STUART BINGHAM achieved the greatest moment of his professional career last night after winning a deciding frame thriller to reach the World Championship final.
38-year-old Bingham is now just one win away from becoming world champion for the first time after ending bookies favourite Judd Trump’s hopes after a dramatic 17-16 victory.
Standing in his way will be 2005 world champion Shaun Murphy who earlier in the day completed a comfortable 17-9 victory over Barry Hawkins.
In one of the best semi-finals seen in recent times, Bingham produced a stunning plant shot on a red with the match on a knife edge to get over the winning line – despite Trump almost pulling off a wonderful fight back which included him making back to back centuries from the brink of defeat.
Bingham has been a professional player for more than 20 years but it has not been until the past few years where he has showed anything like his true potential.
Considered one of snooker’s journey men, Bingham’s career has transformed in recent times under new coach Steve Feeney – firstly in 2011 when he won his first major ranking event in Australia and then the Premier League title twelve months later.
More success came his way earlier this season when he beat Mark Allen to win the Shanghai Masters – cementing his place as one of snooker’s elite.
And now Bingham is one good match from reaching destiny. And nobody can argue his place in this year’s final after beating Trump and before that five-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan – the latter a victory he always dreamt about.
Leading 13-11 after Saturday morning’s penultimate session, Bingham continued his dominance over Trump after a break of 106 kept his two frames ahead at 15-13 at the mid-session interval.
After the restart Trump reduced his deficit back to a single frame before Bingham once again showed his metal as a break of 102 put him on the verge of glory.
Bingham had the first chance of frame 31 but failed to connect a canon properly stopping a potential match-winning break. But Trump superbly kept alive his hopes with back to back centuries of 108 and 129 to force a thrilling finale.
And a thrilling semi-final went Bingham’s after a superb and brave plant shot with two reds on the bottom cushion helped him clinch the match.