I went to the Crucible Theatre on Saturday 2nd May 2015 to watch the third session of the semi-final between Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham.
My final live session of the 2015 World Championship was set to be a tremendous one, with two players with very different histories battling it out for a place in the final.
Stuart Bingham is a journeyman professional of over 20 years, unknown to many and a man who has only ‘come good’ in the past few years – winning the Australian Open and Shanghai Masters. But ‘Ballrun’ was quickly becoming the story of competition. Having already defeated Robbie Williams (not that one!) and 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott, he then knocked out the hot-favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan 13-9 in impressive style to reach the one-table setup for the first time in his career.
However, Judd Trump is a player who seems destined for stardom, with his flash style on the baize that has earned him a huge fan base. The former UK champion and World finalist had defeated Stuart Carrington and Marco Fu, before providing the best performance of the tournament so far to crush Ding Junhui 13-4 in the quarter finals.
With the Rocket out of the tournament, Trump was the now the bookies favourite to lift his first world title. But this extra pressure seemed to have had an adverse affect on the 25 year old, who trailed 5-3 after the first session and 9-7 heading into today, having won an important 16th frame that could have seen him fall 10-6 behind overnight.
There was a buzz of anticipation inside this famous venue as Rob Walker introduced the two players to the stage.
After a nervy first two sessions, Trump looked to have regained his confidence and took the opening to frames of the day comfortably with breaks of 61 and 91 to level the game at 9-9.
From here, most would have expected the favourite to pull away. But Bingham hit back impressively with breaks of 67 and 62 to regain his two-frame lead heading into the mid-session interval.
And the 38 year old continued in a similar vain after the break, winning a scrappy 21st frame before opening up a four-frame gap with a break of 59.
With two frames left in this session, it was worrying times for Judd Trump fans. The man from Bristol was beginning to look a frustrated figure on the biggest stage and losing the next would all but end his dream of a first world title this year.
However, Trump managed to compose himself and reduce his arrears to 13-11 by winning the next two with breaks of 44 and 65, after forcing Bingham to give away 36 points in fouls in the penultimate frame of the morning.
The match was now perfectly poised for it’s conclusion this evening and while Bingham still holds a two frame, you wouldn’t bet against this one going right down to the wire.
The winner faces the winner of Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins – and it looks highly likely that it will be the 2005 World Champion, who leads 15-9 and is just two away from his third final.