10-6 or 11-5 behind in both these matches but contrived, with the aid of both late clearances and unexpected misses from his opponents, to stay in touch until the inevitable burst of form that he finds at some stage of a long match.

Because of his overnight lead, this has now become a test for Trump. He now has something to lose.

It will be harder today. Winning or losing the World title now becomes an issue. Those long pots at speed will be harder, but if you are going to be a champion you need to be able to kick on when required.

I think he can do it. Im not saying he will but I hope he does. I like Higgins but he's won plenty, and Trump as champion would bring a lot of new interest, youth included, and further emphasise that feeling that something fresh and new is happening in snooker.

Betty Logan said...

I think the last winner of two successive ranking finals was 2004 when Ron won the world championship and Grand Prix. Last time in a single season was Ron again in 2003 with the European Open and Irish Masters. I'm guessing though so could be wrong on both those

Anonymous said...

Trump has 'kept it real' as some would say. He has continued his entertaining style of playing and I think it is simply wonderful.

He deserves the title and I do think he will remain cool, calm and collected and take the match.

Trump to Higgins: you're fired!

Anonymous said...

Last time a player won back to back ranking titles was O'Sullivan in 2008 (World then NI Trophy). Last time a player won the World title having won the previous ranking event was Higgins in 1998.
I am a big fan of Higgins, but for the future of the game, Trump must win.


Anonymous said...

come on John!

Anonymous said...

...and after that intro...shut up all those who think the WC should move from the crucible!!

Anonymous said...

I have been following snooker for 20 years, it's unbelievable how lucky Higgins is. I don't think I have ever seen him get a bad run of the table. Every big match, every frame, enough already. I feel bad for this kid, Higgins is flucking this.

Mark. T

John Higgins fan said...

Loving this final, not loving Willie's biased pro-Trump commentary. One of the first rules of commentary should be impartiality, and before you ask, I don't mind who wins, though WT is trying his best to make my mind up


Hi David Great tournament for Trump. Higgins showed, Grit, Tanasaty, Belief, particularly from 12-9 down, to win it for his Father. John Senior will be proud, I am sure. To also pay tribute to another great man, I am sure Ted Lowe, will have loved watching that great final, from up above. Great event, as a whole. Well done John Higgins.

Hit and Hope said...

Well deserved victory for John, feel a bit sorry for Judd though. He was the best man of the tournament for me and I hope he can keep this standard for the following seasons.

Anonymous said...

kildare cueman was not far off being spot on.

Tim said...

Kildare Cueman is right. Trump was patronised by everybody. He came close to winning and is already a major star. But they can't get over the fact that he doesn't have those years of experience - he will, he will!
The woman commentator - whose name, I'm sorry I didn't pick up - was really bad when she said to Judd the cheque would keep him in hair gel for a while. That was really unfair, given that young guys are all wearing their hair in a swishy way at the moment. Judd Trump is shrewd, courteous, modest, friendly and already showing steely resolve.
At 69, I watch snooker with little real understanding.(The shame of it!) But I DO watch it with interest. It's a really wonderful, mesmerising game and I miss those broadcasts from the Crucible. I have a theory that it lowers my blood pressure (which needs doing). Could I be right? It's certainly the most engaging game around and deeply therapeutic. :-)