Scottish Professional Championship 2011: Higgins Takes Title

The man just cannot stop winning! John Higgins defeated Anthony McGill 6-1 last night to win his fifth title of the season, this time the Scottish Professional Championship. Click below for more…

John Higgins 6-1 Anthony McGill
111(106) -6, 81-57, 83(83) – 1, 9-70(40), 82(62) – 30, 108(108) – 1, 83-26.

John Higgins became the first winner of the Scottish Professional Championship in 22 years after a thrilling encounter with local hero Anthony McGill in Clydebank. Higgins led from the start and eventually ran out a 6-1 winner which included two centuries.

With his first round match at the Crucible less than a week away, the Wishaw Wizard looked in the mood to put on a performance for the packed crowd who had crammed into this club and the place was buzzing from the off. Higgins made a statement of intent in the first frame, making a 106 break to take an early lead after McGill missed a fairly straightforward red.

Higgins pushed on from there in what was a scrappy second frame in which McGill was unlucky not to pull level after going in-off after a tricky black when in the balls. However, they say you have to take your chances against quality opposition and the young star was left to rue a few missed shots as Higgins saw the frame out in clinical fashion.

At times in this match, the former world champion looked simply unstoppable and he raced into a three frame lead with a solid break of 83 as got in amongst the balls to great effect. Whilst admiring what they were seeing, you got the feeling that everyone in the crowd wanted Anthony to get a frame on the board and he didn’t let them down. For the first time in the match he took his chances when it mattered with a vital break of 40 to stamp out any chance of a whitewash.

McGill came out after the interval determined to try and save the match and he turned the fifth frame into a real gritty battle. But once again Higgins showed exactly why he is at the top of the tree in world snooker, showing the other side of his game, producing some great escapes when McGill was searching for a snooker, including a wonderful four-cushion escape with one red on the table with McGill ready to step in if he missed.

After digging deep to win the battle that was the fifth frame, Higgins turned on the style once again, hitting his second century break of the match to take the sixth with a break of 108.

This was one of the very few titles that Higgins hasn’t won in his illustrious career at the top and he was now one frame away from adding another piece of silverware to a crowded mantelpiece at home. As was the norm in this match, McGill pushed him all the way and made the three time world champion work for this title. As has been this case too often this week, Anthony’s luck deserted him at crucial times tonight and helped by a fluked red from Higgins, it ensured that this frame would be the last as Higgins cleared the table to win the title.

Afterwards, Higgins was honoured to be the first Scottish Professional champion in what is now a new era for this competition.

“I’m honoured because winning the first one in 22 years is great and it’s been a great tournament, all credit to John Rea for putting it on and the crowd and the atmosphere has been great. I was desperate to try and win this and Anthony was unlucky all night, missing the odd shot and I was going in and playing some good stuff.”

He also admitted that the scoreline was harsh on young Anthony, saying:

“I think 6-1 was harsh because he didn’t play as bad as that but everything went against him on what is a tough table to play on.”

He also insisted that this win gives him even more confidence and assured everyone that he would be back to defend his title next year.

“This gives me more confidence because I feel I have played well all work and I hope to take this form to the Crucible. I’ll be back here next year to defend my title and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Anthony was naturally disappointed afterwards but took the positives from what has been an exceptional week. He said:

“It was good to play John in an atmosphere like that but I felt I had chances that I didn’t take on the night. John doesn’t make mistakes so any mistake I made was punished but I can take positives because I have beaten two of the best players in the world this week and to play John at his peak can only do me good.”