Group A: Stuart Bingham 4-2 Ding Junhui
Group B: Judd Trump 4-2 Peter Ebdon
JUDD Trump remained on track to capture his first Premier League title tonight after coming back from behind to beat former world champion Peter Ebdon.
After a slow start, last season’s UK Championship winner then produced his A game in front of the Southampton crowd to seal a 4-2 win and earn his second consecutive win in the competition after beating Stephen Lee back in August.
The Bristol star was in charge of the opening frame of the contest before he missed a green while on the stretch with just a lead of 16 points on the board. The miss proved costly as Ebdon cleared the table to steal the first frame.
The second frame was another close affair as Trump again dominated early on leading 48-22. But the 2002 world champion showed his battling qualities to force the frame into a re-spotted black finale.
However a poor break off from Ebdon left Trump needing a easy black to level the match at 1-1 and he made no mistake.
Trump though was still misfiring early on as Ebdon regained the lead at the halfway stage with breaks of 42 and 24 in the third frame.
Losing the third frame must have sent alarm bells ringing for Trump as the fourth frame finally showed some fluency. A stunning long red from the world number two led to a classy century break of 131 to restore parity once again at 2-2.
Trump then carried on where he left off in frame five – this time a break of 90 helped him take the lead for the first time in the match and guarantee himself at least a draw going into the final frame.
The sixth frame appeared to be going the same way as the previous one until Trump broke down losing position when on a break of 47. Ebdon then went for broke trying to rescue the match but when he left a red on for Trump to pot the match was all over.
The night’s first match saw Basildon’s Stuart Bingham make good progress in his bid to reach the Premier League semi-finals after beating Ding Junhui 4-2.
A break of 75 gave last season’s Australian Open winner the lead before increasing his lead to 2-0 with breaks of 47 and 31 in the second.
The China star then got back into the match winning the third frame with runs of 54 and 38 before he pulled level with a break of 73.
Bingham responded to Ding’s fightback in strong fashion and regained the lead with another significant break of 75 after Ding missed a tight red into the bottom corner pocket.
Ding looked to have put the disappointment of missing that pot behind him when he had a break of 37 in the final frame. But another miss on a red proved costly. Bingham then punished Diing by laying a tough snooker in behind the yellow.
And it was a snooker Ding struggled to get out of as he conceded 24 points in the process and then leaving Bingham a pot to the middle pocket.
Bingham potted the next red which led to a match-winning break of 50. With three points out of two games from his first two games, Bingham will be hoping he can do enough in his remaining matches to reach the last four.
The PartyPoker Premier League resumes next Thursday (October 11) in Malvern. The night will see Ding Junhui face world number one Mark Selby and John Higgins, who is back to his best after winning the Shanghai Masters last month, takes on Stephen Lee.