Stuart Bingham shocked world number one Mark Williams to win the 2011 Australian Open in unbelievable fashion.
The qualifier came from 8-5 behind to pip the German Masters champion in the deciding frame 9-8 and with it claim the first ranking event title of his career.
Matthew Huart over at Pro Snooker Blog asked an interesting question on Twitter at the beginning of the week – who, of the players on the circuit over the age of 30, would be most likely to win their first ranking event this year.
Names like Ryan Day, Anthony Hamilton and Marcus Campbell were suggested but I never included Bingham as, a little bit like Mark Allen’s perception of the Englishman, I never though that he had the bottle to go that far.
Yet, the 35 year-old has proved a lot of doubters wrong this week and his triumph is a testament to a career fuelled by hard work and dedication.
It also represents the new opportunities that lower ranked players have in the game now with the increase in tournaments and playing opportunities.
That said, Bingham isn’t exactly lower ranked any more and his victory Down Under will send ‘Ballrun’ to the verge of a place in the world’s top ten in the rankings.
Unfortunately, I had to miss today’s dramatic final but, by the sounds of things and with such an unexpected turnaround, a rollercoaster of a season is in store.
Additionally, the tournament in Australia has been a resounding success with big crowds and exciting snooker – hopefully ensuring its place on the calendar beyond the initial three year deal.