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Stuart Bingham: I threw away tilt at Wales crown
1:12pm Tuesday 19th February 2013 in Sport
STUART Bingham believes he threw away the chance to be crowned Welsh Open champion after a thrilling final with Stephen Maguire went to the final frame.
The Vange star was in control of the match after winning five out of six frames to lead 7-5 in the best-of-17 frames contest at the Newport Centre.
Maguire gave himself a lifeline by winning the 13th frame on the last black and did not look back, allowing Bingham just one more frame which at least ensured the match went all the way down to the wire.
In the decider, Bingham tried a risky plant on two reds, but missed his target.
And gritty Maguire showed his quality with a fine 82 to clinch the tie.
Bingham said: “I feel as if I threw it away, I just tightened up a bit towards the end.
“It would have meant so much to win it, so I’m gutted. I should have gone 8-5 up, I missed an easy pink, I was just scared of playing a push shot.
“Then in the next frame I was 40 ahead and missed a bad blue. I held myself together to make a clearance to go 8-8 but just couldn’t get a chance in the decider.
“I never go for plants unless they are 100 per cent, I thought the one I went for was perfect, so maybe I got a kick.
“Stephen showed what a class act he is with his break in the last.”
Bingham added: “I thought I was the better player. I took the match to him to go 7-5. But then I had chances and I blew it. It has been a great season and my game is in good shape, it just didn’t quite happen today.”
Maguire said: “I thought I was beat, I was almost resigned to losing, I was just trying to keep calm. It should have been 8-5, he refused some balls when he had the chance to kill me off.
“That spurred me on and I got the bit between my teeth. To win that frame to go 7-6 was massive.”
Despite the loss, Bingham continues to enjoy the best season of his career, having won the Premier League and two APTC events.
And although he missed out on his second ranking title, he is up three places to a career high of number seven in the world.
The Vange cuesman won the opening frame of the evening session with a break of 73 to take the lead for the first time at 5-4.
In frame ten, Maguire missed a black off its spot at 37-16, but earned another chance with a clever plant on a red and made a 71 to restore parity.
The big breaks continued to fly in as Bingham made his first century of the match, a 118, to lead 6-5.
In frame 12, he made 36 before missing the blue when splitting the pack. Maguire lost his chance to counter after just one red when he missed a black off its spot.
He got another chance but over-cut a red to a top corner and Bingham took advantage for 7-5 at the mid-session interval.
A dramatic 13th frame came down to a safety battle on the final blue. Bingham laid a tight snooker behind the pink, but in doing so fluked the blue into a middle pocket.
Almost touching the pink, he was unable to chip it into the same pocket. Maguire converted a great pot and added the black to close to within one frame.
Bingham led 40-0 in the next when he missed a thin blue off its spot.
He later failed on a long pot with four reds left, and Maguire knocked in a double to initiate an excellent 42 clearance to the blue which brought him level at 7-7.
Early in the 15th, Bingham missed a tough red to a centre pocket, and Maguire’s clinical 77 saw him edge in front.
The Scot looked set for victory in frame 16 until he missed a tricky red at 59-6. And when he failed to escape from a snooker with four reds left, Bingham fashioned a cool 58 clearance to force a decider.
But it was in vain as Maguire took advantage of Bingham’s mistake on the plant to take the title.