News

Ding Ends 2012 with Title

Ding Junhui won the Scottish Players Tour Championship event by beating home favourite Anthony McGill 4-2 in the final at Ravenscraig.

It puts a gloss to what has been a topsy-turvy year for the Chinese number one having won the Welsh Open at the outset but then subsequently struggled for optimum form.

Ding’s potential is almost unrivalled – perhaps only by the likes of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson.

His talent has never been under the microscope, whereas his temperament and overall consistency has.

Temperament wise Ding has improved beyond recognition since the petulant days of his youth when he used to slouch half asleep in his chair when a match was going against him.

Nowadays, having settled and made himself at home in a foreign climate in Sheffield, Ding is a much more composed character – and a likeable one too as shown by his post-match interview.

However, for one reason or another the 25 year-old still struggles to ignite a hot stretch where his form stays with him for a long period.

This weekend he had no such worries. With seven centuries and a string of excellent performances, Ding was a worthy winner on snooker’s return to Scottish territory.

The two-time UK champion conquered Steve Davis in the fourth round before victories over Ian Burns and Ken Doherty – who had himself gone on an excellent run to the semi-finals that all but guarantees the Dubliner’s place at the Grand Finals in March.

The final, which for some bizarre reason was scheduled for 8.45pm and began even later because McGill’s tense last four clash with Andrew Higginson overran,  was at times a cagey affair as both players evidently struggled with their energy levels.

But the key moment came in the fifth frame when the scores were level and McGill, seeking to go ahead at a pivotal time in the final, snookered himself which allowed Ding in for a superb clearance to clinch a 3-2 lead on the black.

He would take the next as well to land the title that wraps up his calendar year in style and one which I’m sure he will hope will inspire a more fruitful 2013.

Local boy McGill excelled in reaching his maiden professional final – coming from 3-0 down to beat Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 4-3 in the quarter-finals.

But he saved even more heroics for his encounter with Higginson when, having needed two snookers in the decider, he eventually sealed a 4-3 win on re-spotted black.

All in all, the tournament came and went and in truth not many will remember it in years to come.

The ticket sales over the first two days were quite simply diabolical and only barely improved on the final day.

This came as absolutely no surprise to anybody who has any sense. Staging the event in a remote area, away from a major city, was always going to be dangerous – as proved to be the case with the Killarney PTC in Kerry last season.

No lessons learned then.

After more than two years away without staging a tournament, this damaging image could have a bad impact on whether or not the sport returns to Scotland in the foreseeable future but let’s hope it does – the nation is steeped in snooker history after all.

The event did produce one other notable incident, though, as Kurt Maflin recorded a fine 147 break in the third round on Friday.

So it’s Christmas time for the top 16 players in the world but the action for the rest on the circuit isn’t over quite yet as 2012’s roadshow concludes with the World Open qualifiers this week in Sheffield.

The full draw and list of results for the Scottish Open can be viewed by clicking here.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.