Judd Trump got back to winning ways yesterday after emerging victorious in the 2014 Championship League at Crondon Park.
Trump, who won the event in 2009, beat defending champion Martin Gould 3-1 in the final to collect his first piece of silverware in a year and a half.
It will come as a big relief for the 24 year-old who had struggled for most of 2013 but had finally shown signs of an improvement in recent months – especially following a run to the final of the German Masters last month.
The Championship League isn’t one of the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar but it certainly is an important one.
Its lucrative nature, with money earned for each frame won and bonuses for reaching the latter stages, attracts most of the top players, not to mention the fact that it offers them all a convenient opportunity for vital match practice at an important juncture of the campaign.
On top of this, by collecting the trophy on Thursday, England’s Trump has guaranteed his place in the Champion of Champions next season – another tournament with plenty of prize money on offer.
The Championship League consisted of seven groups of seven players in each battling it out for as many places in the Winners Group, which was contested over the last two days between Trump, Gould, Stephen Maguire, Shaun Murphy, Ricky Walden, Ryan Day and Joe Perry.
Gdynia Open champion Murphy had excelled in the round-robin phase, where each player plays everyone else once, with five wins out of six but was downed in a decider by the eventual winner in the semi-final.
Gould comfortably saw off the challenge of Stephen Maguire in his last four clash to maintain what was an excellent stab at reigning supreme for a second successive season, but was powerless to prevent Trump collecting his own second title as the Bristol potter fired in a pair of centuries en route to victory.
It’s an important triumph for the former UK champion and, despite the short format and the lack of a live audience, it should give him a crucial boost of confidence heading into the remainder of the season.
Trump was never going to stay in the doldrums for long, his talent is too great for that, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him feature more regularly in the other ranking events, with of course the big one in Sheffield his primary target.