Crucible

Murphy v Bingham: Final Day Live

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So it is final day here at the 2015 World Championship and what a match we have in store, with the one frame gap between the two representing the closest final in 27 years after the first two sessions.

Click below for my updates throughout the course of the day…

14:32 – Half an hour into today’s final and already Stuart Bingham has been able to draw level, a one-visit break of 87 in the 18th frame of the match enough to do the damage.

At the time of writing, it is Shaun, back in the red and gold waistcoat that drew so much attention earlier in the week, currently at the table, but as he overcuts a red into a corner pocket with just a 32 point lead, Stuart comes back to the table, looking to go into the lead for the first time in this final…

14:37 – As ever on final day here in the media centre, the spare tables that have sat relatively empty throughout the tournament suddenly become hard to come by and there are a number of notable faces popping in, including Barry Hearn and Jason Ferguson. Ken Doherty is not too hard to miss either with his rather distinctive trousers…

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14:42 – We have an interesting frame in store now as Stuart too has failed to take his chance, missing the penultimate red with the rest when in on 51. It is perhaps early days to be talking about turning points and huge frames, but still, it is not a frame that either player will want to lose now…

14:45 – And it is Bingham who wins it, cutting back the last red to the left-centre and clearing to the blue to move into the lead of the World Championship final for the first time in his career. 10-9. Who saw that coming when Shaun led 8-4 at the mid-session interval yesterday evening?

15:03 – Unbelievable scenes in frame 20 as Stuart Bingham comes agonisingly close to becoming the first player ever to make a maximum 147 break in a final here at the Crucible, making 112 before failing to finish nicely on the last awkward red along the side-cushion under the right-centre pocket.

It had been the one red that had looked problematic throughout the break as he twice failed to dislodge it, eventually finishing almost touching and unable to cut it back to the right-centre pocket.

Already one of just four players to have made a 147 in a ranking event final, though Stuart misses out on a £25k bonus (he already shares the high break prize of course), he now leads 11-9 and maintains his unbelievable frame winning streak during this final since yesterday’s mid-session interval…

15:15 – A miss from Stuart when in but as Murphy has been almost completely shut out, suddenly the long balls are not going close for Shaun, let alone going in and barring snookers it now looks like Bingham will take his eighth frame from the last nine to close to 12-9 at the mid-session interval.

Can Shaun respond?

Hearn

15:47 – Some nice interval features fro the BBC there, a look back at the tournament so far, as well as to the future with the announcements made last Wednesday by Barry Hearn.

Still can’t believe that the shot on the black during his 145 break earlier in the tournament by Neil Robertson did not make the cut for the ‘shot of the tournament’ though. A strange omission.

Back on the baize however, A break of 59 from Shaun Murphy has given him a chance to get on the board today but having missed a red up into the yellow pocket, the frame is not safe yet…

15:57 – But it is now, Murphy ends his losing streak to close to 10-12 with three frames still to play during this crucial third session.

16:03 – A chance for Shaun, but it’s not taken and Stuart has a chance to counter and if he can take the frame, secure a lead heading into the final session this evening. And he does, 13-10 with two frames still to play this afternoon…

16:15 – A terrific opening red from Shaun with reds spread. If ever the 2005 world champion could do with a swift one visit clearance to provide an injection of confidence, this would be the time…

16:19 – And the Magician delivers, a break of 84 enough to see him close back to within two at 13-11. A big last frame coming up now, which will be the difference between 14-11 and 13-12…

16:35 – How big could that frame prove to be? A 57 from Stuart might not have been enough but for a missed red with the rest, but a miss on the green from Shaun proved to be crucial, Bingham coming back to the table to take a 14-11 lead into tonight’s evening session.

From 9-8 down, to 14-11 up after winning the session 6-2. Can Stuart produce the goods for one more session and secure victory?

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18:52 – Just minutes to go now before the start of the final session and a possible ten frames which will decide who will win the 2015 Betfred World Championship here at the Crucible.

From a neutral perspective perhaps the ideal start to this evening would be for Shaun Murphy to take three of the opening four frames this evening, setting up a grandstand finish after the mid-session interval. That said, if Stuart were able to win the first four frames and win it with comfort, few would begrudge him a remarkable victory.

A few people have asked me whether I think that he will bottle it and my answer has been that he has had several chances at which he could have bottled it already and shown no signs of that, so I would be surprised. That said, perhaps it will be different with the trophy on the line. We shall see…

19:42 – A perfect start this evening from Shaun Murphy as he takes a scrappy opening frame of the session to close to 14-12, but it is Stuart Bingham in the next frame with a chance to reduce the deficit now…

bin147

Most premature 147 alert ever?

19:53 – And with arguably his best break of the match, Stuart does indeed hit back to go three clear again at 15-12, a brilliant 102 doing the damage.

And already he is in the next frame, Murphy surely needing at least one of the frames now before the mid-session interval to stand any sort of chance hearing into the home straight…

20:04 – Leading by 55 points in frame 28, the first slip up from Stuart as he puts a black onto the near cushion and allows Shaun in to counter. The balls are not straight-forward, but this could be a big moment in the final if Shaun were to produce something special…

20:12 – And produce something special he has, a fantastic clearance of 75 enough to steal the frame and close back to two behind at 15-13.

In normal circumstances, you would question the impact that losing the frame in that manner might have on Stuart, but when the question has been asked of him so far this week, he has always had a response.

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Whatever, this next frame now will be very interesting indeed as if Murphy takes it, then he is back to within just one frame, but for Bingham it would represent a 2-2 split of the first four frames tonight and mission accomplished as he edges closer to the title…

20:25 – Signs of pressure starting to show in Stuart’s game now however as since his miss on the black to let Murphy in to clear in the next frame, he is now looking visibly more anxious than he has throughout the tournament to this point.

I would expect Stuart’s team to get into him during the interval, but if Shaun can close to 15-14 at the break then it is very much game on here at the Crucible…

20:55 – Players back out into the arena then. Here we go…

21:11 – For the first three sessions of this final it seemed like the players could not miss when in the balls, Stuart Bingham in particular as he raced to a 14-11 lead, but now the pressure of the situation is starting to tell as both players are missing chances.

And although Murphy was to miss a couple when in, Stuart was unable to capitalise, most unfortunate not to succeed with a swerve around the black and Shaun did enough to draw level at 15-15.

22:33 – Incredible drama at the Crucible as Stuart Bingham takes an epic frame lasting some 63 minutes and 31 seconds to edge back in front of Shaun Murphy at 16-15.

It was Murphy who looked to be in the ascendency, but a series of snookers late in the frame were enough to turn the frame around and following an unscheduled toilet break on the blue, Bingham eventually potted the pink to move two away from the title.

22:42 – Stuart stands on the cusp of moving two up with three to play at 17-15, as he leads Shaun 66-3 with just 67 remaining, but he is not there yet as Shaun comes back to the table…

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