John Higgins beat Judd Trump 4-2 to claim the Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup at the South West Snooker Academy tonight in Gloucester.
The fourth Players Tour Championship event in the United Kingdom this season ended with two of the world’s best players going head to head once again in what is becoming a fierce rivalry.
This final also marked the last time, for now at least, that a professional tournament will be staged at the SWSA – which is a huge shame for both players and fans alike as it serves as a wonderful venue for the sport.
In today’s action, it looked for all money that new world no.1 Trump was going to romp to another title when he looked in absolute imperious form early in the day.
The 23 year-old from Bristol started the day off slowly when he found himself 3-0 down in the fourth round to Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon of Thailand.
But he reeled off four in a row to move into the quarter-finals where he ousted Mark Joyce and then produced an almost complete performance in dismantling the spirited challenge of Ding Junhui 4-1.
It would have been a rout only for the fourth frame, when 3-0 ahead and within two balls of an annihilation he inadvertently cannoned a red into the pocket from a potted green.
His display led many to think that we were in the midst of witnessing the beginning of a true emergence of a new dominant player in the game following his impressive triumph at the International Championship a couple of weeks ago – and in doing so putting to shame an article I had written on the subject recently.
However, one player has continued to prove to be a thorn in Trump’s side and that is four-time world champion Higgins.
The Scot ended the youngster’s spectacular breakthrough in 2011 when he fought him off to win his fourth world crown at Sheffield and then came from 5-0 and 7-2 behind to see off the exciting prodigy in the Shanghai Masters final earlier this season.
Trump led tonight’s final 2-1 but, where he was missing absolutely nothing previously today, Higgins’ dogged tactics and superior tactical play ensured that his opponent became frustrated and the misses more frequent.
The defeat won’t do that much to affect Trump’s confidence badly but it will begin to worry him the way he finds it so difficult to see off the tenacious ‘Wizard of Wishaw’ – of course, he’s not the first player to have struggled against him.
For Higgins, it is a second title of the season following Shanghai and it must be a fantastic feeling for the 37 year-old when so many critics, perhaps foolishly, were beginning to write him off after last year’s especially mediocre campaign.
Earlier in the day, Higgins had come through three consecutive deciding frame victories against Steve Davis, Barry Hawkins and Anthony Hamilton, proving his conviction, stamina and metal are as strong as ever.
The roller coaster ride of this season moves on in thrilling speed to Bulgaria tomorrow, as the fourth European PTC event gets under way in Sofia.
The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.