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Stuart Bingham debut hit by Shaun Murphy recovery
STUART Bingham made a bittersweet start to life in the Premier League with a 3-3 draw against former world champion Shaun Murphy.
Bingham raced into a 3-0 lead in the six-frame match and looked on course for victory and two points until a virtually match-ball red somehow jumped out of the middle pocket following a cut played at pace in the fourth frame.
As is so often the case in snooker, that miss swung the momentum of the match and Murphy, whose nickname is The Magician, conjured his way out of trouble by taking the next three frames to earn a draw and a point.
“That felt like a win,” admitted Murphy, following the match which was screened live on Sky Sports.
“It is a tough school, the Premier League. I didn’t feel I played badly in my first game [a 4-2 defeat to Ding Junhui] and I felt I played alright tonight. It is really, really tough, this could be the hardest year ever.
“I went into the game knowing it was Stuart’s debut and I didn’t want to throw him into the reds to start with.
“I went for a longish red with safety in mind and I got a kick on the red and left him in the balls, which helped settle him down.
“I made a mistake but it wasn’t really my fault but that is a part of snooker, you have to take it on the chin.”
Bingham marked his Premier League debut with frame-winning breaks of 53, 68 and then a 59 in a 105-0 third frame.
But Murphy pulled one back in the fourth thanks to an 88 clearance having been 51 down and made a decisive 58 break in the fifth, before a tense final set ended 77-53 in his favour.
It left Bingham third in the early Group A table and his next match in the competition is against Ding Junhui at Southampton’s Guildhall on Thursday, October 4.
Bingham hardly had time to draw breath after finishing his match with Murphy at The Sands Centre in Carlisle as he got in his car to drive back to his home in Vange before jetting off for China the following day.
He has gone there to take part in the Shanghai Masters, the third full-ranking event of the season.
Bingham and his fellow pros were treated to a red carpet walk and surrounded by hundreds of enthusiastic fans when they arrived in China.
The players also signed autographs and took part in live interviews with Shanghai TV, before a welcome banquet which featured speeches from leading dignitaries.
World number 11 Bingham will face world number 30 Tom Ford in the opening round in a match that gets underway at 2pm today.
There are good ranking points available in the competition which will see 32 of the world’s best players, plus eight wild cards, aiming for the title.
But Bingham will have his work cut out to make the latter stages as he will face the winner of defending champion Mark Selby and Jamie Cope, should he get past Ford.