PartyPoker Premier League – Event 3
Group A: Shaun Murphy 3-3 Stuart Bingham
Group B: John Higgins 4-2 Mark Allen
FORMER world champion Shaun Murphy produced a stunning comeback to earn what could become a crucial draw against Stuart Bingham in the Premier League last night.
After losing his opening game to Ding Junhui in this season’s first night of Premier League action, Murphy’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals appeared to be in jeopardy when Bingham took a 3-0 lead in front of a packed crowd inside Carlisle’s The Sands Centre.
But after breaks of 58, 68 and 59 put last season’s Australian Open winner in pole position, the 2005 world champion then showed just why he is in the top four of the world rankings and has a world championship crown to his name.
Trailing 51-0 in the fourth frame, Murphy took full advantage of a missed red from Bingham to the middle pocket and a break of 88 saw him cling on to hopes of making a draw at 3-1.
The next frame saw a rejuvenated Murphy carry on where he left off in frame four. A missed red from Bingham led Murphy to a break of 58 then laid in a clever snooker behind the yellow which his opponent failed to escape. A further break of 35 put the frame to bed.
Bingham had a golden chance to wrap up the contest but a missed clack when on a break of 49 was to cost him dear as Murphy cleared up the table to end the match level at 3-3.
The night’s second match saw a below-par John Higgins start his campaign with a 4-2 win over Premier League new boy Mark Allen.
In a scrappy encounter, it was Allen who fired into the lead with a break of 67 before the four-times world champion battled back winning the next two frames.
Last season’s Haikou World Open winner then pulled level with a clearance break of 50 to leave the match nicely poised going into the final two frames of the night.
Higgins though showed his matchplay quality when it mattered taking the fifth frame with an opening break of 59 and sealed victory against the Ulsterman winning the final frame with a break of 52 and superb clean pots on the decisive green and brown.
The PartyPoker Premier League resumes on Thursday, September 27 in Banbury. The night will see 2010 world champion Neil Robertson looking to build on his 5-1 win over Mark Selby when he takes on Murphy Allen will hope to bounce back to winning ways against Peter Ebdon.