12:56pm Monday 2nd July 2012
By James Colasanti
STUART Bingham made a sensational maximum 147 break in the final of the Wuxi Classic in China... but it was not enough to stop him slipping to a 10-4 defeat to Ricky Walden.
It was a bitter-sweet match for the man nicknamed “Ballrun” as he lost but became the only player other than Stephen Hendry and John Higgins to make a maximum in a ranking event final.
It was the third 147 of his career, the 89th competitive maximum in snooker history, and the first one since last season’s World Championship when Hendry made one... against Bingham!
But it was a rare highlight on a day when Walden took his chances in a scrappy match to win the £70,000 first prize.
Bingham picked up £30,000 as runner-up and £7,000 for his 147 highest break of the tournament.
And Bingham asked the Echo to thank his fans in Essex for their “terrific support”.
He said: “I’m absolutely gutted with the way I played today, but overall I can’t grumble.
“I've had an amazing month and it puts me in good spirits for the rest of the season.
“Now I’ve got to jump on a flight in nine hours for the next tournament in Thailand — so no rest for the wicked!
“But I’m playing as well as I could wish for heading into the tournament in Australia.
“And I’d like to thank everyone back home for all their support. It means a lot.”
It all capped an incredible week for Bingham which has seen him shoot up from 16th to 12th in the projected world rankings.
He became something of a showman in Wuxi as he won tense final frame deciders against former world champions Peter Ebdon and Ken Doherty, and against current world number one Mark Selby.
And on Saturday he claimed a thrilling semi-final win over Mark Davis.
Bingham led 4-0 and had barely put a foot wrong when Davis roared back to take five in a row to go in front.
But Bingham steeled himself to take the next two to book a spot in only the second ranking event final of his career.
And his showing in Wuxi capped an excellent month for the 36-year-old from Vange, who came into the tournament on the back of a ranking win at event one of the Asian Players Tour Championship, and a pre-season Pink Ribbon invitational victory in Gloucester.
And almost almost a year on from his maiden professional title in Australia, he is in fine form he gears up to defend his Australian Goldfields Open crown in Bendigo later this month. Bingham will begin that defence against Romford’s Matthew Selt on July 10.
He is next in action at this week’s Six-Red World Championship invitational event in Thailand.
He is in Group F at the event along with Stephen Lee, Ben Judge, Saleh Mohammad, Jimmy White and Passakorn Suwannawat.
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