Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Stuart Bingham looking to balance the books against Joe Perry
STUART Bingham will be hoping Irish eyes are smiling on him when he gets his Players Tour Championship Grand Finals campaign underway in Galway today.
The world number eight, from Vange, faces Wisbech’s Joe Perry in the opening round at the Bailey Allen Hall at the National University of Ireland.
Bingham said: “Joe’s been on the edge of the top 16 for a while now, but has lost a couple of qualifying matches.
“He’s got a great all-round game and I looked at the head-to-head and he’s 4-2 up against me overall.
“He’s been in the top 16 and been in ranking finals, so I’m ready for a tough match here.
“And it’s best-of-seven frames, so anyone can win. If you start with a couple of bad frames then you are out before you know it.”
Bingham did not qualifying for the finals last season, but secured his spot early on this time around with two tournament wins in Asia.
He was due to fly out to Ireland yesterday and admits he’s looking forward to the trip – even though he’ll be doing his best to avoid the excesses of St Patrick’s Day on Sunday, when the final is due to take place in the evening.
He said: “It’s typical it’s on while I’m there, but I’m going to try to keep a clear head because it could be a bit heavy!”
Bingham’s match will be the last of the first round, and is likely to get underway mid-afternoon.
Should he progress, he’ll face the winner of Ben Woollaston and Mark Williams in the last 16.
Bingham said: “There’s 3,000 ranking points on offer for the winner, so it would be nice to have a good run.
“But most of the players around me have qualified too, so hopefully I can reach the latter stages.”
Bingham will be one of 32 players battling for the £100,000 top prize in the event.
Also competing will be the likes of Judd Trump, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Irish favourite Ken Doherty.