Brilliant Bingham Bags Another Major
It was a Masters final that few would have predicted but Stuart Bingham and Ali Carter served up an entertaining showdown for glory at the Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
A topsy-turvy battle in which both players enjoyed the ascendancy at different points, it was Bingham who won five out of the last six frames to complete a 10-8 victory over his fellow Englishman.
Bingham has now won two out of the three events that make up the Triple Crown, adding to his famous World Championship success from 2015.
Many, somewhat ridiculously considering the players he had to beat at the Crucible that year, felt that his world title was a bit of a fluke.
There can be no denying the 43 year-old’s status in the game now, though, as he joins an even more exclusive group of multiple major champions.
Only the UK Championship title is lacking from his CV and such has been his meteoric rise in the second half of his career that it would hardly be a huge surprise to see him complete the collection at some point in the future.
For Carter, whose run was memorable given the fact he wouldn’t have been invited except for Ronnie O’Sullivan’s withdrawal, the 40 year-old’s wait for a maiden crown at this level goes on.
Kleckers Clicking on Challenge Tour
The eighth Challenge Tour event of the season took place last weekend in Tamworth with Lukas Kleckers emerging as the winner.
The German is looking to immediately bounce back after being relegated from his debut stint on the Main Tour at the end of last season.
Kleckers overcame many familiar names as he landed a first title on the sport’s secondary circuit.
The 23 year-old recorded wins over Zak Surety, Sanderson Lam, and former Ruhr Open champion Rory McLeod to reach the last four.
A tight 3-2 triumph against Patrick Whelan sent him through to the final, where he defeated Welshman Tyler Rees.
Kleckers rises to second in the Challenge Tour rankings list behind Andrew Pagett, with three tournaments still to be completed.
The top ranked player after ten events will gain an automatic place on the Main Tour, with those positioned from second to ninth entering a play-off competition for one additional pro ticket.
The Darling of Dornbirn
It’s a little-known city with a population of less than 50,000 people but Dornbirn in Austria will produce a ranking event winner this weekend.
Eight competitors remain in the hunt for the £80,000 top prize, including Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins.
That’s it in terms of top 16 members, though, as another tournament with upsets galore has developed.
Only seven from the elite bracket had qualified for the last 32 and five of them were duly dumped out in the first couple of rounds at the venue stages.
There was excitement as professional snooker headed to a new country for the first time but the crowds have so far been a little disappointing.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the atmosphere will pick up over the weekend.